Seriously, though… I Miss Summer!

20181207_235043It’s been a little over a week ago now since the month of December has arrived back on into town.  It’s a month filled with holiday cheer and joy.   It’s a time of year when the movie “Frozen” and its cast of characters pop up on the mind, with Elsa singing “Let It Go” in the background.  You know… Fun stuff!  On the opposite side of that fun, it’s also a month filled with cold, a month into that “glorious” thing of daylight savings (why daylight savings… but why??????), and another month I just long for the good old days of summer.

The days of summer when sunshine is in the sky shining away. And where that sunshine in the sky is somewhat still there at an hour like 7 o’clock at night. When there is still that warmth in the air. Warm air, not hot air because that’s just annoying. I like summer but reasonably weathered summer weather conditions but of course. Not “OMG, TOO HOT” weather, weather. I just want summer back. You know, reasonable stuff.

Here on the East Coast and of course everywhere else as well, around the first weekend of November we all go through that lovely thing of daylight savings. And when I say “lovely”, I mean the opposite of that. I always remember about daylight savings during this time of the year vs. the one in the spring because my Birthday is in the beginning of the month of November.  Which is when the fall time change for daylight savings usually always occurs on.

20181208_002431I love the part that daylight savings is in the winter initially because of how the next day we get that extra hour.  An extra hour to catch up on sleep.  An extra hour to catch up on your reading.  An extra hour to watch a TV Show.  An extra hour to catch up on housework.  An extra hour…. Heck yeah to that, I say!  Although, the huge downside to the extra hour is the fact that the next day and every day after that until the spring it gets darker and darker out earlier every day. At 5 o’clock in the afternoon it’s completely dark out. Ugh. I mean if I can’t swim outside this time of the year, at the very least I could perhaps go for a walk on the boardwalk instead during those late afternoon hours. Sure it’ll be cold and I have to wear a jacket cause “cold”, but I can still see that beautiful ocean with the sunshine glistening on the waves.

Wait, nope. I can’t really even do that at 5 o’clock in the afternoon this time of the year because it’s completely dark outside around those hours now. At 5 o’clock in the afternoon! I mean sure you can still go for that walk on that boardwalk, but who really wants to go for a walk like that in the darkness of night.  And by darkness of night I, of course don’t mean midnight, but you know 5 o’clock in the afternoon! To that I say… Ugh, daylight savings. I am done with you!

20180716_195128.jpgThis summer I managed to make it to my local pool club almost every day. I only went for a little under an hour on most days I when I made it there. Although, this small period of outdoor time when the sun was shining away in the blue sky with cotton like clouds next to that very sunshine was everything. Heck, I loved swimming so much that even on the days when it wasn’t that lovely nice summer day I still went to the pool. I even swam in it one day when there started to be a slight drizzle out.  A few moments later it was time to get out anyway, but hey I still got that swim in. So ha-ha rain drizzle, not today! By “today”, I mean that day in the summer.

20181208_001726.jpgI truly appreciated that weather this summer had to offer on most days. That happiness for those moments in time with the weather being what it was. To be outside without needing that heavy jacket, without needing those gloves, without needing an extra sweater under your jacket because “IT’S TOO COLD FOR JUST A JACKET ALONE…. UGH!”.  In the winter on the East Coast, it’s simply unavoidable to go outdoors without needing that extra layer of outdoor clothing gear to just make it through going outside.  The outdoors during those winter months where you immediately feel that winter chill that follows you as you bravely enter that cold that is now here.

I remember my last few days swimming at the pool this summer. I looked around as I felt that nice cool water and tried to mentally just soak in those moments. This was the first summer in… oh so very long that I made it to do something like as to have a casual swim on most days. It was nice. It was lovely. It was refreshing on those warmer days to jump into that kind of cold. The cold that you at some point get use to and can enjoy. That kind of cold is completely cool and fine by this gal.  The kind of cold that goes away in a few moments. Yes, that kind of cold is fine.

I never heard of “Seasonal Depression” until a few years ago. But I completely get it. I mean when you look out the window and see how dark it is outside around those later afternoon hours in the winter vs. the spring or summer, let’s face it, it’s kind of depressing. It’s not that late but you’re more limited to how much more you can do outside in the late fall and winter months than you are any other time of the year because it gets darker out so much earlier during this this time of the year. In the spring and summer months, you can feel a mental state of joy and positivity, along with that motivation to be more active. In the winter months though, those feelings can be the complete opposite of that. Simply because of things like that time change (ugh…daylight savings!) which makes the sky get darker out earlier, along with just that incredible cold that the winter brings every year.

20181208_004653.jpgSometimes when I see how dark it is outside now around the hours of 5, 6, 7 or 8 o’clock at night I think, “But I was literally swimming outside, or having a nice stroll on the boardwalk at these very hours just a few simple months prior. HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE!”. Ugh, I’ve gotta say it again guys, I’m sorry but…… Daylight Savings, I do not like you one bit!

This thing of it being darker out so much earlier in the day during these winter months simply because of “Daylight Savings” is…..just……..annoying…..ugh! It just seems mean. I’m sure there’s a logical reason of why this is still necessary, but I don’t care. It’s bad enough the bitter cold comes back around this time of the year, but does it really need to be dark outside in the afternoon too?!?! I mean… you know?

This topic of both “Daylight Savings” and “Seasonal Depression” have been tackled on a few of my favorite Comedy TV gems. I am a TV Nerd, so of course I found a way to slide in the topic of TV with an article about missing the summer. But here I am and managed to find a way to bring up TV in this article.

20181208_014423On the classic perfect show that is Veep on HBO, the topic of getting rid of daylight savings was tried. Jonah, a character who for on most of this series is very much of the butt of all the jokes and is never taken seriously like ever, tries to make a bill to get rid daylight savings and fails.  Jonah is very much a ridiculous character, but I gotta love him for trying this attempt of getting rid of daylight savings.

If you haven’t started watching Veep yet, do now!  It’s perfection!  Julia Louis- Dreyfus along with the rest of this amazingly stellar cast are also perfection!  It’s clear once you start watching this show why it’s won so many awards.  Like I said…. PERFECTION!  The next season coming up is the last and I’m a bit in denial about that cause perfection!  I’m not sure it’s obvious enough, but yeah, I adore this gem.

20181208_014553Then on Comedy Central’s Broad City, Ilana got a case of that Seasonal Depression I was talking about earlier.  Although, in her case she took matters of that depression to a complete extreme by getting some kind of extreme tanning light (that was definitely not safe to use) to just feel that warmth. It was completely and utterly ridiculous, but Ilana is a combination of those things (in all the best and crazy ways, but of course) so it made sense she would take her missing the cold to this kind of extent. Also, anyone else bummed that the next season is the last (starts January 24th)? A little off- topic, but I am!

20180705_194954All in all, I just miss those summer days.  Those days that offer that sunshine that stays up later in the sky up above us.  Those warmer days that let you have the ability to go outside without needing that heavy jacket. That doesn’t mean I don’t like the fall or winter seasons or the change of seasons at all. I just like the spring and summer months more. There’s a feeling of joy, warmth, and happiness that you feel once those months return again that you just don’t feel the rest of the year. Probably because you’ve been through those winter months and can fully appreciate those nicer, warmer days when they do come rolling back into your life once again. So as much as I loathe the concept and need for daylight savings and the bitter cold that the winter can be, it truly does make one realize when those lovelier days return how you should breathe in that fresh air, look up to that blue sky and say, “Man. I’ve missed this.  Thank you for returning back into my life again”.


TV Show Shout Out: Forever on Amazon Prime

In this article, I will be discussing the show Forever on Amazon Prime.  In discussing my thoughts on this gem of a TV Show, I will be talking about the whole season and spoilers will be a happening.  So now that that’s out of the way….. Onto my review of “Forever”!

20181124_014622There are tons upon tons of new shows premiering weekly in these times of being “The Golden Age of Television” and all. There are some shows that are okay. There are some shows that are good. And then there are some shows that are beyond that level of greatness! One of those current gems is Forever on Amazon Prime.

I don’t tend to watch new shows on streaming services right away, especially in the Fall and Spring TV Seasons where I try to keep up with the current shows on Network TV. I usually pick a few shows on a streaming service here and there because the whole season for one show usually goes up on the same day.  Then I’ll watch that season’s  episodes back to back until its finale.

So with “Forever”, I waited a few weeks to watch it. I saw the commercial before the show premiered, but it didn’t inform a lot to as what the show was about really. The trailer was a few minutes long showing a couple, June and Oscar (Maya Rudolph and Fred Armisen), of how they met and moments of their life together set in motion with a musical tune in the background.  That was it.  I saw a lot of tweets on the good old Twitter of how this show was good and worth the watch.  That surrounding good buzz along with some top notch talent made this a show I was going to tune into sooner or later at some point, regardless of knowing very little as to what this show was even about.

And there was a reason as to why the trailer for this show didn’t provide a lot of information as to what this show was about. Anything more than what was shown in the trailer would have been a spoiler.  So I went into this show not knowing anything more than it was a show about a couple, and Maya Rudolph and Fred Armisen were the leads. I left watching this show though, feeling that I found one of my favorite shows of all time!

20181124_011953Forever is about a couple, June and Oscar (played by Maya Rudolph and Fred Arminsen).  They first meet randomly at a quiet upscale bar scene and shortly after some time fall in love. They marry at some point. As life goes on and people evolve, sometimes they grow with each other and other times they drift from one another. Some are oblivious to this as it is occurring. That is the situation between June and Oscar after a few years of being together as a married couple.

20181124_012622Oscar is a dentist and June works for some kind of Travel Agency (it’s not super clear as to exactly what she does). They lead humble lives. Going to work and than coming home to make dinner. And the next day is the same and the day after is the same, and so on and so forth.  20181124_013347They make time here and there to go to a lakehouse they own.  There they go fishing by a glorious lake and then they make dinner and so on and so forth, until they return home to their normal daily routine of work/dinner.

20181124_013055Basically a normal daily routine life is that for June and Oscar. Not a lot of change or unpredictability going on, a lot of the same stuff day in and day out. That kind of life is fine for some (Oscar), for others though (June), sometimes they crave that change of scenery out of life.  June feels this way after several years of marriage to Oscar. Although she feels this way, she never tells him exactly these feelings she feels about this regular routine life that they fell into after all these years together. She loves Oscar, but she wants more out of life, she wants change, she wants something, anything to feel more than what she has been feeling. So to change up their routine June suggests to Oscar that instead of going to their lakehouse they go to a ski resort. Oscar loves the lakehouse, but he agrees to this change of routine and says okay to going to this ski resort for June.

20181124_014221They get to the ski resort. Being more use to warmer weather and constant sunshine, they enter the resort and the moment they get there the cold hits them hard. It’s not like June even suggested skiing cause she loves it, she just wanted a change. So they get into the hotel and settle in and then go to sign up for some ski lessons. 20181124_014243They didn’t sign up for any lessons in advance and the only ones that any spots are left now are for children and teenagers. So looking out of place, along with getting mocked by these children because they are adults and don’t know how to ski, the day wasn’t starting off to the best start. Then the unthinkable happens, as Oscar is skiing he collides with a tree. The TV screen then fades to the credits. I’m thinking, “No way! What! He’s still alive, right?! This show is about them as a couple! WHAT!”.

So the next day I tune into the next episode.  And Oscar is definitely now deceased. I was shocked! I so didn’t see this show going in that direction. I am here thinking, “Hmmmm…. So Oscar was just suppose to be a one episode character and now this is the June Show?”. So I go to watch episode 2 and that question leads to another question once again.

20181124_014920Episode 2, starts off with June living without Oscar. She is sad. She is lonely. She is eating every imaginable snack and junk food she can get her hands on. She is lost. With the guidance of her friend, she gets out of the house. She goes to work. Feeling that change she’s craved out of her life she than goes to apply for another job at her office. She gets to the interview and and before she gets seen she sees her competition for the same position she is applying for.  Shortly after this she leaves. She wanted the job and the change that would go along with it, but ultimately just didn’t go through with it.

A few days after this, she gets to work only to find her fellow employees all packing up their belongings. She has no idea what is going on. She than meets with a supervisor to find out many employees and as well as those in charge have been embezzling money from the company. Seeing how June wasn’t one of those employees, she is then hired for the job she never ended up being interviewed for, after all.

20181124_015912Fast forward to June on a plane to Hawaii to start her new life and new career. She gets seated in first class with her own personal seat and getting waited on with special cocktails and a bowl of macadamia nuts. There is a moment of happiness with June here, appreciating this opportunity to start anew after Oscar dying. June lies back in her seat, takes a sip of her cocktail and pops in a macadamia nut and just soaks in the moment. Then the unthinkable happens once again. June starts to choke on the macadamia nut. The screen then fades to the TV credits.

Well now after this I’m definitely like,“WHAT IS GOING ON! WHAT! NOW JUNE TOO!” After episode 1, I thought okay this show is now centering around the character of June and her new life without Oscar. Episode 2, had all the set up for that.  She might not have been completely excited in her life with him for years before his death, but she did feel lost without him. Then came the opportunity to help ease her sadness with the chance to start a new journey and that seemed to be the direction the show was going to go into. June’s chance of starting over. Missing Oscar, but trying to move on in some way still. Then she chokes on a macadamia nut and dies now as well.

To say I didn’t see the death of Oscar coming in Episode 1 is an understatement.  Then to say I didn’t see coming the death of June at the end of Episode 2 is beyond an understatement. The show took a turn in these episodes that I would have never seen coming, showing unique storytelling.  It surprised and shocked you.  I could tell after these 2 episodes that this was a show that you couldn’t predict what would happen next on.  It was unpredictable and different. It wasn’t the type of series you see everyday on TV.

I highlighted Episode 1 and 2 because I felt they really needed an overview before delving into the rest of the series episodes. Episode 1 and 2 were set up in the real world and the remaining episodes dealt with a different world entirely, the afterlife.

20181124_020105Episode 3 to 8, deals with Oscar and June now “living” in their afterlife. June wakes up and sees Oscar, knowing how Oscar is dead she soon realizes now that she meet that same fate and is now dead too. It turns out that in this world June and Oscar are the only two people that have been reunited in the afterlife. Everyone else is flying solo, without a partner to spend this part of their life with.

In this afterlife you look the age you did when you died. You age, but only in theory not physically.  This world looks like the real world, but it’s the afterlife. Everyone lives in houses, eats their meals, takes their walks and chats with one another. Things are the same here as in the real world, but everyone here has passed on.

20181124_021842Oscar is so happy to be reunited with June.  Seeing Oscar again and realizing this afterlife is a real thing is a lot for June to take in at first.  After some time in this new world she begins to be okay with this situation she’s found herself in, and finds herself happy and content.  She starts new hobbies like making pottery.  She’s happy or she tells herself she is.  Shortly after a few weeks though, she begins to feel that rut again. That same daily routine starts to reemerge itself slowly again this time now in her afterlife. Wake up, eat, take a walk, sit on a bench by the park, play shuffle board, make dinner, eat, sleep. She loves Oscar, but she doesn’t feel excitement towards him.  20181124_021623The same issue she had in the real world she is now once again facing in the afterlife. She feels if this is it, now why? Oscar likes his life. He doesn’t think of it as a routine. He likes it. June doesn’t. She wanted more in her life when she was alive and just as she was about to see that change she dies. To wake up in this afterlife to be reunited with her love again is wonderful, but she also finds herself once again wanting more.  She feels stuck in her afterlife now this time. Like how can this possibly be? In the afterlife too?

20181124_022104Even though she feels this way she sticks with Oscar. She really does love him, but she also wants more to her “afterlife” than what he wants.  Than one day, they get a new neighbor. Her name is Kase (played by Catherine Keener). She is grumpy, not very warm or friendly. June and Oscar try to be neighborly, but it’s no use.  Kase doesn’t care to get to know them and just wants to be left alone.

20181124_024406June just can’t let this go. June feels some sort of desire and need to get to know Kase.  Eventually they start to bond. June and her become fast friends. Kase wants  to take her to a place where currents (people still alive) are and they go there. The journey anywhere outside of where they live makes them tired (there’s a fountain in their town and if they go far from it they feel tired, drained).  Kase tells her that if you touch a current you’ll feel okay and feel re-energized.  By just one touch you’ll get that energy back and feel recharged.  She tries it and it works. As they are leaving they run into a man asking if they want to go to Oceanside.  He is vague about what Oceanside is exactly.  Kase is all for going, but June feels as though she can’t just leave Oscar behind.

They end up going home, even though this is the most fun June has had in years. She lived on the edge for a moment with someone new.  Well as much as you can live on the edge in the afterlife. Oscar notices this new change in June and her fast new friendship with Kase. June is spending more and more time with Kase, and less and less with him. June can not hold back from wanting that change and ends up running off to Oceanside with Kase.  Oscar learns of this only simply by a note left in an envelope on their kitchen counter titled “Oscar”. Oscar is hurt, heartbroken and with time angered.

20181124_031744.jpgJune and Kase get to Oceanside to find a massive mansion with a party like atmosphere going on.  There is dancing, singing.  Everyone here is happy and enjoying their existence in this world of the dead. Even though they are all dead this isn’t a afterlife of boredom but an afterlife of enjoying one’s self. June feels something she hasn’t felt in years…. Happiness. She is happy.

20181124_031141.jpgOscar on the other hand is the complete opposite of that. He is angered. He is mad. He is hurt. He is sad. He is beyond hurt at the ultimate thing of getting ghosted. Sure June left him a note, but for her to run off and only leave a note instead of a face to face goodbye was the ultimate betrayal for Oscar. Oscar is on a mission now no matter at what cost, to find June and tell her exactly how this made him feel.

20181124_031528.jpgOscar goes out of his comfort zone, his routine, and goes out to find June at Oceanside. It’s a long journey. He gets tired and at moments feels as though he can’t go on. If he were to touch a current he could get some energy back, but he feels as though that isn’t right to do that and goes on despite that feeling of exhaustion at every single step he takes. The journey to June is long, but he finally makes it to the Oceanside Mansion (which in all honesty seriously looks like The Haunting of Hill House Mansion all lit up.  Something I just simply had to  point out).  20181124_032126.jpgHe makes his way into the mansion and sees all this dancing and partying and singing and he than sees June. He goes up to her and says everything that has built up on his journey to get to her and immediately after this he than faints.

At first I think, “OMG! Did he just die in the afterlife now too?!?!”. He didn’t. He just fainted from exhaustion on his long winded journey to get to June. Once he wakes up he and June talk. He asks how she could just leave him with a note. He asks did she leave him for Kase, are they together now.  She says no, she says how their relationship can’t be defined.  They end on decent terms. He tells her he is going to leave Oceanside as soon as he can to start over somewhere else.  He is going to set sail across the ocean on a boat he is going to build and all that he asks of her is that she helps him get supplies. She agrees to this. And so begins a little mission now of Oscar making a boat to start his life anew somewhere else and June can start her new life with Kase at Oceanside along with her new friends.

20181124_033115.jpgEvery day and night June secretly makes her way to a part of the beach where Oscar has been building a boat to set sail across the ocean sea. She doesn’t tell Kase this about her helping Oscar, so she does all of this in secret. In all honesty this “boat”, if you can call it that that Oscar is building is beyond dangerous with sharp edges from barks of wood. This boat would be the worst thing to be on in the middle of the ocean, and honestly this moment of seeing the “boat” in the process of being built was so hilarious because it was the furthest thing resembling a safe thing to sail on in the ocean.  Yet another reason I loved this show. But Oscar was so proud of this boat he was building. And I love him for that. Anyways…. Back to the Review….. In one of their last meet ups, he asked for a hammer. He writes all items he wants by writing the words in the sand. June saw ham written, not hammer. She didn’t understand this but brought a ham to him anyways. The wind made “hammer” “ham”.  20181124_033524.jpgOscar didn’t understand this at first, he said he wanted a hammer and sees how the sand change what he wrote. They get a laugh out of this and for the first time in many years sat down over a snack and ate and laughed and just casually and lovingly talked with one another about anything. It was a nice moment in the series because they put their differences on each other aside and you could see how they really did care for one another.

20181124_033757.jpgThey then say their goodbyes and part ways. June now off to Kase and her new group of friends.  Oscar now embarking on the journey of a lifetime in the most unstable boat to ever sail the sea. June is told about a special thing everyone at Oceanside does every now.  It’s a ritual with a bonfire to get rid of everything they own to not be tied down to anything.  June suddenly has a change of heart about everything and goes off to find Oscar. She apologizes and realizes that she will forever hold Oscar in her heart and she wants to be him on this new journey in this new life whatever it may be. He feels the same. 20181124_034552And the show ends on a note of hopefulness. Oscar and June reconciling and going through this new journey together with hope of a better tomorrow. Whatever and wherever that new journey may be.  They’ll have each other by their side.

I like….. ADORED THIS SHOW!!!!!!! I loved every single second of it! It was a perfect show! It was a show that is somewhat hard to categorize by genre. Being a half hour program, it’ll probably go under the comedy category if it gets nominations for an Award Show (Emmy/Golden Globes).  There is in fact humor in this program, but it’s not your average kind of comedy program.  There’s a great deal of sadness in this show having a lot of existential moments (which I love) throughout a majority of the series. I define this series as a “existential comedy”. It’s not a comedy or a drama, it’s a bit of both with an existential factor stuck in along its way. Forever is not the generic type of series you see everyday, it’s different. It has the slight feels of NBC’s The Good Place.  Both dealing with the topic of the afterlife.

The characters of June and Oscar are very relatable. In life there are times as you get older where you have these moments where you fell a certain way towards your life or someone in it and want a change.  Instead of saying something or doing something to start that change you don’t. You just stay as is and not say how you feel.  Mostly because it’s just easier to do that than to rock the boat. June for years felt unhappy in her life. She felt stuck with no excitement, only routine. She had a partner that didn’t mind that way of life. She did. Because of those underlying feelings that she let build she ended up resenting Oscar, she didn’t want to feel that way but she did. It wasn’t Oscar’s fault that she was feeling this way, but it was on her for not saying anything. Because by not saying anything to Oscar she ended up resenting him, even though if she were to have said how she was feeling he might have been able to adapt and change. But that’s what makes June so relatable. The relatable of staying put because you never said how you were feeling.  If this show was able to point out anything, it’s that communication is key to any kind of change and how being able to go forward with your feelings towards something bothering you is truly to only way to break free from routine to see a different tomorrow.

That’s what made Kase so attractive to June.  She admitted to Oscar she had an emotional affair.  Kase was so interesting to June because she took chances, took risks, liked doing new things.  She didn’t live a day to day routine existence like Oscar did.  June admits to Oscar when they are reconciling that she felt he was the one holding her back from being this amazing person that she could potentially be.  She admits after saying this, that she was never going to be that person.  She was sorry to blame him.  It’s in this moment of truth that June is finally free and truly has come to the realization that she would always love Oscar.  Oscar was never holding her back from anything, sometimes life just goes in a certain direction if we let it.  This is one of my favorite moments in the show because to admit something such as what June does is hard.  Sometimes we blame others for how we feel or feel that they might be holding us back from being who we could really be.  And the hard truth is that sometimes it’s your own self holding you back from being that person you could possibly be, not someone else.

20181124_025258The majority of this series was about June and Oscar. Although, there was one episode that dealt with the real world and two people who were only ever in this one episode. The episode was about Andre (played by Jason Mitchell) a broker and a realtor Sarah (played by Hong Chau). Andre was checking out the house to see if a client of his would be interested. He was the only person to show up. Sarah and Andre quickly start conversing and it becomes obvious after some time that there was interest between the two. Sarah quickly puts that to an end though, telling Andre how she is engaged. He is disappointed but he gets it. The two say their good byes and that’s that.

20181124_030551.jpgYears pass on by and now Andre is having an open house. Sarah shows up. They start talking again and Sarah admits that she was hoping he’d be at this open house. She never stopped thinking about that day they met, even after all these years. They are both married now, and Andre now has a child as well. Their lives have changed. Even still that instant chemistry never left. Cut away to Sarah making dinner and Andre greeting her with a hello. It gives the impression that they left their spouses and are now together but the truth is they are in the open house of Andre’s. They decide that they will leave their spouses and make this work.  But they never do.

20181124_030738Flash forward to an older man entering an open house. Years have passed and it’s Andre. He came hoping to see Sarah. Her reality agency is holding this open house. Everything about this open house is the same as Sarah’s first one, even down to the crackers shaped in a star on a table of snacks. He sees a realtor and asks if Sarah is there. She tells him that Sarah passed away a few years ago from cancer. A saddened Andre goes to sit on the stairs and says how they missed their chance. It was after this moment that June decides to pursue this journey to Oceanside with Kase, not letting that potential happiness go on by.

Sometimes stand alone episodes don’t work or might seem out of place, but this stand alone episode worked. It showed how there are times in life where you might want something so bad and the timing just isn’t right. So many moments in life come down to that sometimes and regret slowly and slowly starts to sink in after the years. This episode showed how time can slip away if you allow it to and can let something or someone go on by.  Because at the end of the day the damage and fallout from pursuing this desire might be overwhelming. Hence, easier to let things be as they may. It’s a quite episode that packs a punch of every emotion and feeling of hope, happiness, and regret. It was an episode that made you really think about what one might want out of life and how sometimes even though if may hurt some, you must go for what you want.  Otherwise, you’ll always have that wonder or regret of that tomorrow that could have been.  You’ll always have that wonder there in the back of your mind.

20181124_034012.jpgThe acting duo of Maya Ruldolph and Fred Armisen just worked here. We all know of their work together from years of both being on Saturday Night Live.  On Forever, you see a bit less of a their more known comical side.  There’s still that comical side, but you also get to see some serious acting from them as well. I adored their performances and they made the show what it was, along some phenomenal great writers. Golden Globes Awards….  Two Nominations, Please and Thank You! Their acting was strong but not over impacting and in your face. 20181124_034253.jpgThere was a subtlety to it with such ease. They could talk about the most of silliest of things and then transition to moments of sadness in an instant. This is a situation were the show was perfectly cast and how the actors worked off of each other so well that it worked it every sense in every scene.

20181124_024047I can’t talk about this gem and not mention the marvelous Noah Robbins as Mark. Mark is someone Oscar meets in the afterlife and becomes the best of  friends with. Mark is much older than he appears physically. He died in the 70s as a teenager.  Mark, even though looks young is actually in his 50s.

Robbins as Mark was amazing, hilarious! His character had the best one liners and gave the show a constant laugh every time he appeared on screen. His character put a lot of humor in what he said, as though he didn’t care. But you could tell he did.  Dying so young you can help but feel sad for all of the things he didn’t get to pursue or try because he left the world so young. He used humor as a way to get past those sappy feelings. He used humor to get past that sadness with amazing one liners that you couldn’t help but laugh out loud to. My favorite was when he said how Kase seemed cooler than June and Oscar.  June asked what made her so cool.  He replied, “I don’t know. It was the way she closed the door”, shrugged and went on his way. It was ridiculous and so perfect at the same time.

20181124_023521At a certain point Mark sees a person from his past that he liked. Looking young as Mark does, Oscar assumes that it’s a young person.  It’s actually a woman who is in her late 50s. Remember, Mark is actually that age. It’s a girl from his high school that he had a massive crush on. Her and Mark meet up at his house and they talk about the past, music, life, school. She was married and greatly in love with her husband. When Oscar meets up with Mark to ask how it went Mark says it was fine.  He goes on to say how she’s waiting for her husband. It’s a sad moment cause it shows how alone Mark has been in this afterlife. Dying young he never had that chance to meet someone and fall in love. No one is coming for him in that way. Your heart breaks for Mark in that moment. He may use humor as a mechanism to get by, but deep down he does feel.

20181124_031357.jpgRobbins, whose done some stage work as well as moments on such TV Shows as Younger and The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, absolutely shines here as Mark.  I am such a fan of this Mark character.  He is awesome! He wasn’t maybe the best friend to Oscar, but he was there for him. He made life a bit more interesting and those one liners were amazing! AMAZING! Also, his whole persona was so well done from the way he dressed, to his hair, to his attitude in just delivering his lines. I would like to think come Golden Globe and Emmy Nomination time that Robbins performance will be recognized in some way because PERFECTION!

All in all, Forever is a gem of a series that is unique, interesting, heart warming, relatable, funny as well as sad with a dash of hope along the ride. Some shows stick with you after you watch them and Forever is one of those shows. The co- creators Alan Yang and Matt Hubbard, the writers along with the performances provided a piece of television that explore that sadness that life can seamlessly turn into if you let it and the courage it takes to recognize it and try to change it. Something we all want to do but sometimes don’t. And its message about not letting time slide past you feeling that way.  That message of trying to make that change while you still can.




Review: The Prom on Broadway

The only 2 things I wanted to do for my Birthday this year was to go see “The Prom” on Broadway and eat cake. And I got to do both! Score for this very gal that is me!

20181113_182915 (1)I had become aware of a new musical called The Prom, about two years ago now. It had a brief run in Atlanta in 2016 and gained some worthy “This Is A Show That Should Be Seen Like Now!” buzz and I had been counting down the days until I heard this gem would be coming to the stage that is Broadway. It was then announced about a year ago that The Prom would be coming to New York to make its Broadway Premiere at last and I was ever so flipping happy!

Then it was announced that it would be going into The Cort Theater on Broadway. And my excitement quickly then went from a “Heck Yeah!” to a “Ugh. But why The Cort?!?!?! It needs a renovation! The ladies room is a disaster and I just can’t with this theater!” I always pray every theater season that a show I want to see doesn’t go to The Cort Theater because I just can’t with that theater. It! Needs! A! Renovation! And for that reason, I’ve missed a few shows I really wanted to see because I refuse to step foot in that theater until that renovation happens. I missed Bright Star, I missed Fish in the Dark. It hurt my “Theater Loving Heart” ever so to miss a show I really wanted to see, but comfort matters and sitting down for over two hours, well you want to be somewhat comfortable. And if you have to go to the bathroom, well this theater has over 1,000 seats available and only five stalls and three sinks total for the ladies rooms. Unacceptable, and so I just can’t with that theater until a renovation happens.

So when I heard The Prom, was originally going to go to “The Cort Theater”, a show I had been wanting to see since I heard it existed, my heart literally “Theater Broke”. I was kind of devasted. The Cort Theater usually doesn’t house many musicals, so I thought for sure this show would go anywhere but that theater. It hurt to even think this, but I was going to have to pass on seeing this show I so wanted to see.

20181103_110558Then a “Theater Miracle” happened. With the closing of “A Bronx Tale”, “The Prom” would now be moving from The Cort Theater to the Longacre Theater. I was sooooooooo ecstatic when I heard this was happening! I was hoping this would happen and it did! The Longacre Theater is so beautiful and a perfect fit for this delightful new musical I couldn’t wait to see!

Okay so my “unnecessary personal backstory and theater changes” set aside…. Now onto the Review for “The Prom” on Broadway……..

The Prom is a new musical inspired by real life occurrences with direction and choreography by Casey Nicholaw (Mean Girls, Tuck Everlasting, Something Rotten!), a score by Broadway songwriting team of Chad Beguelin on lyrics and Matthew Sklar on music (The Wedding Singer!!!!!!!! Elf), and a book by Chad Beguelin and Bob Martin (The Drowsy Chaperone). The cast includes some of Broadway finest talents along the lines of Beth Leavel, Brooks Ashmanskas, Christopher Sieber, Angie Schworer, Cailtin Kinnunen, Josh Lamon, and Michael Potts. The creative team and cast along with the story, made this a show I knew I had to see if I could.

The story goes as this…. In a small town in Indiana, a girl named Emma (played by Caitlin Kinnunen), wants to take her girlfriend, Alyssa (played by Isabelle McCalla) to their prom. The parents in the PTA find out about this and instead of telling the girl and her girlfriend they can’t go, they all together cancel the prom entirely.

Before that story starts, a new musical has just opened on Broadway starring the legendary Broadway actress Dee Dee Allen (played by Beth Leavel) and Barry Glickman (played by Brook Ashmanskas). The reviews are not great and the show opens and closes on the same night. Everyone is saying these two only care about themselves. To show that they do care about others they decide to take up an issue, a cause to show how selfless they are to prove that that is just not true. So they, along with three other fellow theater friends of theirs, Trent Oliver (played by Christopher Sieber), Angie (played by Angie Schworer), Sheldon Saperstein (played by Josh Lamon), hear about a prom in a small town in Indiana getting cancelled because a girl wanted to take her girlfriend to it. And so it’s decided! This is the cause that they want to take on. A cause which they feel that they can help with and make a difference and if they look selfless while in that process of helping others, than so be it!

20181113_194249(0)Fast forward now to that small town in Indiana where the PTA is having a forum with the students and parents about the cancelled prom. The Principal of the High School, Mr. Hawkins (played by Michael Potts) is trying to have a calm and rational discussion between the parents and the students of the school. Minutes into this discussion come along Dee Dee, Barry, Trent, and Angie barging into this PTA Meeting letting their presence be known to all with posters declaring their support for Emma and how this cancellation of the prom can just simply not stand. They came to show they can do good, be selfless and care for others. And if this very help, helps their image in the eyes of others, well than that’s just a consolation prize.

They came expecting everyone to know who they were.  They expected with just their presence alone behind this cause that it would help resolve everything immediately.  That it would be immediately fixed and immediately be repaired. Unfortunately them coming backfired and it didn’t help and just made matters a bit more complicated instead. They don’t let that deter them from still helping and vow to stay until this matter is resolved.

So with what started out as a mission that make themselves look more emphatic and selfless in the eyes of others turned into something in fact real for them. Emma and this issue of being excluded started to become the real reason why they stayed and not just to make themselves look good. They started to really, truly care. They got to know this community and tried to help make it a better, more inclusive place for all along with help from Mr. Hawkins and Emma, herself. They truly started to really care and not just “Acting Like They Cared” cared. They knew they couldn’t leave until they could help Emma and this community to see the light. And help this small town in Indiana to realize people are people and everyone deserves to be included and not excluded based on who they love.

I absolutely adored and loved this show exactly as much as I thought I would! It was sweet. It was perfect. It was heartwarming. It had heart. It was special and a show that needs to been seen by everyone. And a final “Thank You”, once again to whoever made this show transfer to The Longacre! Just Thank You!

What made this show so incredibly special was its message about how everyone is a person just like anyone else and how no one should be judged. Who someone loves is just one part of who they are and it’s not something that should be judged in any way, shape, or form. Cause at the end of everything everyone has feelings. And always remembering that we should all treat others the way we would like to be treated which is with kindness and with heart. This show emphasized that philosophy quite perfectly indeed, with a bit of humor and sincerity along its way.

20181113_181643It’s not every Theater Season that you get a musical that is completely original.  A musical not based on a book or a movie or a TV show.  Any Theater Season that features a new and original musical is always a special thing and always the kind of show that I must see.

The cast of The Prom is filled with all star talent, ALL STAR I TELL YA! The creative team is filled with all star talent, ALL STAR I TELL YA! Can you tell I’m a fan of the cast/creative team for this show? Hmmmmmm….. YES!

I’ll first start with who’s who in this cast of what…. ALL STARS! See you’re getting it! To say I’m a fan of this incredibly talented cast would be an understatement! I love this cast! I’ve been seeing the shows of Broadway for quite some time now and as one does when one sees a show here or there you become a fan of the performers of these Broadway shows you see along the way. So many talented performers grace the stage every season in new shows or revived ones and there are always certain actors who truly make their mark and this show, The Prom, features some of the most seasoned and talented actors that have ever graced the stage that is Broadway!

20181113_192855The Prom has one the most the impressive ensemble cast of actors on Broadway right now. It takes every performer to make a show like this work.  And boy, does this show have that amazing incredible talent. You have Brook Ashmanskas, Christopher Sieber, Beth Leavel, Angie Schworer, Caitlin Kinnuenun, Isabelle McCalla, Josh Lamon, Courtney Collins, and Michael Potts.  Talent, just incredible talent!

What I love about the performers in this show is it truly gives them that chance to shine center stage. I’ve seen all of these performers in other shows and usually they are in shows where they have been the supporting characters and I love supporting players in a production.  They make the show pop. Some of my favorite theater moments in a show are from the supporting players because these actors usually make the show just a little more interesting than it might otherwise have been. They may not technically be “the leads of a show” per say, but they play the characters that have the best one liners and most memorable moments during a show’s production.

That’s why “The Prom” is just so incredible! It gave some of the best character actors from Broadway who were mostly known for their supporting performances and brought them up to the front of the stage and boy did they shine! It was so nice to see actors that I have become such a fan of finally given their due with some leads. No one out shined the other, they all shined equally! I like to say in this show that these four actors of Beth Leavel, Brooks Ashmanskas, Christopher Sieber, Angie Schworer were an “Ensemble Group Of Lead Actors”.  All these performers were the leads, but they were also an ensemble at the same time and it just worked perfectly!

Next up…. Creative Team which are all….. ALL STARS! To say I am a fan of this creative team would be an understatement. Some of Broadway’s finest are once again involved in this delightful creative new gem of a musical that is “The Prom”.

-Casey Nicholaw- Directing and as well as serving as Choreographer. He did such an excellent job at directing this incredible show. The choreography though, sooooo incredible! The dancing in “Tonight Belongs To Us” was just beyond! Just beyond! I don’t know if “Just Beyond!” is a thing, but I’m making it one and it means super amazing and perfect, absolutely perfect! Just when you think the dancing might stop and end in that number, it goes on even further and you can’t help but just sit back on watch it amazement at this choreography that it so put together! It was a real moment in the show!

-Bob Martin and Chad Beguelin- Book- *With Original Concept By Jack Viertel*. The book for this show was so well done. Martin, known for his Tony Award winning skills on The Drowsy Chaperone, and Beguelin known for his work as part of a Broadway songwriting team with Matthew Sklar on such musicals as The Wedding Singer, Elf, as well as his contribution to the current Broadway musical of Aladdin, come together as co-writers for this show. So based on the previous work of these two, you know these two minds are as creative and unique as they come and it completely shows in the writing of the book. The book was clever, full of wit, delightful, campy, charming along with having moments of seriousness. The balance of the comedy/drama aspect was handled perfectly and there wasn’t one moment in this show that lacked that perfect balance of being funny as well as having moments of being real or serious.

20181113_182053 (1)-Chad Beguelin (Lyrics) and Matthew Sklar (Music)- The score for this show was beyond…just beyond (see a few paragraphs above for meaning….which of course is amazing and perfect!)! I loved this score! Every song was filled with such emotion, sincerity, bits of humor and full of hope. All the songs had such life to them and just popped in every single note sung in every single song. The songs told a story, had a purpose, and were just an incredible pleasure and joy to see performed on stage by the amazing group of actors singing them.

A few songs really stood out:

*Tonight Belongs To Us*- The melody of this song was just so incredibly catchy! The beginning of the song starts off with such hope and promise and turns into…..well that would be a spoiler if I said anymore, so mum’s the word.  What I’m trying to say when talking about this number which ends Act 1, is you think the story is going one way with such happiness of hope for the future ahead and it takes a drastic turn in the opposite direction. The way the song was performed from start to end was done effortlessly.  This song had every emotion you could possibly ever feel all rolled up into one amazingly well done and heartbreaking number.  I’ll just end this with saying that it was a moment in the show that lifts you up and than breaks your heart seconds later. And how the same thing said “Tonight Belongs To Us” can come across in different meanings entirely.

*We Look To You*- Dee Dee and Mr. Hawkins become close and get to know each other. They dine together quite often at what Dee Dee calls “The Apple of Bees” when referring to the restaurant of Applebee’s (I think that’s what she called it at least if my memory serves me correct, if not, I’m sorry). Anyways, most of the people at the PTA meeting didn’t know of any of these Broadway actors barging into the school, but as a fan of the theater that is Broadway, Mr. Hawkins knew who they were. And does as all us “Nerds of The Art that is Theater” do when we meet are Broadway Idols, we might “fangirl out” a little. He tells Dee Dee that he is a real fan of her work and loves to go to New York every summer and see a bunch of Broadway shows.

This song he sings was so genuine, heartfelt, and sweet about his appreciation for the theater.  He sings how seeing shows is his escape from reality and the real world, and for how just a bit of time life just takes a pause and you can enter a world other than your own for a moment in time. How it’s simply just magical and wonderful and how sometimes you just need that escape from life and just am able to stop thinking about day to day things and just focus on another world in another place. How sometimes we all need that escape and for him, it’s the theater.

As someone who has been a regular Broadway theatergoer for the last almost 20 (Omg! How Time Does Fly!  Cliche, but as you get older so true) I can totally and completely relate to this song. I don’t know what it is about seeing a show, but I love it, even still after all these many years. Others may play sports for that escape from reality, I see shows.  I loved how this song perfectly expressed that love that a person can have for the art that is theater and the wonderful place that the theater can be for those who truly can appreciate it.  This number was written and performed so extremely well.  It was such a beautiful song in its entirety from every lyric to every note.

*Dance With You*- Emma and Alyssa share a lovely duet in this number about how all they want is to just dance with each other. That’s all they want. They don’t want to be a cause.  They don’t need some elaborate kind of setting with all the works. They just need a song and a dance and each other.

This song is wonderfully expressed through its lyrics of how they are just two people who just want anything else that anyone else would want out of life. How something so simply as going to a dance with the one you love has to be made complicated by the actions of others and all they want is to just dance with one another, that’s it. Just one night to be just like any other kid looking forward to going to the prom with their significant other.  They just want that moment like anyone else. They have feelings, like anyone else. They have hopes, like anyone else. They have dreams, like anyone else. So why should they be made to feel like they are not deserved of this moment in life, like anyone else?

This song is so lovely written and also breaks your heart at the same time. The simplicity of just wanting to go to a dance, a prom, and to have that moment in your life taken away for the most nonsensical of reasons just because of who they happen to love. How the thing of just simply wanting to dance with someone you love was all they wanted.

20181113_185223I just have to take a moment to “fangirl out” a bit. A big reason of why I really wanted to see this show was because of the songwriting team of Chad Beguelin and Matthew Sklar. As someone who has seen quite a few shows over the years (actually, currently in the process of trying to figure out exactly how many shows I’ve seen over the years. Lost track around 2004, so it’s a process now at this point. Never lose track of how many Broadway shows you’ve seen if you see shows every now and then, it’ll take a minute to figure it out. Anyways….) I’ve really thought about what my absolute favorite show has been. My answer to that age old question is…. The Wedding Singer! Not only did I love the movie and the Broadway show was like perfectly, I mean perfectly adapted for the stage, perfectly cast, but the score was by far my absolute favorite of all of time!

20181113_184439My love for the score of the musical of The Wedding Singer holds no bounds. I am a fan! I remember at the time the show started on Broadway I was still for the most part going on bus trips and remembering how I had a few trips scheduled before my scheduled planned trip to see The Wedding Singer. I remember seeing Stephen Lynch’s face on a big billboard in the middle of Times Square with a piano tie and thinking to myself on all of these other trips, “I want to see this show like now!”. It was super difficult to fully appreciate these other shows, not their fault, they were good shows too, but I love the 80s and this movie and I just wanted to see the show already!  You know?  So one day, my Mom (my constant 20181113_184334Theater Pal, well the only one that will still put up with my love of the theater at least) said, “Let’s just go tomorrow and see it on our own before the scheduled bus trip”. I didn’t hesitate answering, “YESSSSSSS!!!!!”. Am I dramatic? Do I get excited over anything theater related? The answer is once again, “YESSSSSS!!!!”.  Spoiler- I ended up seeing the show 5 times on Broadway!  I’m sure that number would of went higher if the show stayed opened longer.  This amazing gem of a show deserved a longer run.

So we went to the show, and so many of my favorite Broadway performers were in this show. Amy Spanger, Richard H. Blake, Tina Maddigan.  I wasn’t aware of Stephen Lynch before this show but afterwards….. Such a Fan! So the movie and the cast got me to the theater, but the songs were what made me a mega-fan of this gem of a musical.

A lot of movies get that stage adaptation treatment at some point. Some are okay. Some are good.  And some are just simply perfect! And The Wedding Singer was that perfect movie to stage adaptation. The songs in this show were just perfectly translated for the stage, making those classic moments in the movie even better by the songs that accompanied them.

20181113_194903These songs were full of life, energy, happiness, cleverness, wit, and charm. They were songs that you just couldn’t help but bop your head along to with every lyric to every word. You felt a joy listening to them and didn’t want the songs to end. They are songs to this day I still adore and love and remember most of the words to. In times of needing a pick me up, I turn to YouTube and watch The Tony Awards from 2006 just to hear and see “When It’s Your Wedding Day”, if that song doesn’t make you laugh, smile, and just feel okay for a few moments than nothing will. These songs remind me of a more simply time in my life, these songs that are just full of joy and hope and happiness. A score that after all these years, will always be songs I will listen to and while listening to a smile will just automatically appear on my face, never fails.  If you have yet to hear this score, get a CD of it already!

20181113_194619 (1)So when I heard these two were involved in the making of a new musical, I knew the show was in excellent hands for quality songs that would be full of depth, heart, joy, sadness, and any other emotion you look for in wanting to hear amazing new songs on the Broadway stage. And I wasn’t wrong, The Prom is becoming that score for me now that The Wedding Singer had been the moment I heard it. I am such a fan of the songwriting team of Beguelin and Sklar! Okay, I think I geeked out and fangirled enough now. Like I said, I’m a fan!

Okay….. just one more bit of me geeking out as a fangirl.  I don’t always get to go to the stage door after shows because sometimes I go on bus trips and you have to get right back up on the bus afterwards.  So since I show this show on my own with me and my Mom, I got to wait at the stage door for this fabulous show filled with so many actors I adore and am a fan of.

20181113_193115Usually during the preview period of a Broadway show the creative team is still working on the material for the show daily and it’s not unexpected to see the director or the lyricist or book writer at these performances.  So when after the show I was walking to the stage door, I see one part of the book writing and songwriting team, Chad Beguelin!  I was kind of nervous, but I had to go and say how I am such a fan of The Wedding Singer and now The Prom.  He was so nice!  My Mom said how it was my Birthday and all I wanted to do was see this show.  He then asked if we wanted to go have a backstage tour.  I was like, “What!  Okay!”.  I got to go on the Longacre stage and make my “unofficial Broadway debut”!  It was so cool and it was only a moment in time but it was something I’ll never forget.  I’m just a nobody and this talented person whose work I so admire was so kind to this nobody for a moment in time.  Moments like this remind me that there are nice, kind people out there and some moments in life that can be good can happen randomly and unexpectedly still.  It’s a moment that I’m sure will never happen again, but it’s a moment in time that this Theater Nerd will never forget as “The Best Birthday Ever”!

This show took about two years to make its Broadway debut after its tryout run in Atlanta in the summer of 2016.  It was a bit of time before it made its way to the Big Apple.  I didn’t see the production in Atlanta, but the production in NYC was perfection!  What changes, if any were done which I’m sure there were some, just made this production in New York even better.  I can only guess, never having seen the production in Atlanta after all.  This is a situation where the show took a minute to arrive on Broadway and everyone took their time to work on this show and when it did finally arrive it showed the effort that went into making this show what it was which was excellent!  Time well spent on a show where literally everything came together in exactly the right way.  From the casting, to the direction, to the book, to the songs, to the costumes, to the design of the playbill, to the theater.  This is a show that didn’t make an immediate transfer, where more time was spent on it and it was time well spent, indeed!

20181103_110512Okay, so all in all this is a show that everyone needs to see!  You leave the theater feeling happy and full of hope and the possibility of hope.  And any show that makes you feel that walking away with those kinds of feelings is a show that has done its job!  And The Prom is that show!  So go on now……  See it, already!

What’s a TV Nerd To Do When All The TV Shows Start To Pile Up…..

20180921_030727You know how TV Nerds everywhere have that excitement after the summer season is over and realizes that the “New Fall TV Season” is upon us once again? New shows, returning shows!!!! Oh the joy!!!  The joy that only a nerd who loves the TV can feel.  Especially when the only thing to help make it to next summer again is the distraction only TV can help with until those days of swimming in those summer afternoon hours are a thing again. Oh swimming the days away for an hour every day, I miss ya…. Sorry, I need a minute, just a nerd crying cause she’s misses the days of summer and swimming….

20180825_004141 (1)Okay, sorry about that….. Now on to the topic of TV again! Before every start to a new Fall TV Season, every nerd that loves that of the TV feels that excitement, that joy, that big smile that fills the “TV Air” again with all the prospects of every new show, every returning show, and just that plain happiness again that there are like hundreds of shows once again to fill that DVR on the daily yet again. Unlike with Streaming Services or Cable, that of the Network TV are shows that are on a majority of the year with about a 3 month hiatus during those late spring to summer months. So when I’m talking “Fall TV Season” for this article, I’m including the Network TV also well as Cable and Streaming Services.

As much as I adore that of TV, I actually by the end of spring am a little somewhat okay with the season finales rolling on down and a little happy, perhaps to get that break for a bit. Shocked, that a TV Nerd could say such a thing! I know, I know. I say this because there are simply too many awesome gems these days to keep up with so when that break rolls around for at least the Network Shows it is very much like a, “Ah! No more new episodes for a minute now I can try and catch up on these gems!”. That’s all, don’t worry still very much a Nerd that loves her TV.

Usually every summer there are still shows to be seen, but not nearly the amount that is in the fall to spring season. I have to say after this past “Summer TV Season”, I relied mostly on returning gems for my TV watching… Alone Together, The Bold Type, Younger!!!!! (WHAT A SEASON, AM I RIGHT!!!!), GLOW, Trial & Error.

20181101_015821Although, I thought this summer season lacked any great new gems to add to my many list of favorite shows. There was though, one new show that premiered this past summer that was indeed spectacular!  That one standout series that was just above and beyond perfection and possibly my favorite new show of not only this summer but maybe the whole year was that of POSE on FX. If Ryan Murphy is involved in a series, I will be watching that series. And this series was one to watch. It was perfection.  It was a series where everything just came together and was told simply perfectly from start to end.  From the story it told, to the performances, to the music, to the costumes. It was rich with depth and a series that should be remembered come Golden Globe nomination time as its 1st season was one to be remembered and should be recognized with many nominations. And it got renewed for a 2nd season and yes to that!

20181015_180611I think it was maybe swimming and rather being outdoors that made me not as interested in watching soo much TV over the summer. I mean I watched a plenty and all, but not my usual “Nerd” amount. Case in point, I still have half the seasons of Animal Kingdom and Claws on my DVR from the summer still. As well as still not finishing last season’s Blindspot, Empire, Star, Fear the Walking Dead, and Lucifer among last season’s shows. I’ll get to those shows at some point.  I did though finally managed to just recently watch the last season of Preacher, which aired over this past “Summer TV Season”!  That finale was WHAT!  #TVNERDFAIL/ #TVNERDWIN!

20180921_025249So to say the least, I was super pumped for the start of the “New Fall TV Season”!  Like “Rebecca Flying Through The Air On A Soft Pretzel” on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Pumped!  All the returning gems that I absolutely adore returning…. too many to list but I can’t help myself, so I’ll name a few: This Is Us, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, The Goldbergs…… Like I said there’s too many to list, I watch like everything. Then there were new shows such as: A Million Little Things, Single Parents, Happy Together….to name just a few of the new shows that grabbed my attention based on commercials.  Because let’s face it, I’m going to watch it if it’s new so this list would once again be too long to list all the new gems I was looking forward to seeing for the first time. My TV Nerd Brain was like,” I am pumped for this new season of new shows/returning shows! Pumped! AHHHHHH!!!!! So excited!!!!!!”.

20180914_004535Then a few weeks into the “Fall TV Season” with the Network shows returning or starting mixed with the Cable shows and Streaming Service shows that overwhelming nerd feeling of “Oh boy! DVR at 98%! AHHHHHH!!!! Ugh!” starts to settle in as it does at some point sooner or later into the start of the “New Fall TV Season” every single year. That excitement slowly goes from a “Yeah!” to “Soooo many shows, uh-oh! Too Many Shows!”. Every year I feel the same way, overly excited to see all my fictional TV peeps return or new fictional peeps to see for the first time to overwhelmed that I simply can not keep up with every one of their stories. And that excitement starts to not be so exciting anymore. I TV Nerd Shut Down. And feel like, “Well, if I can’t watch them all….. I’m just gonna take a pause on this TV thing for a moment”. #TVNERDFAIL!

20181101_005804I love to see that new TV schedule and DVR the heck out of it, you know? You don’t see that kind of TV schedule in the summer and then rolls around September and there’s now soooo many programs to record it’s like “TV Nerd Heaven”. Then a few weeks into September and October, that fondness of recording every show imaginable becomes less realistic cause the DVR is always so very close to 100%. With On-Demand and Hulu, I’m aware I don’t have to record every show and can watch them that way but I love to record a show on the night it’s actually.  Although after this year…….

I am over it! I found myself racing to watch shows and finding myself still at 98% or close to that and then the next day the cycle continued and I have found myself….Over it! I finally got Hulu a few summers ago and most of the programs on these days at least on the Network ones go on Hulu the next day, so why I am recording a show that’s on Hulu the next day taking up space for a program that isn’t?!?! When I found myself while watching a show thinking about how I have so little space on my DVR to record more programs, I had to recognize I had to change the way I watch shows from now on. TV Shows are my release from the real world, the world that can sometimes tear my down. This is suppose to be an enjoyable time for me away from reality and not be frustrated at the % on the DVR.

So I “TV Nerd” decided I’m only going to record programs on the CW and CBS and the many reality shows (sometimes I just like to watch reality shows, sometimes my mind needs a break from scripted gems to watch “reality” gems, okay!)  that always have commercials On Demand (Ugh…. Commercials!) because not every show is on a Streaming Service, and let everything else go to the amazingness that is Hulu or On Demand, if need be.  I was overjoyed when the % on the DVR went from the high 90s to only the high 70s. Ah! So much better!I found myself watching the show in front of me and actually enjoying it again and being less focused on the DVR %.

20180921_034442 (1)After some time of watching “my shows” like this I decided this thing on not recording everything on the night it’s on is sometimes the way to go if you actually want to be able to appreciate and enjoy the very programs you are trying to enjoy.  My mind can get easily distracted and “TV Time” for this Nerd is a time when the only thing I want to be thinking about is that awesome show I am watching and nothing else.  Can let’s be real…. Sometimes we can all use that distraction and a shift of focus on to a story from a TV Show and let the real world wash away behind us for a bit of time here and there.  So let’s not let any silliness get it that way of enjoying something that’s meant to be enjoy.  If that means not watching some shows on the night they are on and watching them at some other point and trying to avoid those spoilers cause you’re late to the viewing party of that said episode on that said show than…. SO BE IT!


‘Tis Being The Season Of Halloween And All…. That Dreaded Thing of Getting “Ghosted”

20181027_182002With Halloween around the corner I thought what better time than now to talk about that super scary thing that is referred to these days as……. “Getting Ghosted”.  AH! What…..!!!  Was that a ghost? Nah, just a very much alive person that stopped talking to you that wants very much nothing to do with you anymore. AHHHH!!!! THAT’S TERRIFYING!!! SO SCARY!!! Yes, I know that was super scary to read. What’s even more scarier than that? You’ll never know why in fact they would rather be a ghost than to continue talking to you. Omg, so scary!

Instead of taking the bitter route, as one so easily could do when it comes to the topic of one getting “ghosted” I figured I take a humorous route instead. Since at the end of the day sometimes people talk and suddenly the conversation just kind of stops.  Sometimes it just happens where one person might have no idea or doesn’t get the hint and continues talking while the other person drifts away from the conversation slowly bit by bit becoming that ghost in a conversation that seems to have stopped out of nowhere.  Once you realize you were unknowingly in the process of getting ghosted you might then think the possible of thoughts next, “Ummm… Are we still talking? I’m confused. Okay, ummm… hmmmm…. Okay, that’s it then? Oh, okay. Was it something I said?!”. Of course, you are ultimately saying this to yourself in your head cause….. YOU GOT GHOSTED! Sound that sound a DJ Booth has about now. I don’t know what it’s called exactly but a loud sound. You know what I’m talking about!

As one gets older they realize how real true friendships are hard to come by. That’s coming from someone, me, whose best friend ghosted me literally right after my high school graduation. I mean sure I had a few other friends in the group of my best friend and mine’s group of friends. I mean sure they all stayed friends to some degree with each other and I kind of got that “Eh, Jodi. Why bother? Eh!”. So to keep score, I got ditched by someone I considered a best friend and all our friends stay in contact with each other except me. Cool, cool, cool, right!

I guess I’d feel differently towards this situation if it was more of a natural progression of losing touch after graduation but it wasn’t. I felt pushed out, not care about. I tried to keep in contact with the ones still willing to give me the time of day but I kept making the effort and eventually gave up at some point. Which years later I regret not having said how I felt by all this at the time it actually happened in to those who I once called “my friends”.  I regret not reaching out sooner to the ones and even the one that stopped talking with me to understand why or at the very least reach out to get some kind of closure on this matter in my life that continued to bum me out years after it had happened.

Well, I did reach out to my best friend at the time after getting that official notice of being “ghosted” but I never received back a response.  All I wanted to know was why, what happened and just simply understand.  After years of friendship it was just super hurtful to never have heard back at the time after reaching out.

I’m just remembering now how I said I was going to take that more humorous route on the topic of  one “getting ghosted”.  I feel like I somehow turned this more into a melancholy tone for this article at some point.  I unintentionally “ghosted” the humorous side I was going to take for this article.  Oh Jodi!  Yes, sometimes I refer to myself in 3rd person it happens.  Well, I guess there’s always some sort of humor to even the saddest of things in one’s life, right?  Anyways….

Letting go of this hurt ultimately took longer than I care to say eventually leave. Every now and than this occurrence that happened in my life still saddens me to this day when I think about it.  It’s been a real long time since that graduation day. I guess at the end of it, I really considered these people to be my forever friends. Now was I the best friend I could of been? No, of course not! I’m an extremely flawed, loud and some might say an annoying individual who loves the Theater and TV a bit too much. Did I, in fact ghost my best friend at some point during our friendship in high school and did I feel bad about that and apologize and ultimately really appreciated our friendship so much after that occurrence? Yes! You probably might think that a person that ghosted someone who later gets ghosted, well they (meaning me) deserved it! Even though I apologized after I did ghost my best friend for literally no reason and we did become friends again months later, I always felt that when she did the same thing to me I deserved it. And I probably did to a certain extent.

Years later I finally reached out to some of these friends who I felt left my side and you know what I found out? I waited too long to get the courage to reach out and bring this topic up to them, I waited too long to get any answers, I waited too long to get that closure and understanding. I felt silly in one way and in another way it was just something I had to do. I couldn’t go the rest of my nerd life holding on to questions or thoughts on something that had stayed with me all these years. I was tired of waiting, so I reached out cause the worst that could happen was I would stay being ignored. At this point, getting ignored is part of me now, something I eventually somewhere on down the line became use to.

Most were willing to talk again. Which was unexpectedly nice. Although, unlike when we were buddies a many a years prior to this point, the conversation slowly sank and I found I have nothing in common with anyone. I mean in my mind what else is there to talk about besides Theater or TV? That’s a joke, fyi. But seriously I have no idea what people in their 30s talk about. I guess their families, their careers, their hopes, their dreams. Well, as someone who had IBS like symptoms their whole life and let it get to them emotionally at some point, even though it has improved in the last few years, let’s just say I haven’t been able to do as much with myself as others as far as “dreams” and thinking about future plans for myself I slowly gave up on not realizing I had even gave up.  So that dreaded question of, “What have you been up to?” is a real…… “Well, I’ve had a few jobs. Seen a Broadway few shows…..Ummmmmm”.  Although, one friend of my past I still talk with here and there just to say a “Hi”.  There isn’t usually much conversation but it’s nice in a way to be able to just say a “Hi” at the very least.  It makes me sad we might not have that conversations like we did when we were actually friends, but it’s still nice to talk with someone from my past here and there and at the very least say a “Hi”.

My point is if you’re in a similar situation like the one I mentioned above, take some time to see if you care that this person no longer cares to call you anymore, to call you a friend. If you find yourself still bummed after a few months just reach out one more time. Cause if you wait too long, too much time has passed on by and you didn’t in fact get that possible reconciliation or closure you’d hoped for. Sure you got something off your chest….. Enter Elsa singing “Let It Go”! But that sadness kind of always stays there. It happens. You moved on from the situation, but hey we all have feelings. And sometimes that hurt isn’t that type of thing that might ever leave.

So enter….walk, walk, walk….. Present Day. Randomly one day this past summer someone reached out to me asking if I wanted to meet up one day to hang out. Randomly talked here and there prior, but that was it. I thought nothing of those little chats, like not very many really. So to want to meet out of nowhere I was like, “What??????”. My parents actually thought I was being pranked.

Just some perspective on my friendship situation of the last 15 or so years….. Notta. Like I said I thought I had made my forever friends and when that went away, I made acquaintances here and there at school or work, but never actual friendships. I always try to think, why? I think partly it had to do with being ditched by people who I thought actually liked me and I guess just not wanting to start over. I didn’t feel like I had it in me. To try and it falling apart and not knowing why all over again with new people. I really don’t know why when I think about it, why I never made new friends. It happens or doesn’t happen in my case, I guess. I somewhat think that I also never made that effort to make new friends again afterwards because the thought of ever being that person who could hurt someone like I had been hurt was something I never wanted to ever to do someone else.  Someone who just simple ignored someone or “ghosted” someone again and the hurt or confusion that that person might feel, I would never want to make anyone ever feel that hurt that I felt. And now I’m older and in many ways I got use to being solo without friends. Use to never going to another birthday party or just a party, in general anymore. Use to never having anyone to call or call me. Use to never getting a birthday card in the mail from a pal. You get use to it in many ways and you don’t get use to it in many ways, if that makes any sense.

So when a person asked to meet me now, the me with no real friendships and who has no idea what people talk about, the me with anxiety if I let it get to me which I try not to (yeah thanks years of IBS like symptons…. If you’ve dealt with that well… it takes a toll on you emotionally if you let it… I am trying to be better at that these days). Against my better judgement I figured I meet up with this person cause I’m done wondering what if, you know.

So we meet for a minute and chatted. It was okay, it was nice. Surprisingly, the next day the person reached out which surprised me cause I usually assume once someone gets to  know me it be a “Bye Girl Bye!” kind of situation immediately afterwards. Cause you know I’m that person people ditch, the person people like possibly….. but from a distance. Which I’ve kind of gotten use to being that “I don’t mind talk with you, but at a distance cause you be you”. Which is another thing I’ve gotten use to and accepted.

Basically, I met this person just the one time and talked for about only a month after that. And that was it. And that’s fine. All in all I thought even if the person didn’t like me after meeting that we could still maybe become friends and talk still. But I guess when your in your 30s that’s that. Which is also something that’s okay. I’m probably a situation that’s different from most in their 30s. I hadn’t made a real friend in many a years and when someone reached out who generally seemed interested in talking with me…… me!, it seemed out of nowhere but at same time maybe this part of my life, the friendless part, was finally turning around after all these years and out of nowhere. Like things were coming together again for me on that aspect of life. I guess I understand when people are younger and “ghost” someone but in your 30s? Really? I reached out when this became obvious that this was the direction that I once again found myself in.  Finding myself in that similar place once again years later, after thinking that I was possibly at long last making a friend in this world again. I reached out to just say sorry for not taking the hint and that if they ever wanted to talk again, it’s cool. Yes, it was lame and like something nobody would probably do but I’m a unique one I guess.  Cause the last thing I would ever want to be to someone is that person who became annoying and couldn’t take the hint.  I’ve been known to be initally oblivous in my time here and there.  It happens.

Did I expect some type of response even though I wrote “no need to response”? Like an “I’m Sorry” at most? Sure, we only talked for a month and in your 30s people are busy with life, and work, so I get it, but it still stings a little, that being “dropped”. Like I made the effort to try and thought someone didn’t mind me. And of course, this meant more to me than it would to most, but you know that’s life. And it’s okay. I’m probably more sensitive than most and eventually in due time this will just be another moment in life that I probably could of done without. Not the potential of getting to know someone, but that confusion mixed with so many “ummmm…okay” and that slight hurt you find yourself feeling at never finding out exactly what happened. Like I said scary stuff. That dreaded thing of never knowing what happened but really wanting to know what happened. And here I once again say, it’s okay.

So next time you find yourself in the process or about to be in the process of “ghosting” someone try maybe a lame excuse before you start that process with someone…..

I find this excuse to be one of a kind gold that I thought of: “I am planning on watching Cloud Atlas on… CABLE! And you know that’s a super long movie on cable with the commercials on all. And it’s just going to take super long and I just can’t find that time to talk like… for awhile… And when I say awhile, it’ll probably be more on the indefinitely kind of awhile side, you know cause Cloud Atlas on CABLE!  So time consuming.  Okay Bye!”- Excuse Brought to You By Nerd That Is Jodi.

When watching Alone Together on Freeform (Love!) over the summer, a movie was mentioned called Cloud Atlas. I literally had no idea it was in fact a real movie. It turns out the movie is like three hours and on cable, oh boy, it must be around five hours. So great lame excuse for someone, if not not perfect lame excuse. Gold, I tell ya! Gold!

Cause at the end of the day, I will always appreciate and will take a lame excuse before that thing of “getting ghosted” starts. Please and Thank You! Cause guys, we all have feelings and just think how’d you feel. So give that lame excuse a go before ignoring someone. It’s the least one could hope for!

And To That I Say…….. Happy Halloween!20181027_190107

TV Show Shout Out: Maniac

*Disclaimer- In discussing my thoughts on the series of Maniac on Netflix, there are spoilers throughout this article.  Okay now that that’s out of the way, on to my thoughts!*

Okay, so before most TV programs come out these days there are usually always a trailer beforehand promoting these said TV programs. You know how you see a commercial or a trailer for a new show and think the following of TV Nerds thoughts, “UH YES! THIS LOOKS AMAZING! I WANT TO START WATCHING THIS LIKE YESTERDAY!”. Yeah, you know those TV Nerd thoughts. Well, maybe less dramatic than that but hey you get the drift of what I’m saying. You’re probably thinking that based on the thought like the one mentioned above that I would watch that program like right away. Is that ever the case with this gal? Never honestly, usually most of the time that be a nope! Usually if I’m really excited about a new show I actually wait a little bit of time to let my excitement lessen down a bit so I’m not overly excited and can watch the show seriously and not like, “AHHHH!!!  Can’t Wait To Watch This!!!”.  So my excitement and that initial hype that surrounds that new series has diminished up a bit so I can actually focus more than I might otherwise had been able focus if I started it right away.

20181024_024319And here enters that of the new limited series that is Maniac on Netflix. It started on September 21st of this year and I started it around the beginning of October. Not too long after its premiere and that’s a TV Nerd win considering there are like thousands upon thousands of new shows starting every week now. Well maybe not thousands, but sometimes it feels like that many new shows are starting every week. It really does.

Your probably thinking about now something along the lines of, “Wasn’t this article suppose to be about Maniac? Why is this TV Nerd gal keep going off topic!”.  My apologies.  I tend to babble on when talking TV about TV related items when writing my articles. I tend to go off topic here and there. It happens. And to that I always say an “I’m Sorry” and “Okay Now Moving On To Why I Started Writing This Article In The First Place”….. And so moving on as the saying goes…

On to Maniac! Okay, this was a limited series made for Netflix. Honestly, when I first heard that this was intended to be just a limited series my Nerd Self was like, “With this amazing cast and interesting premise, really only a limited series? Really? Every show says that these days and there is usually another season at some point around that TV corner soon enough”. Although, after watching the very much “limited series” that was Maniac on Netflix, I can now say that I’m pretty sure, of course not definitely sure cause I don’t run the network that is Netflix and all, but it’s pretty safe to assume that Maniac is definitely a case where limited series is for real with no chance of another season. Although, more on that later and that is later on down the lines on my thoughts of this very much limited series.

So what’s Maniac about? Hmmmmm….. Well, it’s about a lot really. It’s about how life can at times be a constant…. Why????? And the struggle of the human condition that life can sometimes be and feel like it can be at times throughout one’s life. It’s about depression, sadness, trauma, and also that slight thing of how you can always find humor in even the darkest of times cause life can sometimes be that ridiculous roller coaster of what!?!?! And how even at your lowest moment, your sadness moment, if you have just one true person, just one friend, just that one person who can really be there for you by your stand who really truly cares, that that is sometimes all you really need to get through something no matter how difficult of a situation in life you may find yourself in. This “limited series” is about a whole lot really, but that’s the core message of what I took away from what this series was truly about.

A brief overview of Maniac is that it follows two adults (late 20s/early 30s) Annie and Owen. They don’t know each other. They both go to a experimental drug trial at a facility. Annie has become dependent on this drug “A” to help get her through her day. She blackmailed a facility worker there to get into the drug trial that will contain the drug “A”. Owen, on the other hand, is at this drug trial because he is told he is on a mission to save the world and that a woman agent is to help him accomplish this goal. Owen has been talking with a person he believes to be his other brother that only he can see and his brother tells him about this mission he is to go on. He sees things and people at moments here and there but deep down doesn’t know if what he’s seeing is real or not. Owen has seen Annie’s face on billboards around the city and believes she is the agent to help him accomplish this mission and then he sees her in the waiting room before the drug trial begins. He believes she has been sent there to help him.  They’ve never met before, but they will soon mean more to each other than they could of ever imagined.

20181024_025746Annie, played by Emma Stone, is a person wandering through her existence. She has a grudge towards life and a “Don’t Mess With Me Attitude” with her glances and stares. Like with anyone who may comes across as though Annie does, she’s been through things in her life that made her into the person she now is.

At some point she became addicted to a drug which in the world of the series is only referred to as “A”. She says this is something she needs cause it makes her feel better, it helps, it gets her through the day. We later find out in the series how at a young age her mother abandoned her family because she was sick. After that happened she took care of her sister Ellie and her father lost touch with reality. Not being able to handle life he went to spend his days in some type of pod. Disconnecting himself from the outside world, not truly being present for his children.

20181024_031556As time passes on from one year on to the next what Annie and Ellie want out of their lives change from each others. Ellie is engaged and is planning on moving out of the city to start a new life, a fresh start somewhere new. Annie isn’t really too thrilled about this and they take a road trip before Ellie plans on moving. Ellie is optimistic still about life and the possibility that things can be good still in life with just a little bit of hope. Annie loves her sister and truly doesn’t want to imagine daily life without her. Instead of telling her this, she just makes jokes and acts somewhat bitter towards her on this trip saying how she’ll be happy once she leaves cause then they can grow apart and be out of each other’s lives. Annie doesn’t really mean any of this, she doesn’t want to think of a life without Ellie in it and it’s just easier to make it seem like she doesn’t care than to break down.

They are driving when the unthinkable happens. They are both involved in a horrific accident by a driver under the influence of a substance. Annie survives. Ellie does not. It’s in this very moment that Annie changes even further away from reality and wants nothing to do with it. This moment in her life defined her up to this drug trial. It’s from this moment in her life that Annie feels such guilt. She tells Owen that she takes the “A” drug cause it makes her relieve that moment because she gets to be with Ellie again. She doesn’t want to feel okay, she just wants to stay with her sister even on the worst moment of her life because in that day she is still alive, still with her. She doesn’t want to feel good or okay, this is how she wants to feel. Why is she here and not her sister?

20181024_024649Owen is played by Jonah Hill. Owen is an overly sad individual. Soft spoken, looks down. He has a non-stop facial expression of as though he is dead inside. You feel as though you could see straight through him if you look directly into his eyes. He sees things and questions if they are real. He doesn’t know what is real and what is not. There’s a sadness, a longing, a tiredness, a heaviness to his soul that you feel every moment you see him on screen.

20181024_025040Owen comes from a wealthy family where everyone is high energized and comes across as though they deserve a sense of entitlement to them because of their wealth. And then there’s him. Everyone is loud, he is quiet and barely speaks. His brother is to be on trial being accused of a crime and Owen is going to take the stand in his brother’s defense. Owen knows what is required of him, what his family wants him to say, and truly doesn’t want to take the stand and be involved in this matter. Before the trial involving his brother, he goes to the drug trial to start his mission to save the world.

20181024_030051When Owen first enters the drug trial facility he sees Annie enter shortly afterwards. He’s seen her face on billboards all across the city and think it is a sign that they are at the same place at the same time and she’s the person to help him on this mission.  She has no idea what he’s talking about and to just get him to stop talking she simply just goes along with what he’s saying.  She later tells him it’s wasn’t a sign, she got paid to have her face plastered on these billboards everywhere.

20181024_031113Shortly after meeting in the waiting room, Annie and Owen enter the drug trial with the other participants. We never really get to know the other participants as we do Annie and Owen. During these drug trials the participants take the drugs of “A”, “B”, and “C”, one by one. Each time Annie and Owen, experience being under these drugs they go into a state of sleep where they experience life that seems real but it isn’t. During these sleep like states Annie and Owen intertwine in each other’s experiences which is not something that has ever happened in these trials. The scientists try to separate them in these states from each other’s dream experiences but it never takes, they always get back in each other’s dream like realities.

20181024_034031Each time a drug is taken Annie and Owen enter a dream like state where they in their minds go into an alternate reality where they are themselves but not themselves. They look the same, but they are different. Different 20181024_034424.jpgpersonalities, different identities. At some point they always encounter one another each time. One time they are a married couple in an 80s like setting, one time they are divorced exes in a 50s like setting, one time she’s an agent set to save him from getting killed. Each time at a certain moment they start to remember things from their real life in these different personas. And at some point who they are in the real world enters who they are in this alternate 20181024_035708reality and their true feelings and thoughts of their real life seep in little by little.  Even though they’ve escaped the real world by taking this drug and entering a world in their mind that isn’t their own, what they still feel about themselves and their life and their experiences never truly ever leaves them even in a different reality far from their actual one.

Maniac was one of the most thoughtful existential shows I have seen in awhile. I say thoughtful because it’s one of those series that if you really take the time to think about what you’re watching it is a show that really rings true to a lot of things in actual real life.

20181024_024551This was a series I was expecting to just immediately love from its very first moment. The trailer looked super intriguing, enter an amazing cast of all stars, and a possible sad and existential tone. So, yeah I’m in! Although, the first episode was so extremely sad, heavy, and somewhat on a slow pace that I was slightly thinking, “Hmmmm….”. After a bit of time, I came to realize though how great of a translation the creator, writers, director and acting was of the first episode. I felt those exact emotions when watching it because the character of Owen felt exactly those emotions. It was not suppose to be easy to watch and the translation of all those feelings Owen felt came completely across on screen to a tee. Owen was in real distress, in real pain emotionally and those feelings came across on screen exactly how he felt when watching that first episode of the series.

Maniac is the type of series where you just can not base it on a first impression. It’s a series that’s not trying to be simple, easy or perfectly wrapped up in a nice bow.  It’s the type of program that takes some time to understand and appreciate it for what it’s trying to say. This series deals with the imperfections in life and those emotions that can sometimes be so strong that it takes us away from who we really could be and what life could be like without those feelings that are holding us back from moving forward in our own life.

20181024_030818Annie dealt with a lot of tragedy in her life. Her mother left her family at a very young age leaving her to take care of her younger sister. Her father wasn’t there for the family like he should of been after the mother left them and because of that happening he just shut down from his family and the outside world entirely.

This experience defined Annie’s life and in many ways shaped her to become the person she became as she got older. In life it can be a frustrating thing when others treat you poorly or react in a negative way towards you.  It’s even more frustrating how that can truly have an impact on how a person can feel about themselves as they get older and the years go by.  No one wants to let someone else affect them negatively but sometimes it’s hard to not let it affect you emotionally and have an impact on how you look at the world and life.  And this moment of her mother leaving her family behind changed the dynamic of her family and of Annie completely. How could it have not?

I thought of Annie as what I would refer to as a “functional but depressed” person. Meaning she felt that sadness from that moment of her life but she was still someone who could function through daily life. Then when her sister was tragically killed in the car accident, it was in that moment that she just completely could not even function at all anymore. She started to take “A” to feel better, to get by from one moment to the next, from one day to the next. She became dependent on this drug, not because a physician suggested it for her health. She took “A” to feel better because she couldn’t handle life without it anymore. She became addicted to it. It made her never forget that moment of her sister dying. She wanted to feel bad, sad.  She felt that she never wanted to ever feel okay again and that was okay because she got the be with her sister in those moments again. In a moment when talking with Owen she said she grew up taking care of her sister, but her sister was the one who took care of her as they got older. Her sister was the okay one, the easier one, the functional one, so she wonders why this happened to someone okay with life.

20181024_035808By Annie never confronting her emotions of her mother leaving and sister dying she became someone she probably wouldn’t of become otherwise. She pushed those emotions down when her mother left. She pushed those emotions down when her sister died. Her sister dying is when she became dependent on not wanting to feel anything and got addicted to a substance that help her do that but it also her hurt. By Annie not wanting to confront the passing of her sister she could not move forward in her life. She didn’t need to forget her, but she needed to look at that moment and say how much her sister meant to her and how she is sad about it, and how she will never forget her and always miss her. At the end of the series, she has the choice of of staying in this alternate reality and essentially never waking up by being in this hypnotic state forever or confronting why in the first place she felt she the need to take a drug like “A”. 20181024_040005She spoke to her sister and said everything she never said before her sister died and just felt that release of letting go of the past tragedy while never forgetting at the same time. When she dealt with the feelings of confronting that moment that she never could before she didn’t need to be dependent on “A” anymore.

I completely understand Annie’s thought process of getting to that point of life where you get use to feeling a certain way because of past occurrences that make get you to a certain emotional state of life. You get use to feeling sad and when you feel happy, you go from feeling one constant way to a completely foreign feeling which you don’t always feel as often, happiness. There’s an inconsistency and to feel okay and not sad, feels weird simply because it’s a feeling that necessarily isn’t always there for you. I feel Annie can be a relatable character for a lot of people because as much as we wish not to let things from our past keep us down and effect us emotionally, the truth is it can if we let it. And sometimes all you want to do is forget and be oblivious to those things in the past, but by not letting those moments go you are holding on to the very thing that is holding you back from moving forward. Sooner or later we all get to that point that Annie gets to, to finally let the past no longer define you. That point of confronting what held you back and just letting what happened happen, but not letting it hold you back from living any longer. Some of us get their quickly in no time and others get there at a turtle’s pace but eventually get there in due time.

20181024_040612.jpgTowards the end of the series the participants in the trial are given their individual diagnosis.  Annie is diagnosed as having borderline personality disorder.  Owen is diagnosed as having paranoid schizophrenia.  Owen doesn’t come across as particularly surprised by these results as he was already aware of this.  For years he’s seen things or people that he knew were probably not there, but at times he truly just didn’t know what was real or what wasn’t.  In the last few moments you see him at a psychiatric facility.  His family put him there not because of his diagnosis but because he went against his family in his brother’s trial and admitted he lied and his brother was is in fact guilty.  Annie realizes she doesn’t want Owen not in her life and finds him there.  He tells her to go away, she’s not real, he needs to be there, he deserves this, he’s crazy.  She tells him that sure he should be medicated but he isn’t any more crazy than anyone else in this world and this is not the place for him.  Nobody deserves this kind of life in a place like this.  They run off together and drive away on an open road with the possibility of hope and happiness in the air that they haven’t ever quite had in their lives before.

20181024_032526.jpgAnnie and Owen in many ways the world shut out. She came across as someone who was bitter and angry at the world. He came across as sad and silent, someone who it was just easier to ride off as crazy instead of trying to know or understand why. It’s easy to just not bother with someone when there might be baggage attached to them, but we all have some type of baggage attach to us.  If someone may have some type baggage it should make us have more empathy for them, but unfortunately not everyone does or cares enough to stay when times get tough or not easy.

20181024_041203What truly helps in life is to have a friend by your side. Quality vs. quantity is the truest of sayings when it comes to friendships in one’s life. Annie and Owen never had a person in their life that really accepted who they were, a person they could truly count on to just be there. To be there not because they felt obligated or out of sadness or pity, but just because they truly cared. Annie and Owen found that in each other. They found that person that didn’t judge them and accepted them for who they were. They weren’t perfect, they might not function in ways of normalcy that would make others not want to bother and walk on by. As you get older you really realize how special having that one person you can call a real friend is. How not everyone is even lucky enough to even have that and you realize how friendship, true friendship is one of life’s most greatest of treasures. How it can make life better, how it can make life lighter, how it can truly make all the difference in the world to someone. To just have someone there who cares.

At the end of it, Maniac is a series that says a lot even when not saying anything. It doesn’t have all the answers. You might find yourself as a viewer frustrated cause it doesn’t offer those simply solutions to all the questions not answered. Cause at the end of it, life is complicated, life is sometimes an up and down roller coaster that can be a lot at times, life doesn’t also offer a simple easy solution to every problem that may face it. This is a series that doesn’t shy away from the craziness and confusion that life can sometimes feel and be to someone. Maniac does show how life can be a little less scary, a little more enjoyable to get through with someone by your side. Whether dealing with tough times or good times in one’s life that may occur is at least a little easier to get through with someone by your side to help or enjoy life that is meant to be lived.


TV Show Shout Out: The Good Wife

It’s that moment, it happens with every show sooner or later…. That moment of the series finale episode and the show now being over, being done, being completed.  It happens just like that. You watch a show for a certain amount of time until that fateful day when the show is now complete and your time as a viewer for a program you have looked forward to watching night after night, following the characters journey, admiring and becoming a complete and loyal fan of is now over. Metaphorical tears…… they be a flowing and flowing……

Let me take you on a journey. A journey of my time becoming a complete fan of the now ceased program that was…. The Good Wife. Curtain rises. And so I begin…….

Like any other TV Nerd out there, there are new shows that come around every TV season that spark your inner TV Nerd interest where you may yourself saying, “Yes! This I want to watch! Yup!”. Okay, so The Good Wife was a show on my list of shows I was so interested in being that TV viewer of. So you may be asking yourself did I in fact tune into this show its start to its end? Being that loyal viewer along the show’s seven season journey on that of the CBS network? Was I? Was I? Well, was I? I’ll add a little suspense with a…. Too Be Continued…..

Jodi - Pict 1 - Good WifeKidding. Well this is where I made a “TV Nerd Fail” as I like to say when I fail at being a Nerd that loves TV. I know these days VCR tapes are unheard of, but back when this show premiered in 2009, I was still recording my shows on that platform. I was basically Netflix with VCR tapes before Netflix on Roku was a thing. So back then I could only record a show and watch a show, so I couldn’t watch every show my little Pop Culture Nerd heart desired. So I missed out on The Good Wife when it started airing on TV and by the time I got any streaming services there were so many episodes to catch up on I figured I would just wait now until the series was over and start to watch it then. So I finally got Hulu two summers ago and when January of 2018 started so did my journey as well to finally starting this show that was The Good Wife, had finally began.

I have never been one for binge watching just one program. I like my variety of different shows every night to choose from. With a show that has ended like The Good Wife, I made it a TV priority to watch at least one episode every night when I were to have watched any TV programs. With shows currently now on the air, sometimes a show that has already ended its run on TV might fall to the side with a, “I’ll watch it eventually”. So I made that TV commitment to stick with the show and always watch one episode when watching my other shows. When I saw the amount of episodes that the series had (a total of 156, oh boy!), I figured only watching one episode for whenever I watched anything would take a minute to get through. Factor in that I don’t watch TV every night, it might take a minute and a half. I started in January and finished right before this September of 2018. And along the way…….  I became a fan.

Jodi - Pict 2 - Good WifeA brief overview of The Good Wife is basically that of yet another politician scandal and the wife standing beside her husband. The wife here is Alicia played wonderfully by Julianna Margulies. Alicia starts off the series as that loyal wife standing by her husband, Peter (played by Chris Noth). With her husband now in prison, she re-enters the work force again as a lawyer hired by an old college pal, who also happened to be her college boyfriend, Will. Will, who is now a partner at one of Chicago’s biggest law firms. Through the course of the series Alicia morphs from loyal wife to her own person who ends up leaving her husband at the very end. But waiting so very long to get to that point of doing that. Something you wished as a viewer that she would of officially of done earlier in the series run.  But not making that distance official between her and Peter earlier in the series, she could have avoided seriously messing up that love life of hers.  But I’ll get around to all of that later.

Jodi - Pict 3 - Good WifeOkay very important personal yet pointless backstory about me finally starting to watch this show and brief overview now on behind, I’ll get around to my thoughts on this incredible series. So I go to watch the series premiere and I really liked it. Fun fact- Gillian Jacobs, from Community and the recent LOVE on Netflix, was on the pilot episode. My inner nerd was very much, “WHATTTT!!!! Amazing!!!!!! And how could I not have known about this?!?!?!?!”.

Okay fun fact about pilot pointed out! In all honesty, based on the popularity from critics and the amount of awards this show gained in the beginning of the series, I was expecting to fully be a fan from the get go when starting to watch this show. In all honesty though, I like liked it, but I didn’t think it was like, “OMG! THIS SERIES IS SOOO FLIPPING GOOD! I TOTALLY AND COMPLETELY UNDERSTAND WHY IT WAS SO TALKED ABOUT!”. In truth it truly took until about the 10th episode for me to turn into that complete fan that totally understood why it was just a hit.

The Good Wife was seriously just a really solid show at the end of it. The writing was there. The story was there. And the performances were like just so completely there. I truly think that when watching a series that is no longer on the air, that it is completely possible to overlook possible storylines that maybe didn’t work or were possibly not as great as others. I think that can be the case at times when watching a TV program that is not on the air anymore, and where that week to week anticipation isn’t there like it is for a show still currently on. I thought the complete series was perfection from episode 10 to series finale. I know that’s probably not the case, cause I definitely remember reading how the critics were critical of some of Season 4 with the storyline surrounding Kalinda’s ex-husband. I think it’s possible I might of felt that way if I watched the series when it was actually on, but I thoroughly enjoyed every season and didn’t find any issues with Season Four or any other seasons.

When I did watch the show I’d only watch one episode at a time for the most part. And once I really got sucked into being a super fan of this show, I loved seeing the characters and the show evolve season after season. There’s something about watching a series from start to finish, night after night, that is just simply a different viewing experience than watching it when it’s actually on week to week. You get to see the series transform at a faster speed than you would otherwise. Watching a series in this way is almost like reading a book. You get to take your time to read every page at a time at your speed and then finish the book completely with no interruptions or breaks in between. I actually recommend to watch a show in this manner, a show where it is completed and done. And I think in many ways it can be more of an enjoyable experience as a viewer cause you don’t have to wait for more episodes, they’re all there ready for your viewing pleasure.

Jodi - Pict 4 - Good WifeThe characters on this show were so strong and well written which lead to top notch performances in each and every single episode. In made unknowns into stars and stars into bigger stars. Julianna Margulies, who was mostly known for her work on ER prior, with her performance on this series it launched her into that of leading woman status with her portrayal of Alicia Florrick.

Here Margulies, gave an award winning performance of Alicia, showing a woman who finds herself in an embarrassing and unfortunate situation that she didn’t sign up for with her politician husband cheating on her and than going to prison for a completely unrelated issue to that of the scandal he made. Her character finds herself in a situation she could have never imagined and having to start over in a career she walked away from decades prior to focus on her family. Margulies acting on the show was the definition of just so completely strong. She showed that evolution of a timid woman who just spent her time taking care of her family and attending charity galas as the first wife of the governor. A woman her never really took any time for herself, as well as her hopes or dreams anymore. And evolved into that of a strong willed attorney turning her life around becoming independent and truly founding herself again along the way.

Jodi - Pict 5 - Good WifeMargulies portrayal of Alicia was clearly why award shows were invented. I must just once again reiterate how much I am a super fan of this show before saying what I’m about to say next. Okay…. I unfortunately just really never warmed up to liking her character. I know it’s probably bizarre to say how I love this show so flipping much, but not so much the main character of the show. Maybe it was her hair, it was always so flipping perfect, not a strand out of place. I got a very stern and somewhat of a cold vibe from her character a majority of the time. I don’t know, eh. Honestly, I think it was the hair. It was like never messy. That bothered me somehow and made her a little less relatable to someone whose hair frizzes at the first sign of water or humidity. Jealous? Yes! Anyways….

Jodi - Pict 6 - Good WifeOne of the biggest storylines for the series was the death of Will Gardner. Will was that person that gave Alicia a second chance by giving her a job when she really needed one. He was there for her and gave her that chance to start over again when others didn’t. He was a main character who just had such a major presence on the series. I didn’t watch the show obviously when it was on the air, but this storyline was such a big part of the series. It was that unavoidable spoiler that was everywhere the next day and nearly next to impossible to not have heard about. So yes, I was aware of this spoiler, but couldn’t remember exactly in what season it took place in when starting the show. So even though I knew this was going to happen at some point, I had no idea when, and when I watched that episode it truly hit hard. I have always been a fan of Josh Charles’s work, but him on this show made me a forever fan.

Jodi - Pict 7 - Good WifeWill was an interesting character. He was likable and felt like a person who went into the law for the right reasons. Although, his character who a lot of the time did stretch the law with his arguments to win cases, you still couldn’t help but liked this guy who gave his old college girlfriend another chance at starting her life over with a job and a change she truly needed in her life. Whether or not his character was always that good guy, Will just had a charm about him that made you just gloss over that, lets say…… the lawyer in him stretching the truth. When that episode arrived that showed his death on the show, I actually found myself saying out loud, “NO!” over and over again and crying as though I just watched an episode of This Is Us or The Good Doctor. I knew about this moment in the series and yet I found myself in shock and denial when the episode was over. I was in disbelief that Will was no longer a character on the show. His character was such a huge part of the series that when his death happened, you truly felt that absence on the show afterwards. Charles portrayal of Will, was a big part to what made this character have a real substance and made him feel just like that average any day guy that you might meet at a coffee shop randomly. Will just had a real likable quality to him, and when his character was killed you couldn’t help but feel some kind of emotion from it.

This show was about a lot. It was about the law. It was about how the occupation of law can sometimes be more about that of the business side and competing with fellow lawyers and winning than about that of the human condition. It was also about that of being independent and becoming your own person. And let’s be real, a major part of the series was also about that of Alicia’s love life.  And as far as that love life of hers, she had a real interesting one, indeed.

Jodi - Pict 8 - Good WifeWill, at the end of the day will always be Alicia’s one true love. She did at the end of the series get to that place of moving on and letting him go. When Josh Charles left the series taking away the character of Will, the show then entered a new potential love interest in that of Finn played by Matthew Goode. His character was the new DA. The relationship with Finn and Alicia never got to the point of boyfriend/girlfriend status. But man, oh man, boy did they flirt. As a viewer, you wanted to see these two in a relationship, but it never got that far.

20181010_173831Then enter the end of Season Six and BAM!, Finn’s character leaves the series. I was like, “WHATTTT!!!”. The show felt like they were setting up for these characters to fall for each other and than BAM!, his character just up and leaves the show. I did not know of this spoiler and was beyond bummed to see his character go. For almost two seasons, it looked like Alicia might of found love again and than there it goes on by. I have to say I’ve seen Matthew Goode in a few things such as The Crown and the recent Amazon’s The Ordeal By Innocence. Although, him on The Good Wife is where I became that lifelong forever fan forever and always. He just had a way about him on the show. The way he spoke, the way he glanced and then spoke. Yeah, loved! Okay, so I could probably go on and on and talk about my love of Matthew Goode’s Finn all day, so moving on…..

20181006_192152A major part of my love for this series was also for the fact that it regularly hired Broadway performers. Combining my two loves on that of Theater and Television. As I do call myself “That TV Nerd When In Jersey Who Becomes A Theater Dork When In NYC” after all. So many, like soooooooo many of my favorite Broadway actors and actresses were on this show. It made my Pop Culture Nerd heart so very full. I mean there was James Carpinello, Kristin Chenoweth, Christian Borle, Mary Beth Peil, Christine Baranski, James Monroe Iglehart, Sutton Foster, Michael Urie (of Ugly Betty!!!!!), Vanessa Williams (of Ugly Betty!!!!), Nathan Lane, Kelli Barrett, Jeff McCarthy, Alan Cummings, Taye Diggs, Karen Olivio, Cristin Milioti, Matthew Morrison, Megan Hilty, Rebecca Luker, Denis O’Hare, John Benjamin Hickey, Renee Elise Goldsberry, Leslie Odom, Jr. among the many others to grace both the Broadway stage and The Good Wife TV series. I sure I’m forgetting others cause my brain breaks sometimes when trying to remember fun facts about a favorite show that featured so many Broadway performers!!!!! This is one of the many reasons I fell in love with this show.20181012_010245

This summer, The Good Wife’s own Will Gardner, Josh Charles made his Broadway debut in a Second Stage production of Straight White Men on Broadway.  It had a cast of all stars featuring beside him Armie Hammer and Paul Schneider.  Josh Charles in that of a Broadway show right around the time I’m actually watching The Good Wife!  What!  Dreams do come true!  Broadway show plus a favorite actor from a favorite TV show together?  My favorite things of Theater and TV coming together!  So you’re probably thinking I must have seen this production, like for sure!  Well, I did the opposite of that, unfortunately.  Every theater season I always try my Theater Dork best to see every show that I  possible can see.  But that’s usually impossible.  You can’t see them all.  The Second Stage Broadway productions are only around two months long which isn’t that long of a run, so if you miss it, you miss it.  Ugh.  And I missed it.  Let’s be real, I probably would have been way too excited to really even watch the show cause I be like, “OMG! Josh Charles!  It’s Will!”.  So I did the next best thing and when I went to NYC one day to see another show, I said a metaphorical hello to a picture of Josh Charles on the side of the Helen Hayes theater where the show he was in was going to play.  And yes, even though it was totally just a picture I still got flipping excited to see it.  My Mom, who is my constant theater pal, was like, “Who is Josh Charles?”.  I was like,”It’s Josh Charles!  The Good Wife?  You still have no idea what I’m talking about?  If you watched The Good Wife, you’d get it.  This is a big deal…. It’s Josh Charles.  Josh Charles!”

Jodi - Pict 10 - Good WifeJodi - Pict 11 - The Good WifeAs far as Series Finales go, this one I didn’t love but didn’t dislike completely either. Mixed feelings after watching it. Before watching it, I remember when the finale happened a few years prior hearing that somebody slapped somebody and it was the slap heard around the TV world. I also remember hearing the finale was a let down. It kind of was in some ways, especially for a series that always seemed to know where it was going. The finale showed an ugly side to Alicia when she kind of threw Diane’s husband under the metaphorical bus by putting him on the stand to testify after Diane (Christine Baranski) didn’t want her husband involved anymore in Peter’s trial. So Diane’s husband, Kurt (Gary Cole) is called to come up to testify and Alicia didn’t tell Diane this was going to happen and Diane just gets up and walks out of the courtroom. I remember watching this moment and saying out loud, “NO! NO! NO!”.  Kurt is just a real stand up guy and it was like, “Just leave him out of this Alicia, Peter is not worth losing a friendship over!”.

Jodi - Pict 9 - Good WifeIt’s in this episode Alicia just completely lost herself and what she stood for, for Peter, who at the end of the day she just didn’t respect or love as a person any longer. She lost who she became further in this moment when not at least giving Diane the respect of letting her know beforehand what she was going to do. I do not condone violence of any kind, I think Diane could have just simply gave her just a really good stare while slowly walking away, like a “Really, you just did that! We are done! Done! Bye Girl Bye!”, instead of giving her a slap on the face. I think the purpose of that slap was to bring it back to the pilot episode when Alicia slapped her husband at the end of the episode in the exact same location after his press conference before going off to jail. She slapped him in disappointment at what he had done, and in the finale Alicia became that person of disappointment to someone else. Full circle, as though she learned nothing from that experience by picking career and ambition over sincerity and loyalty to those who were really there for her in times of need or help. That’s this gal’s theory, at least.

Jodi - Pict 14 - Good WifeAlso in the Series Finale, Alicia finally really let go of Peter. She is once again standing by Peter at a press conference after his trial and after some time of him speaking to the public, she turns her head and sees Jason (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), her current love. She leaves Peter up on the podium talking and just walks away to go to Jason. She didn’t care about the optics of anything anymore. She just simply wanted to be free of Peter and all he put her through.

Jodi - Pict 15 - The Good Wife

She was officially done and over all of it. She just wants to run off, away from it all and be with Jason. And she thinks she sees him and follows him, only to find out it wasn’t him she was chasing after and just some random guy. She finally felt at the end like there was a chance at love and happiness again for her after all that had happened with Will. She took so long to get to that point and place and it was as the saying goes, just a little too little, a little too late. She spent so much of her time trying to see what she could still get out of Peter if he stayed Governor for her career, all as while forgetting she was just going backward everytime she went to him for things like that. Backward not forward. Because of doing things like that she never really allowed herself to completely detach from him until that moment she left him on the podium at that press conference in the series finale. She waited so long to do that, to really let him go. With waiting so long to get to that place she lost a potential love and relationship, as well as a friendship, that may not have been a perfect one, but still a true friend in many ways, at the very end.

Jodi - Pict 16 - Good WifeSo happy that there is a spin-off of this series in The Good Fight with now Diane (Christine Baranski) in the lead role. I know what you must be thinking. I must of totally have started watching this cause I am like such a fan of The Good Wife! But no. I don’t have CBS All Access, so I haven’t started this show yet but I hope to soon. Trying not to spend extra dough lately, so I ordered the DVDs from my local library and they have yet to come in. Ugh! Also, why the heck did a show such as this get put on a platform like that instead of the actual channel in which it is a spin-off of was actually on?!!?! Ugh, TV Nerd frustration.  With so many streaming services out today, it’s impossible to have them all cause it’s expensive! I’m just surprised, but I get it. CBS wanted viewers to pay attention to their streaming service channel. So what better way to do that than to have the highly anticipated The Good Wife spin-off be on that of their streaming service channel. By doing that started CBS All Access got a lot more attention than it might of otherwise have gotten. But still, ugh to that cause I’m probably never going to get that streaming service!

So at this point it’s more obvious that The Good Wife is a show that will always hold a special place in my TV Nerd Loving Heart. I loved so many things about this series. I did not talk about everything I loved about it as this article has turned into being super long as it is now and it would be even longer if I continue to babble on and on about my love for this gem. So a quick thanks to those who stuck around to finish my rambling thoughts on it.

Jodi - Pict 18 - Good WifeJodi - Pict 17 - Good WifeBefore I leave just a quick note of a little something, something I loved during this series run. Not story related, but hair related. Alan Cummings’s hair was everything on this show. It changed so many times, in shape and color and I loved each and every time! In the beginning, he had this brownish hair tone with a high hair bump going on which was tamed by Season Two. During the course of this series, he returned to a revival of Cabaret (which I saw, also loved cause Theater Dork!), his hair color went from brown to dark black to grey, from long to short. I loved it! Okay, now I’m really done with my way too long thoughts for reals this time, promise.

All in all, The Good Wife: recommend, watch, enjoy!