Someone that just started started asking for oat milk in their coffee
Timothee Chalamet in any press interview he’s ever done
A contouring tutorial circa 2014
Saoirse Ronan in real life
You in your first Facebook profile picture
A finsta belonging to any member of Generation Z
The last artist you listened to before they got popular
Harry Styles preparing for his three lines in Dunkirk
Someone that is about to get bangs but didn’t ask for them
You, at a party, moments before you and the person you were just talking to reach for your respective phones pretending to check a text you don’t have
Someone that is just getting into ‘streetwear’
A person trying to figure out HUJI for the first time
A hodgepodge of Instagram personalities: Parisian chic hypebeast 90s kid
It is the official, unofficial end of summer in Riverdale and the crusade on the town’s innocence, as per Jughead’s proclamation in season one, continues. While Veronica has spent her summer working at Pop’s to support her new sans trust fund lifestyle, Betty spent her summer working with Mrs. Andrews and Sierra McCoy on Archie’s case.
Archie is on trial for the murder of Cassidy Bullock; a crime he did not commit but cannot so easily be detached from. Hiram Lodge is void of emotions so I hesitate to say that he is happy about playing a part in getting his estranged daughter’s boyfriend a potential prison sentence, but he is quite smug.
Because Riverdale exists in a space time continuum that is in present day with hints of old timey infrastructure, there is no AC in the courthouse? These are the kinds of details that puzzle me but also why I love this show. The heat in the room is a literal manifestation of a nerve racking trial. Archie is sweating it and so is everyone else. There are fans, there are dramatic beads of sweat, there are power suits.
The prosecutor in the case is serving some serious side eye to Riverdale’s not so golden boy. She points out that Archie hasn’t had the best track record over the past year. That’s what starting a vigilante group and ‘interning’ for your girlfriend’s mob boss dad will to do you. There is clearly some colluding (trigger! word!) and corruption (another! trigger! word!) that have led to Archie’s prosecution but him being a jock and sensitive musician don’t make him immune to being a target.
Mary Andrews delivers a compelling defense of her son -- he puts others needs before his own, he saved Cheryl’s life, protected and cared for his dad after he got shot -- but it is not enough for there to not be a hung jury. The court breaks for the long weekend and everyone is on their way out (there are reporters?) when Hiram Lodge says something that triggers Fred to punch him.
“Hey Archie, I hope you have a good weekend.”
Wow, rude! Moving on.
What will our favorite group of soon to be Riverdale High juniors do with their extra day off? Before Archie can have his fun, he needs to be debriefed on what could happen to him if he goes to prison; and by none other than FP, who looks quite professorial with his glasses. FP gives him an honorary Serpent tattoo. Let’s examine: is it A) not real B) not real or C) not real. This scene segues us into *drumroll* Shirtless Archie. He’s just like us!
After months of a life changing series of events, with the cherry on top being that her dad is a serial killer, Betty is distressed to say the least. She is lying to her mom and sister (they’re another story) about going to see a therapist to help her heal post trauma but has instead been using Adderall as a vice.
Polly is back at home and still fully part of the farm cult she ran away to when she was pregnant but only now, she got Alice to join. The next natural steps in Alice’s transition into cult-hood are airy floral tops with tassels, air dried beach waves, and burning all of her daughter’s diaries because Edgar (I guess every all knowing person only goes by one prolific name) says that we need to literally rid ourselves of our pasts to feel better. Betty does respond with one of the best one liners in the episode though. She calls the farm a “Heaven’s Gate commune for pregnant runaways and wives of serial killers.” Not wrong.
Lest we not forget that Betty is now kind of a Serpent and Cheryl is the Serpent Queen. Which is why when word got around that the Ghoulies had Hot Dog, Cheryl came to the rescue by Hunger Game-ing that place up and taking out one of the Ghoulies with her bow and arrow. Penny and Jughead have their 8th or 80th confrontation where they exchange escalated threats to one another and then the groups disperse.
Cheryl hosts an end of summer pool party at the Blossom estate. We learn that Josie and Sweetpea are kind of a thing, Cheryl and Toni spent the summer road tripping together, and Moose and Kevin have been hanging out a lot and hook up sometimes and may or may not be dating. So yeah!
Dilton Doiley is looking suspiciously pensive at said party and we have a slight idea of the reasoning behind that. Dilton and Ben seemed to have been playing a Dungeons and Dragons-esque sort of game at Pop’s earlier on in the episode but as we learn in one of the final scenes, there is some weird stuff happening at Fox Forest. Like really weird.
This is the point where I slightly regret committing to writing this because of how much ground this episode covered without being as absurd as most of last season but this was a good foundational episode and I want to, like, respect that?
Back to court. Archie is, well he’s Archie, and he thinks that even though he didn’t kill Cassidy he doesn’t think he acted honorably. So to the disappointment of literally everyone, he turns himself in. His plea deal is two years in juvie plus time served. Who knows how long this will last, but I don’t think we need to worry if matters are in the hands of the hot dad trifecta of Fred, FP, and Sheriff Keller.
For all of the controlled factors in this episode, the final scenes certainly set the scene for more drama. Betty comes home to find a bonfire in her backyard (this is concerning given her mom and sister’s alignment to this semi-cult) and, surprise, the twins are there too (CAUTION). It gets crazier when the twins start to levitate above the fire, causing Betty to faint and start convulsing on the floor. Could Riverdale be venturing into supernatural territory? To be continued.
Google “September weather meme” and you’ll find an array of results breaking down the nuances of the weather patterns from the ninth month of the year. And because I happen to enjoy pointing out out of the ordinary weather patterns as much as I enjoy complaining about them when I’m not appropriately dressed for the elements, I feel a strong connection to these memes.
Complaint or observation + [noun, verb, adjective] = the genesis of a meme.
As a celebration, a tribute, an ode, etc. to the start of what is my favorite time of the year, I’ve made a digital scrapbook of sorts that documents that coveted fall, back to school but not really, new year new me, aesthetic I’ve been pining for since mid August.
I should disclose that while I only own four of the mentioned pieces (sweatshirt, corduroy pants, sherpa jacket, and wrap leopard dress), I want all of them :/
Is this good enough reason to encourage overspending? Probably not. Will I still wax poetic on about their imagined value in my wardrobe? Yes.
I plan to wear this sweatshirt from Everlane a lot. Like a lot a lot. I already took it out for a spin on a 70-ish degree day and smiled through every minute of it. But really, it transitions summer-y skirts and bottoms into those few golden weeks in early October where leaving the house without a jacket is not a grave mistake.
It also works with these corduroy pants from Aritzia. As would a plain tee, silky button down, and classic turtleneck. Said pants are long enough to just skim the floor (on my 5”3 frame) in a cool I wear trousers, not pants kind of way and have the most perfect snug and flattering high waist. I wish every pant I owned fit this way.
This jacket from Aritzia tops it all off for when it does eventually chilly. I’ve been wanting a denim sherpa jacket for a few years now so this is a purchase I can’t wait to be able to wear. It looks especially great with a bunch of gold jewelry too.
I’ve been looking for an opportunity to lean into the animal print trend and this dress from Zara has let me bring that dream into fruition. It’s much longer on me than on the pictured model but I love it because when I tried it on it with a pair of tall suede ankle boots it gave the illusion of high boots without the commitment. Bonus, I can wear it with black Vans too.
A blazer is essential. One that is preferably oversized and makes me feel like Alexa Chung and Lizzy Hadfield. There will come a time in the dead of winter where I will try to squeeze layers of sweaters underneath it to keep warm after growing tired of needing to wear a puffer coat everyday. But for now, I will cherish the fact that I can wear it as a jacket/top hybrid.
I will probably spend four months looking for a pair of dupes for these Dear Frances boots. I also want this to be the year I find the perfect pair of lace up oxfords but I have yet to find any contenders that are in a reasonable price range.
If I buy this cardigan I know I’ll have to practice strong self restraint to not wear it more than once a week. I’m growing to love greens and yellows to compliment fall and winter dressing. They’ve got the momentum to replace every variation of red and burgundy.
I’m contemplating this shirt from Paloma Wool to wear by itself or with a turtleneck underneath a la Timothee Chalamet (iconic) in CBYN (iconic).
If I didn’t have an aversion to wearing gloves or didn’t live in climate that put me at risk of falling victim to frostbite, I would carry around this Kayu Hudson bag from Reformation big with me all winter long.
If I could get this workwear jumpsuit from Farrow it would lessen the amount of times I’ll stand in front of my closet in a panic about what to wear by half. I may or may not have residual workwear jumpsuit envy from Paramore’s After Laughter lewks.
This dress (made by Just Female) is also enticing. It can be just as easily worn with sneakers and aforementioned sherpa jacket on a brisk, 55 degree day as it can be paired with tights for later on in the winter is something I won’t know I needed until it’s the perfect day for it.
I haven’t quite cracked the code for fall to winter footwear that won’t make me wish I was wearing sneakers halfway through the day. For all of the things I can list as reasons why I don’t love the summer, finding fun footwear isn’t one of them. So brb while I scour the internet for some shoes to go with all of these clothes (!!!).
When I watched Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Fleabag I loved it almost immediately. It isn't a show that's trying to be loved and by in fault of that, it becomes one that you want to recommend to everyone you know. Waller-Bridge flips the "flawed female protagonist" trope on its head in Fleabag and completely demolishes it in Killing Eve.
It doesn’t quite fit into one category; it is part dark comedy, part spy drama, part cat and mouse thriller. It will pull you in and spit you out a seemingly different person, one that is adept at being able to predict how a psychopathic assassin will execute her plan of, er, execution.
Killing Eve also exists in a zeitgeist of a TV landscape that champions original content but is also quick to reboot shows from the 90s and early 2000s for reasons that are beyond me. But this series -- which is an adaptation of the Codename Villanelle novelas by Luke Jennings -- strikes the perfect mix of intrigue and entertainment. You’ll love it without realizing all of the reasons why until you’ve started to try and describe it to someone else and before you know it, 20 minutes have passed and your friend’s eyes have glazed over not because what you’re saying is boring but because you're talking in circles.
Eve Polastri is a deskbound British intelligence agent (who, for clarification, was born in the UK, grew up in Connecticut and then moved back) that lives with her “nice and good” husband, Nico, in London. She has a thankless job that she is too smart for, great hair, and a penchant for female serial killers. When she learns of the string of murders being committed by an assassin with a distinct style of execution and no fear of being caught, i.e. leaving DNA evidence at the scene of the crime, Eve believes that the killer is a woman. This is in fact true, and the aforementioned killer (played by Jodie Comer) goes by the moniker of Villanelle, “an unfeeling adrenaline junkie, someone who murders not for vengeance but for pleasure.”
The mediocrity of Eve's day to day life is directly juxtaposed with Villanelle's indulgences of the most hedonistic form. She might be a psychopath but we can still envy her wardrobe, her hair, her skin’s ability to never look gaunt after many a sleepless nights. Villanelle’s aura of allure doesn’t escape Eve -- that is her MO, her way of charming her way into intimate situations with her soon to be victims -- but it is often a challenge to keep a safe distance away from someone that has taken as much of an interest in you as you have in them.
While Eve and Villanelle only encounter each other in person a handful of times, they become so intertwined in one another’s lives that when they do meet face to face, you don’t know what to expect. This element of surprise is one that runs through all of the scenes with Eve and Villanelle, and it is one of the best things about the show.
When Villanelle breaks into Eve’s house she doesn’t try to physically harm her, she just wants to have dinner with her. Eve heats a pre-made shepherd’s pie and watches on as this serial assassin sits in her house, eats her food, and tries to bamboozle her into thinking that she wants out of this whole killing people in cold blood as a profession game. As a viewer I’m happy to see Eve calling her out on her bullshit (her words) but can’t help but laugh when Villanelle dramatically asks, “Can we get one thing clear before we go on with this? Is that a sweater attached to a shirt? Is it two separate pieces? How does it work?” This is what Phoebe Waller-Bridge is so adept at doing; undercutting tension with humor.
There are many instances in the series that force us to think about what the endgame is for these two characters. Eve wants Villanelle dead -- she said so after she killed one of Eve’s partners and dear friends, Bill -- but she has opportunities to do so without putting herself in harm’s way. Eve is very clearly not a trained assassin and would stand virtually no chance against Villanelle if she caught her off guard -- see her trying to fend her off with a toilet brush -- but because Villanelle occupies Eve’s mind and the physical space around her, the boundaries between spy and assassin, cat and mouse, start to cease to exist.
It is in fact Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s intention to blur the lines so much that we’re left wanting to know more about why these two people can’t seem to get enough of each other. “I don’t think they could articulate it,” Waller-Bridge tells IndieWire. “When I realized I couldn’t articulate it, but I could feel it as a writer, that allowed me to give them the same dilemma; that they would never be able to explain to anyone else in the world what it is about the other.”
By the end of the season, the surface level of tension rises so high that the final episode is a 40 minutes of holding your breath waiting for the next shoe to drop. When the most significant line of dialogue is just three words uttered from Eve, “God, I’m tired” it feels only fitting that we’re left with more questions by the time the credits start rolling. Are these characters exactly who we think they are, who we expect them to be?
With a story like this one, it’s better to not try and predict what is to come. Savor every moment of Sandra Oh’s performance as Eve -- a long overdue opportunity to show off the acting chops she has spent 30 years honing -- that is every bit funny, down to earth, and witty. Her identity as a first generation Korean-Canadian makes her Emmy nomination historic for the Asian community but is a reminder of all of the talent that has been overlooked by Hollywood in the past and present.
It is easy to want to project our wildest fantasies of a just and feminist world onto the Killing Eve universe; a world where women have as many opportunities to be assassins as their male counterparts. Killing Eve does not have to be a beacon for the future of television; it would be unfair to presume that every show starring women has to speak for a future generation of actresses, writers, and producers. It didn't have to be groundbreaking to be good. It just happens to be both.
On a random day a few weeks ago, I spent a good hour visiting and revisiting the Instagram profile of a Youtuber/beauty influencer because I was genuinely upset at the possibility that her and her longtime boyfriend had broken up. I read the comments that people were leaving on her newest pictures. They were a variation of questions about where her boyfriend was, glorified theses that cited other posts that proved why they were definitely, positively broken up, and, as always, unsolicited advice about a range of topics.
Oddly enough, the two of them went on to post break up announcements on their respective profiles later that week. The messages were heartfelt and as genuine as they could be. Kind of like the Instagram relationship press releases that have been respectively shared by Chris Pratt and Anna Farris, Gigi Hadid and Zayn Malik, and Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan, etc. you know the drill.
But unlike these celebrities, this couple had cultivated a following around their life that was attainably aspirational. Influencers wear many hats these days but it seems like there are few whose content feels genuine (a couple of sponsored videos here and there are harmless, they have to pay the bills too).
Because they could strike that ideal middle ground, it only made sense to root for their happiness.
After reading one of their statements for the first time I returned to it again, and again, until I felt bummed out enough to feel solidly pensive about the state of modern relationships for the rest of my afternoon.
Here were these two people I have never and likely will never meet in real life. For the past five years, I watched their videos (one part of the former couple is a beauty/fashion/lifestyle guru) as I got ready for or unwinded from an eventful day. When I studied abroad in the city that they live in, one of my friends and I visited the farmer's market they frequented in the hopes of maybe getting a chance to see them but also to feel more like locals.
I know that this probably sounds as weird as it feels to write about it. I'm not an active participant in any internet communities and am a stranger to comment sections. I didn't even start liking social media posts of people I don't know IRL until a few months ago. But that doesn't exclude me from being able to say that it made me sad to know that a relationship in which both people had strong enough faith in to broadcast it to hundreds of thousands of people had to ultimately come to an end.
Why do I care so much? Because everyone else does.
We're obsessed, to a degree, with other people's relationships; for reasons that vary between curiosity and envy, there's no hiding the appeal of spectatorship. How else could you explain the popularity of boyfriend/girlfriend tags on YouTube?
There's something about seeing strangers with varying degrees of fame live out their life publicly that has crosses over with the appeal of reality TV. Except the space in which YouTube inhabits -- one where the creators are their own broadcasters and streamers -- has its origins in fostering community and encouraging creative expression. Those two tenets automatically call for transparency (for the most part).
The handful of YouTube and social media influencers I consistently follow feel familiar to me in a way that mainstream celebrities don't. I guess that means they've succeeded in their job or perhaps are simply more appealing to follow than the average person or at least the ones we know in real life.
We don't expect people with hundreds of thousands of subscribers and followers or more to share every detail of their personal life with us but we're intrigued when they do, even if it's just a glimpse.
When season four of Jane the Virgin set out with the goal to bring joy back into the lives of its main characters, it was taking on a lofty challenge. And in true telenovela form, it didn't accomplish its goal without introducing newer obstacles with potentially longer term consequences.
Just as things were starting to look up and Jane's future felt certain -- moving in with Rafael, getting engaged, and writing another book -- we were thrown for another loop. A major loop. One that has the stature of a male in his late 20s with sandy blonde hair, blue eyes, a warm smile, and boyish charm.
Because I have yet to recover from the shock that was Michael's return in conjunction with JR shooting Petra's stalker/blackmailer/vendetta seeker, I re-watched the episode in an effort to find all of the instances in which the show's writers were hinting at this crazy ending. After reading a handful of interviews with the show's creator, Jennie Snyder Urman, I can confirm that Michael is in fact Michael and not someone wearing a realistic face mask a la Sin Rostro. And the person JR shot is someone we know and have seen before.
One of the running themes of this episode was Jane planning the plot of her next novel. The wall in her room was covered in notes that represented pivotal moments in its story. When she hit a wall (figuratively) and realized why her plot twist wasn't landing, she told Rafael and Alba that she had to go "even further back to the beginning."
I KNOW. GOOSEBUMPS.
The imagery of Jane's post-it notes -- how they laid out everything so literally -- almost felt like a foreshadowing of the feelings that would eventually rush over her when she arrived at Rafael's apartment in the episode's final moments. The post-its in conjunction with the scene after the fireworks at Alba's (A - L - B - A) citizenship party, where she's perched on her bed typing on her laptop with failed manuscripts of past cascading and spiraling around her, indicated that Jane's past is still very much part of her present and future.
Expecting one outcome and being served one that is both completely unexpected and implausible until the very moment where it becomes plausible by it happening is Telenovelas 101.
One of the most obvious turning points in the episode was Rafael's reaction to the information that Rose was holding over him from the end of the prior episode. He was intentionally ignoring Jane's efforts to get him to talk about why he was, in his words, "not in a good place." It seemed strange that Rafael had at one point felt like he could share his desire to learn more about his birth parents with Jane and at the next, completely shut her out of it. A response that seemed rash and selfish was in fact signifying one of Rafael's most prominent moments of growth.
For Rafael to decide that he didn't want to hide this information from Jane -- because he very well could have after four years of everyone thinking Michael was dead -- showed us how deeply he cares about her. He would jeopardize their future together for Jane to know the truth and for their relationship to be built on the honest foundation that she values so much.
Speaking of futures, there is another scene in which, upon watching again, I can't help but feel gave us such a direct cue to the episode's ending that it was almost too derivative for anyone to expect Michael's return from it. When River Fields (kudos to the Jane the Virgin team for this wonderful addition to the show) spoiled the surprise that Rafael was going to propose and Jane, upon being asked by Xiomara whether she wanted to marry Rafael, told her, "He is my future, who else could it be?"
How could anyone have guessed that there not only was someone else, but there still is someone else.
Michael's involvement with the investigations into Rose did, admittedly, confuse me to a point where I stopped reading into all of their details. There are a lot of details there. And although he was connected to that case -- remember when he went AWOL in the early seasons -- his first close encounter with death seemed to put him over the edge in terms of continuing his work as a police officer/detective.
The moment that led me to start thinking about Michael's work as a detective was when Jane chose to not leave when Rafael told her to, and instead reassured him that "people in relationships don't leave." There are questions about what Michael did when he "died" that I probably won't know I even need the answers to until season five picks up where this episode left off. But I am confident that this idea will give Jane reservations when it comes to finding peace with her current situation: genuinely happy with Rafael and still in love with the husband she thought she'd never see again. Michael did technically leave, but we don't know how much of it was on his own volition. Think about Rogelio (!!!!).
The parallel unfolding of Petra and JR confronting the mystery blackmailer with Jane arriving at Rafael's apartment was as tense as the ending sequence of her and Michael's wedding episode.
Jane + empty hallways at pivotal life moments = TRIGGERING (and major foreshadowing).
It's not up to the viewers to decide how involved Michael will be in Jane's life -- or whether he can be -- but Brett Dier is a joy to watch regardless. The Jane-Michael-Rafael love triangle signals the show (sort of) returning to its roots for its alleged final season. If this show wasn't so well executed I would be salty about the emotional turmoil I've been put through since Michael's death. Even as a Team Rafael convert, I think this shake up came at the perfect time.
If the Reddit skincare SB were a ten foot deep pool, all of its most active users are comfortably treading water and I am dipping in my foot to check out the temperature. That has not, however, stopped me from using this gold mine of crowd sourced information to find my next skincare experiment.
This time last week my skin was almost completely clear (for me), save for one or two whiteheads that got taken care of quickly thanks to my CosRX pimple patches. But over the course of a few days -- more importantly, two days that brought me closer to my period during which my hormones go wild, my face has become the residence to a small family of cystic pimples.
I stumbled upon a Strategist article about the best ten acne treatments of 2018 where spearmint tea was on the list specifically for its anti-androgen properties that benefit hormonal acne sufferers. I ping ponged between being 100% sold and being riddled with skepticism, and then proceeded to buy a box of the damn stuff on Sunday.
Day 1: I'm hoping for a miracle but expecting more realistic results. If it doesn't make a difference, at least this is a healthy habit and spearmint tea is great for soothing an upset stomach.
Day 2: I picked at a cyst that deceived me into believing it was forming into a whitehead and now I have to walk around all day with a glob of concealer on my chin that (in my head) is as protruding as my Greek nose. And on a Monday no less.
Day 3: I'm not looking too great and am wondering if I have the luck of someone for whom this could have the total opposite effect?
Day 4: I have some lemon and ginger tea at a cafe in Morningside Heights while I wait to meet a friend. We end up ordering too much food and because it's all delicious I eat more than I normally would. I rush to Port Authority to make my bus home and promptly pass out after showering.
Day 5: I make myself a cup of tea in the morning to compensate for last night and I, unsurprisingly, am not able to finish it before having to leave. I give it a second go when I get home and even mix in some collagen powder because I can be an overachiever when I want to.
Day 6: Another day of mediocre skin. I have a cup of tea before bed.
Day 7: Today isn't much different than yesterday and I try to drink two cups (one with breakfast) but am defeated by the limits imposed on me by time. I get home early enough to have an hour in between showering and sleep where I squeeze in a cup of tea.
Does my skin look better? Not quite. I'm making a promise to myself to keep up this habit though because, like I said, spearmint tea has other benefits even if it isn't going to be my gateway miracle to clear(er) skin.
But the science is, kind of, there. This Byrdie article references a 2015 study by the American Academy of Dermatology that revealed that two cups of spearment tea "ingested daily reduced inflammatory acne lesions by 25% after one month and by 51% after three months."
So yes, had I included that in the foreward to my experiment journal my point would have been a moot point and that might be why I didn't. However, there's something to be said about treating acne from within that isn't limited to the lifestyle modifications of drinking more water, cutting back on alcohol, and eliminating processed sugars from your diet -- because I adhere to all of those and do all of those things and yet, I break out consistently.
The ritual of doing something like drinking tea feels more targeted and that, by fault, feels good. It could be my secret to not freaking out at the sight of a new blemish and utilizing my army of skincare products to defeat the spots on my face. Instead of taking away -- exfoliating too much is a thing I think a lot of us are doing right now -- I can use this as an introduction to me giving my skin and body the nutrients and goodness it needs.
1. With my finger en route to click "continue watching" for another episode of Queer Eye or [insert name of other show that pulls on humanity's heartstrings].
2. In the moments before I succumb to the pressure of picking at a not-ready-to-be-popped zit as a means of putting off deciding what I'm going to wear.
3. Swaddled in a blanket, on the -- rare occasion -- I'm nose deep in a great book that I'm pages away from finishing. In a Nancy Meyers fantasy world, there is a Diptyque candle burning in the background and I'm wearing a cashmere sweatsuit.
4. In the throes of a Pinterest spree.
5. Sipping on my favorite metaphorical cocktail of YouTube videos consisting of celebrity interviews, One Direction music videos, beauty tutorials, and influencer vlogs.
6. In the middle of reading a think piece on how Riverdale turned Archie into a fascist (via The Outline).
7. Online "shopping" for clothes that I would wear if I ever got invited places.
It's 2018 and Riverdale is back and better than ever? Maybe not, but it's still good.
As the town returns to normalcy after its holiday episode, Jughead reminds us that Riverdale might just be a place where bad stuff happens. I know what you're thinking. What are the alternatives? Unwavering hospitality? Nope. The list of other potentials ends there. Basically the most decent and reasonable person in Riverdale is Pop.
Moving on from that unnecessary tangent, The Blackboard Jungle shows us that life after the Black Hood's unveiling isn't as peaceful as it was hoped to be.
The Lodges are in cahoots with Mayor McCoy to get her to shut down Southside High in order to build, I'm assuming, shiny new condos. My details are fuzzy.
Veronica is now, sort of, in on the family business of stirring up class tensions in unassuming rural towns and capitalizing on people's political ambitions. Her parents warn her of the merging of Southside and Riverdale high schools and encourage her to do her best to be diplomatic and ease the worries of her classmates about the big announcement.
What follows is a series of confused and surprised reactions to Principal Weatherbee's loudspeaker announcement, Reggie's (and the other out of focus players of the basketball team) being the best of them all.
After brushing off Kevin's suggestion that she's nervous about the school merge because it means the return of Jughead (possibly Bughead?!), Betty goes home and finds an unexpected guest. It's a no longer pregnant Polly. She had the twins and was intent on not having anyone in her family learn the news. She also has no plans to return to Riverdale (smart) but will instead stay at her cult/farm (not as smart). This also lays the ground for Betty trying to find a solution to a problem that is yet to present itself.
Betty knows her mom will be upset about the Polly news; she went from two daughters and one (sort of) son to just one daughter, so how about reaching out to that long lost brother?
Charles (Chic) Cooper as it turns out was never adopted and after having to leave the convent orphanage hybrid that is the Sisters of Silent Mercy, now lives in Riverdale's (very own!) youth hostel. Suffice to say that life hasn't been great for him and he is not very fond of the Coopers.
On the same fateful day that Archie decides to dust off his old guitar case to dedicate more time to his music he is literally stopped in his tracks by an "FBI" agent. The agency caught a whiff (sorry?) of the Lodge's sketchy business dealings and want Archie to be their man on the inside.
Archie is hesitant at first but takes the agent's contact information anyway -- hey, maybe he can get a summer internship out of him -- and decides that a dinner at the Lodge residence will give him an insight into whether or not he should go through with this.
In an expected unfolding of events, it does. The FBI wanted to get details on the Lodge's relationship with Nick St. Clair and on the "accident" that almost killed him. Before going to the Lodge's, Archie meets with Cheryl to ask her about what exactly happened with Nick. It's then that he learns that Nick tried to hurt Veronica as well, giving Hiram a clear motive to hurt the St. Clair family and Nick specifically. Hiram and Hermione also do an albeit humorous, but unconvincing job of communicating that they had nothing to do with Nick St. Clair's accident.
Later that night, Archie lies in bed and has a shirtless realization that helping the FBI is the right thing to do. What a sentence. This can't go without saying that he has gives "Dark Archie" his time in the limelight when he visits Nick St. Clair at boarding school to give him a stern talking to.
Jughead and his affable Serpent sidekicks start their first day of school at Riverdale High and are met with a welcome committee consisting of Veronica, Archie, and yeah that's it.
But because this is Riverdale, the drama is high and near. Cheryl and Reggie (mostly Reggie) are scheming for the sake of scheming. They get Principal Weatherbee on board with banning the Serpents from wearing their leather jackets for the sake of school unity. Jughead is not pleased with this profiling.
He's only temporarily convinced to surrender to the pressure to opt for a more mainstream choice of outerwear for when he's at school. Even Toni and Sweet Pea don't want to get suspended! But nevertheless, he persists and has to face the consequences.
FP is working at Pop's again (I'm unsure of how the progression of this played out) which means that there are designated hours during which he can't wear his Serpent jacket. Long story short Jughead should suck it up.
Betty and her mom's adventure to the youth hostel, to no one's surprise, went awry. But I guess Betty's "my sibling is in danger" senses have been re-awakened by her meeting her brother and arrives at the hostel to find Chic at the perfect time to save him from a strange man knifing his arm. So Betty pepper sprays the dude, gets Chic out of there, and brings him to her house where her dad + an old first aid kit suffice for the care of a licensed medical professional.
By doing this, Betty has literally and figuratively let dark and murder-y spirits into the Cooper home. It was obvious that he feels resentment towards his long-lost family, but it seems like he wants to inflict harm on one member specifically.
Did I spend many weekend mornings of my formative teenage/high school years watching Gilmore Girls reruns on ABC Family? Yes. Will I actually spontaneously combust if I see another show from the aughts or late nineties get revived into a lesser than spinoff? Maybe. Am I really happy that the brain power behind Gilmore Girls has created a new show, one that is wonderful and whose lead is funny (and sorry, but way less insufferable than Rory Gilmore)? Yes, very much so.
I think about The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and SMILF alongside each other for a few reasons. The first and most obvious of them is that I binged them back to back. The second one, also kind of obvious, is that both of their titles are technically identifiers of the titular characters but have very different connotations.
SMILF's title has proved to be an active topic of conversation with one of the most exercised points being that it doesn't do the show justice. But the counter stance to that, and the one that has come from the show's creator Frankie Shaw, is that the title is a reclaiming of the phrase. Uh yeah, I agree with that one.
I also think it adds to the show's charm; to the fact that some of the things that plague her with worry might seem trivial on an objective level. In SMILF's first episode, Bridgette is bent on addressing her insecurities towards her post-baby body. She looks great. She's probably not any less attractive than she was before she was a mom. But interactions like the one she has in episode one -- after a pickup basketball game with a group of guys her age in her neighborhood -- show how quickly a guy loses interest when he realizes that she has a child. So, of course, Bridgette's insecurities aren't unwarranted.
Still, SMILF doesn't fall into the trap of having its main character experience profound character growth at a pace that is only possible in the world of an eight-episode Showtime series. Bridgette is the same person the season finale as she is in its premiere.
Bridgette inhabits an entirely different world than Midge (Rachel Brosnahan). * Insert a joke about Manhattan real estate * The New York of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is one where downtown Manhattan is still an enclave for starving and striving artists. And where there are diners in which people drink coffee with no abandon after dark and on an empty stomach.
I'm hesitant to call the experience of watching The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel as escapist; instead, I'll refer to it as escapist leaning. There's something about the show that doesn't necessarily invoke nostalgia for the New York of the 1950s but more so of life before everyone you know can deduce your whereabouts via your smartphone. Midge's journey from married housewife to burgeoning stand up comedian feels swift but is not without its obstacles.
The characters of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel speak at a speed that is characteristic of most Amy Sherman Palladino shows. Midge's parents, specifically her dad who is played by Tony Shalhoub, are a pleasure to watch. That's another thing these two shows have in common; aside from being welcome and refreshing additions to scenes, the supporting characters' personalities are fully fleshed out. SMILF does it in a fashion more comparable to a show like This is Us and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel does it in a way that -- well we all know what I'm going to say -- isn't un-similar to Gilmore Girls.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel carves out a hyper-specific identity for Midge. SMILF sort of does the same. The important distinction between the two is the role that choice plays in the lives of these two women. Who is in the position to make decisions for them? Where does their independence start and end? While SMILF can specifically and more accurately speak for the experiences of working-class single mothers, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel feels like an ode to women like Midge from that era. They both show how we can flourish when we discover an untapped talent and that there's a way to still be happy if your life doesn't turn out the way you had once imagined it to.
One of this episode's unexpected stars was the bright red cable knit sweater Archie wore to work his short lived shift selling Christmas trees in front of Pop's to help his dad pay his exorbitant hospital bills. That hefty bill is probably one of the most plausible things to ever happen in an episode of Riverdale and for that, I am thankful to the creators for injecting that small dose of reality into the show.
And now, a seamless transition into talking about someone else who makes bold sartorial choices, the Black Hood! He haunts Betty's dreams, her phone, and now her mail. He deems it on brand to send her a severed FINGER in a little box addressed from her "Secret Santa." The nerve.
But fear not, because before Betty even gets this gift she and Archie have re-joined forces to find the Black Hood ASAP. As in, it would be very nice for him to not kill anyone on Christmas. This leaves Veronica and Jughead to deal with their own issues.
Veronica suggests to her parents that they pay Fred Andrew's hospital bill because they clearly can. They're buying "Bifanny's" Christmas eggs for Christ's sake. Then her mom is all like, "since when were you a Communist?" -- this immediately gets filed into the folder of Hermione Lodge's best one liners. Yet when Veronica's snooping in her dad's study leads her to learn that her beloved parents had enough money to buy Pop's, she promptly makes an anonymous donation/payment to the hospital on behalf of Mr. Andrews.
When her parents confront her about it, credit card bill in hand, she lays out all of her cards on the table. She wants in on all of her parents' business dealings but under one condition, that she does nothing illegal. Oh, mi hija, there's no such thing as illegal when you're technically not doing anything wrong...
Then there's Jughead. Our favorite affable Serpent is "pissed" that Penny Peabody really meant what she said when she told Jughead that he'd owe her a favor for helping his dad get out of jail. But also that his dad's warning about her was very warranted and now he's getting dragged into a mess that he wants to protect Jughead from. Jughead's solution is to band all of the young Serpents together to drive Penny out of town. They succeed only after Jug has employed the unorthodox method of removing Penny's Serpent tattoo by basically skinning her arm.
In the meantime, Betty and Archie find out that the nuns at Sisters of Quiet Mercy are in possession of some shady information that could be of use to them. Betty gets them to confess that a group of Riverdale residents killed the man that Mr. Svenson/Joseph Conway identified as being the person who murdered his family. But wait, they did it by burying him alive. Nana Blossom was there, too. So was Betty's grandpa. Is that why the Black Hood is targeting her?
Betty and Archie leave the Blossom residence and hop in their car. The sexual tension is high, I guess? Betty kisses Archie and they go on to act as if it never happened. Kudos to Betty though. They go to where the "grave" is and find a sign saying that Mr. Svenson's body is buried in that spot. At this point, they still think they're trying to save him. But this is very clearly a trap because the Black Hood interrupts their digging with a gun to Betty's head commanding her to bury Archie otherwise he'll shoot her.
This is the point where I catch my breath too. So Betty and Archie had tipped off Sheriff Keller on their whereabouts as they figured they would be encountering the Black Hood IRL. As Betty is adding dirt to the hole, Keller arrives (sort of) just in time to distract the Black Hood long enough for Betty to knock him in the head with her shovel. Archie scoops up the gun the Black Hood leaves behind as he starts to run away from them and just as he is about to jump on the bridge we hear a gunshot. It's not Archie's but it's Sheriff Keller's -- and that's that. The Black Hood is dead. AND IT'S MR SVENSON. He cut off his own finger to plant a red herring.
Betty and Archie meet up with Veronica and Jughead at Pop's and as they all sit in their booth, heads sulked, they can't help but feel that this isn't quite the victory that they were envisioning. It most likely isn't because this is Riverdale and there is definitely more to this than we're being lead on to believe. But it's still Christmas and they have to spend time with their family sometimes.
Veronica's parents watch on as she opens a very sweet gift from Archie, she goes to his house to tell him that she loves him and they kiss under a mistletoe in front of his door while someone takes a picture. More on this soon I guess.
Jughead opens Betty's amazing gift (a vintage typewriter) and tells his dad that he'll "just text her" to say thank you. JUG!!!! You kill me.
As for Betty, in the episode's final scene we see her burning almost every trace of the Black Hood. All with the exception of one thing: the actual black hood that he left for her in the Conway house.
You’re employed, congratulations! You did it. Your college degree was, sort of, worth it. Welcome to your new reality; where you will almost never have the chance to talk about what you majored in, nor will anyone really care. It’s okay though, what you learned in those art history classes will give you the upper hand on talking about that new Ai Weiwei installation in Washington Square Park.
You know how the advent of social media has turned half of your brain into mush (this is yet to be scientifically proven but most definitely will soon be) and has led you to have to rely on Facebook to remember even your closest friend’s birthdays? That same part of your brain is also what’s supposed to help you remember the names of all of your new co-workers. Cool! Moving on.
At the end of your first day you’ll realize that you only remember the names of two of the fifteen people you got introduced to and will feel anxious about it for the rest of week. “Just play it cool,” you’ll tell yourself. But that’s a large order. Especially for someone who has just had their third oh no why am I so tired I’m not used to waking up this early cup of coffee.
Trips to the bathroom and kitchen are when you will be at your most vulnerable. When someone walks up to the sink as you’re washing your hands you might resort to blurting out compliments of very specific articles of clothing to disguise the fact that you don’t know this nice person’s name. “I like your socks?” you’ll mock yourself in the mirror, “I’m a fool!”
Take the free food, but not too much. Prepare small talk topics as you wait for the toaster to dispense your bagel. Yes, it will always feel like it’s taking 10 minutes. Listen and learn about what everyone else likes to complain about. Does the lemon and/or cucumber water always run out before noon? Did someone just microwave their fish lunch?
Hopefully you’ll have a decent amount of time to allot towards a lunch break. During your first week you’ll manage to convince yourself that when you get back to your desk your boss will have decided to fire you. You’ll develop a crippling self awareness of how loud your chewing is when you’re having your mid morning and mid afternoon (and any other time of the day that is worthy of an innocuous label) snacks.
When you're running late you're statistically more likely to run into a senior level employee in the elevator. Hopefully they’ll make it clear if they want to chat. Chances are if you take the initiative and say something about “how crazy the weather is today” that they won’t hear you and you’ll have to play it cool (again) when you use your ID to open the door and walk into the office together.
In a few short months - yes you managed to keep your job - and after many bouts of social anxiety induced stomach issues, you’ll have the, “what’s the new person’s name?” conversation with one of your coworkers. Ah, how things come full circle.
Earlier this month the world watched in horror as the events of the deadliest mass shooting in current US history unfolded. I wondered how long its news lifespan would be this time. How long would it take the president and his party to convince us that all we can do is say our prayers and move on?
The American public is often forced to view tragedies like these as unpreventable. They're attributed to the unpredictability of the evil and crazed lone wolf. It's as if we are expected to be content with the fact that if the men who commit these atrocities fit into the prototype of 'white male', then there is no way they can be flagged or stopped.
Notable members of the Republican party retreat to the topic of mental health in their many poor attempts to quell American's concerns about the inevitability of mass shootings. It masks their cowardice towards having productive conversations about gun control. In the wake of the Las Vegas shooting Paul Ryan spoke out about the importance of mental health reform, on its ability to prevent events like these from happening again. He might have to be reminded that his effort to champion the repeal of the ACA would slash the one of the largest "expansions of mental health and substance use disorder coverage in a generation (Mentalhealth.gov)." This debases the public health issue surrounding our country's stigma towards mental health. It's taking credit for policy that you have not fought for and will never fight for.
When we apply Paul Ryan's logic to the greater issue of gun violence, we can state that the problem isn't guns, it's making sure they are out of the hands of the people who shouldn't have them. But as the Department of Health and Human Services has stated (and as this was referenced in this article from The Nation), "most people with mental illness are not violent, and only 3 percent–5 percent of violent acts can be attributed to individuals living with a serious mental illness."
Maybe this retreat to violence is a product of our culture. I happened to be reading bell hooks' All About Love when the events in Las Vegas unfolded. In it, hooks dedicates as much time to unpacking the value of love and community as she does discussing the cultural impact our loveless society has had on us as individuals.
“The more we watch spectacles of meaningless death, of random violence and cruelty, the more afraid we come in our daily lives. We cannot embrace the stranger with love for we fear the stranger. We believe the stranger is a messenger of death who wants our life. This irrational fear is an expression of madness if we think of madness as meaning we are out of touch with reality. Even though we are more likely to be hurt by someone we know than a stranger, our fear is directed toward the unknown and the unfamiliar. That fear brings with it intense paranoia and a constant obsession with safety"(194).
An obsession with and desire for safety seems quite reasonable if it means that, in the long run, it can protect us when the ever looming threat of deadly violence becomes a reality. The problem with this reasoning is that it leads us to a circular fallacy; the "good guys" with guns have never been able to stop a mass shooting from happening. We know this and so do lawmakers.
America accounts for 4.4 percent of the world's population but for almost half of the civilian owned guns (Vox). State gun ownership stats directly correspond to their rate of gun related deaths (Vox). The party with majority rule in Congress knows the risks that their lax gun control laws pose to their citizens and continually choose to do nothing about it. Toxic masculinity and the patriarchal structure of this country have inextricably tied gun rights to America's favorite trigger word: freedom. It's a lethal formula.
There are a few things that I’ve come to realize I’ll never do. Like watch Game of Thrones, be the type of person that is okay with going to parties where the only person I know is the host, and not texting my mom to approve of all of my prospective clothing purchases.
I am, however, capable of fostering unnecessary attachments to the all of the tabs that I open on my Internet browser of choice. What if an article unpacking the pitfalls and/or genius of our generation inspires me to make a small decision that will alter the course of my future? Or what if that pair of shoes I wanted to get as an investment piece, but never actually intended to buy, go on sale and I never knew about it? THE HORROR.
There usually aren’t enough hours in the day for me to read all of the articles I’ve opened or money in my bank account to order all of the items in my countless shopping carts, but I’m trying to live up to, and beyond, my own expectations here. Or, more reasonably, am in a constant state of trying to prevent future FOMO. This might not be healthy.
But now, a list of all of the tabs that are stuck in a vicious cycle of disappearing when I turn off my computer for the night and reappearing the next morning:
A think piece from The Atlantic that unpacks the significance of X or Y cultural phenomenon but is long enough for me to keep putting off reading it until I "have more time to really digest it."
A series of Reductress and ClickHole articles that I will, at some point, send to a group text when the topic of conversation is juuust right.
The schedule of my local yoga, barre, spin, and pilates studios. Every instructor says that the hardest part is getting to class and I... have absolutely no reason to argue with that.
My Outdoor Voices shopping cart because having work out clothes goes hand in hand with actually working out. One can't happen without the other but I beg the question, what comes first?
The website of an obscure beauty brand that some celebrity mentioned in some Into the Gloss article and swears by but has a $30 shipping fee.
The Google Doc of contact information and template emails I've written out to send to people to set up networking coffee dates.
The enrollment homepage of that coding and web design class I've been meaning to take, and will continue to be meaning to take, for the next year.
The spreadsheet of grad school programs I spent an afternoon making while nursing a $7 cup of artisan coffee.
A New York Times and/or Washington Post article breaking down the newest health care plan being served up by the GOP.
The page of all of the Medium articles and Now This videos I’ve bookmarked on my Facebook. Fear not, what one lacks in nuance the other makes up for in its nicheness.
A Vimeo page of a random short film that was shared by a friend but made by a friend’s acquaintance.
I really enjoy airports. I can saunter around Duty Free for hours, swatching makeup and giving myself a headache from all of the perfumes that I try on in an attempt to disguise my technically its been two days since I last showered because of the time difference musk. I usually feel bad about going into a store with the intention of not buying anything but still touching everything; except I’m always flying coach and think I deserve to at least be able to sport a first class worthy scent for the duration of my travels.
If I have the pleasure of flying internationally with United, then I overcompensate. Like going into the luxury retail stores, rummaging through the racks of clothes and displays of shoes, and telling the sales people that “I’m just browsing” every time they ask whether or not they can help me find something. This is coming from someone who will actively avoid going into a store that she actually is interested in buying something from if the employees radically outnumber the amount of customers.
Yet I’ve struck up a lengthy conversation with a lady while in line for a flight to London for the sole reason that we had the same suitcase. Because honestly, why not? I can’t remember what we talked about but I was proud of myself for being a little less misanthropic than usual that day.
Where do these unusual bursts of confidence come from then? It’s not from the layers of Duty Free perfume permeating through my brain. I think they’re pretty specific to the times prior to, during, and after I’m about to spend a bunch of hours (AKA a season’s worth of Veep) on a giant flying metal tube sitting too close to a bunch of strangers who are as weary to eat the chicken dinner as I am. Which is why I’m calling this the airport phenomenon.
There’s something about being on a trip that’s outside of your usual routine that feels very liberating. You know, “the world is your oyster!” “we’re all human after all, let’s talk!” kind of vibes. As opposed to, “I would rather be buried alive than spend another minute on this stalled train.”
Because in the latter scenario, if I have the option to be a) listening to a podcast b) reading a book or c) exchanging Tom Holland memes with my best friend via text, then I’m going to seize all of those opportunities before trying to make appealing small talk with a stranger on NJ Transit.
I once was on a Ryanair flight from London to Edinburgh with a boarding time of 7 AM, separated from my friends, and sweating through my layers of sweaters from having to stuff two bags worth of belongings into one (as you do). But upon hearing two guys speaking to each other (in Greek) about how they weren’t sitting together, I offered (in Greek) to move my seat to accommodate them. They were shocked that I understood what they were saying, expressed that to each other as if we didn’t already establish that I understood them, and I was shocked at myself for even opening my mouth. For a few moments, before everything went back to normal, we were all consumed by our shared shookness and it was great.
That’s the airport phenomenon in full swing. I can't emphasize enough how unlike me it is to start talking to not one, but two random people, and in a language I usually only speak in to family. But sometimes we can surprise ourselves.
Since almost everything about traveling has the potential to go wrong at any given moment, we might as well take advantage of the things that… could go right? Honestly I’m not sure where I was going with that one. But it’s fun to talk to people you normally wouldn’t talk to; to strike up a conversation with someone you would normally sit next to in silence with your headphones in until it’s time to go home. Maybe you, too, will have the chance to spend 48 hours in a small town on the coast of Ireland because your plane had to make an emergency landing and end up experiencing a new country with people who would’ve been complete strangers otherwise. I hope everyone can find the best in themselves when they’re traveling.
The thing about the summer is, well, it's really gross sometimes. Like when you stand up after the end of a meal and come face to face with the visible pool of sweat you've left on your seat. Oh and your legs, they're covered in bright red mosquito bites. Thankfully this year you made it two months without getting stung on your eyelid. ;) - not flirting this is just what it looks like when one of your eyes is swollen shut.
The thing about you in the summer is that you have limits. You realize the height of these limits when you're out with a friend on a warm, deliciously humid July night and said friend enthusiastically suggests that you "take the table outside." Moments later you hear that familiar voice asking, "is everything is OK?" because you just grabbed the host's arm and whispered, "please don't make me." But since you have an annoyingly unwavering need to please strangers and loved ones alike, you slowly let go, smile, and say, "I'm fine!"
Upon returning home you take your third shower of the day and contemplate whether or not a move to the UK is worth the hassle of uprooting your life in exchange for a consistently cool, charmingly gloomy climate. Yes, you're 100% more prone to tripping in any kind of rain boot and your hair looks gross when it's damp out but it could be worth a shot.
Speaking of hair, let’s acknowledge the obvious. Summer is not an optimal time to have bangs. But your commitment to this haircut - because when it’s good it’s good - leaves you with no option but to clip your bangs back and soldier on. For you, beach waves require the most effort. Like make yourself comfortable sprawled on the floor in front of the giant mirror in your room because you'll be here for a while kind of effort. Which is why whenever someone pulls out a camera at the beach you snatch that thing out of their hands and throw it as far in the water as you can. Kidding! Lest we not forget the restaurant incident. A more practical, non-friendship-ending alternative is to just put your SPF on and shut up.
Come to think of it, that's a fairly reasonable solution to most of the time you have to spend without AC over the duration of the summer.
I'm surprised at how long I managed to avoid hopping on the bandwagon of indulging in one, or all, of the teen dramas that the CW mass produces. No Vampire Diaries for me, thank you very much (!!!!).
But to my dismay (and not to your surprise) I recently caved by starting and finishing all of Riverdale over the span of two days. The fact that those two days also happened to be Saturday and Sunday have left me feeling not so great about the trajectory of my goal to be more social but alas, we can't have it all.
I know for certain that my palette of TV shows is not Michelin star worthy; I can binge watch Baby Daddy like it's nobody's business. The more inconceivable the plot the better. There are certain shows, however, that take this to new heights and Riverdale is one of them. Take away all of the drama surrounding the show's main plot lines and you're looking at a bunch of meddling teenagers with too much time on their hands to do anything but the only thing they're actually responsible for: passing school.
As someone whose ratio of time spent staying in to do homework to actual time spent being productive was very skewed - and not in the good way - throughout almost all of my high school years, I realize that I'm still bitter about it. But for what reason? If there's something that I should know from my years of watching YA shows and reading YA novels it's that they usually don't do the best job of producing accurate portrayals of life as an American high school student. But that might be because life as an American high school student is generally very boring.
SO the following is a transcript of the pseudo live stream - otherwise just referred to as a tangent - going through my head while watching Riverdale (caps for stylistic effect):
WHY HASN'T ANYONE GOTTEN IN TROUBLE FOR LEAVING SCHOOL IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DAY EVEN IF IT WAS TO SOLVE WHAT IS A VERY COMPELLING MURDER MYSTERY?
WHEN DOES BETTY HAVE THE TIME TO WRITE, FACT CHECK, AND PROOFREAD THESE LONG FORM EXPOSÉS FOR THE LOCAL PAPER?
HOW HAS NO ONE NOTICED THAT JUGHEAD WAS LIVING IN A DRIVE IN MOVIE THEATER AND THEN A JANITOR'S CLOSET?
CAN WE ALL, AS REAL PEOPLE, AGREE THAT WEARING SHOES WHILE SITTING IN YOUR BED IS GROSS?
*another deep breath*
ARE WE JUST SUPPOSED TO BRUSH OFF THE FACT THAT MOLLY RINGWALD IS ARCHIE'S MOM?
WHO HAS THE TIME TO EAT BREAKFAST WITH THEIR FRIENDS ON A SCHOOL DAY?
Netflix: Are you still watching?
The thing about Riverdale, though, is that it delivers. It unmasks the mystery of Jason Blossom's death at a good pace, enough to keep you interested and develop interesting subplots. There's an inherent agreement between the viewer and the show that if X is true, then there's no reason that Y can't be plausible.
So why stress the minute details when the Coopers are actually Blossoms, Archie's dad just got shot in Pop's, Clifford Blossom killed his own son, and there's a brewing class war about to erupt likely in congruence with Hiram Lodge's return to Riverdale? This is about to get m e s s y.
On the same day that Harry Styles released his debut, "I'm a rock star now" solo album, Paramore released its "We're not just an aughts punk band. Oh and our old drummer is back but our bassist left" album. But it's also pop-y! With 80's vibes too! And makes you want to dance; like not head bang but actually dance. It's catchy as hell.
The differences between life now and life when Paramore was headlining Warped Tour, is that punk rock isn't really cool anymore. Right? Very few people wear primary colored skinny jeans* out of choice and side bangs are a thing of the past. (See: Paramore swapping out skinny jeans for matching utility jumpsuits) Now we wear bandanas as neck scarves, Stan Smiths or Old Skool Vans, *muted* colors, and light denim. Punk is sort of laying low right now. But it still shaped the trajectory of popular music as we know it.
It's weird to talk about Paramore's 'evolution' as a band because they're not the same band now as they were when they started. The timeline of the band's makeup - who joined when, who left first, and who is now back - is important to Paramore's identity. Should it be trivial, though? It doesn't not matter, but it isn't the only thing that matters. They're friends who make music together and always have been. If Paramore's changing roster has given them anything in return it's something to write about.
As they've mentioned in recent interviews, during the Paramore's hiatus between their self titled album and After Laughter, a lot of life has happened. And for most of Paramore's fans... "same."
While the sound of this album is different and unlike anything Paramore has made before, the lyrics are familiar. Grudges talks about mending a weakened friendship, Pool talks about giving a relationship a second go, Idle Worship talks about the unrealistic standards we hold celebrities to and the pedestals we put them on...
Hey baby, I'm not your superhuman
And if that's what you want
I hate to let you down.
Then there's Caught in the Middle; an anthem about the relationship between self doubt and self determination, which coincidentally feels very descriptive of my life right now. The lyrics can't help but make the song invoke that "no one understands me so I just have to lock myself in my room for a few hours and play this on loop" vibe that was so defining of the scene that Paramore came up in. It's easy, upon hearing Hard Times, to say that with this album Paramore has strayed far from its punk pop/rock DNA. But I think they're just redirecting the angst that fueled them from the very start into a new kind of sound, seeing it through a new lens. Aren't we all?
I'm just a little bit caught in the middle
I try to keep going but it's not that simple
I think I'm a little bit caught in the middle
Gotta keep going or they'll call me a quitter.
Like the movie starring Alexis Bledel - but not at all.
It's been a year since I graduated college, six-ish months since I turned 23, and .5 hours since I've had a mini existential crisis. What has changed since the day I walked across that stage... tassels stuck to my lip gloss on the one occasion since 2014 where I actively decided to wear lip gloss?
My anxiety, for starters, reincarnates itself into new and fun (!) forms. My living quarters are 1000x cleaner but with 1000x less privacy. My skin is clearer but partly because I spend almost all of my nights at home - sans makeup but with sheet masks. Everything post graduation feels fleeting and permanent at the same time.
Will I wake up one day suddenly knowing how health insurance works? I'm doubtful. Will I always be willing to spend too much money to opt for almond milk instead of regular milk in my coffee? Yes, but that's an issue to address another time.
I think I've waited for a moment, or a stretch of moments, that would shake me out of my complacency. Maybe, I thought, it would happen during a significant event like while I watched two of my best friends graduate from our now alma mater this past weekend. Maybe, I think, it will happen during an insignificant event like while I sit on the bus in bumper to bumper traffic on the way home from work. Or maybe I'll just tell myself to get my shit together and do it.
In an effort to make myself less stressed and less anxious about my future, I've tried to stick to making only short term goals. Like, "by this time next month, I'll try to have done X." But there are things that have deadlines, like applications to grad schools, that require me to confront time head on. I guess that's the most intimidating part of this all - having to put my own time stamps on life.
In May 2016, Pew Research Center published a study revealing that for the first time in the 'modern era' (130 years), more young adults ages 18-34 are living with their parents than in other living arrangements. While the timing of the release of this study was concurrent with me getting my diploma, knowing that I was part of a big 'stay at home kids' club has only temporarily made me feel better or more secure in my current situation. And about locking myself out of my online banking account twice in the span of three months.
But said banking account is probably (definitely) better off with me living at home; it'll give me the independence that I don't necessarily have now in the future. I also may or may not need a trigger warning for the word future now. It could be a blessing in disguise or personal issue that needs to be addressed ASAP. From all of this uncertainty, though, comes a weird comfort. I guess in knowing that because I don't have a plan...
I started watching Jane the Virgin after Gina Rodriguez won a Golden Globe for her performance in the show in 2015. Her speech - the one where she shared the motto her dad would make her recite every morning, “today is a new day, I can and I will” - made me tear up. You know, like the way those Olympian mom commercials do? I felt so happy for a person I knew nothing about, but she just seemed like a special human being. That’s the charm of Gina Rodriguez; what makes her the kind of celebrity you feel proud to be a fan of.
While the similarities between Rodriguez’s own life and that of her character’s life are obvious (both are intelligent, hard working Latina women), to say that she is playing another version of herself would be to undermine her performance as Jane. She manages to be one of the show’s most grounded characters all the while being the vehicle of one of its most telenovela-esque events: its catalyst.
It’s Jane’s full hearted embrace of and investment in her loved ones and her personal aspirations that keeps the show’s crazy subplots from getting stale. I think that’s what makes it relatable. We often find Jane trying so hard to be the best version of herself that it leads her to having too much on her plate, to having to face failure when it’s the thing she is trying the hardest to avoid.
Michael’s death was a catalyst to the show exploring a new era of Jane’s personal life as it was the first time that she wasn’t in a romantic relationship. Those final moments of “Chapter Fifty-Four” were a turning point in the show’s trajectory. It’s like the formula of Jane the Virgin is when everything is going too well, mess it up. Which, coincidentally, sounds a lot like life. If only we could have personal narrators like the one in the show.
Amidst all of this, however, are some of the most profound moments of growth in Jane’s life. We learn about the anxiety that she has been experiencing for the past three years and her mantra to cope with it. “Inhala, exhala.” We watch her dive back into the dating pool. We see her get her first novel published (!). We cry when she reminisces about her and Michael’s first date - and when Rogelio talks about how much he misses Michael too.
Every major curveball that gets thrown at Jane is a force that pushes the show forward. Last season’s time jump brought an unexpected and refreshing twist to all of the characters’ stories. I especially love the attention the show puts towards Alba’s personal life and how the blossoming of her new relationship was parallel to Jane embracing her singledom. Jane the Virgin seamlessly weaves in and out of two worlds - the normal life of the Villanueva household and the dramatics of the Marbella Hotel and its owners - that since episode one, are going to be forever intertwined. The former grounds the latter and the latter brings the former some unexpected flavor and humor. Jane the Virgin has something for everyone.