“Toe Pick!” – Our Favorite Figure Skating Routines of All Time

Posted by Kim and Sage

One of the many things that Sage and I have in common is our love of figure skating.  I don’t exactly recall HOW we discovered this mutual love, but I am pretty sure it went something like the scene in Will and Grace where Jack and Grace bond over their mutual love for Michelle Kwan and hatred for Tara Lipinski (the way Debra Messing SAYS “Tara Lipinski” forever changed the way *I* say it.  Sadly, NBC took the clip off youtube for copyright reasons.  EVERYONE BOO THEM.  BOO NBC BOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!).

As we’ve been watching the Sochi Games it inevitably led to lots of conversation geeking out about our favorite skaters and routines.  Sage and I DO agree that the heyday of figure skating was in the mid to late 90’s, where it seemed to be a perfect storm of technical difficulty, artistic and fun routines, and skaters with personality for DAYS.  Our biggest complaint with skating now (especially in the men’s) is the focus on jumps and technical difficulty as opposed to artistic performance.  Sure we want to see difficult jumps, but we also want skaters to make us FEEL something.  That’s what’s missing today.  We have jumping robots with the rare artist (looking at you Jason Brown) thrown in.  Give me Kurt Browning over Patrick Chan ANY DAY.

We narrowed it down to our 16 favorites and here they are in no particular order…

–Kim

Brian Boitano – “Carousel Waltz”

No, I didn’t pick this just because I am about to open in Liliom, which inspired Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel, which provided the music to this short program.  Okay…maybe I did just a little (get your tickets now!).  Shilling aside, while I remember the “Battle of the Brians” in 1988, I was a little young to FULLY appreciate it.   I had come to love Brian in his post-Olympic career as a professional through all the various Stars on Ice specials and was THRILLED when he lobbied for Pros to be able to reinstate for Olympic Eligibility (it was only fair considering Hockey, Basketball and Tennis allowed it!).  The 1994 Men’s Olympic field was chock full of past favorites, including Boitano, our bb Kurt Browning (who else FOREVER remembers him asking the camera for a hug after his disastrous Short Program?), and fabulous Russian Viktor Petrenko.   While none of the professional men made it to the podium, it was amazing for me to get to see my favorites in the Olympics.

“The Carousel Waltz” program is a perfect mix of athleticism and artistry, from the ‘Tano Lutz (used flawlessly by Jason Brown in this year’s long program) to the footwork to the spins.  Also GOOD GOD look at his quads in those striped pants.  He’s a BEAST.

Also props to Brian for fully embracing his place in pop culture playing off the South Park song “What Would Brian Boitano Do?” by naming his Food Network show “What Would Brian Boitano Make?”.

–Kim

Kurt Browning – “Brickhouse”

You’ve gotta love that Kurt Browning has never been afraid to put on some vinyl pants and just go full on dad-at-a-wedding on that ice. His showmanship leads the way in this program, but his skill isn’t far behind. Let me tell you about the goofball footwork in this routine, my friends: it’s fucking HARD. Some former world-class skaters look like they couldn’t wait to retire from amateur competition so they could take home fat paychecks to do shows where they just skate in circles and wave. The level of difficulty here puts most professional programs to shame. A combination here, a couple of triples there, and in true Kurt style, our man makes the whole thing look like a walk in the park.  P.S. A+ butt.

–Sage

Scott Hamilton – “Cuban Pete”

Scott Hamilton will forever remain figure skating’s greatest showman.  Ever.  Of all time.  To infinity and beyond.

A bold statement, to be sure.  But I dare you to argue with me.

Figure skating owes SO MUCH to Scott Hamilton.  His passion and dedication to the sport kept the professional competitions in the public eye.  He freaking founded Stars on Ice, which to this day seeing that show is one of my favorite teenage memories.  He always participated in “Ice Wars” (OMG I EFFING MISS ICE WARS).  The only word that can describe Scott Hamilton on the ice is JOY and it’s really something that is missing in today’s skaters (though again…I see it in my bb Jason Brown).  We focus so much today on the technical difficulty of the sport that we lose the joy and the FUN.

And Scott doesn’t sacrifice the difficulty for the fun.  It’s not like he’s going out there and doing single jumps.  He’s still doing triples.  He’s still doing incredibly intricate footwork.  He’s doing back flips.  And all the while, he’s engaging the audience.  Much like Kurt Browning, we could have chosen among numerous Scott Hamilton routines (his Hair routine was the runner-up).  “Cuban Pete” always stuck out in my mind though…mainly for the glorious costume.

And I can’t be the only one who longs for him to do a color commentary on my life, can I?

–Kim

Michelle Kwan – “Salome”

As cheesy as it sounds, I will always remember the “Salome” program as the moment Michelle stopped being a little girl on the ice and became a woman.  Michelle won her first of five world championships with this program and it was the beginning of her emergence as a true ARTIST on the ice.  Look at the FIRE in her eyes during this program…she knew she had to be perfect to be Chen Lu…and she was.  She was so completely in character as well, which became one of the defining traits of her career.  Many would consider her Olympic “Lyra Angelica” program to be her ultimate high point, but for me, “Salome” remains the point where everything changed for Michelle Kwan.

And we will NEVER forgive Tara Lipinski for taking her Gold Medal.  NEVER.

–Kim

Paul Wylie – “Henry V”

Paul Wylie was an underdog going into the Albertville Olympics in 1992.  Many had questioned if he even deserved to be ON the Olympic Team after a poor performance at the Nationals (even though he still got second place there).  He had never placed higher than ninth at the World Championships.  No one expected him to perform well at the Olympics.  So imagine the shock and awe when Paul was in the bronze medal position going into the long program.  But still…no one imagined that he would hold on to that placement.  But Paul (aside for two slight bobbles on landings) skated the performance of a lifetime and damn near got that Gold Medal from Viktor Petrenko.  I’ll never forget watching this program with my family live.  There were tears and there were screams of joy for him…the one that everyone underestimated.  The one where Silver was just as sweet as Gold.  It’s the very definition of an “Olympic Moment” down to the American Flags waving in the audience.

Also, Scott Hamilton’s commentary on this program is glorious.

–Kim

Kristi Yamaguchi – “The Power of Love”

Kristi Yamaguchi was GOOD as an amateur.  She was a Gold Medalist after all.  So why choose this routine over her gold medal winning one?  Well, first of all, the ladies long program in 1992 was marred by several errors from all the top ladies.  Kristi’s errors just happened to be the ones that got the least amount of deductions/made up for with the artistic marks, which is where her main competition Midori Ito was lacking.  Kristi REALLY came into her own as a professional though as both a skater and an artist.  She was dominant on the circuit, winning four Professional Championships, including back to back ones in 1996 and 1997.  Her “Power of Love” program won her the gold in 1994 and we chose it because a) it’s flawless and b) we love this song SO MUCH.

Like Michelle Kwan after her, Kristi Yamaguchi was the embodiment of grace, artistry and power on the ice.  She wasn’t just a mindless jumper like so many of the skaters are today (have we mentioned how much we HATE the focus on jumping yet?  No??).  She’s emotional and engaging and makes it all look easy.  Which it most certainly is not.

–Kim

Katarina Witt – “Robin Hood”

First of all, who knew that Katarina’s coach was Ruth Bader Ginsburg? Unexpected choice.

Having won double gold in ’84 and ’88, Katarina didn’t come to Lillehammer with anything to prove. As you probably remember, there was a lot of dramz happening at the time. Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding were too busy trying to murder each other to notice a tiny Ukrainian girl in a ginormous scrunchie coming up from behind to steal their podium. Meanwhile, forever classy Katarina showed up in her tunic and tights to skate clean in front of the world and her East German parents, who – until the wall came down – had been unable to be in the building for one of her Olympic performances.

We don’t see skaters like Katarina in international competition anymore. She’s lucky to have come up in the sport when a triple lutz combo wasn’t even a requirement to take an Olympic gold. Katarina is not a spinning top with a conveniently low center-of-gravity. I love that. Her jumps are big and unimpeachable, and her artistry doesn’t suffer for athleticism. She’s an actual woman. She has magnificent boobs. She gets her period. She was skating’s last sexpot, with the skills to back it up.

–Sage

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“Here be dragons.” – Sherlock Recap

Sherlock His Last Vow John Watson definitely in danger

Sherlock
Season 3, Episode 3: His Last Vow
Posted by Sage

Anxiety. Dread. Ice cream. Alcohol. These are what Sherlock fans usually bring with them to a finale episode. Especially after the relative lightheartedness of this season’s first two stories, we seemed to be due for a haymaker right to the heart.

But even though Sherlock Holmes killed a man and John Watson’s new wife put a bullet in his best friend, “His Last Vow” was almost cheery compared to “The Reichenbach Fall.” I mean, Moriarty is back. And we did miss him. Very much.

Charles Augustus Magnussen is no Moriarty. Jim Moriarty is a cuddly little bastard. He carves private messages into apples. He has a Bee Gees ringtone! I’m not sure I’d turn down brunch with him. Sherlock tells us that Magnussen makes him feel physically sick, so chances are he’s used that “the whole world is wet to my touch” line more than once. We meet him as he’s intimidating Adelaide Brooke Lady Elizabeth Smallwood into dropping an investigation into his influence over the Prime Minister. He licks her face – so close to her eyeball that I actually wish I were dead – and in between shudders of revulsion I wonder just what was in the water at the Mikkelsens’ house.

Sherlock Magnussen licking face

“My brother was right – people are delicious.”

Magnussen deals in information. Everyone has a weakness or two – “pressure points,” he calls them – and he uses this knowledge to hold people hostage. Sherlock is initially hired by Lady Smallwood to do something about this “shark,” which is how he ends up in the same smack house where John Watson goes to retrieve his neighbor’s junkie son.

Sherlock well I'm not now

“I’m undercover.” “No, you’re not.”

The original Sherlock Holmes was fond of cocaine, which was totes not a big deal in the 1880s. Our Sherlock has substance issues too. He claims he’s undercover for a case. He is – he hopes to draw Magnussen out by advertising his drug habit as a pressure point – but John isn’t buying that as the only reason he finds “Shezza” lying on a dirty mattress in a pair of – gasp – sweatpants. And now is not the time to fuck with John Watson. He’s living in the suburbs, he’s bored, he’s dreaming nightly about war and Sherlock Holmes, and he’s just desperate for an opportunity to stick a tire iron in his pants and go sprain some people. “It’s just a tiny bit sexy,” Mary tells him, as we all nod furiously at home. “Yeah,” he answers. “I know.”

Sherlock Molly slap

Also not thrilled with this development is our favorite pathologist, Molly Hooper. (Sherlock looks so busted when John calls her from the car. He doesn’t want to disappoint her again.) Molly Hooper got to snog and slap Sherlock Holmes in the matter of one series. Somewhere out there, The Woman seethes with jealousy. “How dare you throw away the beautiful gifts you were born with? And how dare you betray the love of your friends? Say you’re sorry.” She may say it louder now, but Molly has always called Sherlock on his shit. (“You always say such horrible things.”) And by not letting him off the hook for his bad behavior, as everyone else tends to do, she actually gets real apologies from him. But not this time. “Sorry your engagement’s over,” he counters, making this the third consecutive episode where he’s brought up Molly’s relationship status in conversation. He’s being petulant, but this low blow feels so much more personal than his usual lashing out. We don’t get an answer to that question because Molly won’t take the bait. But we see her flinch at the pain of it, and what is going on with these two?

In related news, I spent an hour tonight looking at Molly Hooper-inspired sets on Polyvore and pricing colorful sweaters.

Mycroft Magnussen going against me

Mycroft has engaged Anderson and his Holmes fan club to clear 221B of whatever gear his brother has hidden before Mrs. Hudson finds it and tries to sell it, probably. He clenches up at the mention of Magnussen, riling up John and Sherlock with his warnings to leave the creepy guy alone. Mycroft knew then that Magnussen would try to get to him through Sherlock; he’s aware of his own pressure point. Can I get some pity for Mycroft Holmes, over here? This poor guy has spent his entire life protecting his brother, and it’s definitely not because he’s getting any credit for it. (“Your loss would break my heart.”) What must it feel like for him to see Sherlock connect so easily with John? Maybe that’s the real reason he skipped the wedding.

Sherlock Janine His Last Vow lap

Which brings us to the Janine problem. Sigh. As delightful as it was to watch Sherlock Holmes cuddle with buxom brunette and to watch John Watson reacting to Sherlock Holmes cuddling with a buxom brunette, the Janine storyline irks me still. We see that Sherlock has regressed since faltering at the wedding – it’s not a stretch to imagine that he’d push his sense of decency far enough aside to use a woman for the sake of a case. But Janine: how could you? The girl fawning all over the detective can’t be the same one we met when John married Mary. That lady was savvy and cool and figured Sherlock out in one afternoon. They understood each other. They were partners-in-crime. Now she buys this doting boyfriend act? Whatever happened to, “I wish you weren’t…whatever you are”? Is she really so desperate for a ring that she’s not the tiniest bit suspicious that her detective boyfriend wants access to the heavily guarded office of a controversial and dangerous man? Did she fall onto his penis and forget her own name? That is a hallmark of a Moffat woman, I suppose. We’re supposed to be okay with all of this after the scene in the hospital when Janine turns out to be just as capable of exploiting people as Sherlock and they forgive each other. But the assassination of her character isn’t just infuriating. It’s totally nonsensical. Here again we have Moffat refusing to honor the agency and truth of a female character, choosing instead to manipulate her so that he can get from story point A to story point B a little faster. Sherlock could have just as easily buddied up to Janine and engaged her in the plan. She even says so herself. “You shouldn’t have lied to me. We could have been friends.”

Sherlock His Last Vow Mary Morstan liar

It’s almost a comfort to know that Sherlock Holmes can still be surprised by people. And he can, very much, be blinded by sentiment. Despite all the clues – which he later recounts, because he noticed them all on some level – Sherlock doesn’t deduce Mary’s secret. He just doesn’t want to. Yes, Mary Morstan is more than she initially seemed. But as we got to know her in the last two episodes, I became more and more adamant in my belief that she couldn’t possibly be revealed as a true bad guy, especially once she became pregnant. And I refused to believe that her relationship with our John was a lie. So, our Mary has killed a few people. Who on this show hasn’t? It’s practically a requirement to hang with this crew. She didn’t betray John. That would have been unforgivable.

Sherlock Mary It's What You Like

In fact, she’s the perfect match for John. I love that the prototypical Dr. Watson – the one who just wants his chair and a cup of tea and “I say, old chap” and all that – is just a story that John tells himself. That is not who he is. He is as addicted to danger as Sherlock – maybe even more so. And he subconsciously picked himself a (nearly) rehabilitated assassin for his bride. What’s the big deal? I’d pity the nice, normal girl without a cat burglar outfit stashed in the back of her closet, who gets involved with these psychopaths. As Moffat said to Vulture, “Have we forgotten that John shot someone in the back in episode one? And then had a giggle about it?”

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Three Doctors, A Consulting Detective, A Demi-God and The Entire Wizarding World: A UK Adventure, Fandom-Style

Ron Swanson London Landmarks

– Posted by Sage

A true American like Ron Swanson may not understand the constant pull we fetish-izers of British culture feel to return to the Motherland. But anytime I’m not in London, I’m usually wishing that I were, scone in one hand, umbrella in the other. This January, thanks to the fine people who price the flights at USAirways, I was able to make a UK pilgrimage for what I usually drop in a couple of Etsy sprees. And you know I had to do it up fandom-style.

Doctor Who British Flag

*Anglophilia intensifies*

As you know, the British Isles are home to many fictional characters we adore. Not only that, but – until we can seduce them over to Broadway – several of the actors who play said fictional characters can usually be found treading the boards in London. So, to sum the goals of my trip up in just a few words: 1) pay appropriate homage to British fandoms 2) watch the men I know as super villains and cheeky aliens stretch out their ample theater muscles and 3) eat all the pub food I can find. All of it.

Sherlock Adventuring

Here’s what I found when I crossed the pond, plus a few tips for getting the most out of your UK vacation.

American Psycho at the Almeida Theatre

Blasting straight through my jet lag, I spent my first night in London at the 325-seat Almeida Theatre in Islington. I’d known of the musical adaptation of the Bret Easton Ellis novel for quite a while – since its successful Kickstarter campaign, really – and had it on my “probably” theater list for months. That is, until the morning that the Almeida announced that Matt Smith’s first post-Doctor Who role would be that of Wall Street psychopath Patrick Bateman. I hightailed it to the ticketing site immediately and snagged the last seat for this performance.

Matt Smith James Corden Doctor Who Tea

Watching THIS guy slice and dice hookers? How could I resist?

Adaptations are just that – with heaps of artistic choices dictated by their medium. So, while not expecting American Psycho: The Musical to look exactly like American Psycho: The Novel or American Psycho: The Christian Bale Movie, I did have high expectations. The book by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa pins down the particular humor of the existentially bleak source material; and Duncan Sheik’s original score, with the exception of one or two extraneous numbers, successfully leverages synthy ’80s pop to drive home the glossy and gothic materialism of Patrick’s world. Actual hits from that decade were inserted sparingly and to great effect, especially when Bateman commutes to work with “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” blaring through his Walkman.

And what of Matt? Respectable American accent, serviceable singing voice, imposing stage presence, and really quite exquisite abs. You may have heard that he makes his entrance in a “tanning bed” wearing nothing but tighty whities. I’m glad I was able to mentally and emotionally prepare myself to watch that in the middle of a room full of strangers. Add some cool graphic direction by Rupert Goold and a supporting cast full of cute boys (special shout out to Jonathan Bailey of Broadchurch who played Tim Price like the young version of McConaughey’s character in The Wolf of Wall Street), American Psycho kept a weary traveler awake and excited about the future of musical theater. Did I mention that Matt Smith was totally in his underwear?

Coriolanus at the Donmar Warehouse

The hottest ticket in London right now is to a 251-seat theater for a little-produced, late-career Shakespeare play. Possibly because, under Artistic Director Josie Rourke, the Donmar has been consistently popping out work that makes a splash at home before an almost guaranteed West End or US transfer. Well, that…and Tom Hiddleston.

Tom Hiddleston Coriolanus moves

My brain and body were practically humming after seeing Tom on stage for the first time and in such a tour-de-force. But one thought rose above the general clamor: this is the beginning of his career. This man is 33-years-old. Think about the body of work he has ahead of him. It’s unfathomable.

I don’t want to be that jerk and say that Hiddleston was just so present in his role. But I’m going to be, because he was. Like I wrote in our “Entertainer of the Year tribute to him, Tom approaches every role with the same amount of careful preparation and gusto. And in this part, he gets to rage, sass, patronize, kiss a boy, kiss a girl, sword fight, take a shower onstage, and break our hearts with wet eyes and a single speech. In the climax of the play, Coriolanus’s mother pleads with him to spare Rome. Until this point in the scene, Coriolanus has been cold and unmovable, even to his best friend and his wife. He faces the audience, his back to his mother. As she talks and without moving a single muscle, he just starts weeping. Full on, snotty-nosed, wet-faced weeping. I could not breathe. GET THEE TO BROADWAY, HIDDLES.

The rest of the cast give knockout performances too, particularly Deborah Findley as Coriolanus’s steely mother, Hadley Fraser as his sworn enemy, and the one and only Mark Gatiss as – obviously – a dry-witted intellectual. Mark was battling a cold and didn’t come out to sign after the performance. A disappointment, since I really just wanted to shake his hand, thank him for Sherlock series 3, and get a Mycroft bitchy-resting-face picture with him. We were told by the staff that Tom was no longer able to come out to sign post-performance. It makes sense, since the Donmar doesn’t have the space to put up barriers, set up extra staff, or do much really to keep overeager fans from ripping his clothing to shreds. This is why we can’t have nice things, you guys. Behave yourselves.

So no Me + Hiddles 4Ever picture to show you all, sadly. It’s cool though, since I happened to be sitting just two seats away from my sun and stars, Billie Piper.

Rose Tyler Excited

Ommgggggg…..

Being that I usually refer to Bills as my future wife, you’ll be impressed that I stayed relatively cool. She’s a featured guest at Gallifrey One in Los Angeles next week, so I decided to save the fangirling till then and satisfied myself with acting like a normal person in her presence. I did notice her take a photo and chat to a fan, so rest assured that she wasn’t putting off “leave me alone” vibes. She’s luminous and perfect and wonderful, always. So.

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No, J.K. Rowling. Just…No.

A Very Potter Musical Draco Bitches Trying to Ruin

– Posted by Sage

Filthy rich and super bored? Why not ignite a ship war in your own fandom?

We love Jo Rowling to pieces, obviously. She’s the mother of our favorite YA series of all time – a series which we’re devoting a huge chunk of Head Over Feels to this spring as we revisit all seven novels and films. But, if it’s not too much trouble, we’d appreciate it if she’d stop retconning her books.

The world that she created clearly extends past the final page of Deathly Hallows, and we can appreciate the little tidbits she gives us on our characters’ lives post-Voldy. However, let’s agree to draw the line at firebombing plots and characters as they exist (EXIST – PRESENT TENSE) in the HP series. Ron and Hermione shouldn’t have ended up together? What is this nonsense?

Big Bang Theory Muggles

Jo recently (as all HP fans know) called the endgame pairing of Ron and Hermione “wish fulfillment,” and her “clinging to the plot as [she] first imagined it.” Beyond that, she dared to suggest that Hermione should have ended up with Harry – a scenario that the vast majority of Potterheads reject out of hand. Because it’s absurd.

Fred and George That's Rubbish

Despite my first instinct to just completely forget that this interview ever happened, I find myself needing to defend one of my literary OTPs – against its own creator. Sigh. A blogger’s work is never done. So, in support of Romione, here are 6 reasons that J.K. Rowling doesn’t know what she’s talking about.

1. Because Harry Should Get to Keep His One Platonic Girl Friend

Ron Harry Hermione Cockblock

After I went to the Harry Potter Studio Tour at Warner Brothers UK, I texted Kim to say that I’d given a dirty look to a video interview with HP screenwriter Steve Kloves. For the both of us. Kloves always upped the love triangle quotient between the holy trio, adding and subtracting from the source material as he needed, where there never really was a question about Harry and Hermione’s platonic friendship. With Harry’s short-lived relationship with Cho Chang and long-term will-they-won’t-they with Ginny Weasley (who was also shafted in the movies per Kloves’ agenda), Hermione was the only girl his own age with whom Harry shared a non-romantic, even sisterly bond. Doesn’t our hero deserve a female friend? Can’t he have one relationship with a girl where support and unconditional love trump awkward crushing?

2. Because Ginny Weasley Was Only a Mary Sue in the Movies

Emilia Clarke They're My Babies

Book Ginny started as a little girl with a fixation on her big brother’s famous friend. Then she grew up to be a fierce ginger feminist. A key member of Dumbledore’s Army, an all-star Quidditch player, and an “I don’t give a damn about my reputation” serial dater, book Ginny was the kind of girl you don’t usually find in YA lit. It was the movies that turned her into a clingy little afterthought. I’ll never forgive them for ruining Harry and Ginny’s first kiss, which actually takes place in the Gryffindor Common Room – in front of errrrrybody – after Ginny singlehandedly wins the Quidditch Cup playing a position that’s not even hers. Book Ginny and Harry made sense – they’re both brave and a little rash. And in true clueless boy fashion, Harry hadn’t noticed her until she’d ostensibly moved on from him. If Harry ends up with Hermione, what of Ginevra? My gut tells me she’d either marry Neville Longbottom – which is fine with me – or date around forever and never commit to anyone because she’s Ginny Effing Weasley and she doesn’t need a man. Still, the reality is that Harry and Ginny is canon and deserves to remain that way.

3. Because Ron and Hermione Are Perfect and Adorable and Have Loved Each Other Since They Were 11 Years Old

Ron and Hermione Cute

From the way Ron and Hermione gave each other a hard time in Sorcerer’s Stone, it was clear that puppy love was brewing between those two. So, Hermione was smarter than Ronald – book smarter. So what? Does that discount the hours he spent by her petrified form in Chamber of Secrets? Or his jealous destruction of his Victor Krum action figure in Goblet of Fire? Or the dozens of times he bravely put himself on the line to protect his friends and family? Jo’s disavowal of Ron/Hermione smacks of contempt for that character, and I’m not okay with it.

To imply that there’s some kind of huge gap between them or that Hermione “settled” for Ron is to discount his contributions to the canon and, you know, the WIZARDING WORLD AT LARGE. We’d all be Death Eaters if it weren’t for Ron Weasley. Have some respect.

Plus, it was their differences that made Ron and Hermione right for one another. She needed to “sort our her priorities,” as baby Ron once said, and he needed to be challenged. Hermione always had deep feelings for Ron – let’s not forget what her love potion smelled like – he wasn’t just conveniently nearby. She wasn’t doing him a favor. Also, I’m not sure what good it does for anyone to be matched with their own twin. (Trust me, I happened upon a Fred/George fic once and I’ll never be the same again.) Ron and Hermione will continue to bicker, but they’ll also never be boring.

Sherlock That's Sexier

4. Because It’s Not Like Ron and Harry Were The Only Choices Available to Hermione Granger, The Brightest Witch of Her Age

Hagrid Should Not have Said That

A. Let’s trust Hermione to choose her own life partner. I don’t think she’d get that wrong.

B. If Ron was the wrong choice, then why is Harry the right one? I suppose Hermione only exists to be wifed up to one of the two male leads.

5. Because It’s Star Wars, and Leia Ends Up with Han, Not Luke

Princess Leia I don't know what you're talking about

Harry is Luke, Hermione is Leia, and Ron is Han. Everyone knows this to be true. And Luke and Leia can’t get married because they’re related, and their babies would look like Ewoks. Case closed.

6. BECAUSE YOU SAID SO.

Orange is the New Black Don't Be fucking with Harry Potter

Two days ago and without context, John Green tweeted, “Books belong to their readers.” J.K. Rowling may hold the copyrights, but she now shares this work with the millions of adults and children all over the world who have rapturously read and re-read every word. What is the point of backtracking on a storyline that these readers have dissected and swooned over and commemorated with piles and piles of fan art? And even if you ARE a Harry/Hermione shipper (a mindset I will never understand), then you’ve boarded a non-canon ship and surely, after all this time, must be at peace with that. Rowling has to understand that she wields serious power here and that it’s not best used to casually write off fandom truths that we hold sacred.

And now that I’ve said my piece, I will return to my bubble, where Ron and Hermione are currently living happily ever after. So there.

“My eyes are basically useless right now.” – Parks and Recreation Recap

Parks and Recreation Ann Perkins you beautiful sunflower

Parks and Recreation
Season 6, Episode 13: Ann and Chris
– Posted by Sage

“That parks lady is coming over and we’re gonna go take a look at the pit.”

So began a Bechdel-crushing lady friendship for the ages. Leslie Knope and Ann Perkins taught us so much in six seasons: how to tell the truth, even if it means an uncomfortable moment or two; how to respect one another’s individual needs instead of projecting our own; and, perhaps most importantly, that tulip skirts are not for everyone. And that’s okay.

I’ve been missing Leslie/Ann something fierce this season – with Ann and Chris’s baby on the way, I feel like we’ve missed some prime opportunities for Leslie to go crazy over her future godchild. But what’s beautiful about this friendship is that it’s never been just about standing next to each other while checking boxes on a life to-do list. Get married, check. Have baby, check. Plan the shower, like the Facebook pictures, buy the gifts. Ann and Leslie are purer than that. And the dearth of BFF storylines they’ve shared so far this season left us primed and ready for a big ol’ cry fest in “Ann and Chris” when the girls said their goodbyes. Tom Petty’s “Wildflowers,” Parks? Flag on the play.

Parks and Rec Ann I Love You

Parks and Rec Leslie I love you too

The tears were left until the end. The bulk of the episode was better spent sending Ann and Leslie on a mission. A mission to break ground on Lot 48 – the pit that brought them together. I’m glad that Leslie had her freakout about Ann’s move back in “Doppelgangers,” so that Rashida’s final episode could be a proper send-off. Now was not the time to let a Knope tantrum take center stage. Instead, because Ben does not wield the “unfettered power to crush” Leslie’s enemies, the writers had Leslie and Ann doing what they do best – making things happen and waiting “for no man.”

Harold from Public Works had no idea what thunder he was calling down when he dared to stand in the way of Leslie Knope’s farewell surprise to Ann Perkins. Leslie made Ann a promise, and even if they’d become friendly acquaintances instead of soul sisters, she’d still be running all over town on Ann’s last night, making sure that promise was kept. But the Lot 48 park was never a present Leslie was going to deliver gift wrapped – it was a pledge that she made to join forces with Ann and see this thing done. So, fittingly, it was these women – who don’t ever have to knock, thank you very much – to do this together.

Parks and Rec Jennifer Aniston's Future

So while we often credit Ann for tethering Leslie to solid ground and inspiring her to be a fuller, balanced person, it was more than a little Knope that came out in her as went out to get herself a park. “If I learned one thing from Leslie Knope,” she says, “it is that we don’t take no for an answer.” And if that means using one’s feminine wiles on Perd Hapley or putting the vile Kathryn Pinewood into a nasty headlock, so be it. Leslie’s Ann (Damn Perkins) is brave. And more than willing to look ridiculous for the right reasons. Between Leslie’s 30 parties and the full group sendoff the next morning, Leslie and Ann have their private goodbye on the vacant lot, right where Leslie hashed things out with Mark Brendanoquitz a couple of years ago. But my favorite tribute to their bond was in that last interaction with the horrid Public Works guy, who tells Ann and Leslie that they’re total pains in the ass. “Harold, your tiny brain could not understand this, but that is the best compliment you could ever give the two women standing in front of you,” Leslie proudly says. When I posted it as my Facebook status, several of my favorite ladies in this universe liked it immediately.

Parks and Recreation Ron Swanson Keep Your Eyes

But much as Leslie would like to make this all about beautiful Ann, Chris Traeger – City Manager, health guru, and dancing machine – also left us this week. In a nice callback to the bachelor party episode, the boys struggled to find a way to show Chris what he means to them. The buddy boxes were a tough act to follow, filled as they were with remembrances of each individual friendship. (Snake Juice!) I wonder what he saved for Plates. Aziz wins for line reading of the night. When he suggested  that Chris might like “cashmere, concert tickets, and caboodles of cash,” he answered the group’s lack of enthusiasm with an exasperated, “UGH! I WISH YOU GUYS WERE DONNA.”

Parks and Rec Donna are you grabbing my butt

Donna IS the best.

For someone as sentimental as Chris, the gift of the ability to make more memories (or store Twizzlers – “that’s the beautiful thing about a box”) was precisely the correct choice. He is going to use the crap out of that new buddy box and probably ask Ron to send him a new one by the time that baby hits month #2.

Chris Traeger was a tricky character to fit into this world. He seemed, as many of these guys did in their early days, to be a bundle of quirks without much depth. It was when the writers hit on his endless quest for improvement, his unquenchable need to see the people around him succeed, and his kindness, in all situations, that he came into his own. He is SO CLOSE to being good enough for Ann Perkins. I’ve written in past recaps about the way Pawnee softened both him and Ben. They came in as polite colleagues and went out assuring each other that they’d never have a better friend. “You totally changed me, you know,” Leslie says to Ann. But that statement could be applied to any combination of these people.

To sum it up: Chris is still proud of April, and April’s still secretly pleased about it. Donna still thinks Chris is a fine piece of ass, and he’s still openly pleased about it. Andy randomly remembered that he and Ann used to date, just like we did. With Ann off the market, no single Pawnee woman will have a shot against Donna. Chris is the type of man who Ron will shake hands with – twice. Tom finally lets Ann off the hook of his raw, animal magnetism. Ann loves April and April loves Ann, quietly. And, when it really counted, Ron remembered the nurse’s name.

Parks and Rec Ron Goodbye AnnParks and Rec Ann Oh god Ron

In the musical Companythere’s a line that says, “There’s a time to come to New York and a time to leave.” I’ve never been too keen on that second part, but the fact remains that New Yorkers are so often saying goodbye to friends who’ve decided that that time has come. And when it does, it feels like the bubble has burst. Because it’s like living in a little fantasy world to get to be so close to people that you love, to make snap decisions on last minute happy hours or movie marathons or long walks to solicit much-needed advice. We’re living on borrowed time. So when the moment comes for that friendship to evolve into something else – phone calls, Christmas cards, and hopefully not sporadic visits – it’s hard to feel abused. You make that friend a Sarah McLachlan-heavy mix-tape to send her off to her new adventure and feel lucky for the time you had. And then you go out for breakfast, because there’s no sadness it can’t cure.

Random Thoughts/B-Stories

  • The graphics department really outdid themselves with Leslie’s 103 Leslie/Ann scrapbooks. I spotted ones themed for “First Text”, Kelly Clarkson concerts 1, 2 AND 3, and something to do with Ross and Rachel that I really need to get my hands on.
  • “I thought these were destroyed by the FDA!” Please crack that open and let us have Snake Juice party, Part 2.
  • “Holy mother of Malia…and Sasha.”
  • “I told him that “One Headlight” by The Wallflowers isn’t dancing music and he said, ‘not with that attitude.”

Chris Traeger dancing

  • “I found old receipts from lunches we had together, is that anything?”
  • “Get your hopes up, Chris.”
  • “Too cheesy?” “No, it’s perfect, I love you, don’t leave.”
  • Is Diane on bed rest or something? I thought we’d see Ron’s bride at the party at least.
  • It’s not often that we see a beautiful Pawnee. I love that the last crane shot showed us why Chris and Ann had been privileged to be there and why Leslie and the others stay.

 

 

We’re now living in a post-Traeger/Perkins world. Did you think the final episode did them justice? Were you ready to see them go? And where can I apply to be Leslie’s new best friend?

“Those we love must be sacrificed.” – Sleepy Hollow Recap

Posted by Kim

Sleepy Hollow 1 x 13

“Bad Blood”

Where were we?  Oh yes.  Abbie and Ichabod discovered the secret in Washington’s Bible, which was a map to his secret tomb which contained ANOTHER map to purgatory that Zombie George Washington himself drew.  Ichabod, Abbie, and Henry went on an adventure worthy of National Treasure to retrieve said map.  In order to solidify Abbie’s trust, Ichabod burned the map (and therefore his way to save his wife) in front of her, “forging his fate” with hers…but not before memorizing it and subsequently recreating it.  Irving is in SERIOUS trouble as the police are going after his daughter in the investigation of the events that occurred in “The Vessel”.  Jenny remains the sassiest and most bad ass former mental patient.  And, to paraphrase Game of Thrones…War is coming.

I will go into this more later, but this finale freaking BLEW MY MIND.  Let’s get right to it!

#SassyHollow

Because this episode was feels heavy and very urgent story-wise, there was less snark than normal.  But that doesn’t mean there weren’t some gems…

I can’t believe that it took them until the season finale to have Ichabod stumble upon a Revolutionary War reenactment.  However, it was worth the wait, from his initial confusion (It was very “Am I dreaming?”) to his derision and fact-checking once he realized what exactly was going on.  Ichabod + snobbishness about our modern interpretation of history = giggles forever.

One thing stumbling upon the reenactment accomplishes?  Ichabod raids the costume department.  Having made his distaste for modern clothing known (“One sign of the impending apocalypse is surely skinny jeans.”), Ichabod has now cleverly found a way to keep his Revolutionary Era Wardrobe and FINALLY send the coat he’s been wearing all season to the dry cleaners.  Because, as he puts it to Jenny, he’d basically rather die than allow his coat to fall in the hands of a hipster.

For Ichabod’s continued hatred of Hipsters, I hereby give the Sass in this episode 3 out 10 Donut Holes

#CreepyHollow

When it was announced that Jack Bristow Thomas Andrews Victor Garber would be playing Ichabod’s father, a collective scream of joy burst across my Twitter timeline.  It felt like perfect casting.  Little did we know just HOW our favorite Spy Daddy would be used…

But let’s back up for a second.  How fucked up was essentially ALL THE imagery in Purgatory?  From faceless people playing the piano to slimy, rubbery looking people (that made American Horror Story‘s Rubberman look like a mere Halloween costume) crawling out of the ground, Purgatory was the stuff of nightmares.  But nothing was scarier than how purgatory chose to mess with Abbie and Ichabod’s heads.

After they crossed into Purgatory, Abbie and Ichabod each found themselves in separate situations that tapped into their deepest hopes and insecurities.  Situations that were designed to make them forget why they were there in the first place.  Situations that could possibly trap them in Purgatory forever.  Abbie woke up at Corbin’s cabin, where Corbin and Andy (whose presence was a LITTLE bit of a stretch, because, correct me if I am wrong, but Abbie didn’t know about his feelings till after he was gone, right?) were both alive and trying to convince her that she had just bumped her head Dorothy Gale style.  She wasn’t a Witness.  She hadn’t spent the past months fighting the forces of darkness.  She was just a normal cop, hanging with her mentor and co-worker, sitting down for some pie a la mode.

Ichabod, on the other hand, found himself being welcomed back with open arms by his father, having never shamed him by joining the American Revolution.  He was being celebrated as a gentleman and a scholar and a man who brought HONOR to the Crane name.  And what better way to celebrate that than with a toast?

But much like Harry Potter and the Imperius Curse, Abbie and Ichabod began to fight against these scenarios because they KNEW they weren’t real…and that’s where things got hairy.  Blood poured from Abbie’s pie.  Andy was shown with his head snapped back and Corbin’s beheaded corpse held his own head in his hands as they pleaded with Abbie for mercy.  And Papa Crane’s eyes went black, his teeth went pointy, and HE BIT INTO THE GLASS AND LET THE BLOOD FLOW ALL DOWN HIS FACE AS HE YELLED IN RAGE.

I worry about what goes on in the brains of the Sleepy writers sometimes.

I’ll talk more about this at the end of the post but OMG Abbie is trapped in a creeped out version of her childhood dollhouse with creepy younger versions of herself and Jenny who may as well be chanting “redrum”.  NOPE.

Need I remind you that Victor Garber ATE A GLASS AND DROOLED BLOOD? I give the Creepy in this episode 8 out 10 Sandmen.

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