Hi there, just checking in from New England! It’s 46 degrees outside as I write this, y’know, at the end of April. 2018 was certainly not the coldest or snowiest winter of my lifetime, but it sure as hell feels like the longest. Here are a few things keeping me sane (or driving me crazy).
Spring’s not coming. Here is a series of jean jackets that I may not have a chance to wear this year: this one, this one, and this one.
I just started using New Wash and I’m NEVER going back! Pricey, worth it.
I think I should do Dry January again…Dry May? I loved the feeling of being free of vices—it’s easier to do in the dead of winter, since everyone is cooped up at home!
Hello, hello, Opalhouse is in the building. I’ve been laboring under the suspicion that Target is trying to bankrupt me for quite some time, but this is egregious. So g-d, m-f–ing cute! You KNOW I bought this dish towel. #EastCoast
Oy. I have a lot of feelings about this, and though I’m hardly the first person to air grievances on the Internet, I’m going to talk about them anyway. Here there be spoilers.
Girlboss is Kay Cannon’s Netflix adaptation of Nasty Gal founder Sophia Amoruso’s 2014 memoir of the same name (stylized #GIRLBOSS). I read the book as soon as it came out, despite not having previously shopped the Nasty Gal site, because it seemed like a kickass Cinderella story whose beginning mirrored my own life: I was broke, underemployed and still without a degree, and I had a rabid interest in clothing and fashion. The memoir, which is interspersed with prescriptive pieces that seek to serve as feminist #inspo, tells an evocative tale. It’s Drake’s “Started from the Bottom” and now, we truly are, here.
But that was 3 years ago. The timing of the Girlboss series in 2017 seems…inopportune, to say the least. Nasty Gal has filed for bankruptcy, has been sold to retailer Boohoo, and Ms. Amoruso no longer has a stake in the company. Nasty Gal has been slammed for unfair practices and policies affecting pregnant employees. If we are supposed to see the series, like the memoir, as an inspiring rags-to-riches tale, the real-life context muddies the narrative.
Structurally, the show is a bit of a nightmare. The series is supposed to span 2 years, from Nasty Gal’s conception to the launch of the website, but there are few demarcations of time passing until the eleventh episode, set during Christmas 2007. Sophia spends the capsule episode jet-setting around the Mid-West, confronting her online nemesis and reconnecting with her dysfunctional estranged mother. The lack of through-lines in the story makes it difficult to appropriately empathize with the characters. When Shane (SPOILER) cheats on Sophia, the audience sees the shady indiscretion in the context of a monogam-ish hook-up, as opposed to a betrayal of a two-year long committed relationship.
Criminally underused is the brilliant Alphonso McAuley as Dax, who is the only truly interesting, three-dimensional character the show boasts. He is a hardworking, career-focused young black man putting himself through business school, yet is constantly put down by the rest of the cast. When he and his girlfriend, Annie, discuss the seriousness of their relationship, Dax appears plagued by issues of race (Annie is white, his parents don’t approve). This moment is moving, but feels completely out of place with the rest of the narrative—it is later completely abandoned.
For a show ostensibly about a burgeoning business and its ruthless founder, Girlboss is (tenuously) woven together by the relationships between characters it portrays. Sophia’s relationship to authority figures (her parents, her boss Rick, shop owner Mobias), and her relationship with her best friend, Annie, are all deeply fraught, and the series shows little growth in Sophia’s character until the very last episodes, where she pulls an about-face that gives the audience emotional whiplash. When her nemesis, Gail, owner of vintage Ebay store, Remembrances, calls Sophia a “garbage person,” the series feebly attempts to transform Sophia from heinous narcissist to sympathetic wunderkind, stunted by her mother’s abandonment, in the episode’s remaining few minutes. Previous to this, the realest Sophia gets is with Rosie, the park bench-dwelling elderly lady who has the sense to slap Sophia in her self-important face after a cringe-worthy monologue. In structure, in pacing, in writing, the show is just not very good. Too many aha moments, too much exposition in the dialogue, too many heavy-handed “insights” into why Sophia is so damaged—all of which could have been explained away in a 2-minute wine-drinking montage set to Jonny Craig’s “Children of Divorce”.
According to the show’s lead actress, Britt Robertson, Girlboss‘s Sophia is supposed to be a hateable character, which, in most cases, is perfectly acceptable. I personally champion any medium that can portray a flawed, complicated woman as she is. Women are held to a shameful double-standard when it comes to likability, a topic that has sparked, I’m sure, thousands of thinkpieces as well as a particularly moving passage in Roxane Gay’s Bad Feminist. That Sophia is unlikable is not an issue—well-behaved women seldom make history, after all. But Sophia is not just unlikable—she is a narcissist who drags those around her down in order to buoy herself. She takes advantage of others without remorse at every turn. She speaks ill of her customers and disrespects her peers in the vintage resale community. She uses her manic-pixie-dream-girl-bullshit persona to hook the very sweet San Francisco-newbie, Shane, and then proceeds to be emotionally-withholding for two years until he cheats with a bandmate. I know that this a “real loose” retelling of the events surrounding Nasty Gal’s founding, but why choose a tale (and a person) like this to glorify with a television show? Not every story by, for, and about women is a feminist story.
After all of this, I’m somehow still left wondering: how can a show that features RuPaul Charles, Jim Rash, Norm Macdonald, Cole Escola, and Dean Norris not be good? Everybody knows RuPaul, of course, and Dean Norris notably portrayed Hank Schrader in every white man’s favorite show, Breaking Bad, but Cole Escola is a goddamn rising star that should be a household name by now. Apart from slaying on Twitter, he is killing it as the incomparable Matthew on Hulu’s Difficult People. Sure, he’s only in a couple of episodes of Girlboss, but he steals every single scene. This show has the raw materials to be amazing! This could have been a platform to turn a real-life trainwreck into compelling, must-see TV. It’s just a little off the rails.
The “cliffhangers” that will inevitably necessitate a second season are lukewarm at best: will Sophia and Shane get back together? Will the now sold-out Nasty Gal site be able to keep up with customer demand? Will the Vintage Fashion Forum continue to throw shade at Sophia via internet comments? These are the tenuous threads by which additional seasons will hang. And will I watch it? Of course I’ll fucking watch it. At the end of the day, Sophia & co.’s insufferableness is entertaining, and later seasons would allow for the exploration into the company’s downfall, something which might tickle the (many) Sophia-haters out there. But fair warning, dear reader, if you, unlike me, can’t stomach watching a thin, millennial white lady coast down the privilege highway to destination success, stop the next episode before it auto-plays.
Welcome back to another installment of Kool Things, a series in which I blab about the handful of things that brought sparkle and shine to my life this week. Let’s dive in!
This Comedy Special
Remember how, in the first installment of this series, I said, “Get you a Netflix special that can do both”? Well, here’s another one, coming at you. Amy Schumer serves up some realness on her latest, The Leather Special, which has, like all specials released by women, been ratings-trolled by the same MRA garbage piles that do things like, I assume, picket Planned Parenthood and still bring up Bernie Sanders all the time.
Amy’s stand-up is not my absolute fave (we all know I’m a Jen Kirkman stan), but her show, Inside Amy Schumer, has done some really important work, tackling topics like gun violence, online harassment, and sexual assault in the military, among others. The show was even given a Peabody! The special was no different—it’s mostly her trademark “blue” comedy, but she devotes a portion of the hour to discussing the insane gun loopholes that allow the severely mentally ill, domestic abusers, and suspected terrorists to legally purchase guns in the U.S. At a 2015 screening of her film, Trainwreck, two young women, Mayci and Jillian, were fatally shot, inspiring Schumer’s dedication to sensible gun law advocacy. The special, and a portion of Amy’s book, The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, are dedicated to the memory of the two women.
It’s the particular burden of comics and artists, at least in my opinion, to simultaneously distract and delight us in the ever-darkening political landscape and to raise awareness about social and legislative issues in a way that politicians are failing to do. It is clear from The Leather Special and Inside Amy Schumer that Amy takes the responsibility of her platform seriously and is using her voice to spark positive change. So, if you live outside of the glorious liberal havens known as “blue states”, call your Congressperson and demand gun regulation! Amy Schumer even prints a list of the Congresspeople who receive NRA money in her book—what a handy guide!
Two-fer this week! Jerrod Carmichael’s latest special, 8, is currently streaming on HBO and it is wild! I watched it today, on the heels of badass news about his returning NBC sitcom, and I’m glad I did. I’ve really enjoyed his sets on late night shows, so I was super pumped to check out the special, which was directed by my fave, local hero Bo Burnham.
Carmichael’s performance was atypical of what we expect from such a high-profile special. HBO! He appeared to be performing in the center of the room, as opposed to from a giant theatre stage, and his delivery was slow and deliberate. The material itself was, as expected, controversial, but the takes were refreshing and unexpected. I can’t believe a comic got me to laugh at the fact that he doesn’t care about global warming! I plan to watch this special again with my husband—maybe I’ll devote a whole post to it then!
A note: post-watching the special, I read a bit of the press on the special and was really surprised to hear some of the criticism. For example, he got called out on doing divisive rape material, but the material itself seemed (at least to me) to be drawing attention to the issue of consent, and how the culture surrounding sex in this country discourages an open dialogue surrounding consent. So, I guess I’m gonna throw a trigger warning on my recommendation to watch this? I encourage everyone to feel their own feelings about the material.
Relatable pull quote: “I’ve got a lot of fears…I’m afraid of going bald before I fuck Rihanna.”
The live action Beauty and the Beast is out! I went to see it yesterday with my dad (cuz we cute), and it was a visually spectacular delight!
Obviously, as a feminist, I have a lot of issues with the content of this and other fairy tales. Narratives like Beauty and the Beast can have really damaging consequences on malleable young minds, and if I have children, I plan to allow them to watch these films with a side dish of discussion on consent, agency, and whack societal norms. I went into this film prepared to love it, but willing to be critical. Also, just FYI, I 100% agree with Dana Schwartz’s brilliant Observer piece, “Why Belle Should Have Chosen Gaston”.
Also, while it was super important for Disney to announce that it would include an out, gay character (Le Fou, played by Josh Gad), the “exclusively gay moment” amounted to little more than cheeky innuendo. The portrayal of Le Fou, and the “Musketeer” that he eventually dances with at the end of the film, leaned very heavily on outdated gay stereotypes, like the assumption that all gay men harbor a secret desire to dress in drag. Drag is a magical, beautiful art form, but not all gay men are drag queens and not every drag queen is gay. I shouldn’t have to explain this to filmmakers in the year of our Lord 2017. To clarify, I’m happy that Disney is finally taking baby steps towards inclusivity, I was just deeply underwhelmed.
All of that being said, I loved this movie. I started tearing up during the opening musical number, “Belle”. Beauty and the Beast and all of the (now) classic animated Disney films, like Aladdin, The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, came out right around the time I was born. I must have worn holes in my VHS tapes watching them. I was shocked at how much emotion hearing those songs again brought back. The whole film is visually stunning (I’m sure it will be up for an Oscar next year for costume design or visual effects), Emma Watson holds her own with the singing, and hot British men abound.
Dan Stevens, who I loved on Downton Abbey and still haven’t forgiven for leaving the show, looks exactly like the cartoon prince/Beast in the animated film. It is uncanny! And Luke Evans as Gaston—dear God, that is one beautiful Welsh man. The cast for this film is insane—you spend the whole film internally screaming, “I KNOW THAT VOICE!” whenever you hear Cogsworth, Lumière, and Mrs. Potts speak, and lo and behold, it’s Ian McKellan, Ewan McGregor, and Emma Thompson! Audra McDonald and Stanley Tucci as the wardrobe and the maestro was simply inspired casting. We were also graced with the presence of Gugu Mbatha-Raw, who is so beautiful that, upon her transformation from feather duster to human, I nearly had a stroke. I hereby demand that all movies be remade with her as the lead!
The new songs were, well, underwhelming, as they always are in these circumstances (“Paris of My Childhood” is never taking off), but the old songs hold up beautifully and were nearly shot-for-shot the same as the animated film. Notable exceptions are the line, “Marie! The baguettes!” which is the best moment in the original film, and “every last inch of me’s covered with hair” during “Gaston”. Did we not, as audience, deserve to see Luke Evans shirtless, Disney?
Run, don’t walk, to go see this lovely film. I will fully be buying it on Blu-ray as soon as it comes out!
Watch Ariana Grade & John Legend sing the theme song here. Listen to Queen Céline’s new BatB ballad here.
This Tote Bag
I have been to the mountaintop, y’all. The JCrew All-Day Tote in Aqua Haze is where. it. is. at. I’ve been dying to get one of J.Crew’s gorgeous leather bags for ages, and I finally took the plunge this week. Why the hesitation, you ask? Well, price point for one. I have a lot of designer bags (ugh, you rich bitch) that I’ve gotten during sales or at similar price points, but those have the added bonus of resale value/demand, so they’ve been (somewhat) justified purchases. But you’ll have to pry this one out of my cold, dead hands. No resale, just love. *very Stefon voice* This bag has everything: pebbled leather, interior slip pockets, an exterior slip pocket that would fit a novella, a sweet little exterior buttoned pocket the size of a credit card, and a cute little hang-tag. It’s the perfect bag for school or work—it easily fits my MacBook!
Basically, I’m obsessed. I recently read this amazing article on Racked about the surprising inclusivity of handbags, so lately I’ve been super appreciating my growing collection.
Right now this bag is on sale in three colors, with an extra 30% off with code “HAPPYSPRING”! Happy shopping!
Wow, really, Chels? Following up a call for sensible gun law reform and a Disney movie with a beverage referenced in a System of a Down song? #priorities
But who cares—I love kombucha! Every time I bring up the ‘buch, I feel like that scene in Annie Hall where Alvy orders the alfalfa sprouts and mashed yeast in L.A. However, I’ve recently started drinking kombucha on the regs and I really love it! The American diet is appallingly lacking in probiotics, so ‘buch is a fun and delicious way to up your daily dose. I haven’t tried making my own yet, but I plan to get a kit soon.
My local Wegman’s (shout of to Wegman’s, the best grocery store ever) has an entire cold case devoted to the stuff, and after weeks of lusting after it, I decided to grab a few to try. KeVita has a bunch of amazing flavors that make the idea of drinking fermented mushroom tea a little bit more palatable. GT’s sells them by the case—I highly recommend “Trilogy”.
I am officially a kombucha convert—come join my club!
Yeah, yeah, yeah. I’m pimping my own recipe from earlier this week. But this series is about my favorite things, damn it, and corn chowder is the best! Haters, make the Beyoncé song and exit to the left. This soup is vegan, contains six different vegetables, and tastes like summer cookouts in a bowl. I’m so into it, I might make it twice this week!
Thanks for listening! Check out some of my other weekly faves here and here!
This week was brutal. Here in vacation destination Boston it’s been in the teens weather-wise, which is enough to crush even the most ardent winter-lover’s soul. I just looked at trusty iPhone for an update—snow expected 3 days this week! I guess spring is cancelled this year.
Also, Daylight Savings was this week. Nothing like being forced to adjust your circadian clock in order to make it to work on time!
I definitely needed some literal and figurative sunshine this week, so let’s dive in!
Lana Del Rey
In honor of Lana’s new song, “Love”, I’ve been revisiting the back catalog. I truly forgot how much I love her music! Despite the fact that she’s really blown up in popularity over the past five years, which is typically the death knell of anything cool, she continues to do whatever the fuck she wants—if anything, her albums get progressively more esoteric and less radio-friendly as the years go by. I’m anticipating the forthcoming album, but in the meantime, I’ve got plenty to keep me busy:
I couldn’t help but give a shout-out to actor and comedian, Baron Vaughn. I originally discovered him through the Netflix series, Grace & Frankie (which stars the legendary Lily Tomlin & Jane Fonda), and have since gone on to devour his back catalog. He’s an absolute genius, and he’s blowing up right now.
He’s appeared on all your favorite podcasts, like 2 Dope Queens and Put Your Hands Together, he’s on 2 Netflix shows right now (the other being Mystery Science Theatre 3000), and his 90’s Disney cartoon theme-songs bit from SXSW nearly put my husband and me into comedy comas. He even replied to me on Twitter once! #braggingrights
Plus, I mean, look at him. He’s fine as hell. Go forth and discover your new favorite comedian!
I know, I know. I said I was going to cool it with fast fashion. And I have! For the most part! But I had a crappy week and I just wanted to treat myself to something adorable, and they were having a 20% off sale on pretty, flouncy dresses! I’m a human woman! After reading The Curated Closet by Anuschka Rees (more on that here), I’m leaning hard into “uniforms”, and short dresses are my #1. How cute is that blue dress going to be on Easter?
This one is very local, but all the same it brought me endless joy and vitamins this week. A new juicery opened in the town where I went to college (and hope to go to grad school!) *very Stefon voice* This place has everything—raw juice, smoothies, acai bowls, wheatgrass shots! So nice to have healthy options! I really could have used this place in undergrad, when I was living off of iced coffee and bagels with hummus, but better late than never. I’m hoping that this new addition to the center is an omen that I’ll get accepted into my program!
*A note about the prices: raw juice is not cheap! And once you’ve done it at home and seen the sheer volume of produce required to make a decent amount of it, you see why. Plus, if you’ve ever cleaned out a juicer, it’s like a sticky jigsaw puzzle but less fun. I like to compare juice to wine—when you’re out at a bar, you don’t bat an eye at paying $7-$9 a glass. Think of it like that, an indulgence—similar price, similar calorie situation (I assume), way more health benes.
This Vegan Queso Recipe
To preface this, I take zero credit! This one comes to you from Wilder Wellness, a health coaching group that I joined last month. The recipes that come along with the membership have been incredible, but this one is SO beyond that I keep a jar of it in my fridge at all times.
Vegan Quesoadapted from Wilder Wellness/Wildernessa
1 lb of organic carrots (1 bag of baby carrots, or 2 large carrots chopped)
1 medium sweet potato or an equal amount of chopped butternut squash
1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 cup of coconut milk
1 cup of organic salsa
1/3 cup of nutritional yeast
1 tsp Himalayan pink salt
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
Steam the sweet potato/squash and carrots until fork-tender. Once cooked, combine all ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Thin to desired consistency with more coconut milk. Serve on everything, from tortilla chips to scrambled eggs! I actually used it as a sauce on red lentil penne last night, because I am a goddamned innovator.
I hope these things brighten your week as much as they have mine!
I wanted to call this post The I’ds of March, but a. that is so stupid, and b. then I couldn’t turn it into a series. Unless it was an annual series? Anyway, I called it Kool Things because that title is at once descriptive and a reference to my favorite Sonic Youth song. Win/win.
Kool Things is a (hopefully) weekly series highlighting dope shit that made my week brighter. We’re kind of in the darkest timeline right now, at least in the U.S., so it’s become super important to find joy where you can.
Anyway, here are the things that made my first-week-of-March:
Cristela Alonzo, Lower Classy
Cristela, who you might know from her short-lived ABC sitcom of the same name, is a comedy angel, and her new special freaking delivered. The jokes were all brilliantly written and expertly delivered, plus, I actually cried at the end. I was moved to tears by the story she tells about her mother. Get you a stand-up special that can do both!
Cristela nails the first-generation American experience, eviscerates Latinx stereotypes, and roasts Whole Foods for their bonkers prices with aplomb. Her voice is a shining light in the white dude-dominated comedy scene, and I’m so glad that she has the amazing platform of Netflix to tell her story.
Watch Cristela’s newest special, Lower Classy, on Netflix now! 5/5
One Part Plant: The Cookbook!
I first heard of Jessica Murnane, plant-based guru and cooking genius, on Karsyn DuPree’s Wilder Podcast. I am a self-professed “cooking dork”, so of course I pre-ordered Jessica’s amazing plant-based cookbook. One Part Plant functions as an educational tool as much as it offers recipes: Murnane, who suffers (suffered?) from endometriosis, found an unlikely cure in plant-based eating, and she talks about the disease at length in the book’s intro. And Lena Dunham, who also famously suffers from endo, penned a letter to open the book. Beyond the discussion of endo, the cookbook gives a realistic overview of everything your kitchen needs, from whisks & sieves to tahini & tamari.
Something notable about this cookbook is that is has a full dessert and snack section. I’m not a huge dessert person, but I love that this book is so well-rounded!
Recipe highlights: Creamy Grits with Avocado & Hot Sauce, Roasted Potato, Corn, & Leek Chowder, Grilled Cinnamon & Banana Sandwich (I mean, WHAT?!)
What’s better than modern, chic gold & brass jewelry? Women. Entrepreneurs. The rad lady of HARP. designs also happens to by my cousin, Shelly, an amazingly talented Bay Area jewelry designer and maker. She’s a talent angel with an incredible aesthetic. Madewell wishes their accessories were made this well. Since today we’re participating in A Day Without A Woman (right? RIGHT?), ditch your shitty ASOS bling and come thru for HARP.
I recently treated myself to these amazing slogan pins, because when they go low…
Eisley, I’m Only Dreaming Tour
My soul-loves, Eisley, just released a new record on February 17th! It’s called I’m Only Dreaming, and it’s the first album released with the band’s new line-up (sans Chauntelle, Weston, & Stacy). I saw them on tour last week at Brighton Music Hall and it was absolutely sensational! It was the first time I’d ever been to a show alone, and I’ve gotta tell you: highly recommend! No one to judge you for scream-singing along to every word!
*songs with Stacy or Chauntelle originally on lead vox!
American Apparel (RIP)
Is this basic? I’m not sure I care. American Apparel has been at the center of tons of legal & ethical drama over the years, but at its core—American-made, unisex-leaning clothes? Fine by me. They’re bankrupt or going out of business or something, and everything on their site is 40% off. EVERYTHING. AA’s price points were always a deterrent to me, so this added discount piqued my interest.
Pro-tips for shoppers: their size charts are accurate. Measure thyself. Don’t rely on what size you *think* you are, because your acid-wash shorts will function like a whale-bone corset.
The lesson here? Always pester stylish girls you see about where they got their high-waisted jeans. You will be rewarded.
And last but certainly not least…
A Day Without A Woman
Today’s the day! Organized by the same group that executed the massively successful post-inauguration Women’s March on Washington, A Day Without A Woman is a campaign seeks to illustrate the impact that women (51% of the population, yo) have on daily life and the economy. Today we wear red, avoid paid or unpaid labor, and withhold our money from businesses not owned and operated by women. Most women can’t just peace out of work on a Wednesday (I’m lucky enough to have today off), but there are so many little ways we can all participate in the Resistance! To cop a slogan from Portlandia, Women and Women First!
I hope to see you all out in the streets rocking red!
Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, premiered on Netflix last month after nine long years without new Gilmore content. The night before the mini-series was set to air, I was as, if not more anxious than I was at my own wedding. Don’t get me wrong—I love my husband—but Stars Hollow is in my blood. I may very well have spent more time with the Gilmores than I have with him, although he’s definitely catching up—there are only so many episodes, after all.
Before I gracefully swan-dive into criticism, I want to start by saying that Gilmore Girls is my favorite television show. It came to me in a dark period of my life (I started watching weekly during season 4), and it spoke to me, as a fast-talking, book-reading, pop-culture-referencing, brunette New Englander. In my mind, I was Rory. In reality, I was way more of a Lorelai/Lane hybrid, except way less cool.
In 2007, Gilmore Girls was cancelled after the departure of its creator, Amy Sherman-Palladino and a somewhat disastrous seventh season. A lot has changed in the nine years since Gilmore Girls stopped airing. The proverbial “conversation” has changed. Sixteen years ago (when it began airing), it was par for the course for a show to be tone-deaf about social issues. Most shows lacked diversity in casting. Actors of color were criminally underused, LGBT characters were novelties, and trans characters simply didn’t exist. Gilmore Girls broke no barriers. The most revolutionary aspect of the show was its portrayal of a single teen mother succeeding despite her circumstances, and even that portrayal was inherently flawed—Gilmore existed in a bubble in which money was no issue, and only ever brought up as a plot point. The Girls were fed, sheltered, and wanted for nothing.
As for race—I can vouch for small New England towns lacking diversity. I’m from one. But television is escapism—the creators had the freedom to diversify the idyllic Stars Hollow, seeing as every other aspect of the fictional town is deeply unrealistic. Interestingly enough, Michel, the concierge of the Independence, and later the Dragonfly, Inns, who was the show’s only meaningful black character, was also portrayed as (early-00s) stereotypically gay, with his love of Céline Dion, fashion, and Emily Gilmore-esque propriety. It’s almost as if the Palladinos cashed in a two-for-one coupon, but not in the self-aware, irreverent way in which Tina Fey & co. wrote the character “Toofer.”
Throughout the series (having rewatched it from the start in preparation for the revival), there are numerous cringe-worthy gay and cross-dressing jokes that fall as flat as the inevitably outdated pop culture references, but overall it can certainly be deemed a feminist series, albeit a white feminist one. #intersectionality
Thus, ardent fans new and old anxiously awaited our return to the Stars Hollow universe. And the first few scenes truly did feel as warm and comforting as slipping on a pair of decade-old Ugg boots. I mean, this:
The feels! Also, Emily’s entire storyline. We all can agree that Kelly Bishop is an actual queen, right? Perfect actress, perfect role.
P.S. Lorelai’s remodeled kitchen is #GOALS.
So now, in order to keep myself from emotionally babbling, let’s go through some bullet points:
Relationships: Our (real) beloved Edward Herrman passed away in 2014, leaving our (fictional) Emily Gilmore widowed at the start of the series. Lorelai & Luke are cohabiting but unmarried (for reasons which are never explained). Rory is a hot mess: she has a long-term boyfriend, Paul, whom she can’t seem to remember exists, she’s sleeping with engaged-to-another-woman Logan on her jaunts to London, and she has a one-night stand with a guy in a Wookie costume. Oh yeah, and she ends up single and preggo. (#whydoesamyshermanpalladinohateyou)
Careers: Emily transitions from DAR to ACK—namely, she quits being a socialite and moves to Nantucket to generally be a badass queen. Lorelai seeks to expand the Dragonfly, which is doing well enough to hire Ina Garten & Rachael Ray, so…I’d say she’s successful. Rory is again, a hot mess with basically no career—highlights include a piece published in the New Yorker and “a lot of [vague af] irons in the fire.” By the end of the mini-series, she essentially realizes that she sucks at journalism and proceeds to start a book, aptly called Gilmore Girls.
Diversity:womp womp. Still almost no people of color, despite multiple scenes in NYC (?!?!?), and gay representation is horrendous. Michel is finally out (and married! and about to become an adoptive parent!), but apart from that, we have a new gay SH resident, Donald, no lesbians, no bi characters, and no trans characters. And we have to sit through a soul-crushing scene re: a Stars Hollow Pride Parade. It’s 50 Shades of bad. Also—Berta. Emily’s maid throughout the mini-series, is a mysterious ethnicity speaking a “nonsense” language. Borderline xenophobic and weird—forgivable because the character is portrayed brilliantly by none other than Gypsy (Rose Abdoo).
Boyfriends: Digger makes an appearance. Christopher drops by for a brief but HELLA IMPORTANT scene. Mother-flipping LELAND PALMER (Ray Wise) briefly courts Emily. Jess Mariano remains the one voice of reason and clarity in Rory’s life (and is still clearly in love with her). Dean Forrester lives in Scranton and is married with 3-almost-4 children. Logan is engaged to a French heiress, but, oh yeah, has this mistress named Rory Gilmore with whom he is still clearly in love.
Cameos! Cameos! Cameos!
I would like to start by saying that I’m not going to mention the Bunheads people. I never saw Bunheads (planning to fix that), so I’d be pointing out something that I myself didn’t even understand.
Chris Eigeman (Digger Stiles) – Lorelai’s season 4 former flame makes a brief appearance in the flashback to Richard’s funeral. Fuck the haters, I loved this. I truly liked that character and thought he and Lorelai were good together. I’m #TeamLuke, but it’s hard to be so loyal when Max & Digger are so freaking awesome.
Danny Strong (Doyle McMaster) – My beloved Doyle only gets a couple of brief scenes, amidst the turmoil of his separation from Paris.
David Sutcliffe (Christopher Hayden) – Baby daddy gets one scene. Of course, in retrospect, it turns out to be SUCH a fucking important scene, but they definitely could have used Christopher, who was so important to the plot of the original series, much better.
Gregg Henry (Mitchum Huntzberger) – Mitchum gets one scene? Come on. Mitchum is the only person that was ever honest with Rory about her journalistic prospects. He changed the course of her life, in a way. He was important! I think Mitchum was honestly more influential than Logan! Gregg Henry is an amazing actor and he was ILL-SERVED in this revival. #moremitchum
Ray Wise (Jack Smith, Emily’s new boo) – Leland freaking Palmer is in the reboot. It was kind of distracting because I LOVE me some Twin Peaks, but apparently so does ASP. Half the cast of TP has been on GG at some point or another.
Mae Whitman (line girl) – Mae’s cameo is brief, but a total Lauren/Parenthood shout-out. We LOVE Ann Veal!
Alex Kingston (Naomi Shropshire) – River. Mother. Flipping. Song. Is. In. The. Revival. Enough said. This was a dead-end story-line but worth it for RIVER SONG.
Jason Mantzoukas (Naomi Shropshire’s lawyer) – The fact that Mantzoukas is a huge GG fan brings joy and radiance to my life, and his inclusion in the revival is a ray of sunshine in a dismal world.
Kevin T. Porter & Demi Adejuyigbe (B-list actors at the Dragonfly) – The Gilmore Guys are in the revival! This makes me so happy. Kevin & Demi are doing god’s work with their amazing podcast, which I’ve blogged about previously.
Rachael Ray & Roy Choi – In Sookie’s absence, the Dragonfly hosts celebrity chef pop-ups. Realistic? No. Hilarious? Yes! Rachael Ray’s over-acting breathes life into me.
Paul Anka – The Paul Anka dreams had to come back.
Alex Borstein (Miss Celine) – Miss Celine was one of the most wonderful parts of the original series. I’m so glad that the Palladinos graced the fans with one last look.
Jason Ritter & Peter Krause (park rangers) – Parenthood shout-outs 2 & 3! Jason played Lauren Graham’s love interest on Parenthood, and Peter is her real-life boo! I was psyched to see them in the reboot.
And last but not least, Jess Mariano, a.k.a. Jess Mariano. Unfortunately, his part amounts to little more than a cameo, but JFC, look at this man:
Are you KIDDING me?
Milo was busy shooting his amazing new show This Is Us, so he couldn’t be a huge part of the revival, but the few moments he appeared on screen were among the best.
In Omnia Paratus!
Okay, so, everyone seems to hate the Life & Death Brigade sequence , but I am coming out strongly in favor of all of it. It had Twin Peaks. It had the Beatles (via Across the Universe). It has kooky outfits & Rosemary Clooney! Disclaimer: I’ve been Team Logan since DAY ONE, so of course I was going to love this callback. Especially considering the final four words, these scenes have additional gravitas. The frustrating thing, though, is that there is no obstacle to Rory & Logan being together, except both of them sucking as people. I guess we’ll find out what happens with them in the next series of episodes, because of course they’re going to make more, because $$$$.
Much has been said about this already, but Lane gets about 45 total seconds of screen-time in the entire revival. Considering her life was…derailed in Season 7, to put it politely, superfans were desperate to see how Amy resolved Lane’s story. This more than anything seemed to highlight the undeniable notion that the meta-narrative of this show is that we all become our mothers. Lane’s working at Kim’s antiques, wearing a Mrs. Kim smock and bob. Paris’s kids like the nanny more than her. Rory ends up unwed and pregnant, albeit at 32 instead of 16. P.S. ONE scene with Mrs. Kim? Are you kidding me?
So, overall, I loved the revival because it was a revival of my favorite show. I loved the Arrested Development revival too. And I’m sure I’ll love the Curb Your Enthusiasm reboot as well. But that definitely doesn’t excuse Amy Sherman-Problematic from, well, being herself. As much as I cherish the existence of these new episodes, there are so many things I want from any potential further episodes. I want more Paris, more Lane, more Miss Patty—more of the characters that are the true heartbeat of the show. There’s so much more to talk about, but I think a lot of us are still rewatching and processing.
There will be much more discussion of the revival here. For those of you thirsty to dive into deep discussions about it, hit up my boys The Gilmore Guys who just dropped their “Fall” episode today.
What was your favorite episode of the revival?
*all images pulled from google/the internet—I take zero credit for anything
So many spoilers are about to follow. Just so you know.
“Chels, you just watched Jessica Jones? Do you even Marvel Universe, bro?”
Shut up, I know. I know! I should have been worshipping at the altar of Jessica for months and months. But the important thing is that I watched the show and I am forever indebted to its creators. Two of the baddest bitches alive just entered the (streaming) television arena: Jessica Jones and Trish Walker.
Jessica Jones combines romance, mystery, action, and gore in a way that manages to *not* be sappy, cliché, or gross. And while I’m skeptical it passes the Bechdel test (a lot of Trish & Jess’s conversations center on the takedown of Kilgrave) it’s still packed with refreshingly feminist moments.
My best friend pointed this out to me, so I won’t take credit: Jessica’s broken door. She shoves an irate client through the glass in her front door, and for the majority of the series it remains broken, a symbol that the fight for Jessica (and for women) is not just physical–it’s mental. For Jessica, who has super-strength and can take on any intruder, the threat is that Kilgrave might retake control of her mind. And, applied broadly, although physical violence is something that women are still very much in danger of, the most insidious elements of sexism are deeply imbedded in the collective psychology of our era. I mean, take my #QUEEN Hillary Clinton. Can you believe the shit people say about her? Can you believe the shit other women say about her? All human beings are flawed, but I guarantee you, if there were a male Hillary (that hadn’t already been Pres twice–I see you, Bill), Democrats would be licking his/her boots. (PS Not tryna be political, I love Bernie too! #Dem4Life)
The point here is, really, that Jessica Jones showcases badass bitches who learn fucking Krav Maga to take down serial-killing supervillains. It’s the realest.
BUT, I will say that I am a weak, weak individual. Every Whovian that I talked to SWORE that Kilgrave would be a believable villain. But when this sociopathic, murdering rapist said “I love you” my only emotional response was “I love you too, Ten.” My David Tennant feels are too strong. I’m actually bummed that he won’t be back for season 2. Maybe we’ll get flashbacks of that sexy Scotsman.
Season 2 can’t come soon enough. As if we didn’t love Krysten Ritter enough from Don’t Trust the B. Now she’s Marvel-legit.
***By the way, I’m not shilling for Netflix or anything, but honestly, it’s 2016. I’d die before paying for cable. It’s cheaper to just have Hulu + & ‘flix. And Amazon Prime. What a glorious, privileged world we live in.
****All photos culled from Google searches. I take ZERO credit and give mad props to the artists/photogs that made these images.