“It’s just fashion, it’s supposed to be fun.” – Golden Globes 2017

Posted by Maggie

And we’re back! I really missed red carpets, guys. I read Anna Kendrick’s new book, Scrappy Little Nobody, over Christmas break and her section on Hollywood turned out to be the perfect warmup for the season. It was interesting to read about her evolving relationship with fashion, from freely exploring it to using it as a weapon to acquiring professional know-how. I love behind-the-scenes tidbits about working with stylists and the reality of attending an award show. (Read this excerpt, you’ll be hooked.) And she’s right: It’s just fashion, it’s supposed to be fun. So thanks to Colin for the book and thanks to Anna for the insight and entertainment, I’m ready to get down to business, let’s have some fun. Two things to know: 1) I can’t cover someone if I don’t see them on the carpet or at the ceremony, seeing someone move in their outfit makes all the difference, and 2) as a form of self-care, I’ve decided to try to get through this season forgetting that Sofia Vergara exists.

BEST

Evan Rachel Wood

As I was getting ready to start the red carpet and take notes, I said to Colin “I hope Evan Rachel Wood wears menswear” AND SHE DID. This look was custom but it looks like literal MENSwear, and she’s wearing the hell out of it right down to the flared leg, my god. I know I say this every time but the men are always so boring, so she’ll have to be my fix until Harry Styles does the circuit next year for Dunkirk.

Ruth Negga

Ruth’s not messing around, you guys. This is to die for, easily one of the best metallics of the night. It’s so bold yet sleek? And I love the soft hair and makeup, which complement the gown beautifully.

Kristen Bell

Honestly, this is all I’ve ever needed from Kristen Bell. If her last award show red carpet gown had a bit of a Disney princess feel, then this is the villainess-inspired look and it is working for her. This is how to swerve instead of resting on pretty. It’s killer, right? Flattering as hell and on trend (sparkles, long sleeve) but the dramatic black sets her apart.

Felicity Jones

Controversial opinion time? I love this. I love the subtle mix of blush and bashful, the black detailing, the jeweled bow; and I think it’s styled to perfection. There were some looks last night that I thought had entirely too much going on, but this wasn’t one of them. Lovely.

Viola Davis

Much like Adrienne Maloof, I’m all about a one-shoulder. My only nitpick, as usual with vibrant yellow gowns, is where is my red lip?? Otherwise, this is beaded perfection.

Millie Bobby Brown 

I am so in love with this girl and her savage sparkles, you have no idea. I can’t imagine the challenge of finding something age appropriate for an event like this, but she nailed it. I would have liked to have seen a small earring and maybe sleeker shoes, but that’s the grown-up in me talking.

Thandie Newton

I love this classic white with a splash of fire, and I think Thandie’s sleek pony and backwards necklace are the perfect complement. This striking look wasn’t originally in my top ten, which doesn’t even make sense to me looking at it again now.

Natalie Portman

I went a little back and forth on this one — is it too costumey, is the accent beading working? But ultimately, it’s just so flattering on her and I don’t know how to quit this one. It’s demure, it’s unexpectedly modern, and how she’s pulling off that color I will never know, but she is.

Claire Foy

I’m not usually one for Erdem gowns, but this is very pretty (and reminiscent of Kate Bosworth from last year). The sleeves shouldn’t really work but somehow do and I love the overall shape of it. My jury is still out on the blue ribbon, it doesn’t ruin the look but I can’t tell if I actually like it.

Naomie Harris 

This is somehow both futuristic and elegant, and I love it. Again, there were so many metallics that standing out was a challenge but she pulled it off.

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“Who speaks for them?” – The X-Files Recap – Home Again

hi mom

The X-Files Season 10, Episode 4
“Home Again”
Posted by Sage

With apologies to the Peacock family and Johnny Mathis, the fourth episode of The X-Files revival is not a sequel to “Home,” the season 4 episode that shortened the lifespan of 9 of 10 Fox censors. At least not in the traditional sense. “Home Again” does happen to be set in Pennsylvania like the inbred horror show it shares half its name with, but far from the rural tranquility that murder spree interrupted. This episode brings Special Agents Mulder and Scully to West Philadelphia – thanks to Will Smith, known to all the world as an urban area with a high crime rate and a low average income. The disenfranchised are right there on every corner instead of tucked away in a crumbling farm house, out of sight and mind. The villains in this episode are the opportunists who make use of their plight, even if they’re not aware they’re doing it.

“Home Again” is a Glen Morgan story, and he directed it too. He’s another familiar name for fans, and comes to the revival with a heavy-hitting list of original series credits: “Never Again,” “Squeeze”/”Tooms,” “The Field Where I Died,” and yes, “Home” are among his greatest hits. His episodes run the gamut from tense, locked door thrillers (“Ice”) to some of the show’s most emotional hours so far (“One Breath.”) He does duty in a couple of genres in “Home Again”: A killer is targeting the scumbags behind a controversial homeless relocation program, and that has to be dealt with. Margaret Scully is also dying, and that has to be accepted.

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Man, I knew it was coming. I knew Maggie Scully was going to go to the lord this season, but I was not prepared. And neither was Dana. She gets the call from Bill (guess what, STILL A DICK) about her mother’s heart attack while she and Mulder are investigating the scene of the murder of one Joseph Cutler (Allessandro Juliani, also Sinclair from The 100!), the first known victim of the killer soon to be dubbed “The Trash Man.” The two stories play out concurrently: the race to catch the murderer before he kills again runs alongside Scully’s desperate bid to save her mother, and if she can’t, to understand her fully before she goes. Do these plots inform each other? Is there some symbolism in the Trash Man murders that’s mirrored in Maggie’s death? I don’t think the comparison is direct, but who ever promised that every tragedy of one’s life could be instantly understood and imbued with meaning? (Note: In his EW interview with our girl Kelly, Glen says that he would have liked to have had the room to do Maggie’s death and the Trash Man as separate episodes.)

This is one of those episodes where you can’t tell the bad guys apart without a program. Sinclair is a soulless vampire and probably an avid Trump supporter. (Prove me wrong.) When he cowers in fear to see the looming shadow outside of his dark office, he’s earned it. When the gargantuan killer rips him in half with his bare hands, it’s almost satisfying. Without knowing who the killer is or where he comes from, we know that this is not a random attack but some kind of vigilante justice. Mulder and Scully aren’t welcomed by the local police with open arms (“Wouldn’t be Philadelphia without a certain degree of confrontation.”), but it’s lucky for them that Fox Mulder sees the clues that no one else would notice. He takes note of the ominous mural of a tall, bald man on the building opposite Sinclair’s window. A review of the building’s security tapes shows that it wasn’t there before Cutler was killed. Are we in the middle of an X-Files/Don’t Eat The Pictures crossover? Because sign me the fuck up.

While Mulder is waiting for the local police to get him access to the roof of the mural building, he walks into an argument that seems ever so slightly inappropriate considering the head in the trashcan upstairs. Two suited individuals, a man and a woman, are tossing barbs at each other, both with the conviction of the righteous. “Whoa, you two married?” the agent asks. (Mulder, STOP.) This is Daryl Landry, one of Cutler’s colleagues and thus another businessman who wants the homeless hauled off and tucked away so the rest of the city can go on pretending they don’t exist. And this is Nancy Huff, school board president and, in her mind, comparatively Mother Theresa, since she puts a hairnet over her $200 haircut once a year to serve the homeless Thanksgiving dinner. (Mulder: “Oh! Buuuuutttt….” GOD LOVE HIM.) Mulder doesn’t have any friends besides Scully because the Lone Gunmen are dead (or are they?) and because he has a talent for cutting through people’s bullshit and confronting them with the exact thing they don’t want to hear. “I hear you speaking for them, but really speaking for yourself. And I hear you speaking for them, but really speaking for yourself. What I don’t hear is who speaks for them.” Truth bomb dropped, Mulder turns his attention to a cryptic fellow leaning against a dumpster opposite them. The Band-Aid Nose Man speaks for them, the fellow says. Mulder thinks of the band-aid he found on the sole on his shoe outside Cutler’s office. And the hangman mural is gone.

Meanwhile, saint, queen, angel-among-us Dana Scully is alone at her mother’s bedside in DC. A nurse tells her that Maggie became cognizant for a few moments; all she asked for was Charlie, her estranged son. (The why and the since when, we don’t find out. Charlie was never much of a presence on the show, nor was a rift presented in the first nine seasons.) Scully is baffled. Like I mentioned above, Glen Morgan also penned “One Breath” – the conclusion of the Gillian Anderson maternity leave Dana Scully abduction arc. Maggie and Dana’s roles are reversed now. It’s Dana who holds her mother’s hand and speaks to her, with the benefit of knowing firsthand that her words can reach the plane where Maggie now resides.”I’m here. I’ve been where you are. I know Ahab is there. And Melissa. And Mom, I’m here. Bill Jr.’s here, and William. William’s here. And Charlie is here. Please Mom, don’t go home yet. I need you.” The “William is here” killed me, because it shows that Scully has never and will never give up hope of finding her son. And the sheer possibility of that should beckon Maggie back too.

As if the parallels weren’t already raw enough for Philes like me, Glen actually gives us a “One Breath” flashback. Scully remembers how Mulder chose to be with her over possibly taking down the men who put her in that condition in the first place. (And who most certainly could have led him to more of the answers he was looking for.) It’s a huge relationship moment for them, and she remembers it as the first proof that she means more to Mulder than unraveling any conspiracy. “I feel, Scully, that you believe you’re not ready to go,” he’d said. “And you’ve always had the strength of your beliefs.” Scully is confident that she knows what her mother is feeling as well. Maggie had told Dana after her abduction that she did not want to be taken off life support should she end up in a similar state. But her faith starts to crack when she finds an unfamiliar quarter on a chain among her mother’s things. What meaning does it hold? Why hasn’t Scully seen it before? She watches the patient in the next bed code, die, and be bagged by orderlies. The nurse returns to tell Scully that her mother signed a Do-Not-Resuscitate order the previous year, and the document was witnessed by two former naval officers. Everything Scully knows about her mother tells her that this can’t be right, but yet it is. What happened? What changed her mother’s heart so completely? The idea that Scully will never know – that Maggie didn’t choose to share this with her – scares her to death.

Mulder has one urgent task to take care of before he can go emotionally support his wife. The lab tech who tests the band-aid from Mulder’s shoe is perplexed by the results. There’s no inorganic or organic material on it, even though it looks like it’s been used, and heavily. Meanwhile, the mural didn’t disappear into thin air as we supposed. It was stolen by two street art thieves, who think they’re sooooo tricky. The men hijack art that’s meant for public consumption, turning it over to an establishment that upholds the elitism of the industry. “We should go to Sotheby’s on this,” one says to the other. When he returns from listing the piece, he finds a blank wall (well, almost blank – there’s the blood) and his colleague in the same condition as Sinclair. He meets his fate too. This time, the artist (or art itself) signs the piece before dragging his trophies out to his waiting garbage truck: “Trash Man.”

im here im here 2
Isn’t exactly like Mulder to show up just in time? He calls from outside the ward as Scully’s having one of the worst conversations of her life: discussing Maggie’s extubation with her doctor. She’s been handling this on her own like a champ, and she looks so relieved to see him. Scully has always been strong, but she learned over the course of the series that it’s not weakness to let someone tend to her emotional needs. Mulder isn’t going to know what Maggie was thinking. He’s not going to fix everything just by being there. But he’ll sit with Scully and listen, and hold her when she needs to cry. He even says at one point that he should probably leave, because there’s still an arm-ripping mutant out there. But then he doesn’t. How can he? (RIP Nancy Huff with her stupidly opulent Bucks County house, her K-Cup trolley, and her probiotic yogurt.)

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“This is how I like my Mulder.” – The X-Files Recap – Mulder & Scully Meet the Were-Monster

The X-Files Season 10, Episode 3
“Mulder & Scully Meet the Were-Monster” 

Posted by Kim

When The X-Files revival was initially announced, I was beside myself with excitement (naturally). When the news broke that Darin Morgan would be returning to pen an episode, I sat straight up and said “Oh, they are SERIOUS about this.” It’s funny how large Darin’s presence looms over the early years of The X-Files, especially when you consider the fact that he only wrote four episodes (and acted in two). But WHAT a four episodes though! All of them are beloved. There’s “Humbug”, which was the first time the show expanded into dark comedy (Scully eating a grasshopper and Mulder’s Adonis shot forever remain favorite moments). “War of the Coprophages” is a personal favorite of mine, from Mulder and Scully’s late night phone banter to the way it pokes fun at mass hysteria.  But the two episodes he’s best known for are the wickedly satirical “Jose Chung’s From Outer Space” and the witty but beautifully melancholic “Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose”, which won him an Emmy. (It also earned him the #4 slot on our Best X-Files Episodes of all time, which is the bigger honor, TBH.) “Mulder & Scully Meet the Were-Monster” combines the satire and meta of “Jose Chung” with the melancholic exploration of the human condition of “Clyde” and adds a dash of the wicked humor of Vince Gilligan’s (whose style Darin definitely influenced) “Bad Blood”. It’s a love letter to The X-Files, littered with Easter Eggs for long time Philes. Basically, it’s perfect.  As Alan Sepinwall said in his review, the rest of the revival could suck and it would be okay because we got this episode.

(I mean…I would not be okay with the rest of the revival sucking, but I understand Alan’s point.)

In her recap of “Founder’s Mutation”, Sage talked about how The X-Files pioneered the use of the cold open and I have to agree with her (shocker). What I love about the cold opens is that they IMMEDIATELY set the tone for the episode and you knew what you were going to get. Shady men doing shady things? Mythology episode Midnight in the woods with ordinary people? Monster episode. My cold open notes for “Were-Monster went a little like this: “Bad blood bad blood bad blood BAD BLOOD.” In our opinion (and Gillian Anderson’s), “Bad Blood” is the single greatest standalone episode of the series, so seeing parallels made me giddy. A pair of stoners (the SAME stoners from “Quagmire”, which Darin did uncredited work on. OH THE THINGS THESE TWO HAVE SEEN.) are huffing spray paint in the woods, because where else would you go? They share some deep thoughts under the full moon. Naturally they encounter what appears to be a monster when they stumble upon Kumail Nanjiani (living every Phile’s DREAM) wrestling with a lizard man who appears to be chomping at his neck. There’s already one dead body. “Dude!” the stoners exclaim. They may as well have said “Oh Shiiiiiiiiiiii….”. Let’s get it started, Mark Snow.

Then we get a classic Mulder/Scully office scene that speaks WAY more to Mulder’s current head space than “My Struggle” could have ever dreamed to. (No, I will not stop shading the characterizations in that episode.) Mulder is feeling disillusioned but it’s a real and relatable kind of disillusionment this time. He’s feeling old and he’s feeling irrelevant in the age where the internet debunks the conspiracies he spent years taking apart in a matter of minutes. (God, someone direct Mulder to Tumblr and the way the Larries debunk things in a matter of seconds. His head would explode…and then he would become one of them.) He’s questioning his life’s work and the monsters he’s always believed in. “I’m a middle-aged man, Scully.  It’s time to put away childish things,” he declares, throwing pencils into Scully’s shiny new “I want to believe” poster. (It’s okay to believe in monsters, Mulder. I’m a 30-something obsessed with boy band conspiracies. We all have our crosses to bear.) And what of Scully? I love how SHE is the one who bought the poster. (The way she says “What are you doing to MY poster?” gives me life.) SHE is the one who lovingly recreates their office, even though it’s 2016 and somehow that still doesn’t merit her having her own desk or a nameplate. (OKAY.) “We’ve been given another case, Mulder,” she says with a glorious smirk. “It has a monster in it.” I love the role reversal here. Normally, it would be Mulder cajoling a reluctant Scully to join him on yet another monster case (“I hope you brought your cowboy boots.”) but now it’s Scully.  I think it’s important to note here that Scully doesn’t suddenly believe in monsters. She makes that very clear later on in the episode. What she wants is for MULDER to believe in them.  She subtly (and not subtly) eggs him on both in the office and when they are investigating the crime scene in the woods and it’s so LOVING it physically hurts me. All she wants is for him to be happy and excited about life again. Everything she does in this episode undermines the whole “Scully leaves Mulder because of depression” story, but that’s none of my business.

The trail of the Were-Monster leads Mulder and Scully to an all night truck stop where a Transgender Hooker (because of course) narrowly avoided an attack by wielding her pocketbook (again because of course). Naturally, her description doesn’t match the drawing they have, lending further credence to Mulder’s “NONE OF THIS IS REAL” attitude. What I love about Darin Morgan’s stories is that he populates his universe with outlandish characters (the hooker, the shady hotel owner, the psychiatrist) that are silly on the surface but when combined they fully flesh out the world that he’s envisioned. (The “They think I’m on crack.” “Are you?” “YEAH.” exchange = comic gold.) Never ones to walk away from a scene, our heroes comb the truck stop hoping that the monster is still lurking about. They stumble upon Kumail’s Animal Control Officer (that’s two places he’s been where the monster was. FORESHADOWING.) and join forces with him casing the joint. (I imagine the moment Kumail got the script went something like this: *sees that he gets scenes with David and Gillian* “I need a moment.” *freaks out Laura Linney in Love Actually style* “Okay, I’m ready.”) They find a body with the same bite marks at the neck that previous victims had. Scully stays behind to examine the body whilst Mulder and Kumail pursue the monster. (Me: Of COURSE you stay behind, Scully. You’re going to miss it JUST LIKE ALWAYS.) Mulder tries to work a new camera app on his phone but can’t, proving he is old and out of touch. The camera keeps going off like Mulder is some sort of one man paparazzi and BOOM the monster crashes into them, knocking them to the ground as Mulder desperately tries to snap a picture. Kumail is like “Fuck this shit, I’m out.” as Scully gives Mulder the once-over, finding that he is covered in blood. Mulder declares (almost giddily) that it’s not his. The monster seemingly takes refuge in a port-a-potty but when Mulder and Scully bust the door open, they find an outraged New Zealander just trying to take a poop in peace. Of course, not all is what it seems, as we see horns popping out of the back of his head as Mulder and Scully walk away. We’ve got a shapeshifter on our hands, ladies and gents.

God, I loved everything about this autopsy scene. I love the way Mulder crowded Scully’s personal space and the way Scully allowed it. I love how Mulder pushed the phone into her face like a small child. I love the way Scully feigned annoyance with him while she barely surpressed her fondness. I love how Mulder tries to drop some science knowledge on Dana “What about the Science?” Scully. I love “Mulder, the internet is not good for you.” (Truer words have never been spoken.) I love how they bantered about the fact that the victim’s bite marks appeared to be human. (“So we’re looking for a man-sized horned lizard with human teeth?”) But what I loved the most about this scene was how it felt like Mulder and Scully were getting on the same page again, easily falling back into roles that they thought were long forgotten. “You’re enjoying this, aren’t you,” Mulder asks her with a sense of wonder. “Yeah, I am,” Scully replies simply. “I forgot how much fun these cases can be.” I LOVE how Scully lets that moment hang between them before she shoos Mulder off, telling him to go back to the hotel. (“Aaaaaahhhooooooo…we had some good times, didn’t we?” RIP ME.) It’s like she’s saying “Remember this? We can have this again if only you would let it happen.” I AM FINE, I SWEAR.

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“A mother never forgets.” – The X-Files Recap – Founder’s Mutation

flashlights

The X-Files Season 10, Episode 2
“Founder’s Mutation”
Posted by Sage

The critical buzz on The X-Files revival was mostly of the opinion that the quality jumped up several notches after the premiere. Not wanting to spoil the chance to watch brand new episodes live with friends and fandom, I ignored screener access to wait for broadcast, and put my faith in reviewers I trust. Kim’s reflections on “My Struggle” are almost identical to my own opinion, so I won’t bother reiterating them much beyond this: what a hot damn mess. But Fox scheduling did the revival a massive favor by putting the first two episodes on back-to-back nights. Best that the majority of the viewing public didn’t have a week to marinate on the shortfalls of the pilot, but were thrown right into a honest-to-god X-File. “Founder’s Mutation” turned me into a hyped-up NBA commentator, basically. “THAT’S WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT,” I believe I yelled at one point.

founders

“Founder’s Mutation” skipped past the paperwork and basement office renovations and caught up with a fully re-installed FBI Special Agents Mulder and Scully. But first, the cold open – a device that The X-Files was among the first network dramas to use efficiently and creatively. A Dr. Sanjay walks through the security check-point in the lobby of his workplace, Nugenics Technology. Things are not okay. There’s a piercing, dog-whistle sound in his ears and his eyes are bloodshot. He sits at the head of a boardroom table while a bland but reproachful middle-manager reams out Sanjay and the rest of his colleagues. “He sent a message this morning: do-over,” the man says. The message comes from a man usually referred to as “the founder” – a little theatrical for someone who claims to want his anonymity, but that’s just me. Sanjay looks over his shoulder out into the lawn outside the office park and sees that it’s nearly covered by gathering crows. (A murder of crows, if you will.) He stumbles abruptly out of the meeting and into a room lined with servers. Sanjay initiates a data transfer behind a locked door, but he never finishes it. While his colleagues bang on the glass separating him and them and the piercing noise still envelopes him, he falls to the ground, picks up a letter opener, and shoves it into his own brain. HIT IT, MARK SNOW.

Dr. Sanjay’s death is one of those cases that Mulder and Scully are assigned to by pure happy accident. No immediate X-File in the instance of the reclusive man with the high-stress job who had a breakdown and then killed himself. The FBI are investigating instead of the police because they have the security clearance, and Nugenics is in bed with the Department Of Defense. That clearance doesn’t get them permission to bag Sanjay’s hard drive and take it as evidence, nor are they afforded the chance to speak to Dr. Augustus Goldman aka the Founder aka Dr. Moreau. (That last one is mine.) But the good cop/kindergarten cop routine is still in Mulder and Scully’s repertoire, and watching Mulder slyly pocket Sanjay’s smartphone makes it feel like old times. Well, old times plus Siri.

old school

“He isn’t a victim, he killed himself.” “Then I’m sure he won’t mind me talking to some of his friends.”

A quick scan of Sanjay’s call history introduces a contact saved as Gupta; leading up to his breakdown, Sanjay was calling him nightly. Mulder arranges a meeting with the mystery man in a wood-paneled DC bar. It’s Vik Sahay from Chuck. (Rock on, Jeffster.) What follows is a Mulder snafu I’d be more apt to expect from Darin Morgan, a writer who (hopefully still) loves to poke fun at Fox’s outsider status. Informant-speak is vague and suggestive; it’s actually shocking that Mulder’s intent hasn’t been misconstrued before. The X-Files hasn’t always been the most sensitive or progressive show, but the joke is absolutely on Mulder here. Even when Gupta realizes that Mulder isn’t actually cruising him, he’s not embarrassed. (“When it comes down to it, you’re all repressed.” Ain’t it the truth, Gupta?)

the truth is in here

“Yeah, I’ve heard something like that.”

Gupta and Sanjay had had an ongoing sexual relationship that mellowed into a friendship. Basically, because Sanjay was living a closeted life in more ways than one, Gupta was the only witness to Sanjay’s downward spiral. He fielded phone calls from Sanjay where he fretted about “his kids,” an intriguing choice of words since the deceased was single and childless. Let’s take a moment to appreciate Gupta as a friend, though. He doesn’t make a star witness because he didn’t press Sanjay for information, just tried to listen. This brief look into the relationship between two people brings some much-needed humanity into this episode. So put that in your pocket, because it gets even rougher from here on out.

Meanwhile, Scully is back at home with her stiffs, doing an autopsy on Sanjay. She notices that there are words written on the corpse’s palm. She tells Mulder later that she had to break his fingers to be able to read them. And we get a nice visual of it, because these are the details that make The X-Files the nauseating horror-show that we love. The reminder or message is “Founder’s Mutation,” and that’s not the only strange piece of evidence Scully gathers from the body. An x-ray of Sanjay’s skull shows that the letter opener almost changed trajectory inside of his brain, plunging upwards and into his auditory cortex. About that ringing, then.

x-ray

The Special Agents drive their shiny new Ford (RIP Taurus) over to Sanjay’s secret residence, a spot that only Gupta knew about. Unlike his “antiseptic” public apartment, this one is a scrapbook of Sanjay’s project and secret obsession. One wall is wallpapered with photos of children with extreme physical abnormalities: his “kids.” Before Mulder and Scully can dig much deeper, the police arrive. Scully endeavors to prove the legitimacy of their presence to the responding officer, but Mulder is incapacitated. The same ringing that Sanjay heard sends him crumpling to the floor. He watches Scully and the officer talk, but the words he hears aren’t theirs. “Find her,” someone says. “Help me,” someone else answers.

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LOOK AT THE FEAR IN HER EYES. MSR isn’t dead, just limping a little.

When Mitch Pileggi announced his involvement in the revival on Twitter, he expressed his excitement at Skinner being back in the lives of “his two wayward kids.” If that isn’t the dynamic, though. So little has changed. The Assistant Director can still aim a withering glare across his desk to his two most troublesome reports. Mulder and Scully, both in their 50s, can look just as sheepish and defiant as they ever have. And there’s even a new shadowy figure serving as an unwelcome audience. The unnamed man – a minion of the DOD – snidely delivers the news that the Eugenics files that the agents took from Sanjay’s apartment are classified and cannot be used as evidence. Skinner backs him up; the case is officially closed….until the snooty DOD man leaves the room. (Hasn’t word gotten around Washington yet that Skinner is always, always on his favorite agents’ side? I guess that page got lost on the Hill.) “I assume you made copies,” Skinner offers. Of course they did. Scully isn’t convinced yet that Sanjay’s death was anything but a suicide, but these sinister genetic experiments must be scrutinized. Skin Man’s got their back. “The bureaucracy of the FBI has become increasingly complex and inefficient,” he explains, needlessly. “It might take days for your incident report in order to close the investigation to make it through the proper channels. Welcome back, you two.” #OT3Goals, as always.

The only lead left to follow lies with the elusive Augustus Goldman. Scully tells Mulder that she might have a way to get to the Founder, an understatement since he funds research at the same hospital where she worked for the past six years. A. Why is this just coming up now? B. Catholics are shady. The agents walk the halls of Our Lady Of Sorrows with a sketchy nun (Scully is deferential, Mulder is unimpressed), who talks about Goldman as if he’s the second coming of Christ himself. “A true champion of the unborn,” Sister Whatever The Fuck calls him, a descriptor usually aimed at 900-year-old Southern senators who think of birth control as Satan’s candy. The public facing side of Goldman’s research has him providing prenatal care to women whose fetuses have or will develop a deformity. Curiously, all of these women are alone; no baby daddies or family around to provide support. No population is more at risk in the world of The X-Files than mothers-to-be, and this ward stinks to high heaven of exploitation. Sketchy Nun buys Scully’s story about wanting to give Goldman a warning about being the target of an upcoming federal investigation (Mulder: “Obamacare.”), and goes to retrieve his contact information. Agnes, a wild-eyed waif of a pregnant girl (Abigail from Hannibal, always in danger), takes the opportunity to get the agents attention and begs for them to get her out. They ask if there’s something wrong with her baby, and she looks confused. “My baby?” She regrets her decision, she says, and Dr. Goldman is not “right.” A harsh look from returned Sketchy Nun silences her, but Mulder slips Agnes her card. “Men and their lies…no offense,” Sketchy Nun glances at Mulder. “Desire is the devil’s pitchfork.” Now is that a sensational name for a fic archive, or what?

hospital hospital 2
There’s some dark comedy in Sketchy Nun’s austere religiousness, but it also shows something fundamentally important about the setting Dr. Goldman (presumably Jewish, though we don’t know) chose for his research. The “ruined woman” is simultaneously a victim of male desire and weak and sinful due to her own. The Madonna/whore complex at work in this Catholic institution dehumanizes the women (girls, really) in the study just enough so that no one – until now – has bothered to looked closely at what’s happening to them. Goldman and his superiors are banking on them being completely forgotten.

In the parking lot of the hospital, Mulder and Scully reflect on what they’ve just seen. In typical bulldozing Mulder fashion, he begins to go off on the violation these women are experiencing, too keyed up to consider the feelings of the person in front of him.

Mulder:“The women are the incubators.”
Scully: “Is this what you believe happened to me 15 years ago? When I got pregnant? When I had my baby? Was I just an incubator?”

I AM REVIVED

I AM REVIVED

If this series is going to end with Mulder and Scully back together as a couple – and I believe it will – it will happen by way of them dealing with their baggage, together. William would be 15 years old now, Scully reminds Mulder, and you know that she tracks every single birthday he’s celebrating without her. (“A mother never forgets.”) She asks Mulder if he ever thinks about their son, and I had to sit with his answer for a while to make sense of it. “Yes, of course I do,” he says, “but I feel like I’ve had to put that behind me.” Well what a fucking LUXURY, Fox Mulder. Must be nice to compartmentalize your life like that. Fortunately for him, this BTS interview with writer James Wong came along right in time to save Mulder (at least a little) from my wrath.

Wong says that David actually added the “of course I do” to the line, to soften that dismissal. And the rest of his response? It’s self-preservation. Mulder knows where Scully is headed in her mind, and it’s straight to questioning herself and her love for her child. (Imagine how many times they had this same conversation in their little house.) The last few seasons of the original series had so much value that’s been overlooked over the years. The way that Mulder reacts to Scully’s decision to give William up is as moving as anything that’s ever happened on the show. Mulder loves his son as desperately as Scully does (let those fantasy sequences be proof for the doubters), but there was never any danger of him resenting her for what she did. He doesn’t even need to know the details that led to that choice. He trusts Scully always; he especially trusts his heart with her, and that’s what William is. Selfless as ever, Scully put their child before herself. She’s the one left with the most pain, and Mulder doesn’t want to see her adding incertitude to the constant agony of just missing him. It’s not fair.

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“Someone has to stop these sons of bitches.” – The X-Files Recap – My Struggle

The X-Files Season 10 (!!!!!!!!!!!), Episode 1
“My Struggle” 

Posted by Kim

Confession time. The first time I saw “My Struggle”, I was in a room with several thousand X-Philes at New York Comic Con. The energy in the room was ELECTRIC. It was Day Three of the Con and everyone was slightly delirious thanks to the combination of very little sleep, pop culture over-stimulation, and the fact that OMG WE WERE SEEING AN ACTUAL NEW EPISODE OF THE X-FILES AND GETTING TO TALK TO CHRIS CARTER, DAVID DUCHOVNY, AND MITCH PILEGGI AFTERWARDS. It was insane and I will NEVER forget that emotional high.  Between that high and the fact that my expectations for “My Struggle” had been drastically lowered thanks to the response from the TCAs, I walked away from the screening having thoroughly enjoyed the episode. Now that I have some distance, I can see “My Struggle” for what it is: a poorly written mess that banks on you being too excited to see Fox Mulder and Dana Scully on your screen to really care.

Don’t get me wrong. When the voiceover began with “My name is Fox Mulder…”, I got chills.  When the theme song and the original credits (with the deserved addition of Mitch Pileggi) rolled, I had tears of joy in my eyes. As a fandom, we have waited SO LONG for this. But we can’t let our joy cloud our judgement and this episode was sloppy as hell. Look, I am forever grateful to Chris Carter for the world he created. But like George Lucas, his genius is often best left to ideas rather than execution. The writing of “My Struggle” was awkward and overly expositioned at its best and downright awful at its worst. The porch scene between Mulder and Scully was like bad fan fiction. Did you really have to insert all those catchphrases? I worship at the altar of Gillian Anderson’s acting but even she couldn’t make that scene work. David and Gillian were so disconnected in that scene and it just felt like they were spouting lines at maximum intensity rather than believing in their words. And the whole new conspiracy? To borrow from Sage’s tweets, it felt like Carter just went to Wikipedia and searched for conspiracies for the basis of the plot. Basically, the government is shady as fuck, using alien technology to fuel a planned and calculated Armageddon. People (women mainly) have been repeatedly abducted to be part of experiments and MAYBE their DNA has been fused with aliens for whatever reason. Any proof vanishes when it’s needed most. It’s really a means to an end and that end is getting The X-Files re-opened, because there is no way this arc can be resolved in less than 6 episodes.  Alrighty? So let’s just talk about what “My Struggle” did with our beloved characters, shall we? Because really…that’s why we are all here.

Another similarity between George Lucas and Chris Carter is that they both like to rewrite history. Lucas does it by adding Jabba the Hut into A New Hope and Hayden Christensen into Return of the Jedi, both of which are insulting to the original films. Chris Carter does it by ignoring character growth and regressing relationships to a point that is insulting to long time fans. Carter is/was notoriously against the Mulder/Scully romance, despite accidentally writing the greatest and deepest love story of all time, so I’m not SURPRISED that they are broken up. I’m just disappointed. Not that I expected/wanted everything to be puppies and rainbows with Mulder and Scully. They’ve been through and seen too much for that. But what I did expect was for them to be a united front. They are each other’s constants, they are each other’s touchstones. That is CANON. Hell, even at the end of I Want To Believe we had them choosing each other, once again. The movie ended with them LITERALLY sailing off into the sunset. So this “estrangement” nonsense is just that. It’s nonsense. It’s insulting to the characters he created. Are you really telling me that after EVERYTHING they have been through that Scully’s self-diagnosis of Mulder’s depression is the straw that broke their relationship? Sure, Jan.

(Also, I SEE YOU trolling with that “for better, for worse” line, Chris Carter. I don’t appreciate it.)

Look. When you look at it objectively, Scully has every reason to walk away from Mulder. He’s no picnic even without the weight of a massive global conspiracy bringing him down. Scully has lost so much thanks to the fact that on a dreary night in Oregon, she chose to trust Fox Mulder. She’s lost her sister. She’s lost TWO children. She’s lost her fertility. (Yeah, I know those contradict each other BUT THIS IS THE SHOW.) She’s become estranged from siblings, she’s had her career in shambles, and she’s had her personal faith tested. It’s too much for any person to bear. But this is what I love about Dana Katherine Scully. In the face of all of that, time and time again she charged into the darkness after Mulder. She’s ALWAYS chosen him and she’s always chosen the fight that they were in together. Having her estranged from him now is an insult to the character’s legacy. To quote Scully herself, SHE WOULDN’T CHANGE A DAY OF HER RELATIONSHIP WITH MULDER. Except for Flukeman. Again, that’s CANON. So why all of a sudden has Scully decided it’s all too much for her?

Don’t get me started on the Scully/Tad O’Malley dynamic. First of all, Joel McHale, ILYSM but I would love for you to talk to your agent about playing a non-smarmy character for once. It’s a good performance but it basically felt like Jeff Winger in one of his Goldblummy meltdowns. Secondly, are you really telling me that Dana Scully, who can make men wilt with a single arch of her eyebrow, would fall prey to Tad’s “charms” and insincere flattery? Okay. Everything about Scully and Tad is off from the very beginning. He goes straight to calling her Dana as opposed to maintaining a professional distance (Mulder’s FACE though. And I love how he mocks her for that later in the episode). He shows up AT HER WORK just to chat because he wants to see her again and he somehow gets Scully to join him in his car for Champagne. THEN he goes off about her wonderful (I mean it is wonderful, but still) work at the hospital for no apparent reason.  It’s all SO WEIRD. The Scully *I* know would have just given him a bitch face from the very first “Dana” and wouldn’t have let him get near her. So I really don’t get what Carter was going for here. Do they have a past? Does Scully DATE? Why are you doing this?

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Fan Video Friday – The Best of The X-Files

Posted by Kim and Sage

HAPPY SUMMER EVERYONE!  Fan Video Friday has returned to cure your end-of-the-work-week boredom!

In case you’ve been living under a rock or never go on the internet, The X-Files started filming this week in Vancouver.  We’re beside ourselves and still can’t believe this is ACTUALLY HAPPENING (and it’s happening with Joel McHale, which I will never be over).  Because trolling Twitter for images from the set will not FULLY sustain our Mulder/Scully addiction until January, we bring you our favorite X-Files fan videos.  ENJOY!

— Kim

1) “Ships in the Night” 

Kim:  It wouldn’t be a fan video compilation post without “Ships in the Night”.  This was the first video I showed Kelly after we finished watching “The Truth”.  Mainly, I was trying to get her off the floor.  Really, this just glued her more solidly to it. “We’re just wasting time…trying to prove who’s right. And if it all goes crashing into the sea, if it’s just you and me trying to find the light, like ships in the night.” Yeah. Written about these two idiots.

Sage: If your OTP can’t relate to “Ships in the Night” then they need WAY more character-building tragedy in their lives. “We can feel so far from sooooo close…”

2) “What Does the Fox Say?”

Kim: God bless this video. God bless Fox William Mulder.  God bless this song.  God bless us, everyone.

Sage: You knew this video must exist. But you didn’t know it would be this good.

3) “Love Like Fools” 

Kim:  For some reason, I had never seen this video until Kelly insisted that we include it in this post.  Dude.  All the DIALOGUE.  In retrospect, you really see how much Chris Carter and company was trolling the entire fandom in regards to the Mulder/Scully love story.

Sage: I was just going to play a little bit of this one to remind myself of the content, but oops, I watched the whole thing. The paaaain. The exquisite, delirious pain. Still, I dare you not to smile through all six minutes. “Aren’t you the Secret Squirrel?”

4) “Starships” 

Kim: With all the conspiracies, horror, angst, and the OMG PLEASE HAVE SEX ALREADY, it’s easy to forget that The X-Files was often wickedly funny.  This video reminds us of that fact.

Sage: YES. Never forget that Fox Mulder is a giant nerd, and that Dana Scully was able to find uncharted levels of sarcasm. And we can all agree that these two deserve a little fun every once in a while. This video is a DELIGHT.

5) “Open Your Eyes” 

Kim:  This video was also included in the post “The Truth” fan vid binge.  When Sage found out we watched this without her, there was great weeping and gnashing of teeth.  I’m a horrible friend when it comes to showing other friends fan videos that they had been banned from watching until they finished the series.  However, Sage met Christopher Eccleston without me, so I would say we are even now.

Sage: I’m still not over it, tbh. Thanks to this video, “Open Your Eyes” has joined the canon MSR songs (“Walking After You”, “Walking In Memphis”) in my shortlist of those that completely define this relationship. (“I want so much to open your eyes, ’cause I need you to look into mine.”) Also, those smash cuts over the instrumental break of Mulder and Scully’s most traumatic/triumphant moments? Brilliant.

6) “Fancy” 

Kim:  All hail Dana Katherine Scully, Ginger Queen of the Universe.  We’re not worthy.  She’s so fancy, and we very much know.

Sage: I knew this had to be on the list when the lyric “change to throw” was laid over Scully putting her quarter in the Magic Fingers. Make a clever “Bad Blood” reference, and I’m yours.

7) “Fix You” 

Kim:  It’s brilliant how this video uses “Fix You” in the context of Mulder’s search for Samantha and all his family tragedy. (Seriously…are there TV parents worse than Bill and Teena Mulder?  Someone tell me.) It’s brilliant how this video fully illustrates how quickly Mulder would have lost himself had The Syndicate not put Dana Scully in his path, creating his biggest ally and the rock that he clung to above all things.  She’s his constant.  His touchstone.  His one in five billion.  “Lights will guide you home and ignite your bones. And I will try to fix you.”

But the BEST thing about this show is that YES, Scully and her “goddamn strict rationalism and science” saved Mulder “a thousand times over”.  But Mulder saved Scully too.  He opened her mind.  He pushed her to see beyond the comforting logic she surrounded herself with. He tore down her carefully constructed walls.  They are two halves of a whole.  They fixed each other.  She wouldn’t change a day (except for the Flukeman, natch).  If you don’t take that away from the show, you’re watching it wrong.

Sage: I knew where the artist was going with this video when only Mulder appeared in the first few shots. But knowing didn’t make it any less effective when Coldplay’s chorus kicked in and Scully appeared haloed in light like a goddamn guardian angel. What would Mulder have done without her? What would he have BEEN without her?

But Kim’s right. They saved each other. Without Scully, Mulder would have been a lost cause in many ways – too passionate and intelligent and single-minded to relate to the life on this planet. Without Mulder, Scully would have been…okay, I guess. She would have been a doctor and probably married well and had dinner with her family every week. But allow me to cross the fandom streams and use a Doctor Who quote here: “When you’re a kid, they tell you it’s all…grow up. Get a job. Get married. Get a house. Have a kid, and that’s it. But the truth is, the world is so much stranger than that. It’s so much darker. And so much madder. And so much better.” Scully had her convictions, but Mulder gave her purpose. It was a shared quest from the moment she got on board. They are true equals in every sense of the word.

8) “Last Friday Night” 

Kim: It’s scary how many scenes fit the lyrics of this song perfectly. 

Sage: And it’s funny that both of them have been involuntarily drugged so many times over the years that this video is even possible.

9) “In My Veins” 

Kim: When Sage sent me this in our research for this post (our lives are HARD), I revoked our friendship.  “Oh, you’re in my veins and I cannot get you out.” Yep.  Basically sounds like this:

Sage: The Syndicate ships it so much.

“In My Veins” is another one that fits all my ships, because all my ships are DEEP CAVERNS OF DESPAIR AND LONGING. I still find it funny that some anti-shippers or NoRomos (heeey, Usenet 1995) were against Mulder and Scully being a romantic couple because they were “so much more than that.” Yeah. EXACTLY. They’re work partners and life partners and secret keepers. They’re each other’s family and best friend and only Christmas present recipient. Is that leap really so hard to imagine? Does it minimize any other aspect of their relationship? Of course not. What still hurts about my OTP is that they’re so bound to each other that any separation – any pain the other experiences – is just torture. (See: Seasons 7-9) Having your life tied to another person is beautiful, but’s it’s also terrifying and sorrowful, because that person is fallible. WHAT A FUN SHOW ABOUT ALIENS.

10) “Love Me Like You Do” 

Kim: “You’re the fear, I don’t care cause I’ve never been so high. Follow me to the dark, let me take you past our satellites. You can see the world you brought to life, to life. So love me like you do…what are you waiting for?”

“What are you waiting for?” = the battle cry of the fandom for 7.99 seasons until we got official confirmation that they WERE in love and had been for a long time.

Sage: I was fine until the William scene, and now I want to die.

11) “Hungry Eyes” 

Kim: If ever there was a time to use this…

Seriously though.  ALL THE GAZING.

Sage: Mulder and Scully’s soul-connection was never about what was on the surface, though it certainly doesn’t hurt that they are both blindingly attractive. I wouldn’t stop gazing either.

12) “Light Carries On” 

Kim:  If you can believe it, this video is from the same vidder who made “What Does the Fox Say?”.  In fact, we have FOUR videos made by this person (also “Fancy” and “Love Like Fools”).  So seriously.  Subscribe to Snakey973 on YouTube and spend ALL DAY watching their brilliant videos.  They are all so different and all odes to different aspects of the Mulder/Scully relationship.  This person GETS it and their talent is beyond amazing.

Also, I LOVE the worshipful coloring of Scully’s hair throughout this.  That red is a beacon in the night.

Sage: Okay, I’m bringing in another Doctor Who reference here, because I have to. Danny told Clara this season that there are more mysteries to be solved in really knowing another person than there are in all of time and space. And, though Danny was kind of a tool, he accidentally encapsulated our X-Files OTP right there. In the pilot, Mulder sits on the floor next to a motel room bed and tells Scully that finding proof of alien life and learning what happened to his sister are all that matters to him. Seven years later, he’s on that bed and holding her, telling her that “there’s so much more than this.” She’s the difference.

I love the way that this vidder explores the concepts of free will and fate. Because Mulder and Scully are made up of a little bit of both. There’s something bigger at work on this show – it always has that feeling. But they also choose each other over and over again, every single time. And will continue to. DO YOU HEAR ME, CHRIS CARTER?

What are YOUR favorite X-Files fan videos?? Let us know in the comments…we’re always dying for new ones! 

The Top 20 Television Moments of 2014 – Part Two

Posted by Kim and Sage

When we posted our first ten moments of the year at the end of last week, one of our favorite commenters (you know who you are) said that she expected to see the How I Met Your Mother finale on the second half of the list.  “Absolutely not,” I countered.  Sure, the HIMYM finale has made a lot of other end-of-the-year lists, but for us, memorable does NOT equal best.  The HIMYM finale is memorable for all the wrong reasons.  It’s memorable for the rage it unleashes (I can’t begin to count the number of extremely heated debates I’ve had about that episode this year) and that rage does not have a place on our year-end countdown.  Am I still sad about the major death on The Good Wife?  Obviously.  Do I still talk about that death in all sorts of passionate “THAT WAS AMAZING TELEVISION” kind of terms?  YES.

That right there is the Head Over Feels definition of “Top Moment”, folks.

Looking at our 20 picks, I’m extremely proud at the breadth of television we’ve covered this year and our choices for the best of the best.  We’ve got comedies, dramas (both soapy and Comic Booky), reality shows, awards shows, and “news/talk” shows represented.  We MAY have a television problem.  It’s a problem we love to have.

— Kim

11) “Why is your penis on a dead girl’s phone?” – How To Get Away With Murder

Must See TV is but a distant, childhood memory. (Maybe because NBC doesn’t know how to treasure its comedies anymore, hmmm?) Thursday nights now belong to Shondaland.

One of the buzziest new series of the season, How to Get Away with Murder has a showrunner in Peter Nowalk and is overseen by drama queen Shonda Rhimes. Not a carbon copy of Grey’s or Scandal, HTGAWM quickly established itself as its own thing: a gothic mash-up of ’90s procedurals, primetime soaps and dark comedy, with the incomparable Viola Davis leading a cast of young unknowns.

Annalise Keating is fascinating. We’re a full half-season into the life of the show and still no closer to figuring out the law professor’s motivations than we were in the first minutes of the pilot. Viola plays Keating’s deep vulnerability to perfection, but any show of emotion is eventually revealed as another tool of manipulation. Does she feel anything? Or is she smart enough to know not to?

The focus of this pilot season has been the apparent murder of Keating’s husband Sam. Ever the doting spouse at university cocktail parties, Sam – like Annalise – isn’t what he seems. He was mixed up with a student, whose body ended up bloated and floating in a water tower. Already revealed as a cheater, could Sam be a murderer too? I honestly doubt that Annalise didn’t a) already know her husband was messing around, or b) cared one bit that he did. When would she have time? Between desk sex sessions with her giant cop boyfriend? No. This is a shakedown, my friends. Annalise always gets her man.

It’s the most striking scene in a show designed to fuel water cooler conversation. Annalise sits at her vanity and peels away the day. She wipes off all vestiges of the beauty standards imposed on women – on black women – and it’s not a dainty business. She uses pressure, rubbing the make-up away like she’s angry at herself for putting it on in the first place. She’s taking turpentine to a masterpiece she just finished painting. But when she confronts her suspect – a man she’s shared a bed with for years – she’s not going to do it as star defense attorney Annalise or molder of young minds Annalise. She’s going to do it as the bare canvas onto which she paints those identities.

And that LINE. Funny, shocking, emasculating. This is HTGAWM in nine simple words. And may the series bring us several more moments as indelible as this.

–Sage

12) Don and Peggy have a dance – Mad Men

Reminder to all the awards bodies out there: Mad Men did indeed air episodes in 2014 and they were EXQUISITE so SHAME ON YOU for completely ignoring them in awards season.  Did the division of the 14 episode season into 2 “mini seasons” probably mess with the notorious slow-burn pace of a typical Mad Men season?  Absolutely.  Just when it felt like it was getting started the “season” was over!  Does that mean that the episodes are any less in quality?  Absolutely not.  “The Strategy” will surely stand in the pantheon of fantastic Mad Men episodes alongside “The Suitcase” and “The Other Woman”.  It was a beautiful episode, from Joanie turning down Bob Benson’s marriage of convenience (“I want love.  And I’d rather die hoping that happens than make some arrangement.”) to the way Pete longs for the family that he so carelessly threw away to the way Peggy and Don are at each other’s throats over the pitch to Burger Chef.  What transitions the episode from good to GREAT is the scene with Peggy and Don in her office as Peggy finally cracks the pitch.  Just like Don knew she would.

Peggy: Does this family exist anymore? Are there people who eat dinner and smile at each other instead of watching TV? Did you ever do that with your family?
Don: I don’t remember.
Peggy: What the hell do I know about being a mom? I just turned 30, Don.
Don: Shit. When?
Peggy: A couple of weeks ago.
Don: It doesn’t matter.
Peggy: I kept it a secret as long as I could. Now I’m one of those women lying about her age. I hate them.
Don: I worry about a lot of things, but I don’t worry about you.
Peggy: What do you have to worry about?
Don: That I never did anything, and that I don’t have anyone.
Peggy: I was in Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania. I looked in the window of so many station wagons. What did I do wrong?
Don: You’re doing great.

PEGGY OLSON.  I have always loved her but I related to her SO much in this moment.  It was a rough season for Peggy.  She is still a woman trying to make her way in a man’s world (remember Pete thinks saying “She’s as good as any woman in the field” is a compliment) and she’s a woman wrestling with the life choices she’s made that have led her down an “untraditional” path.  Should she have gone another way?  Would she have been happy going the married and kids route?  She knows that she would not have…but she also knows that she is alone and that’s a daily struggle for her.

The Don and Peggy relationship has always been the core of Mad Men.  They are so alike, those two.  It’s why Don is so hard on her.  He sees her potential for greatness and her potential to surpass him, which both excites and terrifies him.  It’s often WHY he struggles to praise her because she’s making the same choices he has made (identity theft aside) and he knows how it’s turned out for him.  He wants more for his Peggy.  He sees her self-doubt and he offers her comfort in the only way he knows how…with a smile of pride and a dance.

And now, the end is here
And so I face the final curtain
My friend, I’ll say it clear
I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain
I’ve lived a life that’s full
I traveled each and ev’ry highway
And more, much more than this, I did it my way…

The song choice may have been a bit on the nose, but in reality, there is no better song for these two lost souls to share a fleeting moment of connection and comfort over.  The next day will be back to business as usual.  Another pitch.  Another meeting.  They’ll probably be back at each other’s throats soon enough.  But for that moment…in that dance…they know that they can do it their own way and not have to be alone.  It’s beautiful.

— Kim

13) Amy Poehler wins The Pudding

The worst part of being nominated for any award is that despite your best efforts, you start to want the pudding. You spend weeks thinking about how it doesn’t matter and it’s all just an honor and then seconds before the name of the winner is announced everything inside you screams…”GIMME THAT PUDDING!!”

In Yes Please, Amy P. details the backstage machinations of all the plans she and her fellow nominees have concocted to get their minds off what she calls “the pudding.” And they’re all wonderful – the faux beauty pageant, Dog President, play-swapping speeches with JLD. But in 2014, the pudding finally went where it had needed to go for a long, long time. Amy Poehler won the Golden Globe.

It’s not special because anyone should give a shit about awards or that anyone is under the illusion that they always go to the right people. What was special about Amy’s win is that is that it was FOR Parks. I don’t mean that the nomination was for her work on Parks, I mean that this was an award for the entire show. One of the finest comedic ensembles on television in this decade or any other has been snubbed left and right for reasons that I can’t begin to understand. Amy, often the show’s sole nomination, has gone home empty-handed year after year. (Even the announcer sounds bewildered when he points out that this is her “first win.”)

So. When Amy’s name was FINALLY called and the Parks crew went ballistic, anyone could see that she was taking this one for the team. They stood and applauded and pointed at their girl. “Whoaaaa, Parks!” she shouted out to them, as I cried like a child. “The best cast in comedy and drama, as far as I’m concerned.” And the pudding was spread around, as it should be.

–Sage

14) Cristina and Meredith dance it out one last time – Grey’s Anatomy

Cristina: Wait, we’ll call each other at least twice a month and we’ll text each other all the time.
Meredith: I hate texting.
Cristina: TEXT ME! Don’t let Owen get all dark and twisty. Take care of him. And Alex, take care of Alex. He needs to be mocked at least once a day or he’ll be insufferable. Don’t get on any tiny little planes that can crash or stick your hand in a body cavity that has a bomb in it or offer your life to a gunman. Don’t do that. Don’t be a hero. You’re my person. I need you alive. You make me brave. Okay, now we dance it out.

There was really no other way for Sandra Oh’s Cristina Yang to leave Grey’s Anatomy.  I sat through a good portion of the season ten finale, “Fear (of the unknown)” waiting for something absolutely horrible to happen to my beloved Cristina.  Shonda Rhimes DOES love to kill her characters, after all, especially on Grey’s Anatomy.  Thankfully, she had other plans for Cristina Yang.  Cristina Yang was going to ride off into the sunset…erm…Switzerland.  She was going to take her favorite student Smash Williams (honestly, I never learned his ACTUAL character name) to Switzerland with her so she could continue to teach him and extend her legacy.  She was going to change the face of cardiothoracic surgery and win all the awards now that she was free from GSMH.  She was going to do all of that…after dancing it out with her person one last time.

Cue me sobbing, especially since Cristina and Meredith danced to Tegan and Sara’s “Where Does the Good Go?” which was used prominently in the fourth episode of the series.  Grey’s has ALWAYS been good with the musical callbacks and the Twisted Sisters’ jubilant dancing was a perfect way to reflect on EVERYTHING they had been through together.  Ectopic Pregnancies and Dirty Mistressing.  Bombs in body cavities.  Near drownings.  Mass shoot-outs.  Plane crashes.  Marriages.  Divorces.  Births.  Career jealousy and competition.  Meredith and Cristina have been through it all together, and while their bond has been TESTED, it’s never been broken.  When someone is your person, they are your person for life.  OTP of the show.

Cristina’s absence has left a gaping hole on Grey’s Anatomy this season and I miss her terribly.  Yet, her influence is still felt in Meredith’s life, as every single action she’s taken this season goes back to this truth bomb her best friend dropped right before she left.

Cristina: I gotta go. You stay here. You are a gifted surgeon with an extraordinary mind. Don’t let what he wants eclipse what you need. He’s very dreamy, but he’s not the sun. You are.

You can’t GET more OTP than that.  (And if Sandra Oh doesn’t come back for the eventual series finale, I will cry SO MUCH.)

— Kim

15) John Oliver Breaks the FCC – Last Week Tonight

We were predisposed to love Last Week Tonight, because John Oliver brought us such joy as a Daily Show correspondent, and also because he’s “got a real big penis and drinks lots of tea.”

But we couldn’t have predicted the impact the show would have, pretty much from the moment it hit HBO. With Colbert on his way out, surely there’d be room for more comedy news on our TVs. But what could have weekly report have over a daily one?

Simply this: because LWT doesn’t have the responsibility to recap a full day (or seven days) of the news cycle, it’s expertly developed its signature, long-form style. John and the writers hit on a piece of information, usually something that they can’t believe no one has forced us to fully understand before, and they report the daylights out of it. The result is sharp, hilarious, fully fleshed-out segments that have been known to end in a call to action. And John’s fans are ready to go to work.

The cable companies have figured out the great truth of America: If you want to do something evil, put it inside something boring.

The first time we saw the true power of LWT‘s ready-for-viral reports was when they shined a light on the proposed de-democratization of the interwebs. Net Neutrality is a terrifying prospect – essentially making the internet a pay-to-play situation and enabling hateful cable providers to hold companies seeking hosting hostage. No one seemed sufficiently freaked out by this, possibly because the language used to describe it was drier than an English sense of humor. LWT spend ten minutes laying it all out for us (we have an attention span when there are Taco Bell jokes), and then dropped the challenge. The FCC had opened its site for feedback on the proposition. Knowing that this was the job web trolls didn’t realize they had been training for all along, John called on the underworld network of internet commentors to rise up and fight. (“Good evening, monsters.”)

And fight they did. Viewers were driven to the site and responded in such a massive way that FCC.gov actually crashed. And Last Week Tonight moved on to further crusade for truth, justice, and sex-crazed space geckos everywhere.

–Sage

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Nicole Beharie: The Most Perfect Sunflower 2014

She’s trying not to cry on finding out that she’s the Most Perfect Sunflower

Posted by Kim and Sage

We should know by now that when we issue the SleepyHeads a challenge, they always rise to the occasion.  When John Cho won Most Handsome Young Man, we wondered if they would keep the award in the family when it came to the ladies (as the men of Sleepy have held the title for the past 2 years).  Congrats, guys!!!!! Nicole Beharie is your Most Perfect Sunflower of 2014.

While she faced some fierce competition from our runner-up, Nicole had the lead for most of the voting window.  What we DID love about this poll for the ladies is that the votes for all of our nominees spread out pretty evenly.  We loved people telling us that this poll was harder than it was for the men.  So all of our ladies should be proud and know that they are all perfect sunflowers on their own.

But for now, let’s celebrate our winner!  We already waxed poetic on WHY Nicole deserved to win the title when we wrote about all the nominees.  So let’s just have a photo essay on her beauty and her personality, shall we?

Nicole will be retiring to the Hall of Fame of Perfect people next year, joining her co-stars Tom Mison and John Cho.  So….Lyndie Greenwood for Perfect Sunflower 2015? Challenge extended.

If they ever make a live action version of The Princess and The Frog, I humbly submit Nikki as Tiana.

Perfect Sunflower = delivering sass whilst looking like a Disney Princess

I don’t understand how someone who is 5’1″ has legs this long.

YOU BETTER WERK.

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