Believe It Or Not….. I Watch TV When I’m Happy and Not When I’m Sad……..

jodi tvSomeone once asked me if I watch TV as a coping mechanism for dealing with IBS. For those of you who don’t know what IBS is, well consider yourself one of the lucky ones. IBS stands for: Irritable Bowel Syndrome. It’s basically when your stomach works against you, making daily living sometimes nonexistent. On a more positive note, my situation with that has gotten considerably better to what it once was. I cut out soda. Who knew? Now, it’s just a matter of trying to fix the mental toll that it caused on my mind. I’m still working on that one.

At the time when I was asked that question of if my TV watching was a coping mechanism, I said, “Sure, somewhat”. Which wasn’t a complete truth. It seemed easier to just say yes to that question instead of the real reason. Which is that my social life after high school and into college became of the “nonexistent” variety. My whole life I always had friends, I always had someone to hang out with or talk to on the phone. Sure, some friendships took that natural fade away and new friendships formed in those places of the old ones. Cause that does happen in one’s life from time to time. Without going into specifics, I’ll just say I had a group of people in high school who I considered to be my “forever friends”. Let’s just say to this day, they are probably all in each other lives with the exception of me. I understand the concept of people growing apart and things along that nature making that natural fade away. Although, to put my feelings in TV terms (cause I am now a TV Nerd after all), I had less of a proper goodbye send off from the network and more of that disappointing abrupt cancellation without a reason why. I’ve gotten to a point in my life where I hold no bad feelings or ill will for any of these people from my past. What I hate to admit though, is that to this very day, I am extremely still hurt by this occurrence in my life. Simply because I considered these people to be my actual friends. I am not the best or the greatest person. I can be annoying at times. I was not the best friend I could of been. I am flawed. I make mistakes. I think making new friends after this happened was hard cause I felt, “Why do I have to make new friends? I thought I had ones at this point in my life.” Also, I think I never wanted anyone to also feel that hurt that can be caused from someone just simply tossing you aside with no explanation for something better, even after trying to reach out.

So, yeah, graduation happened. And as fast as graduation happened so disappeared that small social life I once considered everything. I’m not sure why I then turned to TV. I do realize how ridiculous it seems, but with no friends to hang with, I looked to TV. I thought I’ll have something to look forward to each and every night of the week. Somewhat sad I know, but at that time I was really sad, so it fit with why I didn’t do something more active like a sport. In a way, it wasn’t until looking back at these moments years later that I realize how depressed from this situation I really became. Even to this day, that particular depression has remained intact.

Growing up, I was always a fan of the arts. Particularly theater and the performing arts. In my high school days, I upped that to Broadway Theater Nerd or Dork, whichever you prefer. By tenth grade, I was basically Rachel Berry from “Glee”, if Rachel Berry couldn’t sing a tune in the least. Yeah, that was and is still very much me. I never was really an avid TV watcher back then.

Growing up in the 90s, I was a superfan of Nickelodeon though. Clarissa Explains It All, was literally everything to me. She was my fashion idol! I too, never wore what some might consider to be a “classic” look when dealing with my fashion choices. I was more of the mix and match type with too much jewelry. Although, when in high school, the one and only show I ever remembered when it was actually on TV (and didn’t forget it was on) was the classic gem that was “Felicity”. I rarely remembered when shows were actually on with the exception of that one. When not in school or marching band (which I was awful at, by the way), I hung out with friends, never really being “That TV Nerd” quite yet.

As far as my health situation of dealing with IBS (for pretty much my whole life and it getting much worse since graduating high school), I think I might be finally seeing that possible light at that end of the tunnel. I know it may sound weird to those who haven’t experienced it, but having IBS is like having a form of PTSD. Even though, it’s gotten way better in the last year, it really did a number of my mind. I guess spending that much time in the bathroom will do that to anyone. The thing is I love going out, seeing shows, going to the beach, being outdoors. I’m not like a huge nature person, but I love doing stuff. As much as IBS dictated a lot of my time, when that part of my day was over with I was more than wanting to go and hang out and have that fun with others. Although, with that not happening I turned to TV.

I get that someone might make that assumption that TV is a coping mechanism. And they were somewhat right, but just for the wrong assumption. TV watching might have started for me as something to do while feeling depressed over feeling tossed aside by ones I considered real friends. It turned into though, after the years passed on by into something I really quite enjoy and love now. I am actually super knowledgeable about (possibly pointless yet super interesting facts, at least to this “TV Nerd” gal) TV in general now. I would love one day to make a career out of my love of Theater and TV.

Talking about these subjects is literally the only time in my life where I feel like I have that right answer and can go from sad to way, way too hyper in a matter of moments. IBS and the mental toll that that had taken on me for well over the last fifteen years truly kept me from pursuing anything I was interested in. I don’t have a lot of fight in me anymore at times really because of that. As well as, that “wonderful friends” issue previously mentioned. Although, one day I hope to be the person that I once felt I was, who didn’t let something like IBS or depression from whatever the reason may be, continue to hold me back. I feel like this chunk of my life one day will be something I hope I can learn something from. Although, I’m pretty sure I was a turtle in a former lifetime and that might explain why I am so gosh darn slow at everything in life and getting over things as well. I feel like I’m finally there in some ways and not yet there in others. Like I said, former turtle over here.

I could never really understand when actors or showrunners from TV shows would say how people would tell them how much their show meant to them. I didn’t really understand that investment in something like a show on TV. Although, going through what I’ve been through, I now understand it. People can sometimes lift you up and let you down. Having a show to watch can fill that sadness in your mind with a story. Something better to help occupy your time with, where sometimes people in your own life can not help with.

These days, I watch TV not because of a lack of a social life ( which never came back, but it’s okay at this point. I’m not sure I really have the energy for one anyways anymore really) but because I truly enjoy the art form. It’s funny cause when I watch TV now I enjoy it more if I’m in a good mood. In this mood, I appreciate what I’m watching, I’m enjoying it, I’m invested in thoughts like, “Where is this going? or What just happened! What!”. I can be an animated or some might call “annoying TV viewer” especially when I watch a show like 90210, Revenge, or Nashville. Those shows had some crazy story lines that when watching I couldn’t help but shout out, like A LOT, “Wait! What! I soooo did not see that coming! What!”

I have to be in a good mood to really want to watch TV, and when I’m sad or depress I actually have no desire to watch any programs. There’s nothing worse, as far as TV is concern cause there are bigger problems in this crazy world (DUH!), than watching something and your mind isn’t in it. In all honesty, that was my mood tonight which resulted in this article about why I watch TV when I’m happy and not when I’m sad.

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What’s That You Say…… The 90s Are Returning….. Um, Yes To All Of That!

Jodi NinetysAs I continue to get older year by year, I have become ever so appreciative for that of nostalgia. It seems others these days are appreciating that greatness that nostalgia is as well. The 90s are making a comeback with a return of some of my favorite things to have come out of that decade saying “Hey!” again. When I think back on to the times of the 90s, I think Nickelodeon, friendship bracelets, Friday nights with TGIF on ABC,Farley’s Gummy Fruit Snacks and The BabySitter’s Club.

As someone who grew up in the 90s, I was one of the many fans of hugely popular book series that was “The BabySitter’s Club”. I probably at one time owned every book. It was recently announced that this book series was in talks to be adapted into a television series. After hearing this my 90s inner self was very much like….. “Oh, my gosh! Whatttttttt!!!!!!!! That is AMAZING!!!!!!!!”. 

Here and there ever so often, I find myself feeling nostalgic for the more easier, more simply days of my younger years. So I decided to go to my local bookstore and find any copy (cause there were over hundreds of books in this series) from the series to read and remember those days of simplicity and being much more carefree. Like I previously mentioned, I at one time in my earlier days probably owned every copy from this series. Then at some point in high school, my family had a garage sale. Seeing how I was now a little bit older and reading for fun was at the time a thing of the past, I put my books from this series in the pile for things to sell at the garage sale. At the time they were just collecting dust on my bookshelves, anyways. Most of my spare time when not in school was spent hanging out at the mall with my small group of friends (a very 90s thing), seeing movies with my small group of friends, or being that person in the marching band (who was not qualified in the least to be in cause I never could understand what was going on). Reading for the fun of it kind of took a pause. So why not sell them, it wasn’t like I was reading them like I use to.

So back to my recent visit to the bookstore to find a book from my favorite series growing up. A series, for which I was very fond of back in the day. Well, these days it doesn’t seem to matter how popular a series was at the time way back when, when dealing in the present. I was stunned when the employee at the store told me that the series was no longer in stock and hadn’t been for years. The only copy that was available was the very first issue from the series with a new updated book cover. This was the only available book to purchase besides some kind of book for a kindle. Seeing how I am the least technological person, I opted for the actual book version.

I did find out while at the store that there are a few books from the series that have now been made into graphic novels. I bought a copy of one. While I appreciate that the series is still now available in some kind of way, it is just simply not the same for me. It’s wonderful that a new generation can still read the books from this series, albeit in a different manner. Although for me, these graphic novels from the series just don’t compare to the original form of the books.

I always appreciated this series. It was one I grew up reading. My friends grew up reading. It was a thing of the time. When I decided to sell them at a garage sale, it wasn’t that I didn’t love the series anymore. It just didn’t make sense at the time to keep so many books that I hadn’t read in awhile. I thought if I ever wanted to read one again that they would always be available to buy at a bookstore. Then years later when feeling nostalgic for the easier and more simply days of living, I went to the bookstore in hopes of seeing those fun, colorful covers on the bookshelf. I would see these books from my youth and feel better and remember the better times earlier on in my life.

Growing up, I could never really understand what the big deal about nostalgia was. As I have gotten older, I get it now. While nostalgia doesn’t make life better or easier, it does bring you back to a time in your life when maybe it was that simple or that easy. Memories of good times that may no longer exist, but stay with you even as the years go. And they do go by quicker than they are here. Finding out that this series that I grew up with is no longer available to read in the same form as it once was, was quite disappointing. It’s at little moments in life such as these ones where I wish I had one of those several time machines that every show seems to have these days on one of the many CW shows (The Flash, The Legends of Tomorrow). I’d tell my 90s self, “Save a few books. One day you’ll miss them and they will no longer be available to find”. There are definitely more important reasons, of course, for using an imaginary time machine, I’m aware. This time it would be strictly for nostalgic, pop culture fun purposes.

Along with that sudden disappointment, months later came news that the series was in talks to be revived in the form of a television series. I have become quite “The TV Nerd” in the last several years. So I was over the moon with excitement when this news arrived of a television series based on my favorite book series growing up, was actually a possible future reality.

This is actually not the first time that this book series was a television series. Along with a feature film in the 90s, there was a short lived version on TV. I actually don’t remember this series from the time it was on TV. Not a huge TV Nerd in my younger days, shocking I know. Although, I do remember receiving a few birthday presents of the show on VCR tapes. Thankfully, I didn’t get rid of those in the garage sale. It’s been several years since I’ve watched it, but I’m so happy that I still have those to watch at some point again in the meantime till the new version returns.

In today’s crazy and hectic times, with someone such as myself, whose mind can race a thousand miles a second and get way too excited by some things. Things such as a long ago book series book being turned into a TV show in today’s time. Many may think, “Uh, yeah. What’s the big deal? Is that really important when you think about everything going on in the world today?” I obviously know there are more important things in the world besides books, TV, theater, music, movies, and anything else along the lines of pop culture. This “Pop Culture Nerd Who Has Learn to Appreciate Nostalgia”, can realize that sometimes in life it’s the simple things. Something simple, such as news of your favorite book series from the 90s being made into a TV show which can make that gloomy, depression day a bit more enjoyable if even just for one moment in time.

“That Theater Loving Broadway Nerd” Here With Some Thoughts on Some Shows From This Theater Season…….

jodi 1st pictureAs the 2017- 2018 theater season is now coming to a close and with the Tony Awards being only a few weeks away, I decided what better time than now to write about the shows I was fortunate enough to have been able to have seen this theater season. This current season was an interesting one compared to previous seasons before it. Unlike last season where there was like an overload of new musicals (to the point of where this theater loving gal, felt overwhelmed cause I always want to see as much as possible can), this season offered very few by comparison. As far as the play front, I did manage to see one sole play. As far as shows go, I always usually end up seeing way more musicals than stage plays most of my theater going time. So this article will mostly be on the musical side of Broadway. Although, I do enjoy myself a great stage play here and there, my go- to shows are usually that of musicals.

This theater season for me started off on somewhat of a rocky start. A family member of mine who is my “constant theater buddy” had to get cataract surgery on their eye. Then I found out I had to get my wisdom teeth out. So to put it lightly, neither one of us were really thinking about what next shows we wanted to see at the time during these few months.

I am what some might call “a regular theatergoer”. I try to see as much as I possibly can in every theater season. There are definitely times throughout the year were I don’t go every month. Although, this season, life situations got in the way of me being “that consistent theater nerd who goes to shows”. This season was probably the longest break that this “Theater Loving Gal” has had from seeing Broadway shows on a regular basis in many a years. I saw two shows last June right before the Tony Awards, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and A Bronx Tale, on the same day. Both great and excellent productions. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has since closed, but A Bronx Tale is still playing (definite recommend if you have yet to see this beyond wonderful production). So, I saw those two shows and then the Tony Awards came. Then life got in the way as it occasionally does and I didn’t see my next show until the middle of December. Whatttttttttttt!!!!!! Yes, that is how I imagine most theater loving nerds just as myself must think when I say I didn’t see a single show on the great Broadway stage for just about six whole months. At a certain point, I actually felt like my theater going days might be over. That now I’m just a theater nerd who doesn’t go to see shows on the Broadway stage anymore. It was during this time that I felt like I might have finally reached that point in my life where seeing shows was now a thing of the past. Great shows, great moments at the theater, felt over for me.

jodi FarinelliThen a miraculous theater miracle happened. After about a five year absence from the Broadway stage, Mark Rylance was announced to be returning to New York to star in a show called Farinelli and the King. During that absence, you know he went on to star in a few movies and you know win an Oscar! I still haven’t seen the movie that won him an Oscar yet. I’m a “Super TV Nerd” when in Jersey, so TV shows usually occupy my TV viewing all of the time, and not movies. Although, one of these days I will watch that movie.

Okay, moving back on to theater talk. Mark Rylance is seriously one of the most amazing actors of our time. I have seen every play he’s ever performed in while in New York, with the exception of Twelfth Night and Nice Fish. Anytime I have to opportunity to see this performer on stage, it’s a trip worthwhile. He gives it his all and is one of the most dedicated performers I have ever seen on stage. So, I thank him not only for being the amazing talent that he is, but I also thank the theater angels for him returning back to the Broadway stage this season. Farinelli and the King was the first show I saw this season after a long drought of being away from Broadway for so very long. I knew I couldn’t miss this show and this performer, and this show was the kick for me to finally get back to what I love doing which is being “That Super Theater Loving Nerd Who Tries To See Every Show She Possibly Can”. The show was wonderful as well as Rylance and the rest of the company.

Then a little around two months went by. Being a bit of a slower season for the musical side this year, this was probably the best season for me to not have been that regular theatergoer that I have become. In the fall alone, only three new musicals and one revival had opened. I was behind on a small amount of shows compared to a larger amount of shows. So in February, I went to go see Escape to Margaritaville and “Hello Dolly!”, in one day.

Jodi MargaretavilleI had known about Escape to Margaritaville for quite awhile now at this point because it had had a few out- of- town tryouts. I hadn’t seen a musical since June at this point, and was happy that my first musical back would be something light and fun. And it was! I am not a super fan of Jimmy Buffett’s music, so I wasn’t aware of a lot of his songs, but I thoroughly enjoyed this show. It had all the feels of a Mamma Mia type show but with that island breeze. It was fun, light, charming and an energetic show fill with laughs and that cool atmosphere of just “Hey, take it easy”. The cast was thoroughly enjoyable to watch perform and they matched the light hearted feel of this lovely show. (P.S. To those interested- this show will perform until July 1st, 2018 then close. After closing, a national tour will then embark.)

Jodi DollyLater that night, I saw “Hello, Dolly!”. I was originally planning on seeing “Hello, Dolly!” on a bus trip in the summer of 2017, but plans fell through and I didn’t end up seeing it. Seeing how at the time tickets were pretty tough to get, I kind of just let this show pass on by for me. Usually for the most part if I don’t see a show in the season that it opens in, that excitement that I had for that show usually slowly fades goes away. So after plans fell through for seeing the show, I really never thought I end up seeing it at all and I was at peace with that.

When Bette Midler and David Hyde Pierce left the production, Bernadette Peters and Victor Garber took over their parts. And just like that, a show that was nearly impossible to get a ticket for suddenly became a little less hard. I also was able to find a discount which is always a bonus these days with tickets prices being what they are. So with not a lot of new shows still yet playing, I decided on finally seeing the show after all. And boy, was it a show! I had heard great things about this production, but just hearing how good it is doesn’t do the show justice. Amazing, phenomenal, wonderful, fantastic, great, simply heavenly are all things that come to mind when thinking about this wonderful production that was that of “Hello, Dolly!”. Even though, it was a show that takes places ages ago, it felt new and fresh and it didn’t feel it the least bit outdated. I was actually surprised by how much I enjoyed this, simply because my go-to favorite shows are usually that of the campy, over-the-top ridiculous nature such as The Wedding Singer or Rock of Ages.

Every single thing about this revival just worked. From the sets, to the costumes, to the wonderful songs. I can’t talk about this show and not mentioned the performances of Bernadette Peters and Victor Garber. Just simply, so on top of their game. I have never been to a show where you could just feel the love in the audience for the performers as I did at this show. The audience just ate them up. It’s too bad the Tony Awards don’t have a replacement category because these two would surely win. I never did get to see Bette Midler and David Hyde Pierce. Although, I just simply can’t imagine anyone but Bernadette Peters and Victor Garber in those parts now. This production will be a show I will always cherish as being able to have seen because I almost let it pass on by.  (P.S.- To those interested Bernadette Peters and Victor Garber will continue to be in the show until July 15. After that on July 17- August 25 (when the show will close), Bette Midler and David Hyde Pierce will return the to production until closing. Get your tickets now, before they’re impossible to get again.)

Yet another two months pass on by. It’s now April. The only two musicals that opened in the fall that I was interested in seeing was that of the SpongeBob Squarepants: The Musical and The Band’s Visit. So finally in the middle of April, I went to see those two shows in a single day. They couldn’t be more different than one another, but they were both simply wonderful.

Jodi Sponge BobI have watched SpongeBob Squarepants, here and there years ago on TV. I was never an avid watcher of the program, but I was somewhat familiar with the characters to understand who was who, for the most part. This show had an out-of-town tryout in Chicago awhile ago, and it felt like it was never going to make its way to New York.

Although, this fall it finally made its debut! I was so happy to finally get to see this charming, quirky little delight of a new musical. The songs were all originals written just for the show and they just popped. This show was lively, colorful, energetic, cute and never once had a boring moment throughout its two and a half hour run. I just simply loved it through and through.

As with any show that has been playing a few months, there are bound to be performer absences. The lead, Ethan Slater who plays SpongeBob, was out of the show for my performance. Although, the silver lining in that disappointment was his understudy (Curtis Holbrook) was a performer from one of my all time favorite shows which is that of Xanadu. (P.S. Keep a lookout for this show at the Tony Awards as they are nominated for a total of 12 awards!)

jodi BandThen later that night, I went to see The Band’s Visit. I had been highly aware of this production for quite some time before I got to see it. It had generated quite the buzz prior to its Broadway run when it played off-broadway at the Atlantic Theater Company. That plus the amazing cast which includes Katrina Lenk (Indecent), John Cariani (Fiddler on the Roof, Something Rotten!), Tony Shalhoub (TV’s Monk and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel), peaked my interest in this new musical.

All that buzz about how great and unique this musical is was completely true. Unlike every other musical that opened this season, The Band’s Visit, stands out just a little bit more than the rest. It does for the reason which is that it’s not every season that you get a little show with a huge heart that enters the world that is Broadway. It’s a show that has strength, emotion, and a relatability factor. The songs are funny at times, and sad on others. The melodies are full of glorious tones with rhythms that make you really hear the songs. A highlight of this production was when Katrina Lenk sang “Omar Sharif”. It was a song sung absolutely beautifully and completely grabbed your attention in every moment she was singing.

Out of the four new musicals nominated, The Band’s Visit, is the one to beat. It stands out from the rest with it’s simplistic charm of just trying to live your life and find what makes you happy in this world that can sometimes feel so heavy. (P.S. The Band’s Visit got a total of 11 Tony nominations!)

Jodi Mean GirlApril went on by and now May had arrived. A musical I knew was going to generate buzz and box office gold was that of the highly anticipated stage adaptation of the popular film, Mean Girls. I love great movies that are turned into stage musicals. Some of my all time favorites shows were adapted from great movies. The Wedding Singer and Legally Blonde are shows that I will forever cherish as being favorites of mine. Back to Mean Girls. You never know how movie adaptations are going to turn out for stage productions. Sometimes they are soooooo great like The Wedding Singer and Legally Blonde. Other times not so great, such as with Big Fish and Can Me If You Can. Although, with the case of Mean Girls: The Musical, I’m here to report that…….. it’s fantastic! It’s a completely solid, nearly perfect adaptation.

To put it simply, everything just worked perfectly. From the highly talented cast, to the colorful sets and costumes, to the songs that were perfection from one to the next. With the exception of last year’s Groundhog Day, Mean Girls is the best movie to stage adaptation I’ve seen since Legally Blonde. It was just simply excellent! It was sharp, smart, witty with funny moments throughout the entire production. It also made you think.

Last year’s standout song for me was Dear Evan Hansen’s “Waving Through A Window”. This year my favorite new song with a standout number was from this musical which was “I’d Rather Be Me”. Another category that should be added to the Tony Awards is Best New Song, and “I’d Rather Be Me” would certainly be a top contender. (P.S. Mean Girls: The Musical got a total of 12 Tony Nominations!)

jodi FrozenWe have now reached the day before the last day of May. It’s this time when I see the most highly anticipated musical of this theater season. Yes, this is when I finally got to see Frozen on Broadway! Just to give you just a little idea of how excited I was to finally be seeing this show is just imagine the character of Sue (from the ABC show The Middle) screaming, “AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!”. Yeah, that excited! I had been waiting for this day for what seemed like forever and a day and here it finally was.

The reviews came out well before I finally got to see it. I tend to not read reviews for a show until I have seen it. Even still, my understanding from the reviews is that were they were pretty mixed. Not a great show, but not a bad one either. Movie adaptations are super hard, especially for a movie such as Frozen. A movie that was so extremely successful and adored.

Initially, Frozen: The Musical was going to be directed by the visionary that is Alex Timbers. He has previously directed productions which include that of: Blood, Bloody Andrew Jackson, Peter and the Starcatcher, The Robber Bridegroom, and Oh, Hello. A true talent with a unique style to all his shows that make them stand out and are different and memorable. For whatever reason may be, he and Disney parted ways and he was ultimately replaced with another director.

When it came to the casting for Frozen, I feel this was a part in which the production that was perfect. Casting Elsa and Anna was key to making this show work. The casting of the two actresses who are playing sisters, Elsa and Anna, was done exactly on point. Cassie Levy plays Elsa to Patti Murin’s Anna. Both shine in their parts and you really feel as though these two are sisters for real and not just on stage. I was a bit surprised when Tony Nominations came out and Patti Murin’s name wasn’t on the list. From everything I heard about her performance was so positive, I expected to see her name. After seeing the show, I am still surprised how her performance wasn’t acknowledged. If there was anyone that was born to play a Disney princess, it is Murin. She shines in her part throughout the whole show. My favorite moment in the entire production is when she and John Riddle perform “Love is An Open Door”. I know you were probably expecting me to say “Let It Go”. As much as I did like Levy’s version, it didn’t quite have the same impact that Idina Menzel’s version from the film had for me.

As for the show itself, I unfortunately did not like it. I didn’t loathe it, but I simply didn’t love it. I was disappointed at the end of it. It’s not the production’s fault by any means. I think I just had so much expectation for this show. And It felt like the show was just passing me on by. After it was over, I just felt kind of let down. I’m not sure what exactly went wrong. The show just felt bland. It was like I was watching it go by and then it was over. It’s the opposite of how I thought I would feel of this show, but something just didn’t click for me and I found myself not invested in it.  At the end of the day, the performances were there and there were a few memorable songs for a show that ultimately just fell flat. (P.S. Frozen: The Musical received a total of 3 Tony Nominations!)

So, yup. That was my year in review for the 2017- 2018 Broadway Theater Season. Was this article way longer than I planned on it being? Yup! So to those of you who actually read all of this gal’s thoughts on shows from this season, thanks! I hope it was enjoyable to any other theater nerds out there who can appreciate someone’s thoughts such as mine about a few  shows. For someone who thought her Broadway going days were over when this season started I am pleasantly surprised by how many shows I actually did end up seeing this awesome theater season! Whether I ended up loving the show or feeling disappointed, I am always so grateful and appreciative whenever I get to show on the great Broadway stage.

Who’s That Girl…..Who’s That Girl That Buys A Book and Takes Forever to Start Reading It?……. It’s Jodi!

jodi - who (2)Yes, I am that person that will be writing about reading and novels, but has a reference related to that of TV for her title. Yup, that’s me, Jodi. For those of you unfamiliar with that little tune, it’s similar to that of the theme song for a show called New Girl. Which recently ended its run on FOX, not so long ago. New Girl’s theme song was a bit fun and a bit quirky. So what better way to start this article about books, than a reference to one of the cutest theme songs in all of TV land.

Being the TV Nerd that I am, I had to make a TV reference at least once on here in this article of mine. Anyways, moving now on to the what this article is actually all about. Which is that of books or novels, or whatever you prefer to call your reading time item. You know how someone buys a book at a bookstore and then starts to read that exact book the moment after purchasing it? Then, there’s that person who buys a book and brings it home and adds it to another pile of unread books they have. They at some point will start to read that recent book purchase. But who knows when they will ACTUALLY start to read that latest book purchase. Will they start that recent book purchase in day, a week, three years? Yup, I fall into the second category of people who purchase books. Having found myself years later finally getting back into the joy of reading for fun again, I found myself as a complete novice when it came to what’s popular in the current book scene today. Therefore, my go-to recent book purchases when deciding what book to read is anything that seems interesting or anything that catches my eye as “Hmmmmm…. okay”. Whether if it’s a book that is getting adapted into something at some point in time, or a book that seems really quite intriguing to read.

I am what some might call “indecisive”. Then there’s the fact that when I do read I only read ten pages at a time so to not overwhelm myself with trying to read 300 pages in one day. So being the indecisive and slow reader that I am, I usually change my mind around a thousands times before settling on what to read next. Hence, helping explain why I sometimes end up reading a book I’ve had for well over a year instead of reading my most recent book purchase. Yup, that’s me, a super indecisive gal who constantly changes her mind based on what she feels like reading at the time. I have a list of books that I hope to read at some point. It would be so very awesome if I could stick to that reading list in the order that I write it, but I never can seem to. Like I said, indecisive gal over here.

I mentioned before in a previous article on my blog, that is was theater, television, and movies that got me into reading again for the fun of it. My favorites books to read since I started again, are books which are to be adapted into a TV show, movie, and even the occasional stage play or musical. I absolutely love reading again, and how by reading I can enter another world in my mind other than my own simply by reading a book. It is something that I have come to truly appreciate. I previously mentioned, as well, how I have come to once again enjoy reading again just within these last few years. I was a bit behind on the latest and greatest of current book scene. That’s why I tend to go for books to read that are getting that adaptation treatment. Books that I would never have even of heard before or ones that came out years earlier are now suddenly in plain view for me. These books which are being adapted into whatever form they may turn into, are books that I am more aware of than I would of otherwise have been aware of.

Out of everything that I have read in the last two to three years or so, have been books that are being adapted. My next reading challenge for myself is to read something that isn’t being adapted into anything. With this new year, I had the little goal of reading the books I actually have before purchasing any new ones. Let’s just say, I did not make that goal. Suddenly, I’ll become aware of a book being adapted into something and there went that goal. I get so excited cause the book sounds so interesting. And now that book is getting adapted into a TV show and this TV Nerd loves a good TV show. Especially, if I get to read a book before in the process. There’s always next year to actually achieve that goal, I suppose. Either way, I added another amazing book to my ever growing bookshelf of books that can let me imagine a world other than my own, if even for just a moment .

There once was a show on HBO called “The Leftovers”….

jodi the leftoversPeople say all the time that we are living in the golden age of television. And it’s completely the truth. There are literally, like A LOT, of new and returning shows premiering each and every single week now. Some shows, even as critically acclaimed as they may be, sometimes go unnoticed. And fall into that category of “great underrated shows”.

Such as in the case, with the now over show that was “The Leftovers” on HBO. Adapted from Tom Perrotta’s novel of the same name, this TV gem was seriously the absolute best existential drama since Six Feet Under. The Leftovers, like Six Feet Under, was able to deal with the daily struggle it is of just getting by sometimes.

Although, in the case of The Leftovers, there was a bit more of a struggle to understand why sometimes things happen in life, even more so. To give a brief overview to what this show was about was that one random day, 2% of the population from all over the entire world just vanish. That’s how the show starts off. It then shifts its focus on the aftermath of this tragic occurrence, and how the people who are left behind are affected by this. The people that didn’t disappear, that didn’t vanish, who are forced to somehow go on with their lives after something so traumatic has happened.

The consistent theme of this remarkable piece of television, is how it feels to not have closure in one’s life. What it feels like for someone in your life to be there one day, and not the next. Life is hard, complicated, and trying at times. To have things in your life that you feel are left unanswered or abandoned, can sometimes feel difficult to move on from or get past. This show deals with that concept exactly perfectly to a tee.

This is a very dark, very existential show. It grapples with depression, anger, and the roller coaster that life can occasionally be. The characters in the show deal with every emotion imaginably possible. This show doesn’t shy away from that existential thought of “Why and am I still here, and they’re not”. This was a show that raised more questions than answers in every episode. Such as in life where some questions will inevitably remain unanswered.

I watched the first episode when it premiered on HBO back in 2014. I really liked it a lot. Although, being in the golden age of television now, I fell behind on it with so many other television shows out there. Which I imagine is why others might also not have tuned into the series when it was still on TV. But thanks to HBO on Demand, I caught up on season one before season two had started. After I started watching the show on a more regular basis, I quickly became a fan of this series. It was a show that knew what it wanted to tell and how to tell it. Where every thing was told in exactly the perfect way. From the ongoing song that played (a Maxene Cyrin cover of The Pixies ‘Where Is My Mind’), to the story line of people trying to grapple with a life where certain questions would always be unanswered, to just the incredible raw acting of the cast.

This show may have only lasted three seasons, but it didn’t need anymore than that to tell what it wanted to say. Sometimes series that start off strong and have a great story line can falter and go past their prime after too many seasons. A series can drag on and with what started off as interesting and compelling, can quickly go in the opposite direction. It happens to the best of them. I believe that sometimes for a series to keep the essential essence of the story they wanted to tell, less can sometimes be more. It seems like many networks these days are coming around to that concept of a shorter season order. More and more series are getting a 8- 13 episodes per season order, instead of 24 episodes per season order. A season that consists of 24 episodes, might have a story that drags on because of the amount of episodes ordered to be made. With half that amount, the story can be more condense and be exactly what it needs to be. As much as I love The Leftovers and was terribly sad to see to it leave, any more episodes than what was created might have lost the story the writers intended to tell.

I always find it interesting when great amazing shows go under the radar, especially one like that of “The Leftovers”. But with soooooo many shows these days, I get it. It’s literally impossible to watch them all, and that’s coming from someone who watches way too many shows already. I always love shows that on some level you can relate to and make you see things in a different way. The Leftovers, for me, is that show. It made you feel. It made you think. With so many shows feeling the need to answer every question, this show didn’t. Some might find that frustrating, which is understandable. Although, such as with life, there are times when many things may go unanswered. And if this show dealt with anything, it dealt with things left unsaid or unanswered. How even though it may pain you, frustrate you, and depress you, you have to find someway to try and move on the best that you can.

“ Woah, They Still Make Those?!? ” The Days Of The Throw-Away Camera….

jodi cameraIn these current times, technology is rapidly changing, every second of every day. Whether it be phones, computers, or television sets. There is constantly a new, better, or latest model of something always coming out. You blink for a second and then there is a something new for something or other already here.

Such as the case with cameras. Years ago, but not like “ancient long ago”, the go-to camera for most people was that of the throw- away camera. You go to your local convenience store and there they would be for purchase. These types of cameras were popular of the time simply because they were affordable, had a decent amount of pictures available for taking, and you could find one almost anywhere.

In today’s times, though, these types of cameras have slowly gone away as a sign of the times. They don’t seem as necessary to have anymore. The need for them became abstract simply because of the thought of “why buy a throw-away camera when there is a camera right on your phone?”

If you were to ask me about the current state of television or theater, I will definitely have an opinion and something to add to the conversation. Although, when it comes to the topic of technology, I am someone who really doesn’t understand that world. Although, some of my favorite TV shows, such as Silicon Valley on HBO, Mr. Robot on the USA Network, and one of my favorite underrated shows of the last few years, Halt and Catch Fire on AMC (which by the way had a great series run followed by an amazing series finale!), all deal with that of technology. They talk about codes and such. I continue to have no idea what they are talking about when tech talk is happening, but I still love these series anyway.

I am someone who tries to appreciate the more simple things that life still has to offer. Or more perhaps, the easier one that is less complicated, in this case. Most technology goes well over my head, as you probably can gather by now.

These days most people take pictures with their phones. It’s for most, a much more convenient way of taking pictures. It’s also a more favorable way, as well, because people can instantly see if a picture is worth saving or one that needs a do-over. The days of people purchasing a throw-away camera and waiting over a week for the pictures to be developed at a store are well over.

That’s the way most people everywhere take pictures these days. I, on the other hand, am that one person that stills buys a throw-away camera. It’s probably out of laziness that I do that, instead of dealing with how to figure out how to develop pictures from my phone. In a current state of people getting instant knowledge if a picture they took is a good one or a bad one, I wait well over a week for my pictures to be developed from the store. I’m sure one of these days, I’ll get around to figuring it out how to develop pictures taken from my phone. I’m sure once I understand everything, it’ll probably be really simple. I’ll probably find myself saying, “This is so simple. I should have developed pictures from my phone years ago.”

Getting older, I have found to be a interesting experience. Growing up was easy and at the time you are growing up, you have the ideal fortune of not realizing how the world around you is constantly changing. It’s not until you get older, that you understand how simple things from the past you will one day truly miss. You will miss that carefree life of not being an adult and all the it requires in this life. So, having something from the past, such as a throw- away camera, in a world of new technology is a bit of a comfort to have. With so many things changing, it’s something that hasn’t and is still the same as it always was.

I’m all one for new and improved things. But sometimes it is the simple imperfections in life such as that of a picture that doesn’t come out just exactly right. Not everything in life turns out the way you hoped for sometimes, so why should a picture be any different. Moments in life get to be remembered for all of time in a picture. Taking a picture hundreds of times to get that exact perfect moment to capture, takes the spontaneity out of the moment you’re in. With the throw-away camera, I take a picture. Whether it comes out good or bad, doesn’t really matter to me. It’s a moment captured in time that was not structured to be just right, it’s just simply a moment remembered.

In today’s times, where people can see a picture the exact moment it is taken, I wait well over a week to see how mine turned out. In a world, where things are constantly changing, I find comfort in this. It’s something that is the same. I’m sure there will be a time when this type of device will be no longer and I will have to adapt to the new age of current technology. Although, I really don’t see that happening anytime soon, so until that day arrives I’ll be making my way to my local convenience store to buy what many refer to these days as “Woah, they still make those?!?”

It’s May TV Fans….. Cancellations Happening Everywhere

Jodi cancelledIt’s May, so TV fans everywhere, know what that means. TV cancellations are here. It doesn’t matter whether it is a new show or a seasoned one. There’s a chance that your favorite show is in danger of getting that dreaded cancellation notice. This time of the year in May, as with any other year, the major television networks hold what are referred to as “The Up-Fronts”. This is the time when the major networks unveil the new line-up of shows for the upcoming fall season. It’s in this time, that the networks show the new shows that got picked up, as well as returning favorites that got that shiny golden ticket of a show renewal. It’s also at this point, where shows that have been considered “on the bubble” might not get that golden ticket of renewal. Instead, a show might receive the news of a “dreaded cancellation notice”.

Shows getting cancelled is nothing new. Great shows getting cancelled, though, hurts my TV Nerd heart. It’s especially saddening for a show to get cancelled that you truly loved and enjoyed. During this past week alone, a lot of shows got cancelled. Like, A LOT! From Great News on NBC, to Lucifer on FOX, to a “new and lovable quirky gem” that was Kevin Probably Saves the World on ABC. As of this past Friday, a some 20 shows were told they would not be receiving anymore seasons. Whether it was a new show, or ones that had several seasons that were beloved by their fans. They couldn’t escape receiving that “Yeah, Your Cancelled, Sorry!” notice. I am a huge fan of the art that is television, so hearing about all these great shows getting cancelled is saddening as a fan.

A series that has had a decent run of a few seasons, I do think deserves a proper send off. A proper send off for the show, for the writers and its staff, and for its loyal fans who continued to tune in every week. Such as the case with New Girl on FOX. After its sixth season in 2017, it was pretty clear that there was a chance that the show would be getting cancelled. I, as a major New Girl fan, would have been super disappointed if that was going to be the case. I love this show, so very much. For the show, to not be given that time to have a proper ending, would have been just really unfortunate. Thankfully FOX, didn’t disappoint all us fans, and gave New Girl a seventh and final season this year. This season, by the way, is fantastic and everything I could of hoped for, so far! This Tuesday, the show will concluded with their series finale. Even though, it’s disappointing to see one of my all time favorite shows ending, I am so happy that it didn’t just abruptly end and get cancelled. I was happy that the show was given the chance to end everything on their terms.

Not every show is lucky enough not to get abruptly cancelled, like New Girl. This last week alone, three of my current favorite comedies all got cancelled on the same day. Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Last Man on Earth, and The Mick, all got cancelled together. I think these three shows on FOX, were some of the funniest, smartest, and best comedies that have been on television for the past few years. I figured there was maybe the chance that one might not get renewed. I definitely didn’t expect all three to get cancelled. I was really quite surprised by this news. I was especially disappointed in the cancellations of Brooklyn Nine-Nine and The Last Man on Earth. For shows in their respected fifth and fourth seasons, to get a cancellation notice instead of a renewal with a final season, just plain stinks. I feel out of the three, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, has the most chance of getting picked up somewhere else on another network. I would love all three to get picked up somewhere else, but that’s definitely wishful thinking. Although, crazier things have happened. Remember last year, with NBC and Timeless? The show gets cancelled. Then a TV miracle happens and NBC changes their mind, and gives Timeless a second season after all that. See crazy, amazing TV miracles can happen. So here’s hoping that some of these newly cancelled shows get picked up elsewhere.

Okay, no joke. As I was writing this article, it was just announced that my beloved Brooklyn Nine-Nine (recently cancelled from FOX) just got picked up by NBC for a sixth season, which will consist of 13 glorious episodes! I am beyond thrilled of this amazing news! Everything about this TV gem has just always worked. From the writing to the wonderful cast, it quickly became a favorite of mine. And to that I say something that is said on the show when great things happen, “Nine-Nine!”

Television cancellations of shows happen each and every single year. It’s just a part of the cycle that is television. Sometimes it doesn’t even matter if the show has it’s loyal followers of fans that watch every week. It happens to the best of them. It just stinks when it’s a beloved favorite of yours.