The Top 20 Television Moments of 2015 – Part Two

Posted by Kim and Sage

Another year of television in the books. We’ve laughed and we’ve cried and we’ve flailed. We’ve fallen madly in love and we’ve had our hearts broken. We’ve said goodbye to beloved shows and embraced new ones. It’s the ciiiiiiiiiiiircle of liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiife and it mooooooooooooves us allllllllll.

We’ve already posted the first half of our annual year-end celebration of all the hours we spent in front of the telly this year. What else made the list? Read on to find out! –Kim

11) Patricia Arquette wins an Oscar, demands equality for women. 

Patricia Arquette ran the table during Awards Season, picking up every single award there was for her performance in Boyhood.  Her speeches for most of the season were typical. She always pulled out a written speech, which drove me bananas, because GURL at this point you know you are going to win. Memorize your speech. (Says the girl who has never won a major award and had to get up and talk in front of thousands of her peers, so you do you Patricia.)  However all the sub-par speeches were forgiven at The Academy Awards, when Patricia got up in her black and white gown, reading glasses, and fierce red lippy and closed out her speech with this:

“To every woman who gave birth, to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights. It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America.”

Cue Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lopez, and every other woman in the audience losing their shit. Does anyone have more fun at awards shows than Meryl? I think not.

Bless you, Patricia, for using entertainment’s biggest stage to stand up for your fellow women. GENDER EQUALITY? What a concept.  –Kim

12) “Buddy” – Parks and Recreation

When NBC decided to burn off the final season of Parks and Recreation by airing back-to-back episodes every week, Kim offered to share my Pawnee recapping duties to lighten the workload. Tag-teaming season 7 kept me sane (and I loved getting to read what my brilliant co-blogstress wrote about Leslie and the gang), but it wasn’t easy to let my baby go. I didn’t get to recap “Leslie & Ron” for the site, and I admit: I was a little bitter about it.

Because this episode was the heart hug that Parks fans had been aching for since the show’s victory lap began. It was disconcerting and friggin’ scary to time-warp to 2017 and learn that Ron Swanson and Leslie Knope were no longer speaking. Every couple is an odd-couple on Parks, but Leslie and her former boss had been a testament to the power of putting friendship and respect over side-of-the-aisle debates. They’d overcome so many differences in all the years they’d known each other; it was their similarities that had pulled them apart. Leslie and Ron are the most stubborn characters on the series (and probably in the fictional midwest in general); and the length of their feud reflected it. Fed up, Ben and their friends lock their Ron and Leslie in the Parks office to work their out their shit. And work it out, they do. After Leslie systematically tries to wear Ron down with jeers about wood (“You guys, Ron loves plastic!”), a friendship flow chart, and her own batshit version of Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start The Fire” (“Peter Piper, pee-pee poopy, Daddy ate a squirrel!”), the former work proximity associates finally get down to brass tacks. Pride is everything to Ron. He swallowed it and got burned. And he closed right up for a while.

Leslie: Ron, you were going–
Ron: I was gonna ask you for a job. In the federal government. Just saying it out loud feels dirty.
Leslie: You missed your friends, and you wanted to come up to the third floor and work with us again. I can’t even imagine how hard that must have been for you. God, why didn’t I see that? Ron, I am so sorry. I should’ve been a better friend to you.
Ron: Honestly, Leslie, it’s fine. It was a punctuation mark on a sentence that had already been written. My time in government work was over. Sure, I loved shutting things down and bleeding the rotting beast from the inside.
Leslie: Your metaphors are so beautiful.
Ron: But it was time for me to leave, and I didn’t feel like explaining why to you or anyone. Everything that happened after– the fight we had, not giving you a heads-up when my company took on the Morningstar development and bulldozed the nurse’s old house– I do regret that.
Leslie: I had a good run here.
Ron: But after you and Tom and Donna and April and Terry left, when I looked around this office, nothing was the same.
Leslie: Yeah, well, there’s a way to fix that.

As the sun comes up in Pawnee, Leslie and Ron bury the hatchet in the office where their hard-won friendship was forged, over a bottle of Lagavulin with Willie Nelson’s “Buddy” (Ron’s contribution to the Parks Department BBQ Mix) scoring the montage. There’s a distinct sense of making up for lost time as they give in to their silliest impulses. Parks always takes care of its audience’s emotional needs, and those brilliant fuckers knew that they couldn’t end the Leslie and Ron reunion on an apology and a handshake. Instead, we get to see them having stupid, ridiculous fun together, and we know that their relationship is now even stronger for what it’s been through. –Sage

13) Amber’s baby shower – Parenthood

 The 100th episode of Parenthood was a humdinger. The Bravermans gathered in the hospital as Zeek endured another heart episode. Hank proposed to Sarah in the hospital parking lot and (naturally) she went running, telling him she’d think about it. The Luncheonette was robbed, putting Crosby and Adam at odds regarding its future. Joel and Julia eased their way back to each other after some much-needed make-up sex. But the emotional gut-punch came when the Braverman women threw Amber an impromptu baby shower in the hospital cafeteria. No silly games or outrageous presents. Just Amber’s mother, her grandmother, and her aunts imparting what they’ve learned about being a mom. So simple, yet so unbelievably heart-warming and emotional.

God, the women of Parenthood were amazing. They were all vastly different but all incredibly strong and their advice reflects their characters so perfectly. “Drink wine.” “Embrace and own life’s curveballs.” “Do right by yourself. Don’t ever give up on your dreams.” “Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it all. You can.” “Don’t be too proud to ask for help.” The best part about this is that it’s not just MOM advice, it’s life advice. These words can apply to anyone and what was so beautiful about the women of this show is they all refused to be seen as only mothers.  They have so much love for each other and their bond is unbreakable. (Sarah: “No matter what, I’ll always have your back.” Amber: “I know.”) Then Camille, lovely, strong, elegant Camille, who has presided over all these amazing women as the family matriarch brings it home. “Amber I would say to you that life is short. You cannot know how impossibly fast it goes by. So just enjoy this baby. Cherish this time. Cherish every minute of it.” I’m not crying, it’s just raining on my face. –Kim

14) Lily shows her cards – Penny Dreadful

Ah, Penny Dreadful. The feminist literary horror masterpiece of my dreams.

The creatives behind the Showtime drama were smart enough to cast Doctor Who alum and my future wife Billie Piper, but she didn’t have much to do in season 1 besides cough up blood, be Irish, and look sad. When Brona Croft succumbed to TB and Piper was still on the call sheet for season 2, her future as a “bride of Frankenstein” figure seemed set. HERE’S WHERE IT GETS GOOD.

John Clare aka Caliban aka Mr. Nice Creature forces Victor to make him a mate. Lily, as Brona is known in her second life, is the fantasy of both men: a malleable, amiable flower – innocent and eager to please. They’re both too busy projecting onto her to see her as she really is. They make it so easy to play them, don’t they? Men always do.

In an X-Files episodes about some suburban Satanists under siege by a demon, Mulder asks, “Did you really think you could call up the devil and ask him to behave?” Lily has literally been to hell and back, but Victor and his creature don’t give a thought to the side effects of man-made resurrection. (Though they’ve both lived those consequences.) The audience knows that something’s up though. Lily’s simplicity and purity are too absolute to be genuine. Her motives become clear when she seduces a man and snaps his neck mid-tryst. Lily/Brona has been used by men in life and in death, and she. Has. HAD IT. There’s coldness in this diatribe, but there’s life too. It’s a seering performance, and I believe I stood up and clapped when it was done.

Lily: How can you imagine that I could care for you? Does that face belong alongside this? Doesn’t the world smile on us? Don’t we make a beautiful couple, “thee and me”? Shall we wander the pastures and recite your fucking poetry to the fucking cows? You are blind. Like all other men.
Clare: And you are unlike all other women.
Lily: You tell me how. We flatter our men with our pain. We bow before them. We make ourselves dolls for their amusement. We lose our dignity in corsets and high shoes and gossip and the slavery of marriage! And our reward for this service? The back of the hand. The face turned to the pillow. The bloody, aching cunt as you force us onto your beds to take your fat, heaving bodies! You drag us into the alleys, my lad, and cram yourselves into our mouths for two bob when you’re not beating us senseless! When we’re not bloody from the eyes, and the mouth, and the ass and the cunt! Never again will I kneel to any man. Now they shall kneel to me.

Billie Piper growling at men to kneel is 100% my aesthetic.

Later, Lily asks the same prostration from Dorian Gray.  (Is “kneel, boy” her catchphrase? I think sooooo…) But him, she has use for. Dorian has no more illusions about his humanity. He lives to take, but at least he’s up front about it. Lily is so done with men who simper to her face, but want only to possess her body (those grody old men she takes to bed) or her soul too (her creators). Dorian can be her partner in honest depravity – a soulmate who also sees the vice and malevolence simmering just under the surface of polite society. What WILL they get up to next season? I can’t wait to find out. –Sage

 15) Team SharNick dances to “Backstreet’s Back” – Dancing With the Stars

Everyone knows that I am Backstreet Boys Trash for LIFE, so needless to say I was ecstatic when Dancing With The Stars FINALLY booked one of the boys. Nick Carter proved to be the perfect type of DWTS contestant. He was naturally talented but still struggled learning some of the specific styles. He was a showman but was not afraid to make himself vulnerable as he opened up about his marriage and their struggles with fertility. But the best part about Nick was that he was completely willing to milk his status as a Backstreet Boy. He knew EXACTLY why people were voting for him and he gave the people what they wanted. Week 4 of the competition was the ALWAYS great theme week of “My Most Memorable Year” (I famously made all my friends watch this night after the HIMYM finale and we all ended up weeping over Amy Purdy).  Naturally, Nick chose the year he joined the Backstreet Boys and he opened up about just how much the boys saved him. All of his boys were part of the interview package, with AJ even showing up for rehearsal.  Nick danced to “Backstreet’s Back” recreating the iconic choreography and basically being just hot as hell with his partner Sharna Burgess (a goddess in her own right).

My favorite thing is how Nick just soaks it all in when it’s done. This man has been through hell and back and it warms my heart to see him in such a good place. I DIE over AJ in the audience screaming for his little bro. I die over Joey Fatone cheering him on because boy banders support other boy banders (HEY GUYS CAN YOU ADOPT ONE DIRECTION TOO, IT’S ALL I WANT). Nick ended up finishing in second place (I blame them returning to the BSB well for their freestyle) but he was always first in my heart. –Kim

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The Top 20 Television Moments of 2015 – Part One

tv-and-life

Posted by Kim and Sage

Another year has passed and again, Head Over Feels has spent most of it parked in front of a screen of some kind. Regrets are for wimps.

Since 2015 began, we’ve been bookmarking all the television events that have made us weep, cheer, and clutch our pearls like the innocent flowers that we are. And as we get ready to welcome all the entertainment 2016 has to offer, the time has come to pay tribute to 20 unforgettable moments from this year in TV.

1) The White Party – Empire

jamal

Empire never does anything small, so I’d figured that Jamal’s eventual coming out wouldn’t be a quiet affair. And yet, how could I have been prepared for his barrier-smashing performance at the label’s annual White Party in “The Lyon’s Roar”? Empire drew praise and jeers in its first season for its portrayal of homophobia in black culture and the unofficial “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in the mainstream music industry. I’m not qualified to offer comment on the show’s socio-political responsibilities in these areas, but I can tell you about the impact this storyline had on me as an individual viewer.

First of all, the scene is visually stunning, from the mansion setting to the fabulous achromatic costuming. (To Most Handsome Young Man nominee Jussie Smollett, who looks quite delicious, as per usual.) Empire has this great tradition of closing up the distance between musicians and audiences, so that every performance scene looks like a house party instead of a concert. I love that I can hear the guests singing along to the track. I love that I can read the reactions on individual faces when Jamal changes his shitty-ass dad’s lyric to “this the kind of song that makes a man love a man.” I love Jamal’s joyful defiance, and the way he turns directly to Lucious to look him in the face while he stands up and claims his own identity. And Cookie loves it too. The mother/son relationship between these two was the heart of season one to me, and she is incandescent with pride in this scene. Remember that Lucious wrote this song for CookieWith their marriage in the shitter (because Lucious is a GARBAGE PERSON), Jamal gives “You’re So Beautiful” welcome new meaning for the person who never stopped telling him it was okay to be who he was. He gave the world a show. And the world didn’t end. –Sage

2) Peggy and Stan Are in Love – Mad Men

peggy

Never in my wildest dreams did I think that Mad Men would give us such an overtly romantic ending for my queen Peggy Olson. I had ALWAYS shipped Peggy and Stan but I had made my peace that it was never going to happen on the show. No one got to be happy on Mad Men! EVER.  So imagine my surprise and delight when Peggy and Stan finally figured their shit out in “Person to Person”.  I watched the finale in the wee hours of the morning after I came home from a two-show day and I started screaming at 3 AM when Stan confessed his love in the most perfectly Stan and Peggy way…over the phone. Their phone calls were one of the hallmarks of their relationship over the course of the series, so it was only fitting that it happened this way.

Peggy: I mean, I’m going to stay.
Stan: Good, because I didn’t want you to leave.
Peggy: Then why didn’t you just say that?
Stan: Because every time I’m face to face with you, I want to strangle you. And then I miss you when I go away. And I miss you and I call you on the phone and I get the person I want to talk to.
Peggy: That’s not true.
Stan: Yeah, well, I don’t know what it is, but when I’m standing in front of you, I bring out something terrible. I think about how you came into my life and how you drove me crazy and now I– I don’t even know what to do with myself because all I want to do is be with you.
Peggy: What? What did you just say?
Stan: I want to be with you. I’m in love with you.
Peggy: What?
Stan: I love you, Peggy.
Peggy: Oh, my God. That’s what I thought you said.

My heart dropped when it seemed that Peggy was about to reject Stan. Because of course she wasn’t in love with him, right? I mean we all knew she was in love with him, but did SHE? Watching her figure out that she was in love with him was a MARVEL. What a performance by Elisabeth Moss. She goes from disbelief to confusion to sudden realization in a matter of moments and it’s beautiful.

Peggy: I– I– I don’t know what to say. Whew. I feel like I can’t breathe almost. I mean, I don’t even think about you. Uh I mean, I do all the time, because you’re there. (touches her heart) And you’re here. And you make everything okay. You always do. No matter what. I mean, I must be. Because you’re always right. I can’t believe this. I think I’m in love with you, too. I really do. Stan? Are you there? (silence) Stan?

ME: OH NO STAN DID YOU REALLY HANG UP HOW COULD YOU MISS THIS WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME SHOW? Cue Stan appearing in Peggy’s doorway, out of breath because he SPRINTED to her office as soon as he realized where this was going. Is this Mad Men or my favorite romantic comedy?

Stan: What were you saying?
Peggy: I love you.

All my tears. –Kim

3) The Diner Fight – Agent Carter

agent 2 agent
I love that we live in a world where Agent Carter exists. I love that it’s a show run by women and I love Peggy Carter (and Hayley Atwell) for being an icon of femininity and badassery. There are definitely more emotional Agent Carter moments we could have picked for this list. Peggy’s “I know my value” speech was instantly iconic. If you didn’t cry when Peggy laid Steve Rogers to rest by pouring out the vial of his blood on the Brooklyn Bridge, I question your humanity. But we chose the diner fight scene because it’s just so much FUN. It’s stylistically gorgeous, with the bright colors of the diner and the big band music roaring in the background. It’s hilarious with Jarvis bumbling in the background while Peggy singlehandedly takes down all the men. And it just serves as a reminder that Peggy Carter is not to be trifled with. Harrison Ford once said that Indiana Jones wasn’t the BEST fighter but he was the SMARTEST fighter because he used what was around him to serve to his advantage. That is exactly what I see here, especially in the way Peggy uses that plate as the world’s deadliest frisbee. And she does it all in a gorgeous period suit because even when she is kicking ass, Peggy Carter is a LADY above all things. –Kim

4) “You’re a stone cold bitch.” – The Mindy Project

stone cold bitch stone cold bitch 2
I have to confess something. I’ve fallen SUPER behind on The Mindy Project.  And the things I have heard about the episodes post-Leo’s birth don’t make me want to catch up anytime soon. But this moment? This is perfection. Dramatic births in unconventional situations is a sitcom staple and Mindy plays the stereotype to the max. There is absolutely no way Danny would have ever been able to get to her on a stalled subway car but we forgive it because we don’t watch television for reality. We watch for the way our hearts swell when Danny makes it just in time for the birth of his son. We watch TV for the way Danny calms a panicked Mindy because NO ONE wants their lady parts exposed on a dirty subway car, much less push a baby out there. I love how Danny knows EXACTLY what to say to her to get her to calm down and believe in herself. He may be an ass some of the time, but he always comes through. That’s why we watch. Who knew that being called a “stone cold bitch” could be the most romantic words in the universe? –Kim

5) Stevie Wonder Carpool Karaoke – The Late Late Show

called to say
Anyone worth hanging out with knows how to properly jam in the car.

Maybe I’ve seen American Graffiti too many times, but isn’t there a beautiful sense of freedom that comes with being behind the wheel of a car? The Late Late Show‘s Carpool Karaoke series leverages the comforting familiarity of the road trip singalong, a “the stars, they’re just like us!” sense of bonding, and host James Corden’s authentic fangirling and driver’s seat chair-dancing. From the very first edition of this sketch (with a totally game Mariah Carey, thank you), it’s been a favorite of our blog and the bit with the most viral traction. Knowing us, you perhaps you expected to see One Direction’s Carpool Karaoke on this list. But even a choreographed performance of morning wood anthem “No Control” couldn’t quite steal the slot from Stevie Wonder. Because he is Stevie Wonder, as James’s wife confirmed firsthand.

A late night host has every opportunity I’ve ever dreamed of to make lasting memories with cool celebrities. But I think even James would admit that it’s going to be real hard to top sitting in a car with Stevie Wonder and listening to him sing “I just called to say James loves you…” to the woman he married. (When James cries, I cry.) The 10+ minute bit includes James and Stevie harmonizing on the artist’s ridiculous catalog (“Superstition,” “Isn’t She Lovely?” and “Signed, Sealed, Delivered”…you know, those hack jobs), but it’s James’s “indulgent” request and his heart-melting reaction that put this Carpool Karaoke on the top of a very entertaining heap. –Sage

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“I don’t think I could ever forget you.” – Doctor Who Recap “Hell Bent”


Doctor Who 
Series 9, Episode 12
“Hell Bent”
Posted by Kim

“A week ago you said to me “Do you believe I’ll never be too far? If you’re lost, just look for me, you’ll find me in the region of the summer stars.” The fact that we can sit right here and say goodbye means we’ve already won. A necessity for apologies between you and me, Baby, there is none.” 

A familiar diner in the middle of the Nevada desert with a familiar tune on the jukebox. A roguishly handsome Scot easily banters with a beautiful English rose. “How did you get out here,” he asks. “Magic,” she replies with a hint of a smile. It’s achingly familiar yet it feels entirely different.  Of course, we know that these two are The Doctor and Clara Oswald…but it seems as if THEY don’t. He strums his ever-present guitar (a new model that had guitar nerds cheering) and the opening notes of what we know as “Clara’s theme” echo through the diner. Her eyes light up ever so slightly, as if she knows this one.

CLARA: Is it a sad song?
DOCTOR: Nothing’s sad till it’s over. Then everything is.
CLARA: What’s it called?
DOCTOR: I think that it’s called Clara.
CLARA: Tell me about her.

Or, as Ood Sigma once told the Tenth Doctor, “This song is ending. But the story never ends.”

Raise your hand if you totally expected “Hell Bent” to open with a sweetly melancholy scene between Twelve and Clara? No one? Good. Doctor Who has been all about keeping us on our toes this season storytelling wise, sometimes with disastrous results (“Sleep No More”, WHY DO YOU PLAN ON DOING A SEQUEL?) but often with thrilling ones (“Heaven Sent”).  Ten years after the Ninth Doctor grabbed Rose Tyler’s hand and told her to run for her life, Doctor Who refuses to (as Sage said in her last recap) rest on its laurels. Steven Moffat, Rachel Talalay, Peter Capaldi, and Jenna Coleman are all at the top of their game right now and it’s been a PLEASURE to watch.  So let’s dive into “Hell Bent”, shall we?

Okay, I know we’re supposed to SUPER CARE that The Doctor has returned to Gallifrey at last. But really, given the weight of everything that happened with Clara, the first 20 minutes of the episode ended up being almost an afterthought.  Thus, here are the three things I learned from the Doctor’s return to Gallifrey…

  1. Gallifrey is basically the space version of Panem. Think about it. You have all those crazy mofos who dress funny in the Urban Capitol and the downtrodden common folk in the rural areas. Guess which side The Doctor relates to? Instead of going directly to the city to tear the high council apart, The Doctor retreats to his barn from “Day of The Doctor” and “Listen”.  He is surrounded and taken care of by the residents of that area. He just wants to eat his soup. He LITERALLY draws a line in the sand when the soldiers from the Capitol show up. (“Get off my planet.”) The Doctor is surrounded by the common folk who may as well be giving the soldiers the Mockingjay signal because The Doctor is the Gallifreyan Katniss Everdeen. “Who does he think he is,” Rassilon sneers. “The man who won the Time War.” DAMN SKIPPY. Even the soldiers sided with him when it came down to it. He’s a WAR HERO and don’t you forget it.
  2. Rassilon has always been and will be a dick. GOOD RIDDANCE.
  3. OH HEY TRANS-REGENERATION IS CANON.

If you read our post on Long Island Who, you’ll recall that Sage and I were on a panel about whether or not there should be a Female Doctor. (There should be.) The contrarian (HA) teenage boy on the panel insisted that one of the reasons against trans-regeneration was the fact that we had never SEEN it on-screen. (Graeme Burk: So what you’re saying is that you would need to ACTUALLY see John Simm regenerate into Michelle Gomez to believe it? CTB: Yes.) IMAGINE MY DELIGHT when we saw the General regenerate into a woman with a FIERCE smoky eye right before my eyes. When the underling who witnessed the regeneration immediately adopted his pronouns as if he were used to seeing this all the time, I CROWED. And when the General admitted that her last body was the only time she had been a man and she was relieved to be “back to normal”, I jumped up and down and pumped my fists as if I were Tom Cruise on Oprah.  THANK YOU Steven Moffat. THANK YOU.  And I hope that kid stopped to think when he saw this episode.  I imagine he probably added this to his list of why we don’t NEED a female Doctor because “Haven’t we be given enough now?” but one can dream. Maybe we’ll know at LI Who next year when we are inevitably on this panel again.

“We had some good times, didn’t we? We had some good tricks up our sleeves. Goodbyes are bittersweet…but it’s not the end. I’ll see your face again.”

WAITRESS!CLARA: Is this a story or did this really happen?
DOCTOR: Every story ever told really happened. Stories are where memories go when they’re forgotten.

So how does Clara Oswald factor into this? After The Doctor banishes Rassilon and the High Council, Ohila from the Sisterhood of Karn (who should have been carting around a bowl of popcorn because she was really only there to watch the show) and The General sit The Doctor down so he can spill what he knows about The Hybrid.

DOCTOR: I’ll need help, obviously.
GENERAL: Gallifrey is at your command.
DOCTOR: Oh, not from you lot. No, you’d cramp my style. Look at your hats. I’m going to need the use of an extraction chamber, to talk to an old friend.

OLD FRIEND. HA. Whatever you say, Doctor. Thus we return to the Trap Street where Clara Oswald stands with her arms outstretched. (Me: DON’T MAKE ME LIVE THROUGH THIS AGAIN.) Time freezes the moment before the Raven hits her chest. A door opens and a hand appears. “This way. I can save you.” It’s VERY “Fires of Pompeii” and I am too fragile for this.

Clara is understandably a little panicked once she enters the extraction chamber. She was about to die and MORE IMPORTANTLY, she was fine with dying. While she is thrilled to see The Doctor and obviously delighted to actually be on Gallifrey (Sage: Even in near-death Clara doesn’t lose her sense of adventure), Clara’s primary response is one of confusion. How is she here? What is The Doctor doing? To Clara’s credit though, her response to the whole “frozen before her final heartbeat” thing is minimal. She’s more concerned, as she’s ALWAYS been, at how this is affecting The Doctor. What OF The Doctor in this moment? Well, The Doctor looks at her like she is the most precious thing in the world that he would do ANYTHING to protect. (In other words, he’s a little crazed but in the best way possible.) “We have extracted you at the very end of your time stream to request your help,” the General says. “Once we’re finished here, you will be returned to your final moments. Your death is an established historical event and cannot be altered. I’m sorry.”  The Doctor’s response to that is basically “Fuck that noise.”  He will not let Clara die a second time, even if that would fracture the entirety of time and space. And despite his protestations, the General KNOWS this. Clara, naturally, is horrified because the LAST thing she wanted was The Doctor to be in this kind of mental place. She grabs his fingers, hoping her touch will stop him because she doesn’t WANT THIS (MY HEART), but The Doctor will not be deterred. He shoots the general (prompting the trans-regeneration, so thanks for that), grabs a human-compatible neural block, and runs away with Clara.  Clearly “Hell Bent” was meant to describe the Doctor’s determination to save his Clara, no matter what the cost.

WAITRESS!CLARA: So what was it, the thing you took?
DOCTOR: There was only one way to keep Clara safe. I had to wipe some of her memory.
WAITRESS!CLARA: Of what?
DOCTOR: Of me.

The Doctor and Clara flee to the Cloisters, which is essentially a rogue’s gallery of The Doctor’s greatest foes (spotted: Weeping Angels, a Cyberman, and a Dalek). It also happens to protect the Matrix Database, a living computer where all Time Lords are uploaded when they die. As The Doctor tells Clara about it, she realizes that the Matrix is how The Doctor was able to escape Gallifrey for the first time. She looks at him with the wisdom of a person who has been gone billions of years without even realizing it. Somehow she KNOWS what she’s been through. “How long has it been for you since you last saw me,” she asks gently. The Doctor brushes off her question as if he is embarrassed for her to know JUST how lost he was without her. Clara, precious Clara, doesn’t let the subject drop. “Tell me what they did to you. Tell me what they did to The Doctor.”

When we watched “Hell Bent” we commented on the time it took for The Doctor to grieve the loss of Clara. Well, it turns out we were wrong. The Doctor wasn’t grieving Clara, he was trying to figure out a way to SAVE her. He led the Time Lords to believe that he had information about the Hybrid so he would have something to bargain with. “What were you bargaining for,” Clara asks, even though in her heart of hearts she knows the answer. “What do you think? You. I had to find a way to save you. I knew it had to be the Time Lords. They cost you your life on Trap Street, Clara, and I was going to make them bring you back. I just had to hang on in there for a bit.”

A LITTLE BIT. OKAY.

By this point, The General and Ohila have shown up, so when The Doctor refuses to divulge exactly how long he was in the confession dial, Clara turns to them. “We think four and a half billion years,” Ohila says solemnly. “He could have left anytime he wanted,” the General adds. Clara’s REACTION to this information though. She looks like she was punched in the stomach. She looks like she wants to strangle The Doctor and cover his face with kisses at the same time. She’s furious with him yet she’s never been more in love with him. “Why? Why would you even do that to yourself?” “I had a duty of care,” The Doctor says simply, almost dazed from the sheer amount of weight that simple admission carries. Being The Doctor though, he can’t deal with too much emotion at one time, he starts to talk about how they need to get to a TARDIS so they can buy themselves more time. But The Doctor’s “duty of care” admission is enough to push Clara from asking The Doctor to stop what he was saying in “Face the Raven” to “People like me and you…we should say things to one another. And I’m going to say them now.”

Of course the camera pans away before Clara starts talking, leaving Clara and The Doctor with their Lost in Translation moment. I mean, we all know what Clara said. She told him how much she loved him, how much he’s meant to her, how she would never trade her time with him for anything in the world. She told him how special he is and that she KNOWS what that four and a half billion years was like for him. I think she also told him to LET GO, that it’s OKAY for him to let go of her. The thing is, I think while Clara knew how The Doctor felt about her, perhaps in that moment she realized that maybe he didn’t know how she felt about HIM. That maybe not knowing is what drove him to fight for four and a half billion years. IT ALWAYS NEEDS SAYING, YOU IDIOTS.  (Also they clearly discussed their getaway plan, but only after all the important stuff was said.)

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“Looking so good from your head to your feet.” – The Top 15 Harry Styles Looks of 2015

prince harry and harry royal variety

Posted by Maggie

When my friend Jaime asked me in April if she could try to turn me into a One Direction fan, I had only the vaguest idea of who they were and, to be honest, I kind of thought Harry Styles looked like a homeless vampire (I mean). But in Jaime I trust, so I gave them a shot and eight months later, my Tumblr is basically a Harry thirst blog. (And I know youth slang!) Okay, all the boys have their own appeal – Niall inexplicably gets hotter when he puts on glasses, like some kind of reverse Laney Boggs (credit: Cookies & Sangria); Liam oscillates between dirty brooding crooner and simple trash child (god bless you, Mary); and Louis, well. Louis is the sun. But Harry, you guys. Harry. My sweet Harru. Hopefully by now you’ve read Kim and Sage’s Most Handsome Young Man post and are familiar with his heart of gold – and boots to match.

haz boots

Listen, Harry doesn’t even need to try. He could wear a simple white t-shirt every day of the week and still out-stone cold fox us all.

white tee

Exhibit A.

But try he does. Well, I don’t know if “try” is the right word because his style comes across as effortless to me, but you know what I mean. Harry makes bold choices – on stage, on the red carpet, on his way to get coffee, for god’s sake. I love that we live in a world where if you bring up Harry’s floral suit, you have to specify which one. Harry’s clothes aren’t the most accessible, as he favors high-end designers like YSL and Gucci, but I firmly believe that his widely publicized fashion risks make it safer for fans of all ages, but most importantly young fans, to try something new and be different and stand out.

I mean, if Harry himself can go from this:

harry sad

…to this:

amas 1 amas 2
…then there’s certainly hope for the rest of us. I know to some people it might seem silly to spend this much time talking about a boy bander’s year in fashion, but it’s not. It is that important.

And so, without further ado, here are my favorite 15 Harry Styles looks from 2015.

1. 

polka dot 2
I have been obsessed with this look since September 22, ask any of my friends. This photo is literally the background on my phone right now. As is the case with most of his outfits, I don’t know exactly why this oversized, half unbuttoned, pink and white polka dot, Minnie Mouse realness works so well. But it does.

2. 

harry piped suit

I think this is Harry Styles’ take on an understated black suit, you guys. And I am here for it. That subtly flamboyant, feathery, white pinstripe detail gives me life.

Bless.

Bless.

3. 

vest
By my not at all weird or creepy count, Harry has been photographed wearing this vest three times and I have loved every one of them. I don’t even know how to describe this look – hobo chic? – but I know that I didn’t look this good on my own wedding day.

vest 2
I mean, look at that LUGGAGE. This is a man of taste, you guys.

4. 

styles bowling shirt
One of the things I love about Harry is that he’s kind of a nerd, believe it or not. (I mean, you only have to hear one of his endearingly bad knock-knock jokes to believe it.) And this embroidered Styles blouse is such like nerdy dad bowling shirt but for a young, hot eccentric millionaire.

5. 

Just in case you were wondering, the full name of this design is “Starburst Teddy Jacket in Bordeaux Velour,” which just kind of says it all. Although, if someone could explain to me how he looks like an awkward baby deer and rock star at the time, that would be much appreciated.

6. 

white jeans
Harry wore these white jeans when he arrived at LAX for the Fourth of July weekend and Tumblr was on fire. It was glorious. The shirt is a little controversial to me, but the look as a whole is just so. Can you imagine traveling in this outfit? Because I can certainly imagine Harry doing so. (Again: LUGGAGE.)

7. 

floral sheer
Any kind of rundown of Harry’s fashion would be remiss if it didn’t include one sheer blouse, and this green floral is one of my all-time faves. It’s a bold, not-un-couch-like pattern but I really don’t see couch when I look at it. It seems like the kind of outfit that should scandalize your grandma but secretly she loves it?

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The Force Awakens: A Comprehensive List of All the Times We Reacted An Appropriate Amount

up for this

Posted by Sage

“I don’t even care about Star Wars!” is the new “I don’t even own a TV!” They’re both answers to a question no one’s ever asking, and my knee-jerk response in both cases is “I’m very sorry.” (Or: “I find your lack of cable disturbing.”) Star Wars, like Finn the fake Resistance fighter, is A Big Deal™. It has been for 38 years. Might as well quit your whining and get to used to it already.

In my pre-teen years, a broken leg laid me up for a couple months. I watched a lot of TV in that time, which was my number one defense against an encroaching depression. (Thank god I come from a family who knows what all our furniture should be pointed at.) Out of curiosity, I started watching A New Hope for the first time on a Sunday afternoon on AMC. Finding me dipping a toe into the Star Wars universe, my dad and brother saved me from commercial breaks by setting me up with the VHS copies I didn’t know we had. I commenced a day-long binge, and lost myself in all of it: the John Williams score; Luke’s hero’s journey, Han and Leia’s romance, and the wide expanse of that universe that predicted my future attachment to other sci-fi franchises.

Star Wars has been a part of me since that day. I bought stacks of Expanded Universe novels from the book store at the mall (my first fan fiction, sort of); saw every prequel in the theater and dutifully defended them until logic and taste won out; and in the past year, hoped hard that this new series would live up to the history and the hype.

We saw The Force Awakens on Thursday, Dec 18 at an IMAX theater in the middle of Times Square. The concession lines have never been longer and the lobby never more crowded. But instead of an pervasive feeling of stress and anxiety, the multiplex was buzzing with fannish excitement and a shared love. I’ve never had such a pleasant viewing experience. Times Square. The Hell Mouth. And no one dared speak or even look at a phone. The First Order may have hobbled away at the end of the movie to plan its next evil steps, but the Light Side won out that day. And our reactions to everything that happened on screen were nothing more or less than completely appropriate to the situation. A new Star Wars movie, y’all. AND A GOOD ONE.  No reaction could be an overreaction.

“A LONG TIME AGO….”

crawl

“GUESS WHAT.”

“WHAT.”

“WE’RE SEEING A STAR WAR TODAY.”

I do this thing when I’m really excited about something and in danger of falling into singleminded mania over it. I compartmentalize. I can convince half of my active brain cells that the thing isn’t happening, or at least that’s it’s not happening so soon. Because of this strategy, I was able to book The Force Awakens tickets; purchase a new classic trio top for the occasion; coordinate with friends; and get settled in the theater before reality truly set in. Then the Lucasfilm logo materialized on screen to thunderous applause, followed by that iconic prologue text, and finally the crawl we’d all been waiting for. The reprise of John Williams’ soaring score punched my heart right in the face, as I always knew it would. And then the tears set in, because yes, this was really happening.

 BB-8, Space Golden Retriever

bb 8

The film’s marketing pushed central droid BB-8 as a mascot of sorts, and I wondered if all the hype for the spherical cutie would really pay off. Those dollars weren’t wasted. Like R2-D2 before him, BB-8 is instantly endearing. I just don’t know if I want to whisk him far, far away from the First Order/Resistance war and protect him* from all harm or follow him into battle and trust him with my life. Poe Dameron’s faithful co-pilot is a miracle of character design. He has so much personality – in his quality of movement, in his “vocalizations,” and in the way other characters act with him. The friendships between Poe/BB-8 and Rey/BB-8 are as different as the relationships between two sets of people. And the droid is parceled out in the perfect amount. He’s not the only source of comic relief or emotional connection (tempting to use the innocent for generating the bulk of the empathy), so The Force Awakens deployed BB-8 when he added to the story and left me wanting more. And by more, I mean the inevitable playful rivalry that’s bound to develop between the new kid on the block and R2, now that Master Luke’s droid is awake.

*PS I’m with Oscar Isaac: droids have no gender. I’m using male pronouns here for convenience only.

Poe & Finn, Finn & Poe

finn finn 2
 From their first interaction, Finn/Poe was screaming in my ear to ship it as if my very life depended on it. I have answered the call. It barely surprised me when Oscar Isaac and John Boyega confirmed that they both intentionally played romantic interest here because good god, do BROS ooze this much chemistry? Do BROS really need to ignore each other’s personal space like a couple of horny junior high students at a school dance? (Leave room for the Holy Spirit, boys.) Do BROS instantly bond like the very stars they’re flying among demanded that they meet so that some galactic gay destiny be fulfilled? Is a BRO tempted to define himself by another BRO’s first impression of him because his opinion is immediately that important? NON.

I dared not hope to come out of The Force Awakens with a new ship, let alone one this pure and good. If you need me between this movie and the release of Episode VII, I’ll be reblogging StormPilot fan art over on Tumblr and managing a YOU BETTER LET THIS HAPPEN letter writing campaign to Disney.

It’s a Garbage Ship, But It’s OUR Garbage Ship

garbage 2

The Enterprise. Serenity. The TARDIS. The best vessels in sci-fi history are characters themselves. The re-introduction of the Millennium Falcon wasn’t an opportunity to be wasted, and JJ gave it the precise amount of fan service necessary. Our entire theater greeted Han’s baby with cheers, and the callbacks to its earlier missions (the holographic chess set, the tall tales of unmatched speed), giving the Falcon its due as an indispensable cog in the Star Wars universe.

HAN. FUCKING. SOLO.

all of it

Could get. Forever.

Rey Is A Cinnamon Roll, But A Deadly One

rey5
I may be (definitely am) overfond of hyperbole, but it is not possible to overstate the importance of Rey. She’s a character adult Star Wars fans have been waiting decades to meet. And I’m not even that jealous that young audiences get to grow up with her, because frankly, it’s going to make them better people and better nerds.

Princess Leia is and has always been a boss. Her impatience, anger, and sarcasm spoke to a budding loudmouth. Even that wankboy slave bikini couldn’t strip away any of Leia’s status as a leader and a legend. (“To me, she’ll always be royalty.”) But Rey fills a completely different role than Leia. Her character isn’t rooted in gender. You could swap Daisy Ridley out with Chris Evans, and Rey WOULD NOT CHANGE. I mean, she’d have had a lot more toys made in her image, but that’s about it.

Rey works hard, and doesn’t think the universe owes her anything. She’s cheated daily, but there’s no time or point in crying over it. She doesn’t need Finn to hold her hand, but she does allow him to become her friend. She runs from her destiny when it scares her. She discovers a deep well of inner strength when a man tries to violate her mind and her memories. (SO IMPORTANT.) She’s not shy about teaching Han Solo how to fly his own ship. Revenge sounds pretty good to her, but getting her comrade to safety sounds better. She’s a hero for everyone, not just for girls – if the whoops that rang out through our theater any time Rey did something badass is any indication. I was at the airport the other day, and a 7 or 8 year old boy stood in front of me with his parents. We waited half an hour to get through security, and the boy spent the entire time whispering to his Lego Rey and zooming her around on her land speeder. He probably had other toys in his little backpack, but Rey was the one he picked to hold in his hand. I couldn’t stop smiling over it, and I NEVER smile in Newark.

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“Only my brother’s pupil” – The Other Mozart

Samantha Hoefer as Nannerl Mozart

Samantha Hoefer as Nannerl Mozart

The Other Mozart
Created and Written by Sylvia Milo
Directed by Issac Byrne
Presented by The Players Theatre and Little Matchstick Factory

Posted by Kim

What is life like when you are the sister of one of the world’s greatest musical geniuses? What happens when you have musical talent like your genius brother but are forced to hide it away because of your gender? These are the questions explored in the one-woman show The Other Mozart, which I had the pleasure of seeing this week at The Players Theatre in the West Village. The Other Mozart is the story of Maria Anna (“Nannerl”) Mozart, sister to Wolfgang and herself a child prodigy, like her brother. The Other Mozart seeks to give Nannerl a voice.  I greatly appreciated that the script didn’t try to revise history or claim that Nannerl was more talented than her brother.  It simply posited that she had just as much to give as he did and simply had to give up her public career because she was a woman.  While very little of her own writing is preserved, the script pulls stories from letters written by her parents and her brother, and then uses imagination to fill in the gaps, with great result.

A ninety minute monologue is a daunting task for any actor. It requires an immense amount of focus, charisma, and confidence to hold the audience solely in your hand for that amount of time. Actress Samantha Hoefer (who alternates the role with the playwright) is more than up to the challenge. She commands the stage from the very first moment and truly takes the audience on a journey. She is exceedingly charming as young Nannerl, playing her teacups because her father wouldn’t let her start music lessons until she was old enough to not screw up her technique. She’s devastating when her touring career is taken away and she’s resigned as she watches her brother soar to greatness. It’s important to note, both in the script and Hoefer’s performance, that Nannerl is never a victim. She may be a victim of her time and her gender, but Hoefer infuses Nannerl’s choices with dignity and with agency. It’s incredibly sad that so little of her actual words remain, considering that she outlived her entire immediate family. What a life and what a woman.

The direction by Issac Byrne is incredibly sharp and he never allows the production to become stagnant. In a post-show Q&A, he stressed how important it was to him that the show didn’t feel like 90 minutes of a girl sitting and talking. He succeeds, as Hoefer fills the entire stage creating her space and the times that she DOES sit still become all the more meaningful. The period movement direction by Janice Orlandi is excellent as she guided Hoefer through creating specific and distinct postures for each character.  The centerpiece of The Other Mozart is the 18 foot giant skirt (designed by Magdalena Dabrowska and Miodrag Guberinic) that also serves as the set.  It’s incredibly clever how the skirt is covered in the letters and how folds of fabric serve as hiding places for various props. It truly creates a sense of magic, as they seem to appear out of thin air right when Nannerl needs them. The audience waits the entire play for Nannerl to stand up in the skirt and the anticipation delivers. It’s a stunning image and one I won’t soon forget.

“History is as much the stories we aren’t told as the stories we are,” the audience was told at the top of the show. I’m so glad I got to hear this story. The Other Mozart continues through January 19th.  You can find all your information about attending the show here.

In Appreciation of Harry Styles – Most Handsome Young Man 2015

perfect for you

Posted by Kim and Sage

Ladies and gents, your Most Handsome Young Man for the year 2015 is Harry Edward Styles. Team Head Over Feels submitted Josh Charles, James Corden, Brett Dier, Clark Gregg, Chris Messina, Jussie Smollett, and Mr. Styles as our nominees, but we left the voting up to you. Harry easily walked away with the crown and more than a third of the vote. (With only a minimal amount of stumping on our part. *angel emoji*) Now that the competition is over, it’s time to celebrate the hell out of our winner. This post may seem long, but 1D said it best: “Too much is never enough.”

Kim: I ashamed to say that when I just thought that One Direction was a flavor of the month boyband, I totally bought into the Harry Styles that was portrayed in the media. He was the “cute” one, with a mop of brown curls and giant eyes (well, I was right in that respect) and the one who dated Taylor Swift and a bevy of other starlets, leaving a trail of broken hearts in his wake. It was only when our friend Jaime roped us into the fandom, declaring that Harry Styles was a precious unicorn that must be protected at all costs, that I saw just how wrong I was. Because of course Harry Styles is aesthetically pleasing but what makes him BEAUTIFUL (*nudge nudge*) is his spirit. What makes him beautiful is his talent. What makes him beautiful is the fact that is spite of everything he’s been through he’s only become more self-assured and confident in who he is. He is kind. He is Smart. He is IMPORTANT. So so so important.

As anyone who has ever talked to me about One Direction knows, these boys are my sons. I just want them to be okay and happy and taken care of. (Me to Louis: Let me wrap you in a blanket and shield you from the evils of the world. And tell me…are you eating and sleeping enough? Tell me the truth.) It’s funny with Harry though…I don’t feel the intense need to shield him because I am SO CERTAIN that Harry Styles is going to be JUST FINE. Mainly, I just want to stand back and beam with pride. Look at my son. Look how amazing and brave and funny and talented and gorgeous he is. I couldn’t be prouder of him.

thumbs up

Thanks, Mom.

Sage: Our fashion correspondent Maggie likes to say that everyone is a Harry Girl, even if they don’t know it yet. And she means everyone. Babies. Adult men. This dog. I don’t care who you are, where you’re from, what you did, as long as you recognize that there is a part of you either dormant or engaged that thrives on this boy and what he represents.

For me, it all kicked in around April of this year. But even before that, I was aware of my sweet Harru because Boy Band Trash is always Boy Band Trash, even when we’re half-assed about it. Harry Styles was one of the two members of One Direction I knew by name, because he was “The Cute One.” I had the albums on my iPod and had seen a few videos; everyone charmed the pants off of me in “Kiss You,” but only in passing. They were too young, and I try to be creepy within the confines of the law because I am a LADY. Still, I vaguely kept up with 1D and watched their Saturday Night Live appearance in December of last year. This was just about the time that Harry began defining his ostentatious rock star style. The hair was growing out; he was in a hat I’d never before seen on a person of his age or in this decade. And because I knew nothing Jon Snow, I assumed that Harry’s changing look was an effort to hipster-distance himself from the band. And there’s nothing that offends me more than someone who’s thrived in the mainstream who then turns his back on it because TOO COOL. (Now you know why I don’t miss Zayn.) I would like to publicly apologize to 2014 Harry Styles, because I COULD NOT HAVE BEEN MORE WRONG. I like happy people who love what they do and do what they love. And does anyone in pop music – nay, music in general – fit that description more than Harry?

The people who do fame right, in my opinion, are the people who leave me feeling inspired instead of jealous. Being aware of Harry Styles is a gift. Watching him move through his strange, challenging, and wonderful life with passion and grace is honestly an addition to mine. This is painfully gushy already, and we’re not even past the intro. ALL THE LOVE. All of it.

"Love wins."

“Love wins.”

1) He IS a Handsome Young Man.

belly

CUPCAKE

LOOK AT THIS LITTLE PEACH. Let’s talk about how gorgeous Harry is. He’s always been cute AF but (as in the case with most men, which is completely unfair) as he gets older he just gets more and more handsome. He’s grown into his face…the giant eyes and Mick Jagger mouth and angular jaw that made fetus Harry look like the most beautiful Alien to have blessed us with his presence FIT him now. His eyes are greener than green and they sparkle like diamonds. His megawatt smile could solve the world’s energy crisis if we could just figure out how harness its power. If I were one to write poetry, I would write SONNETS about his dimples. Nothing gives me life like a full out Harry Styles smile. NOTHING. He lights up my world like nobody else. The way that he flips his hair gets me overwhelmed.

hair

A POX ON ANYONE WHO TELLS HARRY EDWARD STYLES TO CUT HIS HAIR. His hair is beautiful and you know what? The long hair fits his face and makes him look like the Rock God that he is. And I have SO MUCH HAIR ENVY. Seriously, Haz. Teach me how to do those beautiful loose waves. I need to know.

In all seriousness, I equate Harry growing out his hair with him taking ownership over his public perception. This is when Harry decided he had no more fucks to give and it’s BEAUTIFUL. Interviewers loooooooooooove questioning Harry about his hair and he just shrugs and is like “That’s fine, you can think it’s weird but I love it.” (Alan Carr: “I don’t like your man bun.” Haz: “That’s okay.”) Or he just gives a patented Harry Styles Internal Screaming gaze (please to see the below moment on The View where he was touched without permission) and you KNOW he’s just thinking “I DO WHAT I WANT”. Also “Don’t touch me, only one person can touch my hair like this and it’s not you.”

art

I love how Harry says he’s not planning on cutting his hair any time soon. (“Gotta cover the nips.” – Louis Tomlinson.) I love that whenever he DOES cut his hair, he plans on donating it to charity. While I’m super curious to see what Current Harry’s face would look like with 2013 Hair (I have a feeling I would pass out), right now I’m just content to bask in how much he loves his hair. LONG HAIR DON’T CARE.

tattoo 3

LOOK AT HIM

And then there’s the body. Harry is tall (SO TOL) and lean yet not overly defined. (Never lose those TINY love handles, Haz. They are my favorite thing.) He’s gangly in the best way, with long arms and legs and giant hands. His is a body that was MADE to wear high-end designer clothes, so it’s a good thing his taste leans that way. Honestly, the only solo career that Harry should be pursuing over this hiatus is being a model for Gucci. Could you IMAGINE his print campaign? I cannot.

tattootattoo 2
And then there’s the tattoos. Harry has made his body a canvas and while he jokes that some of his tattoos are stupid, you KNOW he wouldn’t change any of them. They are the map of his life, the expression of all the things he can’t say, and the anchors that remind him where home is. And if the legend to that map of his life just happens to be tattooed on the body of Louis Tomlinson, well that’s just what it is.

Long story short, we couldn’t have a more worthy successor to the throne of Most Handsome Young Man. Harry is an angel among mere mortals. To borrow the immortal words of another famous boyband…God must have spent a little more time on him.  –Kim

2) “It’s a Gucci Suit.”

As Kim established in the previous section, Harry Styles would look good in anything. (See Frat Boy Harry for proof that even a backwards snapback and a flannel are high-fashion on this kid.) But Harry’s developing personal style is so divine because he – more than any of his bandmates and more than most dressers in general – uses his wardrobe to express who he is. He’s also the only member of OT4 who can consistently answer the question “Who are you wearing?” on the red carpet. The rest of them are a stylist’s nightmare, bless their heathen hearts.

ferns

Is he accessorizing with an coffee shop loyalty card? One can only hope.

Sometimes I muse over which half of his closet I prefer: the side that holds his worn-out Stones t-shirt, soft shearling coat, and Packers beanie – “Harry At Rest,” let’s call it; or the side that sparkles in painted-on skinnies, flashy printed blouses, lustrous boots, and the entire Gucci Fall/Winter 2015 collection. But then I remember that Harry doesn’t discriminate between them, and so neither should I.

suit

Same, boys. Same.

Since being pulled into this fandom, I marvel every day at how much Harry is. He’s entire constellations burning away in one beanpole body. And he more than gets away with even the most extravagant, gender-blurring looks that he chooses because he’s too damn present and radiant and full of life to let the clothes overwhelm him. (Also he gives no fucks what assumptions people might make about his personal life or sexuality based on what he wears, and that’s so important.) I’ve seen photos of some of these pieces on the catwalk and on the hanger, and they’re beautiful. But put a garment on Harry and it becomes something else completely. If clothes were sentient (I’m awaiting my royalty check, Pixar), they’d aspire to be chosen by Harry Styles. No better life for a pair of Paige jeans, I’d say.

boots

“Heart of gold, and boots to match.”

I could talk about Harry’s sartorial courage and how meaningful it is all day long, but our fashion blogger Maggie may have a little end-of-year treat for admirers of Styles’s style. So I’ll leave it here: I love that Harry uses clothes to say something to the world, but never takes himself or his wardrobe too seriously. I love that he looks good in literally all the things. And I love that he’s getting the positive reaction he deserves for being an incredibly fashionable example of embracing one’s uniqueness. –Sage

3) That Rock and Roll Voice

When you look at the boys of One Direction, based PURELY on their voices, I can completely understand why most people would expect Harry Styles to go solo. Harry’s voice is one that’s MADE to fill stadiums. His voice is deep and rich. It’s full-bodied yet raw. It’s a voice that’s made to carry power choruses, which is the very reason Harry usually SINGS them. Harry sings from his GUT. He pours everything he has into it and it’s glorious. He hits those glory riffs in “Drag Me Down” (even when his voice is tired and ragged) and if you don’t feel something in your TOES, something is wrong with you. The way his voice soars during the chorus of “Story Of My Life” is what I want heaven to sound like. The way he wails “I know we’ll be alright, child. Just close your eyes and seeeeeeeeeeee…” during the bridge of “Walking in the Wind” makes me toss out my arms in pure abandon, just wanting the sound to completely wash over me.

Lest you think Harry is all power and no subtlety, allow me to direct you to his gentle and delicate vocals on songs like “Home” and “If I Could Fly”. His vocals for “If I Could Fly” sound like he’s close to tears, they are that raw and emotional. In the wake of Zayn’s departure, Harry has been pushing himself when it comes to his upper range. His gentle falsetto when he sings “I waaaaaaas stumbliiiiiiiing” made me sit up and exclaim “Zayn WHO?” Don’t believe me on all the shades of Harry’s voice? Please enjoy this montage which is everything from Fetus Harry to 2015 Harry. He’s only gotten better since the group has started. Think of how much better he’ll be once his voice has had a year to rest.

Don’t get me started on his speaking voice. Much like Paul McGann, I compare it to honeyed gravel. It’s slooooooooooow and lazy and warm like a bourbon on a cold winter’s night in front of a fire. I could listen to him talk for hours and his voice is so unique that, try as I might, I can NEVER imitate him in a way that does it justice. One of my greatest annoyances in life is when people think Harry Styles is dim because of the way he speaks.  FALSE. He’s deliberate and thoughtful. Every word has weight to him and he takes the time to choose them. Anyone that thinks he’s stupid is probably just jealous of that posh accent. –Kim

4) He can ruin your life with a song.

literal literal 2
“I don’t care what people say when we’re together. You know I wanna be the one to hold you when you sleep. I just want it to be you and I forever. I know you wanna leave, so c’mon baby be with me so happily.”

So I don’t see how anyone can look at the lyrics that Harry Styles (I just like calling him by his full name, okay?) writes and the persona portrayed in the media and NOT see the disconnect. All the “relationships” we’ve seen Harry in have been fleeting flings and yet his lyrics speak to a longing for permanence and something REAL.  Sure, you can SAY that anyone can write an achingly honest song but if you think that lyrics don’t come from a real place, you’re insane. Harry can churn out pure pop cotton candy songs like “Perfect” and “Olivia” (“That was ALL Harry’s genius.” – Julian Bunetta) but MOST of Harry’s songs allude to a love that he’s ferociously protective of, a love that’s deep and complicated and messy and REAL above all things. But sure, he’s just a womanizer with no rope for his anchor. OH WAIT.

“The script was written and I could not change a thing. I want to rip it all to shreds and start again. One day I’ll come into your world and get it right I’ll say we’re better off together here tonight. I want you here with me like how I pictured it so I don’t have to keep imagining. Come on, jump out at me. Come on, bring everything. Is it too much to ask for something great?”

Harry may not be as prolific a songwriter as Louis and Liam, but much like his speaking voice, every song he writes feels written with INTENT. You line up the songs that he’s written and it feels like one big story. He just wants something great. Just a little bit of your heart is all he needs. Right now, he wishes you were here with him. He tries to find you but he just doesn’t know where broken hearts go. (I THINK they go to Fiji, but that’s just a guess.) There’s no other place he’d ever want to go. Baby, look what you’ve done to him. Sure, he could just be using the proverbial “you” but too many of his songs sound like a call and response to other 1D songs, so I’m just going to leave that there for you to ponder.

But where Harry outdid himself is Made in the A.M.‘s “If I Could Fly”.  THIS SONG YOU GUYS. GOD DAMN HARRY. It’s so intensely personal that I feel like I am eavesdropping on an intimate conversation between two lovers every time I listen to it. When the boys were doing promo for the album, Liam commented that a particular song of Harry’s reduced him to tears. Clearly, it was this one. I don’t know how ANYONE could listen to “If I Could Fly” and NOT cry.

“Pay attention, I hope that you listen ’cause I let my guard down. Right now I’m completely defenseless. For your eyes only, I’ll show you my heart, for when you’re lonely and forget who you are. I’m missing half of me when we’re apart. Now you know me, for your eyes only.”

When Harry brought the song to their producer, Julian Bunetta, Julian commented on the title. Because when you listen to the song, common sense would dictate that the title would be “For Your Eyes Only”. But Harry apparently insisted that the title was “If I Could Fly”. Why? I mean it can’t possibly be because it was meant to directly correlate with a certain song called “Home”, could it? COULD IT? “If I Could Fly Home”, OKAY? “If I Could Fly” is about a love that has been through the wringer but survived. It’s about being completely vulnerable for the one person who holds your heart in their hands and offering it to them freely. It’s about trusting that said person will take care of it as ONLY THEY know exactly who you are. It’s so beautiful and open and I just feel BLESSED that Harry was not afraid to make himself THAT VULNERABLE to every single person who bought the record. Thank you for showing us your heart, Haz. –Kim

5) That Stage Swagger

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The first time I saw One Direction live was this summer. August 2nd, to be exact. My concert buddy and I waited until the last minute to get tickets, hoping that some seats would open up in the front. Our gamble paid off when we secured FRONT ROW the day before the show. The On The Road Again Tour stage set-up consisted of an end stage, a long catwalk, and then a B-stage in the middle of the floor. Our seats were far left, directly in front of the A-stage. The lights went down, the intro video played, and then the boys came out to the opening riffs of “Clouds.” They dispersed immediately, each running to a corner of the stage to make sure that every part of the stadium felt welcome.  Our side got Harry. And as he bounded over to dance right in front of our faces, I involuntarily screamed, “I’M NOT READY. I’M NOT READY.” He has no chill. Why should I?

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“The whale.”

Oh, to be 21 years old and have this much energy. I don’t know what kind of organic/paleo/vegan supplements Hazza is on, but I want some. I also want to give him a FitBit to wear onstage just once, so I can see how many miles he covers prancing up and down the catwalk. He NEVER. STOPS. MOVING. I physically can’t help quoting Rob Sheffield’s review for Rolling Stone of the OTRA New Jersey concert (which I was also at), so here’s my favorite bit. I may have partially memorized it to describe Harry to n00bs.

Harry Styles, master of the power flounce. For a band that formed on TV, 1D are not done justice by video, because Harry is a performer you have to see live. The way he covers space is insane — imagine if Mick Jagger had the warm and benign heart of Paul McCartney, cast under a magic spell by Stevie Nicks, and you’re about halfway there…It’s like watching the footage of Secretariat running the Belmont Stakes in 1973 — he’s 31 lengths ahead of the other horses, but he speeds up madly for the final stretch because he’s so in love with being fast. That’s what it’s like watching Harry work a stadium. You instinctively think, “Dude, save some for later,” but the whole physiology of saving some for later is alien to the Harry lifeform. The harder he works to give every drop of his Harry-osity away, the more of it he has. Watching Harry spit water and touch his hair makes me want to be a better person.

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“This is a family show…OR IS IT?”

Some people demand that their rock stars play-play the music-making thingies, but god, what a tragedy it would be to trap Harry Styles behind an instrument. (Exception: he could do wonders with a triangle. OR A TAMBOURINE. “I wanna see the way you move for meeeeee.”) Harry needs complete bodily freedom to spread joy from the VIPs to the cheap seats. And watching him do it is exactly like watching a person living his true calling. Harry was born to perform; and lucky for his fans, he loves it. In the band’s recent Apple London Session, he described being on stage as “addictive” and said that having an immediate connection with fans through music is “why the high is so good.” The terminology he uses makes sense, because I’ve been there and I’ve seen it: Harry transcends this mortal plane when he’s playing a show. He goes to another place, but somehow stays present enough to connect directly with as many individuals as he possibly can in 2 hours. (Your odds of being the subject of Harry focus go up by a few points if you’re a dad. Harry loves flirting with them. Moral of the story: BRING YOUR DADS.)

You know in Moulin Rouge when Satine asks Harold Zidler what kind of fantasy the Duke wants her to be? Bright and bubbly, wilting flower, or smoldering temptress? That’s pre-show Harry, except he decides fuck it, he’ll just be every single one of them. Watch him beam at children and playfully imitate a fan’s dancing. Watch him wring raw emotion out of a ballad he’s sung thousands of times already. And then watch him straddle a railing, whip his hair, grab his crotch, and drop it like there’s no tomorrow. When it comes to Harry, you don’t have to choose.

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Oops, I did it againnnn

On stage, Harry transitions from being the softest daisy and the coyest maiden in all the land to being a lusty, gyrating front man and back again, all with the greatest of ease. And when he does sway his hips or arrange his features in an exaggerated pout, he’s not doing it to mock femininity. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. (Harry, after trying out a Manchester accent at a Manchester show: “That’s the most masculine I’ve been all year!”) Harry just is, and he doesn’t waste his energy trying to exhibit some outdated concept of gender. And how do female fans respond to his confidently androgynous stage presence? How did David Bowie’s fans take to Ziggy Stardust? It’s nothing new for women to respond so positively to a performer who doesn’t other them or treat femaleness like some kind of sideshow. In fact, it’s pretty damn sexy. Let’s have another toast to the Haz Almighty. –Sage

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15 Things We Loved About LI Who 3

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Posted by Kim and Sage

Cher’s main joy in life is a makeover. Our main joy in life is a convention. I know I can speak for Kim when I say that our lives have improved drastically since we came on that scene. Where else can you yell “nipple rings!” at Winston Churchill while wearing TARDIS everything and drinking wine out of sippy cups? Cons are a utopia, a friend farm, and an unparalleled opportunity to get close to the people who make the things that you love.

And we consider ourselves lucky that LI Who is our quote-unquote home con. Only in its third year, LI Who already feels like it’s up there with major players like Gallifrey One and Chicago TARDIS. From a hearty programming track to a starry guest list to its cozy, chilled-out feel, this convention will always get us on the LIRR from the city (with train beers, natch) and out to Ronkonkoma to play with our fellow Whovians. Here are the 15 things we loved most about LI Who 3. –Sage

1. Noel Clarke Was Born to Play the Match Game.

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In our humble opinion, LI Who’s signature event is the Friday night Match Game, a PG-13 and up participatory panel. It’s based on the classic ’60s game show, though some of you may be more familiar with it as the “Snatch Game” on Ru Paul’s Drag Race. Anyway, it involves the host giving the panel of celebrity guests and two civilian competitors some kind of prompt and then matching the answers. Because this is a Doctor Who con, all the prompts are Doctor Who related. Because the kids are all in bed and everyone in the room is at least three drinks in, all the prompts are very, very dirty. As in “the first thing the Doctor ate after his regeneration was Amy’s…..”

So, you can see why it’s our favorite.**

As we prepared ourselves for the weekend, we had an inkling that Noel Clarke aka Mickety Mick Mickey Smith would be the celebrity we’d be “McGanning” during LI Who. McGanning is verb of our own creation, which means “to fall desperately in love with through the course of a convention.” It’s a regular occurrence with a worthy namesake. We’d been in Noel’s first one-on-one panel earlier in the evening. And while he was endlessly charming (and wearing a Star Wars logo tee), that interview did nothing to prepare us for Noel’s showing during the Match Game. He came to play. And we were equal parts delighted and scandalized.

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Kim and Shannon cannot even.

What happens in the Match Game ought to stay in the Match Game (and on Twitter), but suffice it to say that Noel Clarke believes in taking care of your woman. If you know what I mean. If Rose Tyler had stayed on Earth with Mickey Smith, she’d have missed some adventures, but she would have been one satisfied lady. –Sage

**Also 2015 marks the second consecutive time a member of our con-tourage won the LI Who Match Game, and we intend to keep it in the family.

2. Camille Coduri Is RTD AF.

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“So he’s your favorite then, Dave?” Camille Coduri pronounced as we settled in to interview her on the first morning of LI Who.  Sure, I was wearing my “Ten of Hearts” tee but I get the feeling that Camille knew right away that we bleed for the Russell T. Davies era of Doctor Who because she can sense a kindred spirit. This kinship with Camille got even stronger when the first words out of her mouth when I mentioned Peter Capaldi were “Oh he’s so hot, isn’t he?” ONE OF US. “Chris really paved the way for people like David and Peter and Matt.  He was so fantastic…what a performance.” While Camille admitted that Chris’ exit was a shock the transition to David’s Doctor was quite smooth.  “He was like a dream…a hero. THIS is what it’s about. The seriousness of Chris’s performance of the Doctor to David’s “COME ON” (she does a KILLER impersonation of David there.) puppy dog kind of energy. He was like that 24/7 really.”

As far as the relationship between Jackie and Rose, Camille views it as most mother/daughter relationships. “It’s a good foundation for feet on the ground, as it were, when so much weird stuff going on around her.” As for Billie, “I will always be her mum. As with all of us, the whole team, we see each other again and we slip right back into it. It’s a special relationship, there is no question about that.” In the middle of our interview my phone went off (WHOOPS) as the bar for my upcoming birthday party was calling to confirm my reservation. “Ah…a Sagittarius,” Camille chirped. “Always the last one to leave a party. I can tell that about you.” Yep…just sitting around talking astrology with Jackie Tyler. Invite us to your next ladies night with Bills, Camille, and I can prove to you just how right your assessment is.

Rocking some pigtails.

Rocking some pigtails.

It should surprise no one that Camille is fiercely protective of Jackie Tyler, from demanding Jackie’s right to companion status (“GOD YES she is a companion.”) to proudly defending slapping The Doctor across the face (“He deserved it.”).  Her favorite Jackie moment, other than slapping The Doctor? “There’s a strange man in my bedroom.” All of her solo panels were a delight as she talked about things ranging from Theatre’s reliance on celebrity casting (“We need to be more brave.”) to commenting on television ratings (“So many good shows are slow burners and we need to be patient.”) to binge watching the entirety of Mad Men in a single weekend (“It was one of the most life defining times.”). She also outed herself as a Cumberbitch when Noel Clarke attempted to say that Benedict Cumberbatch is just a regular guy. “I don’t know if you know this,” Noel said. “He eats, he sleeps, he goes to the bathroom. He’s a normal person.” Camille: “No, he’s not.” Have I mentioned that Camille is just like us? She is. And she spent the entire weekend rocking pigtails and galaxy tunics because the woman knows her audience.

But perhaps my favorite thing about Camille is how she made her loyalty to the Russell T. Davies era of Doctor Who abundantly known, as she threw LOVING shade at Steven Moffat’s heady writing style the entire weekend. “He doesn’t have ANY feelings,” she joked. Girl, next time you are up for all the most emotional and heart wrenching Davies episodes, let us know.  We’ll bring the ice cream. –Kim

3. The Classic Who Ladies Need to Adopt Us.

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These women, though. Heroes all.

I’m not as well-versed in Classic Who as I’d like to be (but slowly getting there). Still, I never turn down a chance to sit in the audience for a classic companion panel. I may not get all the episode references, but I do get the humor, warmth, and sassiness every one of these ladies brings to the table. At LI Who 3, the girl squad included Janet Fielding (Tegan), Katy Manning (Jo), Wendy Padbury (Zoe), and Carole Ann Ford (Susan). Or, as we like to call them: Mom.

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Doctor Who wasn’t exactly a beacon of feminism back in the day (and god, would I have loved to have been in a room with all of these alums to see their reaction to “Hell Bent”), but it fortuitously left a legacy of incredible women who love the show, love its fans, and luckily come to cons to dazzle us with their honesty and wit. Here are a few of our favorite Classic Who lady moments from LI Who 3:

  • “I really don’t think so.” – Janet Fielding remembers her response to a stage direction that had Tegan fetching a cup of tea while the men solved the problem like it was yesterday.
  • “You put on a miniskirt, and everyone goes, ‘Oh, that’s what she’s like.'” – Katy Manning on being underestimated.
  • “I’d love to have been able to lie on a casting couch, but nobody asked me! I’m still waiting!” – Katy, on getting there on talent alone.
  • “I’m never, ever nice to Peter Davison’s face. It’s for his own good.” – Janet, on keeping Five’s ego in check.
  • “You’ve got to come meet David, he’s got pictures of you on our dressing room wall!” – When Janet was doing her agent thing, one of her clients introduced her to his co-star David Tennant in a way that was probably as embarrassing for him as it was a dream come true.
  • Janet called American chocolate out for being disgusting and our gun laws for being “nut nut.” Both correct.
  • “I was too young to know I had the right to say ‘no’ to that.” – Wendy, on doing a topless shot for a movie early in her career.
  • Babies are Katy Manning bait. She can’t walk past one without lovin’ it up.

Katy Manning greets her littlest fan. #LIWho

A photo posted by Head Over Feels (@headoverfeelsdotcom) on

  • “I think she’s remarkably well-preserved.” – Janet on Wendy. Friendship.
  • “The saddest thing of all is that I never got to do a convention with Pat.” – Wendy on missing her Doctor.
  • Wendy (“Padders” if you’re nasty) and Janet planned a girls weekend in Manhattan for after the con and it probably included a lot of exchanges just like this one:
    Wendy: “You need to turn your hearing aid up.”
    Janet: “My hearing aid is fine, it’s your diction.”
  • Wendy is just like us in that she physically can’t resist “Uptown Funk.” Here she is, causing a ruckus at the dance party.

  • Katy got choked up watching a montage of Jo Grant’s finest moments, because they were “joyous memories” with “my Jon.” Bye.
  • Janet spoke very candidly about her recent battle with cancer and the loss of her best friend. When she told Peter Davison about her diagnosis, he immediately came to Australia with his wife to see about Janet. She also shouted out her Doctor Who family for being generous and supportive to her charity, Project Motorhouse. Once you’re in the squad, you’re never out.
  • “I love the modern series, I really do. I have one problem: flying with the TARDIS door open.” – Janet must have lost her mind during “Face The Raven” then.
  • Also of note: Katy Manning’s childhood best friend was LIZA MINELLI and Katy still does a spot-on impression of her.
  • “Like any advanced alien civilization would be dumb enough to leave the men in charge.” – Janet, to us eating this up.

Aren’t our mothers fabulous? You can see where we get it. –Sage

4. Eric Roberts Sounds Like a Prize Dick.

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One of the constants of our Long Island Who lives is Daphne Ashbrook.  Daphne has been at every LI Who thus far and has always proved to be completely charming, not to mention a RIOT during The Match Game.  We’re always game for Daphne and Paul McGann telling stories about filming the Doctor Who movie, even if we have heard the stories before.  The fact that Eric Roberts played The Master has become quite the joke.  Polite and polished as they are, it’s clear that both Paul and Daphne were like “Who the eff does this guy think he is?” during the shoot.  “He arrived with an IMAGE CONSULTANT!” D-List celebs who think they are A-List, amirite? –Kim

5. If You Annoy the DJ Enough, He Will Play Boy Bands and Broadway. And Everyone Will Love It.

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Our only complaint about the LI Who dance party is that it could have gone on for 3-4 more hours. It’s like being at the club with your best and weirdest friends. “Hey Mickey” came on and a Missy cosplayer mouth-kissed every Doctor on the dance floor. The mystery man dressed as Ghost Twelve creeped us all out through the full-length ballroom windows. As previously discussed, Wendy Padbury is too hot (hot damn). The DJ, a clear outsider, went with the flow and indulged us more than we expected. Con hero and admitted #Hamiltrash Cat Smith literally handed over her phone to the man in the name of starting a “Schuyler Sisters” group singalong. And our group physically refused to leave the dance floor until he played us a little 1D. And guess what? Everyone loved it, because “Best Song Ever” is irresistible. I think it went oh oh oh. I think it went yeah yeah yeah. –Sage

And we danced all night to the Best Song Ever...

And we danced all night to the Best Song Ever…

6. No, Camille and Noel Won’t Tell You Why Eccles Left 

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So stop asking them.

Seriously.  No matter how many different ways you rephrase the question or how many times you ask it, Camille and Noel won’t divulge any information as to what made Christopher Eccleston decide to leave Doctor Who after one season. Maybe because they truly don’t know, as Camille claimed that she found out Chris was leaving from the papers, just like the rest of the world.  Maybe they were only focused on how it affected the show rather than the drama of it all.  (Noel: “The first thing I did was call to find out if I still had a job.”).  Or MAYBE they are just two CLASSY BITCHES who know it’s not their story to tell.  “We won’t spill. We won’t,” Camille said, after being asked the question one time too many.  “Chris is a grown ass man who can do what he wants,” Noel declared.  “I’m not going to speak for him.”

Lest you think that his former co-stars are bitter towards his abrupt exit, their panel with Annette Badland was nothing but a LOVE FEST for Chris, which makes their fierce protectiveness of him all the more endearing. “None of it would have existed without Chris,” Camille declared. To borrow the words of the Tenth Doctor, “quite right too.” –Kim

7. Annette Badland Gets A Kick Out Of Terrifying Children. She also knows what Sam Heughan smells like. 

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“We promise we’ll talk about Doctor Who eventually but we HAVE to talk about Outlander,” we declared as soon as we sat down with Annette Badland. Luckily, Annette was more than willing to gossip about all things Sam Heughan. “Sam’s disarming because he’s that huge hunk of a handsome man but he’s a NICE BOY. He takes my breath away.” (SAME GURL.) In her panel with Camille and Nina later that day, Deb Stanish called us out, saying “I know there are people in this room who want to know what Sam Heughan smells like.”  (Me from the audience: “OH MY GOD DEB.”) I think I blacked out from laughing so hard because while Annette answered the question, I can’t remember what she said for the life of me.

This is why you should never tell Deb Stanish things.

“Aliens of London” and “World War Three” were in the first shooting block of Series 1 (along with “Rose”), so Annette had the experience of being with the reboot right from the start. “It was all very uncertain.”  She described that first read through as being at Cardiff Stadium. “It was like a gladiatorial match, the actors on one side and all the producers and the technicians on the other. I kept waiting for them to hold up score cards.”  She had nothing but praise for Chris (“Everything worked because of what he brought to the Doctor.”) and Russell T. Davies (“He’s a huge man, physically. He’s just a big person…naughty and funny and warm.”). She set the tone for JUST how much of lovefest for Series 1 the weekend was going to be.

When it came to playing Margaret the Slitheen, Annette stressed on her first panel that “You can’t just play a villain, you have to play WHY the villain is villainous.” Margaret was one of the first to truly CHALLENGE the Doctor’s moral code, which can be an easy thing to forget, considering that the Slitheen are mainly remembered for farting. All of that changed when Annette returned for “Boomtown” for a little “dinner and bondage” (her favorite memory of the show).  “He (RTD) wrote it for ME, darling.”  But as with anyone who has been on the show, it’s the impression that Doctor Who made on the FANS that has stayed with Annette. She told a story of two young boys and their mum following her around in the grocery store because they recognized her. Finally, they stopped her and she stood and talked to them for a few minutes.  Towards the end of the encounter, Annette pretended to start unzipping her head and the boys ran screaming, absolutely terrified.  “Scaring the kids was my favorite thing,” Annette said with a wicked grin. It would be ours too.  –Kim

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