It has been a hot minute since I’ve posted on this blubbering mess of a baby I oh so adore. Some quick life updates, after writing for sites like CRAVEOnline and ComingSoon, I decided to take a break from the writing world as some personal issues arose that I couldn’t ignore. I sporadically wrote here and there as an outlet for whenever I needed some stress relieving and if you’ve been following me on Twitter (particularly for the last few months), I’ve been engulfed in the #RenewEverythingSucks campaign that stemmed from Netflix’s premature cancellation of one of its best original shows…
After being fortunate enough to have the time off I needed, I decided it was time to possibly look into gradually becoming an adult at 20-something years old. I’ve recently entered the working world, being hired at my local DMV and damn it, do I love interacting with people who are superbly stressed out on a consistent basis.
During my training process which was in a city two+ hours away from me – commuting is an ugly bitch and I sympathize entirely with those that have no other choice but to do it on a daily basis – I needed some form of solace to sink my tired woes into when I’d arrive home dead tired.
All Hail The Earps
I ultimately found out about a show called Wynonna Earpthat ticked off every possible box I needed to bring me out of my slump in the form of a sarcastically witty female-led series who sends demonic spirits back to the underworld complete with compelling characters all set in a glorious Canadian backdrop. This thing was basically made for me.
After devouring the first two seasons, I was utterly psyched for its third season. While perusing its subreddit, I came across a thread asking for anyone interested in writing recaps for it for a website dedicated to Canadian film & TV productions called The Mutt. It had been a little while since I had written any long-form pieces, however I knew that Wynonna Earpwas a series I wanted to jot my thoughts down on and send off into the wide world of the interwebs. I expressed my interest in potentially joining their team and after talking to their fantastical editor, I was welcomed aboard to write recaps for Season 3 starting with Episode 4, “No Cure For Crazy.”
So this is basically a long-winded way of me saying hello again! If you’re at all interested in reading what I’m working on, check out my recaps for the series over on TheMutt.ca! I try to come up with clever headers and like to think I could potentially make you chuckle with my words… No promises though.. However if I do make you laugh, please clap let me know.
If not, you can always send me a telepathic message, I will definitely receive those.
“You wanted me to be here for your death, how about letting me be here for your life?”
Sitcom classic The Golden Girls aired on NBC during the height of the sitcom boom from 1985-1992 and featured the hysterical musings of four stellar women: Dorothy (Bea Arthur), Blanche (Rue McClanahan), Rose (Betty White) and Sophia (Estelle Getty). These fictional characters felt like real, complex individuals with their own distinct personalities, providing frequent bouts of hilarity that kept fans entertained for 180 episodes.
While there are many examples of TV shows that would fall into the discussion of greatest sitcom properties, I would place The Golden Girls in the top-tier realm and personally refer to it as my No. 1 favorite sitcom of all time. Besides the obvious comedic aspects, there were occasional episodes that dealt with the more taboo subjects of the time (and some that are even considered taboo today). From adultery to homosexuality to deportation, The Golden Girls never shied away from focusing on these issues – One particular episode stands out to me the most from its fifth season.
The One Where Sophia’s Friend Wants Her There When She Commits Suicide
Season 5, Episode 7, titled “Not Another Monday” tackled the issue of suicide and what choice one has when a friend wants you there when they take their life. This episode focused on Sophia’s friend, Martha Lamont, a woman who believes that she can no longer stand the pain and loneliness of her physical world, choosing to end her life by her own hand rather than waiting for any more sicknesses to afflict her. In her own words, she doesn’t “want to see another Monday.”
As Sophia struggles with the ethical and moral obligations of her dear friend’s request, the B plot centered around Dorothy, Blanche and Rose caring for a newborn while her parents were away. The episode contains one of the funniest moments of the entire series: the three women attempt to calm the baby down by performing “Mr. Sandman” totally a capella. Watch it below:
(It’s no coincidence the writers decided to place the paralleling story lines of birth and death in this one episode, and I love them for it.)
Let me give you some background of my relationship with the show and delve into some personal territory of where I was in my life a few years back:
For A Number Of Years, I Was Lost
In 2010, my dear grandma passed away after a long battle with breast cancer. Prior to her final night, we would visit her on a daily basis, and I would always arrive home just in time to catch a syndicated episode of The Golden Girls. It comforted me watching these older women in the prime of their lives. I needed some sort of escape for that half an hour.
My grandma’s death hit me hard and continued to stay with me even as I entered university – The years spent in post-secondary was one of the most difficult times of my entire life. For the first 4 years of attempting to get my Bachelor’s (I finally graduated in my fifth year with a BA in English) I struggled with virtually every aspect of what was going on in my life at the time:
The Financial (“Am I able to afford this class?” “God, I don’t want to look at my financial statement right now… Maybe if I ignore it, it’ll go away?”)
The Course Load (“When were we assigned this?” “Is this syllabus for this class or..?”)
The Future (“Why am I even in school right now?” “Maybe I can take a year or three off and everyone will forget I was enrolled in the first place…”)
A myriad of personal problems just hovered over me and made me sympathize with Sisyphus (that Greek figure you’ve heard of whose best friend is a boulder for all eternity). I would have honestly done whatever it took to be able to pick up the phone and call my grandmother. Just to hear her voice would calm me down when I needed it the most.
I refused to tell anybody about my struggles; I thought it would be better to keep it in and occasionally have a nice cry in bed at 2am when my hourly you-aren’t-going-anywhere-in-lifethoughts popped into my head. While I never specifically had suicidal thoughts, I’d be lying if I said there weren’t sporadic instances where I briefly thought, “I mean, what if I just don’t wake up tomorrow morning? Like I want to wake up, obviously, but… just what would it be like to not have to deal with this anymore?”
Why This TV Episode Means So Much To Me
When I was home alone one night, I suddenly felt the urge to watch an episode of The Golden Girls. There were probably exams or something going on that had me at the peak of my anxiety.
The episode was “Not Another Monday” and my jaw dropped when I heard Martha ask Sophia to be present during her suicide. She seemed happy and so sure of herself that she didn’t want to live to see another day. Watching Sophia (who reminded me way too much of my grandma, by the way) reminisce with Martha by pleading for her to “remember life” stung me. Sophia reminded her (and, by extension, me) that “we’re not in this life for peace” when Martha reasons that their departed friend Lydia looked so peaceful at her funeral.
Hard-as-nails and badass Sophia Petrillo had tears in her eyes as she attempted to convince Martha that this wasn’t her time. An exasperated Martha reveals the loneliness she feels on a constant basis, and — after Sophia’s pleas and vow to invite her over to the bustling Golden Girl abode — Martha states, “I don’t know what to do.”
The following line is what stuck with me then, and continues to stick with me now:
“That’s the point, if you’re not sure, you can’t change your mind tomorrow.”
While the entire above sequence makes me tear up, that quote convinced me to keep a laser focus on the finish line regardless of how far away that damn, stupid line seemed to be – “School isn’t forever; these struggles I have aren’t forever; those who care about me would want me to hold on with everything I have because I will come out of the putrid funk I happen to be in at this moment.”
I’m now a university graduate, continuing my writing and gradually dabbling in Toronto real estate (because I just love having clients irritated with me). This is a story and an experience I have courtesy of a TV show from the 1980s.
To conclude in the most cheesy way possible: thank you for being a friend!
What TV shows have meant the most to you? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
With the state of the world being what it is today, escapism through Margaret Atwood television properties seems to be the only form of solace we have.
This year’s spectacularly executed The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu recently swept at the Emmys and another Atwood adaption is on the horizon at another monstrous streaming service. Alias Grace is the novel every high schooler was tasked to read and its small screen adaptation shares a similarity with its Hulu counterpart in that it’s one of the best executed shows you will watch this year. The six-part miniseries aired weekly for Canadians on CBC and is currently available for a 6 hour binge globally on Netflix.
Alias Grace tells the story of Grace Marks, a young, poor Irish immigrant and domestic servant living in Upper Canada during the 19th century who finds herself accused of murdering her employer and his housekeeper. Grace insists she has no memory of the murders, however she is ultimately convicted and imprisoned at Kingston Penitentiary. The miniseries features American doctor, Simon Jordan (Edward Holcroft) who is commissioned with writing a report on her following a sequence of interviews where she shares her experiences leading up to and following her conviction.
Producer and writer of all six episodes, Sarah Polley, has been a fan of Grace Marks since the novel’s original release over 20 years ago and describes why she views her as “endlessly fascinating“:
“She conveyed her experience with this gallows [humor] and ladylike poise at the same time. You could never figure out how aware she was of herself; whether she was a brilliant mastermind or completely innocent was always a mystery.”
This underlying question of deception is exactly where the intrigue of this slow-burning series flourishes – is Grace Marks an innocent pawn suffering at the hands of those around her or is there a more insidious part of her we’re not seeing? As Grace relays the memories she chooses to relay with Dr. Jordan and the viewer sympathizes with her plight, there is still an inkling of suspicion present because of the doubts of those around her… Not to mention, the double murder conviction doesn’t really help her case.
Everyone’s favorite narrative technique, the unreliable narrator, is implemented brilliantly in Alias Grace as you’re given the word of a murderess in the eyes of the law to progress the story. You’re occasionally reminded that a proper investigation with science and hard facts were simply nonexistent during the time so although that label of “murderess” is hung over her head, as a viewer in 2017 you’re somewhat conflicted as to whether Grace is the criminal many believe her to be. This back and forth inner struggle is only heightened by the spectacular performances by virtually everyone in the series and gorgeous Canadian landscape that makes Alias Grace a must watch.
Can You Trust Grace Marks? Sarah Gadon’s Perfect Portrayal Makes It Difficult Not To
Fellow Toronto-native Sarah Gadon has been in the acting game for years, most notably starring alongside James Franco in last year’s Hulu miniseries, 11.22.63. She has also starred with Jake Gyllenhaal in Denis Villeneuve’s Enemy and is a frequent collaborator with David Cronenberg, appearing in such films as A Dangerous Method, Cosmopolis and Maps To The Stars. While she’s appeared in a number of mainstream flicks including Dracula Untold and The Amazing Spiderman 2, Gadon has seemingly excelled in smaller, more intimate roles that require her to test out every facet of her acting capabilities.
“Gadon further cements her place in the club of Canadian royalty”
With her phenomenal portrayal of Grace Marks under her belt, Gadon further cements her place in the club of Canadian royalty which boasts an impressive list of names including the Goddesses of music, Celine Dion & Shania Twain, and our 2 favorite Ryans, Gosling & Reynolds.
Legions of novel fans may already have some kind of idea as to who they believe Grace Marks is and what her live-action portrayal should contain. In my humble opinion and as a fan of the novel, Gadon excels at whatever preconceived beliefs one may have about the character. Her keen ability at expressing the most subtle of nuances is simply mesmerizing, particularly during the sequences where there is only Grace and Dr. Jordan present. As she rarely blinks when discussing her experiences, the audience is left with feeling a sense of entrapment because you are fixated on her eyes. No matter how much you try to look away, you are locked in completely which is a major testament to Gadon’s ability.
The importance of featuring the perfect Grace cannot be overlooked, if the audience doesn’t believe they are watching Grace Marks, everything will fall apart. Gadon’s performance captivates you from start to finish and working alongside a roster of talented costars is certainly a huge plus.
The Various Familiar Faces Are An Added Delight
Throughout Alias Grace, I found myself occasionally thinking “wait… is that who I think it is?” The inclusion of the following famous faces only enhanced the enjoyment of my watch particularly because they were doing such a fantastic job in their respective roles.
Zachary Levi as Jeremiah Dupont
Best known for his role as Chuck Bartowski in the NBC series Chuck, Zachary Levi stars as Jeremiah Dupont, a handsome peddler who has an affinity with carrying around enormous trunks. As a huge fan of his geekcentric series (during Halloween when I was in grade 11, I came to school dressed as Chuck in full Nerd Herd gear), seeing him with a beard initially threw me off. He portrays the travelling salesman with such charisma, you’re left wanting to go on adventures with him yet remain hesitant because this is clearly not a feasible way of life for a family.
Anna Paquin as Nancy Montgomery
Anna Paquin portrayed the sweetly Southern, vampire-loving Sookie Stackhouse on HBO’s True Blood for seven seasons. Paquin manages to possess the perfect amount of friendliness with ruthlessness in her role as Nancy Montgomery, the woman whose bonnet is full of secrets. You’re constantly wondering what the nature of her relationship is with the Master of the Household, Thomas Kinnear, and are left fascinated by the various revelations made by Grace.
Paul Gross as Thomas Kinnear
Every Canadian mother’s hunk o’ burnin’ love, Paul Gross, has matured into a silver-haired fox who, like virtually every other character in the series, harbors a sinisterness about him that makes it difficult to trust his hunky wiles. Just as needing a credible actress to portray Grace Marks is crucial for the success of the series, Thomas’ relationship with Nancy is integral to its believability factor. Thankfully both Gross and Paquin work incredibly well off each other, ultimately adding to what is already an incredibly enjoyable watch.
Margaret Atwood’s Cameo
And, of course, the Hitchcockian-esque cameo made by Queen Atwood herself. She also appeared in the pilot episode of The Handmaid’s Tale so she clearly can’t stay away from the recent adaptations of her brilliant works (not that we’re complaining). For those wondering which episode of Alias Grace the veteran author makes a brief appearance in, look no further than below:
Atwood is spotted in Episode 4 as an “outraged” church-going woman who is clearly not a fan of Grace and co.
Ensure Alias Grace Is On Your Must-Watch List
With some undeniably brilliant talent both in front of and behind the camera, Alias Grace is the perfect watch for fans of character-driven stories that want to be challenged by these complicated characters. As a Canadian and lover of fantastic TV, I consider it my patriotic duty to suggest works that tick those specific boxes, something this miniseries accomplishes and then some.
Every episode of Alias Grace is available to stream on Netflix.
Will you be watching Alias Grace? Let me know in the comments below!
Caution: This Article Contains Spoilers From Season 1 Of Stranger Things
Can someone just place me in the Upside Down until October?
As we eagerly await the newest season of the hit Netflix series Stranger Things, the good folks behind the official StrangerThings Twitter account have provided us with some behind-the-scenes images from its first season. The pictures feature some of our favorite actors from the series breaking character to pose — and possibly goof-off — for a photo while they let loose.
Nothing is better than seeing the inner workings of popular shows/movies and the talented individuals who grace the screen. This sentiment rings true especially when the series is as much of a phenomenon as Stranger Things is offering us a behind-the-scenes look at what it was like to shoot Season 1. Using the hashtag #StrangerThursdays, the show’s official Twitter unleashed the photos on us all, using some helpful Do’s and Don’t’s tips accompanied by the Stranger Things pictures and GIFs. Here are some of the best that feature bts shots.
Even in the aftermath of a bloody fight (in the same episode as above) Joe Keery’s (Steve) hair remains perfectly coiffed. The handsome talent flashes a million dollar smile, prompting this twitter user to accurately express my thoughts during this grueling wait:
Smiling through the pain of waiting for season two!!!!
It’s interesting that this is what is deemed “acting natural” for a potential shop lifter, however Millie Bobby Brown (Eleven) clearly knows more about acting than I will ever know so I trust their judgement. Eleven’s Eggo-and-pink-dress ensemble is certainly one of the more popular icons to come out of the series, garnering Halloween costume acclaim and different iterations of Funko pop figures.
The generous Gods in charge of the twitter account knows what we want to see: adorable behind-the-scenes shots of IT’sFinn Wolfhard (Mike) and Brown. The relationship between their two characters truly was the heart of the #Netflix series, causing fans to creatively invent the ship name, “Mileven.”
This group of blooper shots caused a massive response from fans because they are just so adorable together. Despite how successful the series becomes, the young actors are still kids who occasionally can’t control the need to pull the classic Bunny Ears behind a friend’s head. Many simply couldn’t contain their excitement at seeing the pictures:
OH MY GOD THIS IS TOO PRECIOUS YOU JUST MADE OUR DAY
The Stephen King film adaptations of 2017 just keep on coming!
With the disappointing performance of The Dark Tower and the wildly successful run of IT, Netflix’s upcoming King adaptation looks to terrify audiences using the madness of a human being, rather than a supernatural clown who feeds off the fear of children.
Based on the novella published in 2010’s Full Dark, No Stars, the adaptation boasts an impressive cast including The Expanse‘s Thomas Jane and House Of Cards‘ Molly Parker. 1922 marks Jane’s third appearance in a King adaptation, previously starring in 2003’s dreaded Dreamcatcher and 2007’s love-it-or-hate-it The Mist.
The film is set during the 1920s and follows Wilfred James (Jane), a Nebraskan farmer who refuses to entertain the idea of selling his family land and moving to the city despite his wife, Arlette’s (Parker) wishes. Instead, Wilfred decides that brutally murdering her is the only way to secure the life he has planned out and is ultimately plagued by the belief that Arlette is haunting him.
Check out the trailer below:
The film is the monstrous streaming service’s second Stephen King adaptation, with the Mike Flanagan-directed Gerald’s Game released on September 29th. King recently revealed how excited he is for audiences to check out both Netflix adaptations, emphasizing his adoration for what was done with 1922:
“… The one you want to watch for is, Netflix did an adaptation of ‘1922’ from ‘Full Dark, No Stars’… [M]an, I saw a rough cut of that and it won’t leave my mind. That is super creepy!”
While opinions shared by King about his film adaptations may not be the best indicator of its quality (he’s not a fan of The Shining and positively reviewed The Dark Tower), his excitement is seemingly shared by critics who have also had a chance to check the film out. 7/8 critics on Rotten Tomatoes have given it a “fresh” rating so far, praising Jane’s portrayal of the grimness felt by his character and the film’s dark themes.
1922‘s Connection To Other King Properties
The trailer for 1922 is complete with all the gorgeous landscape and creepy rat infestations your heart desires.
Whether these rats are a figment of Wilfred’s imagination is a question that will be answered in October (of course, you could also read the book before viewing), however King is clearly no stranger when it comes to including these rodents in his works. For example, King’s 1970 short story “Graveyard Shift”, which was terribly adapted for the big screen in 1990, contains a rat empire that accumulated after decades of abandonment at a textile mill in Maine.
The depiction of an angry family member is a character all too familiar with Stephen King, as seen in virtually all of his works including Carrie, Thinner and perhaps most notably showcased in The Shining. When executed effectively, these characters are fascinating to dissect because of their development and the reasoning behind their motivations. This certainly applies to 1922, as Wilfred’s deep-rooted disdain for those around him and ultimate descent into madness looks like it’s going to be thrilling to watch.
King fans will also be interested to know that 1922 involves two tidbits related to his most popular works. Hemingford Home, Nebraska is the setting of 1922, which is also the home of 106-year-old Mother Abagail in King’s epic novel The Stand. This Nebraskan town is apparently a favorite of King’s as it’s also the town that the grown-up Ben Hanscom moves to in IT after slimming down and becoming an architect. The trailer certainly highlights the picturesque quality of the town, so it’s no surprise how revered it is within the realm of King’s works.
Personally, I’m a huge fan of many original films to come from Netflix and 1922 is officially at the top of my list as one of the most anticipated. If we see more filmmakers tackle King’s works with a similar mindset, hopefully an announcement will be made soon about a potential reboot of Maximum Overdrive.
1922 releases on Netflix on October 20, 2017.
featured image credit: netflix
Are you excited for 1922? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
Amazon Studios is adding to their growing roster of original programming which so far includes the alternative historical drama The Man In The High Castle and dramedy Transparent. The company recently acquired Lucy and Desi, a drama series scripted by the master of dialogue, The West Wing’sAaron Sorkin.
Academy Award winner (and upcoming bad-ass MCU villain) Cate Blanchett will portray the titular Lucille Ball. While little is known about what the series will depict, the pioneering comedienne and her relationship with Desi Arnaz has been a point of discussion for over half a century.
We Love Lucy: Amazon Celebrates A TV Legend
Among a myriad of other achievements made throughout her illustrious career, Ball became the first woman to run a major television studio, Desilu Productions, in 1962. The studio, which was originally formed in 1950 by Ball and Arnaz, went on to produce such works as Star Trek and their wildly popular TV sitcom, I Love Lucy.
There are discussions underway as to who will portray the important role of Arnaz, with Deadline adding Javier Bardem’s name into the mix as a potential candidate. Of course, one can’t love Lucy without Fred and Ethel (portrayed by William Frawley and Vivian Vance respectively in the original series).
Ball and Arnaz’s children, Lucie Luckinbill and Desi Arnaz Jr. are involved in the series as well, providing their authorization to depict the tumultuous love/business relationship between their famous parents. Deadline refers to this rights package as one that,
“empowers the use of memoirs written by both Ball and Arnaz, rights their children have controlled since their parents died.”
Getting The Right Lucy And Desi Is Priority #1
In order for this series to have any merit or gain any traction, they must ensure that the chemistry between the on-screen Ball and Arnaz is nothing short of perfect. The couple captivated audiences for decades with their hysterical humor and undeniable charm, and their remarkable spirit needs to be appropriately honored in Amazon’s latest venture.
Although their marriage endured some major hardships and a subsequent divorce, the pair reportedly remained friends for the rest of their lives as their sitcom remained a staple on American television for generations. With Blanchett on board, there’s reason to be hopeful that the show will manage to capture that special something Lucy and Desi shared.
featured image source: ‘Carol’ | The Weinstein Company
Who do you believe should play Desi Arnaz to Blanchett’s Lucy? Let me know your picks in the comments below!
YouTube Red is taking a page out of Netflix’s handbook and providing its subscribers with more original scripted programming. The streaming service has ordered its first drama pilot, Impulse, from executive producer and director Doug Liman for a premiere sometime in 2018. This pickup joins the likes of other YouTube Red scripted originals including a Step Up reboot, the Dwayne Johnson-produced Lifeline and Rick and Morty‘s own Dan Harmon-produced gaming comedy Good Game.
The story of Impulse derives from the third book in the popular Jumper book series written by Steven Gould, whose first book was adapted for the big screen in 2008. The hourlong action-thriller will be written by Jeffrey Lieber (Lost, NCIS: New Orleans), Jason Horwitch (Marvel’s Luke Cage), and Gary Spinelli. Fans of the Jumper film will be happy to hear that Liman, who directed Hayden Christensen and Rachel Bilson into partnership bliss, will also be handling directing duties for the series.
The series will follow Henry (Maddie Hasson), a rebellious 16-year-old girl who has always felt different from her peers and has longed to escape from her seemingly quaint small town. She soon discovers that she has the extraordinary ability to teleport. The I Saw The Light actress will also be joined by David James Elliott, Missi Pyle, Sarah Desjardins, Enuka Okuma and Craig Arnold.
Many of the bigwigs at YouTube and Universal Cable Productions (who will be producing the series) are unsurprisingly enthused for the project. Susanne Daniels, who is the Global Head of Original Content for YouTube, promises intrigue from the very beginning and looks forward to working with the veteran action director:
“This unique thriller pulled us in right from the opening scene… We are thrilled to be in business with Doug Liman and everyone at UCP and Hypnotic.”
The president of Universal Cable Productions (UCP) and Chief Content Officer at NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment, Jeff Wachtel, echoes Daniels’ sentiments, and compliments the streaming service for their continual breaking of new ground:
“We are very excited to be working with Susanne, YouTube and [studio] Hypnotic on Impulse… It’s always fun to start work on a new series, especially when it’s with a partner like YouTube that is continually breaking new ground.”
Although the 2008 film earned over $220 million worldwide, it disappointed in the domestic box office and many critics simply found it as a lackluster action thriller. Despite many of its fans (along with the stars and director) voicing their opinion for more from the Jumper universe, a theatrical sequel ultimately never came to fruition.
This Red series has the opportunity to appease those fans by returning to that teleporting world with fresh characters and a number of episodes to fully explore it. It is also encouraging to see Doug Liman take such a pivotal role in the production and execution of the series. He is no stranger when it comes to showcasing incredible action with characters you actually care about (as seen in his directing of The Bourne Identity and Edge Of Tomorrow) and he obviously has intimate knowledge of the property. Whether Impulse will have us jumping for joy or jumping to another series is up to the TV gods, however we remain hopeful that Impulse will be an awesome sci-fi and action adventure come 2018.
featured image source: 20th Century Fox
Does this news have you jumping for joy or quickly jumping to another series? Let me know in the comments below!