Vote for the Second Annual Feelies!

Posted by Kim and Sage

Welcome to The Second Annual Feelies, where we herald our favorites of the television season and seek to right the wrongs of the Emmy Nominations.  While there may have been less to quibble with in this year’s nominations (TATIANA FINALLY), the Television Academy still shows an unbearable bias against genre shows, which are showcasing some of the best work on television.  There is no such bias here.  In fact, the only thing we could be accused of is TOO much bias towards niche shows.  What matters to us is not subject material but the EXECUTION of the material and how the actors and shows make us feel.

While we may have determined the nominees, the choice is in YOUR hands.  We encourage you to vote with your heart and NOT be like the Emmys and just click on a name because you like the show or the actor. Be discerning.  Be passionate about celebrating good work. Be better than the Emmys. We WANT you to struggle choosing a winner.  We very much sat cackling wickedly as we thought about asking you to choose between Tatiana Maslany and Hayley Atwell or between John Cho and Chris Messina.  That’s the POINT.  May the best performances win.

Voting will be open through Friday, August 7th.  Vote hard, vote often, campaign for your victor.  It’s all in your hands.

AND THE NOMINEES ARE….

**choices of header gifs in no way disclose preferences in each category**

Best Comedy Series

Broad City
Jane the Virgin
Parks and Recreation
The Mindy Project
Selfie
The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt  

Sage: Broad City continued its gleeful assault on comedy norms in its second season, with the girls – still the most loving, loyal friendship on TV – taking on consignment stores, dog weddings, oral surgery, and (“This is the greatest day of my LIFE.”) pegging. We bid a fond farewell to Parks and Recreation, but not before an inspired look into the future of our dear Pawnee friends. April found her calling, Ron and Leslie finally acknowledged what they mean to each other, and Jean Ralphio (poorly) faked his own death. Meanwhile, on Netflix: Ellie Kemper, whose Office character I always found a little grating, stepped into the role she was born to play on Tina Fey and Robert Carlock’s new series, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Kimmy had all the wacky set pieces and inexplicable running jokes as 30 Rock, plus a dark and gooey center, a new and unexpected take on the rich and bored Upper East Side trophy wife, and some Peeeenoooo Noiiiiiiiiiiirrrrr.

Kim: The concept looked ridiculous on paper but Jane the Virgin delivered in spades, giving us a hilarious and ridiculous telenovela that had a HUGE heart that grounded it in reality.  The circumstances surrounding the characters may be farfetched but the exploration of family dynamics, the bonds between mothers and daughters, and the struggle of pursuing dreams versus adhering to responsibilities made them all relatable.  Selfieas we have often said, was a show too beautiful to live on network television.  More than just a modern My Fair LadySelfie was about two lonely souls looking for connection in all the wrong places and it was a caustic takedown of our obsession with social media. It’s truly the great tragedy of the TV season. The Mindy Project defied all the critics who worried that Mindy and Danny being in a relationship would kill the show.  Its third season seamlessly moved from a yearning romantic comedy to an honest exploration of what it’s like to be in a relationship in your 30’s.  TMP didn’t shy away from showcasing Danny and Mindy’s emotional issues that were stumbling blocks towards their happiness.  It was often raw and honest and tough to watch (yet never lost its sense of humor)…and that’s what made it great.

 

Best Drama Series

Agent Carter
Broadchurch

Doctor Who
The Flash
Mad Men
Masters of Sex

Kim: The arrival of Peter Capaldi completely invigorated Doctor Who.  Series 8 saw the Doctor going through an identity crisis, questioning everything about what made him a “good man”.  This crisis lent itself to Clara Oswald, free from the “Impossible Girl” device, becoming a fully realized character who brought strength to the Doctor’s weakness.  Their journey from the Doctor being unable to tell her apart from Strax to “Do you think I care for you so little that betraying me would make a difference?” was a thrilling one that kept us glued to our screens every week. We said goodbye to Mad Men in style as we watched Don Draper wander the country aimlessly before a moment of zen helped him realize that he’d like to buy the world a coke. The Flash built on the foundation laid down by big brother Arrow, deftly balancing bad guys of the week with its overarching mythology. While Arrow faltered in its third season, Barry Allen and company hit all the right marks in their debut season, building to a finale that left us positively breathless.

Sage: Agent Carter‘s arrival wasn’t as hyped as that other (and messier) Marvel Television production Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but damn if Tara Butters and her fellow EPs didn’t show their colleagues a little something about storytelling. Carter is equal parts fun and sorrow; Queen Hayley Atwell regularly kicks the asses of full-grown men and trades banter with the real live Jarvis, but she also spent the season putting Steve Rogers to rest in her heart. The whole cast is terrific, but Peggy Carter is a character we need on TV right now. We can’t wait to see her again. After the dismal American version finally took a step off those northern California cliffs, the original and far superior Broadchurch rose like a phoenix. A rumpled, grumpy phoenix. Alec Hardy finally solved the case that haunted him throughout the Latimer investigation, but let’s be honest: Broadchurch 2 is about Hardy and Miller, the Former Detectives Club – now partners by choice. Masters of Sex dug deeper into its fathomless characters in its second season. More impressive guest stars were pulled into the wake churned up by the partners’ research (Keke Palmer, Betsy Brandt, Christian Borle), as Bill and Virginia became more intertwined.

 

Best Actress in a Comedy

Karen Gillan as Eliza Dooley, Selfie
Ilana Glazer as Ilana Wexler, Broad City
Mindy Kaling as Mindy Lahiri, The Mindy Project
Ellie Kemper as Kimmy Schmidt, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope, Parks and Recreation
Gina Rodriguez as Jane Villanueva, Jane the Virgin

Sage: Clearly, we were predisposed to like Amy Pond in anything she’d do after. But then Karen Gillan had to go and pick a nuanced romantic comedy and a stereotype-smashing reforming party girl character, both of which were doomed by their own quality. As Eliza, Gillan was funny, sexy, and vulnerable, and nailed her American accent which, frankly, Scots’ usually mangle. (Sorry, guys. We love you anyway.) It hurts not to be able to co-nominate Ilana Glazer and her co-star Abbi Jacobsen, but such are the rules of the Feelies. On Broad City, Glazer is a bundle of filthy joy, an accidental style icon, and questionable life hero. In other words: yas, kween! Mindy Kaling has always been a phenomenal writer, but her performance leveled up in this past season of The Mindy Project. Dr. L realistically struggled with a potential cross-country move, an unplanned pregnancy, and a shoplifting Staten Island Italian, and she did it all in style.

Kim: Ellie Kemper‘s inherent sunniness makes her makes her a perfect Kimmy Schmidt, a character that in lesser hands would have been a one-note punchline.  Bedecked in her signature bright colors, Kimmy is joy personified, but Ellie never lets her fall into caricature and she lets you see the steely edge beneath the innocence. You can’t help but cheer for her. Amy Poehler‘s Leslie Knope is both a feminist and television ICON and the fact that she only has one Golden Globe to show for it is one of television’s greatest injustices. Leslie doesn’t need your praise…she’s too busy running the country.  Gina Rodriguez was the revelation of the TV season and is the giant heart at the center of Jane the Virgin.  She can have you rolling on the floor with laughter one minute and then weeping the next. Her performance is achingly honest and I had her marked to WIN the Emmy this season…and then she didn’t even get nominated. Whatever.

 

Best Actress in a Drama

Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter, Agent Carter
Caitriona Balfe as Claire Beauchamp, Outlander
Lizzy Caplan as Virginia Johnson, Masters of Sex
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald, Doctor Who
Olivia Colman as Ellie Miller, Broadchurch
Eva Green as Vanessa Ives, Penny Dreadful
Tatiana Maslany as The Leda Clones, Orphan Black

Kim: As Sage pointed out, Peggy Carter IS the character we need on television right now and Hayley Atwell embodies her so fully you can’t tell where one ends and the other begins. She knows her value…anyone else’s opinion doesn’t matter. Lizzy Caplan continues to do incredibly nuanced work on Masters of Sex, defying the critics who had labeled her as solely a sardonically comic actress.  Her Virginia is a woman torn between traditional duties and her dreams of changing the world with her work.  She’s truly ahead of her time. Speaking of characters ahead of their time, Caitriona Balfe imbues Claire Beauchamp Randall Fraser with ferocity and gravitas that grounds the fantasy of Outlander in reality. She’s a heroine for the ages, staunchly uncompromising her beliefs to mold into the gender roles of 18th Century Scotland.  Olivia Colman‘s Ellie Miller is a wounded animal recovering from the devastation of her family.  She masks her pain behind a steely demeanor but is never afraid to let the cracks in her armor show.  Series Two is all about Ellie’s journey BACK to the person she was before and Colman brings incredible depth and vulnerability to the role.  Never count out DS Miller, people.

Sage: With the character evolution of Clara Oswald came new opportunities to appreciate what Jenna Coleman is doing with the part. She clicked immediately with Peter Capaldi, but let’s not give chemistry all the credit. Clara made some controversial choices this year and Coleman grounded those choices in palpable human emotion. Series 9 is a victory lap well-earned. Penny Dreadful might be too camp for some, but rest assured that former Bond girl Eva Green is doing work on that show. She approaches the haunted Vanessa with such intensity that you don’t know whether to be scared for her or of her. Let’s go with both, just to be safe. But maybe the hardest working woman on television is Orphan Black phenomenon (freak of nature?) Tatiana Maslany. She just keeps on slaying; we’ll never not be flabbergasted by how fully she possesses so many completely rounded characters. And season 3 brought us a new Leda (and an immediate fan favorite): the perceptive and sweet nail technician Krystal.

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Fan Video Friday – “Raise Your Glass”

Posted by Kim and Sage

Hey there, rockstars. You made it through another week! Your reward is a brand new edition of Fan Video Friday, the series that enables your work wind-down.

Today’s FVF is all about Pink’s party anthem “Raise Your Glass.” That’s right – after last Friday’s ode to bittersweet soulmates via Of Monsters & Men’s “King And Lionheart,” we are lightening up everything but our blood alcohol level. (Hey-ooooo!) This song is a tribute to the misfits, so I hope you’re ready for rowdy times with your favorite groups of underdogs. Here’s to the “dirty little freaks.” AMERICA.

–Sage

Rose and The Doctor – Doctor Who

Sage: Like the Doctor told Jackie, all the troubles and the near-deaths are just the “bits in between.” Whether you ship Ten and Rose or not (And if you don’t, I’m amazed that you’re still here!), it’s impossible to deny how much they enjoyed each other. They made traveling through time and space look like an afternoon lark – like they were playing hooky from real life. Why so serious?

The Cast of Community

Kim: “So raise your glass if you are wrong in all the right ways, all my underdogs!  We will never be never be anything but loud and nitty-gritty, dirty little freaks!” 

Is there a more perfect song for my beautiful misfits of Greendale Community College? I think not. I love how this video not only focuses on the Greendale Seven but also all the dirty little freaks that make up Community‘s ensemble from the faculty members to the students to all the guest stars.  The vidder also makes excellent use of moments like Troy and Britta’s recital for “let’s get dancey” and Todd crying over his microscope for “treated like a fool”.  But my favorite part of this is the shot of Abed as Batman for “Why so Serious?”.  GENIUS.

The Cast of The Office

Sage: Sometimes “wrong in all the right ways,” but often wrong in all the wrong ways, the employees of Dundler Mifflin Scranton have always lived outside the norm. The everyday setting of the show led to the most ridiculous of sitcom antics. This video makes incredible use of so many of them, from Jim’s “Future Dwight” fax to Cafe Disco to Meredith’s penchant for flashing. The Office is all about people who never would have chosen to hang out with each other, but whom fate decided to throw together anyway. Weird apart, but even weirder together – that’s the best kind of accidental family.

The Cast of Parks and Recreation

Kim: First, I have to say this: there aren’t NEARLY enough Parks and Rec fan videos out there.  I don’t understand why.  It’s a perfect show for fun ensemble videos to peppy songs (for example: “It’s Time”…HOW is there no video to that?).  Needless to say, we were delighted to find this one.  Like Community and The Office, we love Parks and Rec for its ensemble of misfits.  All of the employees of the Parks department are incredibly different, and had they not all been working in the same place, they probably never would have become friends (or in Ron’s case workplace acquaintances).  But they DID and they are all the better for it.  They’re like 5000 Candles in the Wind, you guys.

The Lads of One Direction

Sage: If Tumblr, Twitter, and Instagram had been around when *N Sync was touring, I never would have graduated college. As it is, my fall down the 1D rabbit hole has already generated a lot of unnecessary distraction. In the time that I’ve cared, the band has only played shows overseas. Yet, thanks to vigilant and plugged-in fans, I’m pretty sure I’ve seen and reblogged every waterfight, telling reaction to a pro-Larry sign, fan-mocking, and slaying of a Zayn solo, proving that four are just as strong as five. Before I became a person who talks seriously about the viability of using the 500 gigawatt smile of Harry Styles to bring about peace around the globe, I complained that boy bands these days don’t dance. But the lack of any choreography in a 1D show just means more time for fucking around. And those are the most gif-able and fanvid-able kind of moments anyway.

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“Weird, passionate, and gross.” – Community Recap

Community Season 6, Episode 1
“Ladders”
Posted by Kim

“Welcome back to Greendale!”

I’m not going to lie, I teared up when that was the first sentence of Community‘s season six premiere.  Against ALL odds, Community has made it to its destined sixth season.  The Human Beings lived perpetually on the bubble at NBC.  We lost our showrunner and then we got him back…only to lose Chevy Chase and Donald Glover.  We were ACTUALLY canceled and then Yahoo swept in and saved the show at the eleventh hour and fifty-ninth minute.  We lost Yvette Nicole Brown in the interim.  At what point does Community no longer resemble the show we all fell in love with and fought SO HARD for all these years?  Dan Harmon and company address this question full on in “Ladders”.

Much like the pilot, “Ladders” opens with the Dean thanking the “Save Greendale” committee over the PA while we check in with the 4 remaining members of the Study Group.  HELLO EXTERIOR SHOTS. We haven’t seen those in forever…thanks for that money, Yahoo.    However, like Garrett, Greendale can never TRULY be saved, right?  When Dean Pelton says they saved the school from 534 critical emergencies, Annie pauses. She runs to their board in the study room and finds a star that had fallen behind the cabinets: “Frisbees on roof”.  Outside (OUTSIDE!! Not over it) an errant frisbee lands on the roof joining a massive pile of them.  It’s the straw that breaks the camels back.  The roof in the cafeteria collapses under the weight of the frisbees, nearly killing Fat Neil…erm…Garrett.  Welcome back to Greendale indeed.  It’s still a toilet, but it’s OUR toilet.

The Save Greendale Committee gathers in the study room where Annie reluctantly informs Abed that Shirley has moved to Atlanta to take care of her father and Chang worries that white people are taking over the group.  Right as Jeff, the leader of the White People, assures him that’s not true, the Dean strolls in with “New Shirley” Frankie Dart…a very white Paget Brewster who will always be Cathy from Friends and therefore cannot be trusted because she will definitely come between two best friends.  Frankie has been hired to evaluate how to ACTUALLY save Greendale.  Frankie is by-the-book.  She believes in rules and order.  She’s evaluated the core members of Greendale and found them to be “weird, passionate, and gross” (best compliment ever).  Her motto is “Someone needs to say I’m in charge and that person is me”.  She carries plain black binders.  Naturally the Study Group hates her on sight (“Who in the crazy bitch?”).

Frankie goes about whipping Greendale into shape.  She goes through the class schedule and gets rid of the nonsense (I get that the “When it is okay to shake a baby?” class had to go but getting rid of “Magic Wands” is unforgivable).  She questions Britta’s poor management of Shirley’s Sandwiches, saying it’s “consuming your happiness and turning it into burned bread and debt”.  She gets rid of booze in the teacher’s lounge.  She checks off a season’s worth of emergencies in Annie’s binder in a matter of seconds.  It all leads Jeff to ponder how much you can improve a place before it doesn’t resemble itself anymore (META!). Frankie didn’t suffer for Greendale, after all.  What right does she have to make it better?

As they tend to do when their world and their routine is threatened, the study group reverts to their basest selves and they cling to their normal with a blind ferocity.  Everyone except Abed, that is.  It’s funny that Abed is the one perpetually treated with kid gloves when it comes to massive change because out of all of them, Abed WANTS to be open to change, even if he’s not capable of it.  (A great example of this is how he was the first one recruited for the glee club in “Regional Holiday Music”.)  Abed doesn’t see Frankie as a threat, he sees her as a new character in his show.  He does worry that it’s the end of “our show” and isn’t sure what Frankie has to offer because she is too similar to Annie physically and she seems to be too grounded to fit in.  To her credit, Frankie tries to speak Abed’s language (sure, she does it for somewhat nefarious and manipulative reasons, but this wouldn’t be Community if she wasn’t hiding SOMETHING).  “I myself am exceptionally boring, and I am quite proud to be that way, because it allows me to help the less boring people turn quirks into results.”

She also says that she assumes (because she doesn’t own a TV) that good shows are capable of change, so she shouldn’t be a threat to him.  “I think you scare people because you live in the real world and not up your butt,” Abed ponders as he meets with Frankie and Chang the next day.  Living in a world of drama and conflict is exciting and easy, but to quote our friend Ron Swanson, we shouldn’t confuse drama with happiness.  Unlike his friends, Abed is at least WILLING to give Frankie’s reality a shot…even if he can’t resist spicing up her reality with some “Improving Greendale” and “Sending emails” montages. (“If you change your clothes one more time, you’re fired.”)

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The Top 20 Television Moments of 2014 – Part One

hannibal love your work

Posted by Kim and Sage

As all our shows go home for their winter breaks (with 60 pounds of laundry for mom!), it’s time to embark on our annual year-end coverage!

We kick off our celebration of all things 2014 with part one of our Top 20 TV Moments. Trust us when we tell you that this has been a 12-month discussion; we’ve been analyzing and re-analyzing our picks since this year was even a thing.

A few disclaimers:

1. These moments are presented in no particular order. Feel free to rank in the comments, but we’re not doing the dirty work for you.

2. Spoilers obviously present. If you are phobic, you might want to scroll down and take a look at the tags to keep yourself safe.

That said, here are half of our favorite TV moments from this jam-packed year. Remember – there are ten more coming. So you can’t yell at us for leaving anything out. Yet.

1) Sherlock kisses Molly – Sherlock

Watching any episode of Sherlock is a heady experience. They are few and they are precious. When I watch one for the first time, I’m caught between a desperate need for the adventure’s conclusion and “DON’T FORGET ONE MOMENT OF THIS, SAGE.” It’s a thin line to walk.

After two years of the waiting game, season three opened with an escape sequence of Bond-ian proportions. And the cherry on top of the whole sexy spy act was the moment that Sherlock Holmes crashed through a glass window like a damn hero and reminded Molly Hooper why she keeps on dealing with his nonsense.

It is a genuine, pearl-clutching moment and, as Kim just said to me, “pure fanservice.” Up until this point, this swashbuckling, bodice-ripping Holmes only existed in fan fiction. And then Benedict Cumberbatch is on our TV screens (laptop screens, for those of us who are crap at waiting) ruffling his Sherlock locks (Just keep the curls for ONE hiatus, BC. We’re begging you.) and taking Molly’s face in his hands to give her something to remember him by. It was barely January and the first entry on this list was locked down like a cell block.

I maintain that this moment is canon, even if the rest of Anderson’s action-fantasy is not. My reasons for this are four-fold. Firstly: Molly Hooper deserves this. I want so much to believe that Sherlock acknowledged her sacrifice; she had more to lose than anyone. Secondly, they’re suuuuuper weird around each other the rest of the season, especially when the conversation comes down to love and sex. Something totally went down. Next, we find Molly in Sherlock’s mind palace in “The Last Vow.” She’s vital to him. And finally: I ship it and I want this and this is about me.

Irregardless of the reality of the situation, this was good, panty-droppin’ stuff. I’ll leave you with Louise Brealey’s thoughts on the matter, because she sees us.

louise tweet kiss

And maybe she is us.

–Sage

2) Pierce Hawthorne’s Last Will and Testament – Community

Season Five of Community was a mixed bag creatively, especially in the back half of the season after Donald Glover left the show.  Maybe it is because the show blew its wad on the one-two punch of “Cooperative Polygraphy” and “Geothermal Escapism” because those two episodes were perfect send-offs for two of the Original Greendale Seven, Pierce Hawthorne and Troy Barnes.  The final scene of “Cooperative Polygraphy” is the perfect mix of sweet and sour that is oh so Community that I am going to just paste all of the dialogue here.

Mr. Stone: Britta Perry Do you know that you hate yourself more than you should and that your passion inspired me?
Britta: No.
Abed: That’s true.  She didn’t know.
Mr. Stone: To Miss Perry, I leave my iPod Nano filled with music to take life less seriously by.
Shirley: Oh, that’s nice.
Mr. Stone: I also leave you this liquid nitrogen cooled cylinder of my hyper-virile sperm in case your lesbian lifestyle one day wears out and you wish to raise an army of geniuses.  Shirley?
Shirley: Hmm?
Mr. Stone: Did you know that you are not only a credit to your race and gender, but to our species, and that I was intimidated by your strength of character and business acumen? To Shirley Bennett, I leave my spacious timeshare in Florida, where she can take What’s-his-name and however many children she has now. I also leave you a cylinder of my sperm. Annie Edison. Did you know that you were always my favorite?
Annie: You mentioned it once, but…
Mr. Stone: I leave you this tiara, which you once refused to accept. It’s the same tiara I used to wear when my mother would verbally assault me for not being a little girl. Also sperm. Jeff Winger, did you know you’re gay?

Jeff: No.
Mr. Stone: Agree to disagree. To you, I leave this bottle of fine scotch so that you’re less tempted to drink this cylinder of even finer sperm. Abed Nadir, did you know that you are insane and nothing that you said ever made any sense to me?
Abed: Yep.
Mr. Stone: Here’s your sperm. Troy Barnes, did you know that you possess the greatest gift life can give: The heart of a hero. And that it’s up to you not to waste it like I did?
Troy: I think.
Mr. Stone: To Troy, I leave the obligatory sperm.
Troy: Maybe it’s because everyone else got one, and because it’s an old man’s semen, but, um, I’m kind of disappointed.
Mr. Stone: In addition, I am prepared to leave Troy Barnes my remaining shares in the Hawthorne Wipes company, currently valued at $14.3 million. On one condition. You must first sail my boat, the Childish Tycoon, by yourself around the entire world.
Troy: What?
Mr. Stone: When I was 23, my father asked me to do the same thing to earn my adulthood and his fortune. Of course I cheated and floated off the coast of Belize for a year doing coke with John Denver. I always regretted it. I’d like to give you a chance to do what I never did…Become your own man.

The INSTANT Britta was given the iPod nano, I started sobbing and cursing Dan Harmon’s brilliance because of the above image, hilariously from one of the most loathed episodes of Community, season one’s “The Art of Discourse”.  It’s a little serendipitous that Chevy Chase left the show in 2014 (hell, it’s serendipitous the show was still even AIRING in 2014) and while I doubt that this moment was planned from season one, the fact that the writers added in this callback shows JUST how much attention they pay to the rich history of the show (and that makes me angry when they DON’T pay attention like when they create a brother for Annie Edison out of NOWHERE.  I digress).  The whole scene was a love letter to the fans of the show, between the iPod, Annie’s Tiara, and Pierce getting one more “Gay” dig in at Jeff.  But most of all what this scene did is exemplify that Pierce, though he may have been a bastard and he may have been bad at showing it, truly loved and respected  his study group friends.  They were his family and he loved them and at the end of the day, he wanted to be sure they knew that.  The gifts he gave to them all proved that he knew all of them better than they thought he did…and that he believed in them.  And finding people who believe in you and love you FOR your weirdness?  That’s what Community is all about, my friends.

— Kim

3) Diamond Dan Dances for Mindy – The Mindy Project

For most of the year, Danny and Mindy’s first kiss on the airplane had a solid slot locked down on this list.   On September 16th, everything changed.  Sage and I were at a screening of Gillian Anderson’s A Streetcar Named Desire the night of the season three premiere of The Mindy Project.  When we emerged emotionally exhausted from the screening, both of us had multiple (spoiler-free) text messages from friends making sure we were alive.  I rushed home as fast as the MTA would carry me and immediately queued up “We’re A Couple Now, Haters”.  When it was revealed that Danny Castellano had a stripper past, I immediately started saying Hail Mindys that we would get to see Chris Messina show off his moves (as we all knew he had them, thanks to “Christmas Party Sex Trap”).  And in the last minutes of the episode, my prayers were answered and I curled up on the couch making dying animal noises at my television screen.  “What did I do to deserve this wonderous moment,” I wailed at my TV.  “I must have been very very good this year.”  And then I promptly texted Sage to check to see if she was conscious.  (She was.  Barely.)

Danny Castellano dancing to “American Woman” for his girlfriend is important for many reasons, not just for the fact that these gifs exist on the internet to cheer you up on a dreary day from here to eternity.  (Seriously…having a shit day?  Stare at these gifs for a while.) Diamond Dan is important because in a culture where it’s usually the woman doing the sexy striptease (Magic Mike aside), Mindy Kaling flipped the script and had the MAN be the one being blatantly objectified, while the woman greedily watches.  As Sage pointed out in her recap of this episode, the fact that both Danny and Mindy are DEAD SERIOUS in this scene is what makes it so special.  Mindy is not hooting and hollering like so many women tend to be portrayed as doing in a male stripper situation.  Danny is not doing some half-assed version of his routine as a joke.  He does the routine full-out, never taking his eyes off her.  In his seriousness, he makes it known that he completely trusts Mindy with his past. He also makes it known that this is a seduction to please HER and that there are going to be some SERIOUS sexytimes to follow.

He IS like a thirsty camel at a desert oasis, after all.

— Kim (and I am sure you won’t mind one more gif so here you go.  I SAVED THE BEST FOR LAST.)

4) Clara Gets a Phone Call – Doctor Who

It took us about 30 seconds to accept the Twelfth as our Doctor and savior, but Clara Oswald needed just a bit more time. “Deep Breath” did a fabulous job of transitioning a companion from a familiar, cuddly Doctor to his more dangerous and less knowable regeneration. And we can argue over the rules and what we consider to be the breaking of them, but that won’t make this surprise cameo by Matt Smith any less powerful.

My heart aches for anyone who was spoiled for this scene. I myself was sitting in the dark among a few thousand Whovians (annnnnnd Peter and Jenna and Moffat, thank you very much) at the Ziegfeld screening when Eleven called Clara from Trenzalore. I promptly burst into tears.

Clara: Hello? Hello?
Eleven: It’s me.
Clara: Yes, it’s you. Who’s this?
Eleven: It’s me Clara. The Doctor.
Clara: What do you mean “The Doctor”?
Eleven: I’m phoning you from Trenzalore, from before I changed. It’s all still to happen to me. It’s coming. Oh, it’s coming. Not long now. I can…feel it.
Clara: Why? Why did you do this?
Eleven: Because I think it’s gonna be a whopper. And I think you might be scared. And however scared you are, Clara, the man you are with right now, the man I hope you are with, believe me, he is more scared than can imagine right now, and he needs you. Is that The Doctor?
Twelve: Is that the Doctor?
Clara: Yes.
Eleven: He sounds old. Please tell me I didn’t get old. I was young. Oh. Is he gray?
Clara: Yes.
Eleven: Clara, please, hey, for me. Help him. Go on. And don’t be afraid. Goodbye Clara. Miss ya.

Most of the criticism that this scene was met with accused it of being gimmicky – a shortcut to full companion/audience acceptance of Twelve. For me, it was a proper goodbye to Eleven, since “Time of the Doctor” was a sloppy travesty.

Moreover, I don’t think that the call left the writers or the actors off the hook. If anything, Matt’s appearance highlighted the stark differences between Eleven and Twelve. “Miss ya,” Eleven says, with so much emotion in his voice that it hurts to hear it, right before Twelve reacts to Clara’s hug like she’s crawling with cooties. These are different men, and we’re going to deal with that. You better believe we’re gonna deal with that.

“Deep Breath” is a suspenseful debut in need of an emotional center. This scene brought us a welcome quiet moment for the Doctor and his companion to take stock and get back on the same page. And all three stars acted the hell out of it. Matt with his weary cheerfulness; Jenna putting on her brave face because she knows it’s the right thing to do; and Peter infusing this thorny Doctor with heart wrenching vulnerability. (“Please…just see me.”) Things for Clara and Twelve wouldn’t be easy from this point on, but at least she finally saw the person standing right in front of her.

–Sage

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“Soul of the Fandom” – CommuniCon 3

community celebration

Posted by Kim and Sage

The lead up to the third officially unofficial gathering of Community fanatics and the creatives who love them filled me with trepidation. Don’t get me wrong – I was counting the seconds until I’d be reunited and, in many cases, united for the first time with members of this small internet army. But despite watching the show since Jeff Winger hastily put together a “study group” to get into Britta Perry’s pants, I didn’t know if I’d quite meet the super-fan requirements for CommuniCon. It’s common knowledge that Kim is the Greendale authority in our partnership, and my casual live-tweeting has nothing on the hours and hours she’s spent promoting the show. What if I couldn’t hang? Cue Hulu and a mainlined, full-series rewatch.

I shouldn’t have worried. (Zero regrets for that marathon though.) CommuniCon isn’t about some established fan hierarchy. It’s the Greendale of cons, free of standards judgement. You love the show? Well then, you’re already accepted.

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Let me back up for the benefit of the n00bs. CommuniCon is a fan-run convention created to celebrate and support Community. Like last year’s, CommuniCon 3 was held at the Embassy Suites in Glendale, CA. (And the hotel will hopefully will remain its home, because we’re now thoroughly spoiled by the nightly open bar.) Organizer and dear HOF friend Gillian Morshedi packs the itinerary with panels and meet & greets. Other features include a mini-Artists Alley to assist you in emptying your wallet; the full-size DARSIT, available for photo ops; and even a game station where you can Journey to the Center of Hawkthorne, 8-bit style. Basically, it’s a Communie playground.

We escaped rainy New York City and landed in sunny California the Friday morning of the con. Thanks to the careful pre-planning of the abundance of Monicas in our hotel room, we quickly rounded up Communies from a handful of different terminals and headed out to Glendale together. (Shout out to the SuperShuttle and the family we rode with. Sorry we talked about the finer points of the Mindy backdoor episode the entire ride.) After the obligatory In-N-Out meal and gas station wine run, our first show-related act as a unified fandom was to take on a Community trivia that just happened to fall on the same weekend. I was ready to back out when I learned that the cafe hosting us didn’t have a liquor license. (Whoever heard of a dry trivia? That’s on par with a dry wedding. Why do you hate your friends?) But Kim had already sorted us neatly into cars (Monica), so fine.

Team Precocious Little Bitches reporting for duty.

Team Precocious Little Bitches reporting for duty.

Precocious Little Bitches wasn’t just a name, it was an attitude.  Being a trivia host myself, I firmly believe a) that the job of the host isn’t to show off his own obscure knowledge but to facilitate fun-times and friendly competition, and b) that anyone who carefully watches a show should do reasonably well on that show’s trivia, even if they don’t spend their spare time scouring the IMDB pages of anyone who’s ever been involved with it. So maybe we were a little vocal about calling bullshit on a whole round on the cast’s various connections to obscure horror movies. While our wife-friends trounced the rest of the competition and walked away with some extra-rare crew hoodies, we were given prizes by the hosts, I swear to god,  just for complaining. (Those guys were total sports.) “Don’t be so negative!” you might say. But I didn’t get this Joel McHale-signed “Modern Warfare” script for being a positive person, so.

modern warfare talk about luck

CommuniCon officially kicked off the next morning. When we hit registration to get our badges, we were each handed a swag bag from Yahoo Screen. The streaming service saved the show after its cancellation by NBC and has already been treating Community like the asset it is. From SDCC to NYCC and all the internet in between, we’ve seen Yahoo reaching Community fans and would-be fans where they live – the nerdiest reaches of the culture. It almost goes without saying that NBC never showed its network-y face at any CommuniCon event. Yahoo Screen was there with us all weekend, recording panels, engaging with the fandom, and making sure we all had our official Greendale student IDs.

Also there all weekend: CON RIBBONS. We borrowed stole this idea from Gallifrey One and it’s a keeper. Dozens of CommuniCon attendees jumped on board and had their pre-ordered ribbons ready to trade. A few of our favorites:

  • “It’s like a thought with another thought’s hat on.”
  • “Oh, the Koog approves! That’s a five!”
  • “Lava Joust?”
  • “Technically Jeff, you ARE about to get screwed in the biology room.” (Kim’s)
  • “How long does peyote last? Just…asking for a friend.” (Mine)

After welcoming everyone, Gillian played for us what Kim and I consider our contribution to the con. The week before we left for LA, we saw Danny Pudi in the original musical Found Off-Broadway. We caught up with him at the stage door and talked showtunes and Community for a good while. He was so jazzed to hear that we were going to the Con and graciously (nay, enthusiastically) recording a greeting for us to take with us. He wants you all to know that he loves you a lot, and that musicals are more exhausting than sitcoms.

communicon no small parts

Vicki, Garrett and Dean Spreck

The very first panel of the con was a fan favorite: No Small Parts. The Community universe reaches far beyond the Greendale 7, and this hour gave us the chance to find out what it’s like to be a guest star, a recurring character, or even a stand-in. Our panelists were Erik Charles Nielsen (Garrett), Danielle Kaplowitz (Vicki), Brisco Diggs (Black Hitler and Donald’s stand-in), Jordan Black (Dean Spreck), Brady Novak (Richie), Dominik Musiol (Pavel), Deanna Moore (Alison Brie’s stand-in/photo double), and Ben Zelevansky (Postman).  We learned the Jordan doesn’t exactly watch the show – how very City College of him (“I told you I was going to come off as an asshole. You can relax, I already know.”); that Dominic spent 2.5 hours pouring water over Danny Pudi’s head to create Abed’s romantic ’80s movie moment; and that Deanna’s favorite moment on the show was getting to act with Alison Orphan Black-style in the Darkest Timeline episode. The actors hung way longer than they were supposed to in order to sign and take photos for everyone who wanted to meet them. The Meet & Greet line uncovered a few more revelations: my favorites being that Ben also played the ranger who asks to see Ron Swanson’s permit for roasting an entire pig in a park (“This just says, ‘I can do what I want.'”) and that this very blog is one of the top 10 Google results for Erik’s name. (It’s cool, Erik. We all Google ourselves from time to time. Also, IF YOU ARE READING THIS, HI. YOU ARE GREAT.) You can watch the entire conversation online at Yahoo Screen (our favorite streaming service EVER) even though Charley Koontz (Neil) is making that CSI money now and is too famous for us.

communicon no small parts collage

At any given break, you could find us buying up Artists Alley. My own haul included a gorgeous set of paintball postcards, a PayDean button, framed Brittabot print, and an activity book and one-of-a-kind commission from THE Julieta Colas. My only request was “something Jeff/Britta” and THIS is what she handed me.

communicon julieta jeff britta

…how?

From small parts to smaller on the outside telephone boxes, we rolled right into the Inspector Spacetime panel. Travis Richey and the gang were there to clue us in to their progress on the crowd-funded Untitled Motion Picture About a Space Traveler Who Can Also Travel Through Time. Honestly, the work so far looks impressive and expensive. The Spacetime team were adamant that they approach their Inspector spin-offs as high-quality standalone stories. And that’s why they were able to court Star Trek‘s Robert Picardo and Seventh Doctor Sylvester McCoy, both of whom contributed painfully adorable videos to the fundraising campaign. Check those sweet old motherfuckers and the rest of the panel here.

inspector spacetime panel communicon

darsit wives communicon

DARSIT poses at the ready.

Since the Inspector’s panel led right into the annual CommuniCon costume contest, I should mention that Kim, myself, and our friends Mary and the Shannons had been, for the entire day, in full “Geothermal Escapism” mode. When the floor is hot lava, there’s nothing to do but Mad Max it out. We’d been plotting cosplay domination remotely for months. And even though we lost our Abed, we made quite the BAMF study group when we were finally together. (Kim: I was the first member of our group to make an appearance on the con floor that morning, and BOY did I make an entrance.  Everyone was lined up to register, and I was one of the first cosplayers there, so I was met with raucous applause.  “WELCOME TO SHIRLEY ISLAND BITCHES!” I declared, because all I need in life is for people to applaud me where ever I go.)

communicon modern warfare cosplay

To those looking to achieve my Britta hair: Sleep in foam spiral rollers, stick a thousand bobbie pins into your skull, and attack that shit with an entire can of hairspray.

Because Kim has fancy staff privileges, she had also had intel on a couple of surprise judges. Gillian Jacobs and Yvette Nicole Brown became three-time CommuniCon veterans that weekend and we love them for it. They both thanked us all for staying so passionate and Yahoo Screen for believing in the show. And Yvette went on to assure us (to huge applause) that even though her family concerns prevent her from being a part of the cast, she will always be a part of the family, on social media and everywhere else. After bemoaning the lack of Shirley cosplayers last year, Yvette geeked out over Kim’s Shirley Island outfit in the green room (Kim: I had tweeted Yvette a picture of my costume earlier in the day (as I was super proud of it)and she flipped out over it.  I popped into the green room not long after she and Gillian arrived, and Yvette FREAKED OUT over seeing my costume in person.  “It’s YOU!!” she exclaimed.  “THIS is how you cosplay!  You have just made my life today!”  She also offered her condolences to the teddy bear I had beheaded the night before to make my scepter. Honestly, I don’t know how I didn’t burst into tears.)  Because people listen to Yvette Nicole Brown (and also because she made no bones about being a biased judge),  there was also small parade of Shirleys in the costume contest finals. (Glinda Shirley, Sam Jackson Shirley, Security Shirley, etc.) So well done on all of us for making Yvette feel loved and appreciated.

Shirley and Shirley

Shirley and Shirley

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“Kick Ass, Totally Unrelenting, Utterly Heartbreaking.” – NYCC 2014, Day 3

Genuine "We just snuggled Stephen Amell" faces

Genuine “We just snuggled Stephen Amell” faces

Posted by Kim and Sage

Kim:

You know those times when you are about two-thirds the way through your workout and your body tells you that you can’t go on any longer?  You are sweaty, your feet are killing you, you’re cranky, and you’ve had it up to HERE with everything…you are thisclose to quitting.  But then…you magically get a burst of energy.  You no longer feel any pain and you think “What was I complaining about??  Not only is this easy, I LOVE IT.”

That, my friends, is Day Three of New York Comic-Con.

Saturday is always a banner day at NYCC and we had big plans…most of which revolved around what has to be considered the premiere panel of the convention…The Walking Dead.  In NYCC 2013, I had to convince Sage we needed to stay in the room for this panel, which was her very first experience with the show.  Now it’s 2014, she’s all caught up and having a lot of feelings about Rick Grimes and Daryl Dixon.  What a difference a year makes.  In the weeks leading up to NYCC, we made all our best efforts to procure reserved seating so that we could avoid sitting in line all day.  We emailed publicists, network executives…anyone we could think of that could possibly get us in (We’re just two girls with a dream, y’all).  When our efforts to dodge the system failed, we resigned ourselves to the fact that we were going to have to get up incredibly early and get to the Javits right when it opened, so we could make the sprint to the queue hall.  Oh boy…it was going to be a long day.

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At the front of the queue, waiting for my wristband.

Because of a miscommunication that was probably my fault, Sage and I arrived at the Javits at different times.  I got into the queue hall first and secured my place in the panel by 8:05.  I sat and watched more and more people stream in, anxiously awaiting Sage’s arrival as the chute for the panel got fuller and fuller.  I had always been under the impression that it would take minutes for the queue to fill, so I kept texting Sage on her walk over.  (“KIM! You’re stressing me out!! And you said 8:30!”) (I did, I’m the worst) Bad form to do that before coffee kicks in.  Thankfully Sage made it into the queue in the nick of time.  The line for the panel was capped by 8:50…and we were in.

Wristbands were handed out starting at 10.  Die-hard fans (like several of our group of Twitter friends) then settled in for the long haul wait until the panel began 5 and a half hours later.  However, because we are dedicated to bringing you as much coverage from the Con as possible (and because we REALLY trusted Sage’s zoom lens) (and we had a photo-op with TV Mouse Kelly at 12:15), we opted to leave the line and hit the floor for a while.  Not long after we got up there, a tween came up to Sage and eagerly said “Are you going to use your Walking Dead wristband?”

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

Yes, we sat in line for 2 hours for our health.

After the floor, we decided to hit the Wikia “Fantasy Food” panel, because talking about all the food you read about in Harry Potter or see in Adventure Time is a brilliant idea when you’ve been subsisting on con food and trail mix for three days.  While we weren’t familiar with many of the video games and animated series mentioned on this panel, it was a delight hearing a detailed dialogue on exactly WHAT we think Lembas Bread (“One bite can fill the stomach of a grown man!” “How many did you eat?” “Four.”) would taste like.

After that, it was time to meet up with Kelly for our photo op…take it away Sage.

OT3 + Hair Queen

OT3 + Hair Queen

Sage:

– When Alex Kingston, aka River Song, aka Dr. Alex Corday, aka Hair Queen of us all was added back into the schedule, we knew we had to make time to meet her. We’re quickly making our way through the cast of New Who can usually cross one or two off at every Con we go to. (Honorary New Yorker Arthur Darvill was photographing all weekend too, but we’re lucky enough that he is old news – in the very best way. Thanks, Once on Broadway!) As we were ushered into the curtained room where Alex was meeting fans, we caught our first up-close glimpse of “the best hair on television” (copyright Kelly). Please keep in mind that it was pouring that entire morning, yet Alex’s coif remains immaculate and frizz-free. It’s witchcraft. Immediately after the hair, we noticed that Alex was basically cosplaying River. And cosplaying River in a skirt that, for all the world, looked inspired by Ten’s pinstripe suit. The lady knows her audience. Kim and I told her how fabulous she was in Macbeth at the Park Avenue Armory, and I think Kelly acknowledged that Alex is her hair idol. When I uploaded the picture, Facebook’s face recognition assumed that Alex was Kelly. I told her and I don’t think she’ll ever need another compliment ever again.

Kim:

Once we recovered from meeting River Song, we grabbed lunch from the Korilla BBQ truck and then made our way back to the queue line for The Walking Dead.  But not before stopping these guys…Thanks again to Yahoo for their tireless promotion of Community.  SIX SEASONS AND A MOVIE.

You're already accepted.

You’re already accepted.

Remember how I said in the intro there always comes a time where you think you are ready to quit?  That moment came for me and Sage while we were waiting in line for The Walking Dead panel.  Now, we critique because we care, NYCC.  You’re wonderful, we love you, we want to LIVE in you for all times…but you’ve GOT to do something about educating your staff.

I get that most of the NYCC staff are volunteers.  They work hard dealing with slews of nerds who expect the very best of everything.  I don’t envy their jobs.  But I sincerely wish that NYCC would thoroughly educate these people.  I ran into it a little bit yesterday when my phone was missing, and I asked no less than 5 Crew Members, who all stared at me dumbfounded, where the lost and found was located.  One even pulled out the very guidebook that was in my bag (and the one ironically covering my phone in the Mary Sue Lounge) and started thumbing through it for answers.  God forbid it had been an ACTUAL emergency, because I would have been screwed.  The same thing applied to the crew members monitoring the Walking Dead line.  One minute everyone was sitting comfortably spread out, the next minute one Crew Member took it upon herself to “move everyone back” because inexplicably the people who had been sitting there all day suddenly had no room.  The minute some of us moved back, people behind us raced forward to take our spots, which lead to everyone STAUNCHLY ignoring this crew member and her (unamplified) shouting.  10 minutes later, even though there were almost two hours to go before the panel, the crew made everyone move up, packing us in like sardines, as they cut off half of the chute.  5 minutes later, they tried to move us back again…which everyone ignored.  10 minutes later, they packed us in even tighter, leaving NO ONE any room to sit comfortably.

It was in those two hours that I hit my breaking point.  I was miserable, I was exhausted, I was uncomfortable.  I hated everyone and everything around me except for Sage.  I was ready to say fuck it all, NEVER AGAIN Comic-Con.  My mind, body, and spirit were broken.  Soon, they were inching us all forward to load into the hall.  It was a little scary, since we were all packed in so tightly.  I kept joking that we were being led to the boxcar in Terminus.  Everyone around me agreed.  We finally FINALLY completely understood what Rick Grimes meant when he said “They’re screwing with the wrong people.”  We were mutinous.  And then…we got into the room, and that’s when everything changed.

"I TOTALLY know what's going on and I'm SUPER excited."

“I TOTALLY know what’s going on and I’m SUPER excited.”

Sage:

– Last year, I sat through The Walking Dead panel having seen not one full minute of the entire series. But the cast was charming and Yvette Nicole Brown was a marvelous moderator. Despite being spoiled for most of the deaths though the end of season 3, I regret nothing. Cut to yesterday and me, sweaty and panting in the Javits Queue Hall, sporting a Daryl Dixon tee and celebrating my guaranteed seat in the panel. Surprise: I like another thing!

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– Chris Hardwick moderated the panel, of course. Like Yvette, Chris is a massive fan of the show (“I have to watch the episode early in the day so I can process my feelings before Talking Dead. I feel like I have to be strong for you guys.”) and knows how to run a panel. And he’s practically an annex member of The Walking Dead at this point – everyone is comfortable with him.

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Scott Gimple, Robert Kirkman, Gale Ann Hurd, and Greg Nicotero

– We got an exclusive look at the first four minutes of the season five premiere and HO-LY SHIT. Hope no one’s planning on breathing at any point tonight. When asked to describe the entire season in a few words, Gale gave us the phrase that struck fear into our hearts and had to be this post’s title: “Kick ass. Totally unrelenting. Utterly heartbreaking.” Super.

But first, lemme take a selfie.

But first, lemme take a selfie.

– Of the cast, we had Andrew Lincoln (stubbly and FINE), Steven Yeun, Lauren Cohan, Michael Cudlitz, Melissa McBride, Chad Coleman, Sonequa Martin-Green, Danai Guirra, and Norman Reedus. No Emily Kinney to the chagrin of Bethyl fans and Sheriff Beth Green in general.

– Let’s enjoy some photos of the beautiful people.

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“Are You Drunk Already?” – NYCC 2014, Day 2

CHAMPIONS

CHAMPIONS

Posted by Kim and Sage

Sage:

We’re running on little to no sleep. We’re already planning the yoga/massages/full on spinal realignment we’ll be getting after this thing is over. And Kim clued me in yesterday to a handy little tip: preemptively pop the Advil. Your lower back will thank you. Those concrete Javits center floors are unforgiving.  (Kim checked her iPhone fitness tracker last night and it showed that we walked 6.8 miles yesterday.  No wonder our feet hurt.)

But I took the subway into the city in full Peter Quill cosplay yesterday morning while everyone else was commuting in for work, so who can complain? Comic Con is a marathon, not a sprint. And we’ll sleep when we’re dead. DAY TWO.

– Entry was considerably more organized on Friday morning, so points for improvement. Without a main stage panel on our must-list, we were spared the Queue Hall lines for a day. Instead, Kelly (the TV Mouse), Kim, and I walked the floor, pretending to look at merch but actually mentally preparing to be in the presence of Gillian Anderson, whose autograph session we were heading to later. We failed.

We did snag this variant cover of the FIRST Sleepy Hollow comic ever though.

We did snag this variant cover of the FIRST Sleepy Hollow comic ever though.

– We’d all wracked our brains to come up with the perfect item for Gillian to sign. The price of the autograph usually includes a nice glossy photo for those who haven’t come with anything from home. And of course Gillian’s table had some gorgeous shots (including my personal favorite: Bedelia and her wine), but glossy 8×10’s are for amateurs. Kelly brought a “Mulder, It’s Me” print; Kim brought a gorgeous Mulder and Scully fan art; and I brought the “I Want To Believe” poster I’ve had since I was 14 years old. It was literally the first thing I ever ordered from the internet.

We are not ready/worthy.

We are not ready/worthy.

– She looked stunning, obviously, and was poised, relaxed, and friendly. Rules are strict about photos in the autograph line, but that’s alright. We each had our moment. Kim told Gillian about the X-Files license plate she had in college; I told her she was fabulous in Streetcar (AS IF SHE DOESN’T KNOW) and asked her if they were bringing it to New York (“We’re trying!”) But new X-Files convert Kelly maybe won this session. Because Gillian signed her “Mulder, it’s me.” print like so:

Mulder, it’s me.

-Scully.

aka

Gillian Anderson

By the way, if you haven’t checked out Kelly’s “Times Mulder and Scully Should Have Made Out This Week” posts, you must. I’ve been eagerly anticipating them every week, because I enjoy watching my friends fall apart in real time over the ship-of-all-ships.

– The temporary barricades in the Javits are the opposite of sturdy, so they hit the ground all the time. (And everyone cheers, like in high school when people dropped chairs in the cafeteria.) Anyway, a showboater tried to swoop under the barricade to join Gillian’s line. As soon as he grabbed the pole, it went down and so did he. Apparently Gillian’s response was “Are you drunk already?”, which Kelly and Kim failed to tell me until the end of the day. We are no longer speaking.

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– Then it was back to the floor. Thursday was busier than ever this year, but Friday felt like the real kick-off of the Con. The Exhibitors hall was packed with cosplayers, us among them. Kim got lots of love for her “Fires of Pompeii Donna Noble” (and should seriously consider going red for a while); Kelly was a screen-accurate River Song; and, going rogue and deviating from the Who theme, I went for a femme-y Star Lord. It’s ironic, because neither Donna nor River would stand for any of Peter’s nonsense. Imagine River and Star Lord in the same room though. The flirting. The galaxy can’t even handle them right now.

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– And now, a Day 2 cosplay photo dump!

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BABY IRON MAN

If you've failed this city, look out.

If you’ve failed this city, look out.

Tragedy strikes NYCC.

Tragedy strikes NYCC.

 

Consider this my missed connections post, because I think this Chris Pratt lookalike and I need to get married yesterday.

Consider this my missed connections post, because I think this Chris Pratt lookalike and I need to get married yesterday.

One of the little boys in the picture asked to touch Khaleesi's dragon and she said, "Yes. Because you asked." #cosplayisnotconsent

One of the little boys in the picture asked to touch Khaleesi’s dragon and she said, “Yes. Because you asked.” #cosplayisnotconsent

BENDER

BENDER

An excellent Bob Belcher

An excellent Bob Belcher

– After a refuel in the food truck lot (yesterday, Greek), we went searching for The Mary Sue lounge. I’d gotten the scoop from a Mary Sue editor that the lounge was relatively chill and not at all busy, unlike the Press Lounge which is a little more frantic this year. It’s kind of a heavenly respite. There are bean bag chairs, charging stations, a reading nook, free wi-fi, and CRAFTS.

Let me tell you how soothing it was to just sit and color for 15 minutes.

Let me tell you how soothing it was to just sit and color for 15 minutes.

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In Appreciation of Shirley Bennett

Posted by Kim

As the work day dwindled to an end on Monday, September 29th, I was doing my standard last check-in with Twitter before leaving the office, when the news broke that Yvette Nicole Brown had asked to be released from her contract for the sixth season of Community.  It feels like a massive blow to the show and the fandom (as Yvette was always the most accessible cast member on Twitter), as we are now down to the Greendale Four, having lost Donald Glover and Chevy Chase in season five. My initial response to the news was an Annie Edison style “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!”…until I finished the article and learned that she was leaving the show in order to be able to spend time with her ailing father.  While I hate that she is leaving, she has nothing but my respect for making what I am sure was an incredibly difficult choice.  Shirley can’t be replaced and Community won’t be the same without her.  Many fans expressed their displeasure that Community is a completely different show now from when it started.  Why should we even watch season six now when the ensemble is a shadow of what it used to be?   My feelings are this: things change and evolve all the time.  I’m with this show until the bloody end.  I have fought hard for it and I’m going to keep watching.  Because that’s what Shirley Bennett would do.

This, however, is not a time to mourn, my friends.  It is time to CELEBRATE the wonderful things that Shirley Bennett brought to Greendale and to be thankful for all the gifts that Yvette Nicole Brown gave us over the course of five seasons (and a movie, cause that’s happening).  Thus I give you my top ten reasons Shirley Bennett has my heart forever.

1) Her Catchphrase

Thanks to Shirley, there is no way I can say “That’s nice” unless it’s in Shirley voice.  My favorite thing about “That’s Nice” is all the way Shirley uses it.  She says “That’s Nice!” when she is delighted by something (after Jeff mentions Jesus as a winning point in “Debate 109”), she says “That’s nice!” when something truly IS nice (when Jeff pronounced them a Community in the pilot”), she says “That’s nice” snidely to Britta when the hitchhiker they picked up starts talking about Jesus.  It’s a truly universal catchphrase, as evidenced by the super-cut embedded below.

All together now…”THAT’S NICE!!!”

2) Her Miss Piggy Voice

Errrmmmm…I mean her sexy voice for Andre.

3) Her Thinly Veiled Rage Issues

“And Shirley, Shirley has earned our respect. Not as a wife, not as a mother, but as a woman. Don’t test her on that, because that thing about the jukebox was too specific to be improvised.” –Jeff Winger, “Pilot”

My favorite thing about Shirley is that beneath all the sweetness and light and goodness that she constantly projects to the world is a tough bitch who WILL cut you if you get in her way.  Yvette Nicole Brown played with  this dynamic beautifully as she would drop her voice an octave or two whenever Shirley’s rage came bubbling to the surface.  You KNOW you are in trouble when you get the deep voice.

“All of your fake sweetness and religion is just a veil covering a horrible monster!” –Jeff Winger, “Foosball and Nocturnal Vigilantism”

4) She Took Jeff Winger To Tinkle Town

 

“Foosball and Nocturnal Vigilantism” is one of my favorite episodes because it is a wonderful showcase for Yvette and because it explores the Jeff and Shirley dynamic.  Jeff and Shirley never would have been friends had Jeff not accidentally formed a Spanish Study Group as a means to get into Britta Perry’s pants.  Even then, Jeff was often dismissive of her, writing her off as just a mom who he had little in common with except for school and various Study Group adventures.  You never got the idea that he valued her as a person…until a foosball grudge match happened.

Jeff: Shirley, I’m gonna be perfectly blunt with you. The few times that you’ve been a little bad are the times I’ve liked you most.

Shirley: Really?

Jeff: Remember making fun of Britta’s boyfriend’s tiny nipples?

Shirley: Oh, yeah, they were tiny.

Jeff: Remember what you did to Pierce’s hoagie? That was so disturbing, I almost proposed on the spot.

I think I actually seal-clapped the moment Shirley showed up to school Jeff in her foosball moves.  Yvette’s performance is perfect and her delivery of “You don’t know me” encompasses everything that Shirley is about.  Shirley just wants to be valued and seen for more than she appears to be on the surface.  Yes, she is a mother and a wife and a Christian…but she is also ruthless and cutthroat.  She’s Big Cheddar and she WILL put your ass back on the train to Tinkle Town.

And of course, once Jeff and Shirley discovered their shared history of Big Cheddar and Tinkle Town the only thing they COULD do was have a screaming match until they burst into Anime.  As you do.

Shirley: This game is all I had.
Jeff: It’s all I had.
Shirley: Well, that’s stupid.  You’re a perfectly fine person.
Jeff: So are you.
Shirley: Thank you.
Jeff: You’re welcome.
Shirley: I’m sorry, Jeff.
Jeff: You don’t have anything to be sorry for, Shirley.

The core message of Community is the need to look past first impressions and surface levels and see a person’s true worth.  Jeff is not just the smooth talking and vain lawyer that he purports himself to be…he’s also a deeply wounded man who covers up his insecurities with sarcasm and over inflated ego.  Shirley is more than a mild-mannered and devoutly religious mother…she’s a woman who dealt with being smacked with the awkward stick when she hit puberty by bullying others.  It’s, as Dan Harmon put it at CommuniCon 2, about embracing all aspects of humanity.  That’s what Jeff and Shirley do in this episode and their relationship is forever changed after their foosball adventure.  They both see each other TRULY for the first time and they discover that not only do they like what they see, but they have much more in common than they originally thought.  My head canon is that after this, Jeff and Shirley would have a monthly date at Senor Kevin’s for margaritas and trash talking.  You can’t tell me anything different.

5) Her Determination

When we first meet Shirley, she’s a single mother (recently divorced after her husband cheated on her with a stripper) who has enrolled in Community College in hopes of obtaining a business degree so she can support her boys.  She’s beaten down, shy, and lacks confidence in herself and in others.  My favorite thing about Shirley’s arc over the course of the series is how she grew into being a confident and polished business woman while remaining steadfast in her character.  While Shirley’s journey may have started because of her boys, it ultimately became a journey of self discovery and finding the potential that she had always been capable of.

Preach.

One of the most heart warming moments of season one is when Shirley enlisted Pierce to help her in her presentation for business class (which kicked off a long running theme of Shirley and Pierce working together).  Pierce was really the first one to see the value in Shirley (be it her sexual power over him or what) and it was really wonderful to see him encouraging her to be the best person she could be and helping her find the courage to do exactly that.  If you heart didn’t soar when she froze in her presentation, only to then find her way once she looked at Pierce in the audience, then you may need to get your feels checked.  While he may have enjoyed sexually harassing Shirley (and partly I think he did it because he KNEW he irritated her and that’s how Pierce liked to get attention), Pierce always RESPECTED Shirley and her character, as we saw in his final words to her (which may or may not have left me sobbing on my couch)…

Once Shirley discovered her potential and business smarts, there was no turning back for her.  She found her backbone and she found her self-worth at Greendale, and once she found it she wasn’t giving it up.  Season Three Shirley was a completely different person than Season One Shirley, as evidenced by her exchange with Andre at their second wedding:

Shirley: The person you’re making promises to is going to change. You have to accept that.
Andre: I do. But do you promise to be patient when that person’s stereo business takes a little while to get off the ground?
Shirley: I do, but do you accept that ten years is more than ‘a little while’ and iPods aren’t going away and maybe it’s time to let somebody else take the lead?

That’s a woman who knows her value right there and knows that she deserves to be taken seriously. FOUR FOR YOU, SHIRLEY BENNETT.

(I’m totally ignoring the whole Season Five “Andre left me because I was too devoted to my business” story because I want more than that for Shirley and I thought that was crap and lazy writing.  SORRY NOT SORRY.)

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