WTF, Barbie, That’s Jem’s Thing

I do not even know where to start with this. As you well know, the world is cray these days. As if Jem’s branded weren’t affronted enough with a movie that never should have existed, now Mattel has gone and created “Hello Barbie Hologram.”

So Barbie thinks she’s entitled to a little Synergy, huh?

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This new toy is literally a hologram that lives in a tiny pink box, so little girls can ask her what the weather in Malibu is like…and she can also dance and change her outfits…and remember birthdays…because well what else would little girls want?

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The Golden Girls: Valentine’s Day

Happy Hallmark Holiday, Very Special Readers! Today we celebrate with our favorite girls! (I hope you’re all happily binge-watching on Hulu!)

On this particular Valentine’s Day, the girls are dateless. So they do what they do best, tell each other stories. Each lady shares a special Valentine’s day memory with her pals. They are as follows:

Sophia: Sophia’s story involves a car break-down on a cross-country trip in the 1920’s. She and Sal are driving her father to a wedding in California when they break down in Chicago. They arrive at a garage just as the mechanic is beginning his lunch break. He informs them that he has several jobs ahead of theirs, so Sal pays him a couple of bucks to use his tools to work on the car while he eats lunch. While Sal works, Sophia describes to her father why she loves Sal. Her dad isn’t a fan of Sal, so after about 20 seconds he says he’s going to look for a bathroom. While Sophia and Sal argue over fixing the car, Sal surprises Sophia with a box of chocolates. He planned ahead three day’s prior and stashed a gift for her under the seat when they were packing (*heartwarming*). Everything is peachy until we hear some tommy-guns in the background and Sophia’s father comes running back from the bathroom. He tells them a colorful story about THINKING he was in line for a bathroom and realizing he was in line for a firing squad. Dorothy says she thinks her mother is making the story up and Sophia says, “I didn’t say I was at THE St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. I said I was a a St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.”

Rose: Our resident Southern Belle reminds everyone of what happened the previous year when they put Rose in charge of their plans. They all thought they were taking a little trip to a mountain lodge, which in actuality turned out to be a nudist resort.

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She misunderstood the pamphlet: “Fun in the buff at a mountain retreat. Hike, swim, and play volleyball while the sun beats down on your fanny.” Oh, Rose. Sadly, the next bus off the mountain isn’t until the next morning, so they girls have to stick it out for 10 hours. After some thought, they decide to embrace the whole nudist vibe. Unfortunately, they decide to take the plunge at dinner–only to be informed that at they resort they “always dress for dinner.” Here’s a visual aide (don’t worry, it’s SFW).

Blanche: Blanche’s story is a little sad. Her husband George proposed to her on Valentine’s Day, which makes the day bittersweet ever since his passing. But one year she meets a nervous man about to pop the question, and she decides to coach him on the matter. She tells him how George proposed and how it’s a beautiful occasion with nothing to be nervous about. He says, “Blanche, you’re right. Love is love period. Some things never change.” As it turns out, this guy is proposing to Victor not Victoria. But Rose doesn’t get this. She asks if his girlfriend ever showed up lol…oh well it was the 80’s! But I’d like to think MAYBE Lin-Manuel Miranda might have watched this episode. And as he reminded us, “love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love cannot be killed or swept aside.”

Dorothy: Meanwhile, Dorothy shares another story involving Rose being an idiot. I really think you need to see this one for yourself.

Sophia: Sophia has a date! She’s been trying to tell the girls the whole time, only they didn’t believe her. (See my last post on them being judgmental about older adults, which is like come on ladies, you’re all about aging gracefully and with sexual interests.) Sadly, no one gets to see Julio Iglesias pick Sophia up for their date because he uses the kitchen door just as the other girls leave through the front. Oh well, Sophia. At least YOU know you’re the coolest one of the bunch.

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I assume you’ve already seen these cards floating around Pinterest, but I will leave them here for your to conveniently print out and share with your loved ones.

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The Golden Girls: A Primer

By now, I assume you have all heard the exciting news that Hulu will begin streaming all episodes of The Golden Girls on Monday, February 13th!

My initiation to The Golden Girls began as a wee eleven year-old. The entire 6th grade had a gigantic multi-month long project that called for us to create “poetry notebooks.” Basically, we were making our own poetry anthologies and had to fill gigantic binders with poems that met certain stylistic benchmarks. We also had to write like four or five of our own poems to fit certain stylistic benchmarks. AND it was like 90000% of your grade (well, maybe math wasn’t my strong-suit, but I digress). So every Sunday morning, I would watch The Golden Girls in syndication as I worked on my poetry notebook. I watched a crap ton of The Golden Girls. It elevated my sense of humor to levels I never thought previously possible and thus I now sit here and proselytize to you.

But I understand that many of you are adults (UGH!) with jobs (YUCK!) who can’t watch television all morning long while filling a binder with retyped Emily Dickinson on the pretty printer paper from Office Depot (CRYING SADFACE EMJOI) and also maybe haven’t already seen every episode of The Golden Girls (EDVARD MUNCH’S THE SCREAM EMJOI). Don’t worry. I’m here to help.

7 Seasons of a show can be a little daunting, even for the most seasoned of TV junkies. As you make your way out on the lanai this Galentine’s Day, you may want to visit these 12 episodes of The Golden Girls first:

mv5bnzkxmjm4mtgwmf5bml5banbnxkftztgwmtk5mjyzmze-_v1_uy268_cr870182268_al_“The Way We Met” – This episode from the end of the first season’s run has ALL of the backstory on how the girls met and became roommates. It is a great place to start if you want to learn a little about each character and figure out how the heck they all wound up together.

“Dorothy’s Prized Pupil” – Okay, okay I may have MOSTLY put this on the list because it features a pre-Saved by the Bell, Mario Lopez. But if you care at all about modern political issues like immigration, then it’s a good look at how things were in the 80’s and how things have changed (or not) since. Also, this episode was written by Christopher Lloyd (who also writes for Modern Family and wrote for Frasier and Wings).

befd7137be35a5560d1c818866eab9e0“Old Friends” – This is the infamous Jenny Lewis episode (in which she holds Rose’s teddy bear hostage). It’s also a  very bittersweet episode about Sophia making a new friend, who she soon realizes has Alzheimer’s.

“Letter to Gorbachev” – Rose has written a moving letter to Gorbachev, but he mistakenly thinks it’s from a little girl.We see the Sunshine Cadets again in this episode. (But not Jenny Lewis. My guess is she was removed from the group after the bear-napping incident.)

“Grab that Dough” – I think this episode would get 2087e51ecbed6af7d47512ca96e6a407Lucille Ball’s seal of approval. It’s zany. It’s a little slapstick. It’s a comedy of errors. The girls travel to LA to be game show contestants and everything, literally, everything, goes wrong.

“The Days and Nights of Sophia Petrillo” – I love this episode because it talks about society’s misconceptions of older adults. The three younger women all sit around in the house talking about how Sophia isn’t active enough. Meanwhile, she’s roaming around Miami having a full day.

hqdefault“Sick and Tired: Pts 1 & 2” – This episode’s writer has Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and she used this episode to very clearly paint a picture of how frustrated and vulnerable patients feel when they are dismissed by healthcare providers who do not take their concerns seriously. It’s a pretty heavy A-plot, so thankfully the B-plot is downright hilarious. I mean SERIOUSLY one of the funniest things I have ever seen on television. Blanche decides to write a romance novel and stays up all night to the point of delirium.

hqdefault1“Clinton Avenue Memoirs” – This is a lovely flashback episode in which we get to see a young Dorothy and Sophia in their New York days. Sophia is becoming more forgetful in her older age, so she travels back to New York to revisit her past, particularly her memories of her deceased husband, Sal. If you’re not into Dorothy and Sophia as characters, then this might not be the best episode for you as there’s definitely not much of Rose and Blanche in this one.

e65ae51703a3bf04dd8c44da5fbedfdb“Henny Penny – Straight, No Chaser” – This one is just plain silly. The plot is pretty weak (a cast of children get the measles, so the girls perform this kids play in their place), but it’s really just an excuse to see veteran Broadway actresses sing and dance in chicken suits. I’ve been trying for years to find a way to get this episode on this blog.

“The Case of The Libertine Bell” – I already sort of covered this episode in a “Friday Face-off” a while back, but it really deserves a watch. Also, Wikipedia tells me that this episode is meant to be a parody of Murder, She Wrote, so that makes it even more fun.

mv5bmtkynjuyndqznf5bml5banbnxkftztgwmta5mdy1mje-_v1_“The Monkey Show” – Am I the only one who loves a good telethon episode? I don’t know what it is, but I just adore them. I may even do a series on telethon episodes one day, but I digress. So yes, this one is about a telethon. It’s also an hour-long episode, so you get double the fun! But it isn’t just a telethon, oh no, there’s also a hurricane on the way. THE STAKES ARE HIGH, PEOPLE! Also, the name of this episode comes from Dorothy’s ex-husband’s pet comfort monkey (essentially, a plush traffic cone with a face).

mv5bmjizntg1nzi5n15bml5banbnxkftztgwodq3mze1nte-_v1_uy268_cr870182268_al_“One Flew Out of the Cuckoo’s Nest” – This is the finale ( 😦 ). Dorothy leaves the girls (and Stan, finally) behind and marries Leslie Neilson. As endings go, this one is pretty solid. Too bad Sophia, Blanche, and Rose went on to do a lame spin-off (The Golden Palace). I don’t recommend it to even the most die-hard fans, unless maybe you’re a die hard Cheech Marin fan.

Did I leave out any of your favorite episodes? Let me know in the comments!

Small Wonder: Chewed Out (Smokers Delight)

grouchovickiIt has been quite a while since I posted a legit Very Special Episode on this blog. I figured I better go ahead and get back in the game, lest the internet gods grow angry and take this website’s name away from me. Today, we’re exploring a little show called Small Wonder. I’m primarily looking into this show because several years ago a friend said to me, “I think I also read somewhere that they based Small Wonder off of your childhood.” I had never heard of Small Wonder, so he linked me to Wikipedia and it turns out that it’s a show about a robot child, so I replied, as one does, “I have emotionsssss.”

I can only assume he drew such a comparison because I was once a small brunette child who could rock a pinafore dress like a mofo. Today, I watched my very first episode of Small Wonder. It is a creepy, creepy show.

4437f4bc78c323b549967d74d63c2c96Basically, there’s just like this really adorable child who is like Rosie the Robot from The Jetsons. She is NOT technically a human, but it kind of looks like this suburban family has a little girl as a house slave. As the robot mops the floor, Ted “the Dad” has a cigarette after a stressful day at work. Both his wife and child robot-maid admonish him. (So does the child-robot have self-awareness or not? If so, then this is like even creepier.) Also, this show ran for four (4!) seasons! What happened when the child actress aged? Does the ROBOT age? Is it a feature of the robot to grow up? AHHHH I WILL HAVE NIGHTMARES.

Anyway, some (real) children enter the kitchen. While the parents run errands, the (real) kids find the pack of cigarettes in the trash. They’re like ooooh if we smoke these, then the older kids at school will think that we are cool. The the robot offers to show them how to smoke because she saw it on TV and retained the info in her hard-drive.

9026337892_311365e006_oThe robot demonstrates how to smoke but she exhales through her ears and even blows smoke rings THROUGH HER EARS. I’m telling you people this is the CREEPIEST thing ever.

The next morning (none the wiser to the smoking) the mother sends the robot to her son’s room to fetch him for breakfast. The next thing we see is the robot dragging the kid into the kitchen by his ear. He complains to his mother that the robot barged in on him changing, and his dad says not to worry because she isn’t a girl, she’s a robot. (Okay, so she is JUST a machine. That’s only until the machines rise up to get us, of course.) But after some discussion, the parents agree to keep her in their room instead. I literally do not understand how this show was EVER on the air.

Then their son and his friend entice a cool kid to hang out with them by promising him a rare baseball card. They try to casually smoke some cigs to show him how cool they are. But he informs them that cigs are out and chewing tobacco is in. (Um people who were teenager in the 80’s, is this true? I SERIOUSLY hope not beause I cannot think of a more disgusting habit.) He then demonstrates how to use “chewing tobacco,” but he actually shows them how to use dip, so this loser either doesn’t know what he’s doing. Or has stuck leaves of tobacco inside his lip. So either way, that’s gross.

0Meanwhile, the robot has moved her cabinet into the parents’ bedroom. Mom and Dad get freaked out when they realize the robot can both see and hear them through her cabinet. It’s almost like having a lifelike child robot in your home is NOT the ideal situation. Also, this robot seems to have opinions. Like she doesn’t LIKE it when the dad makes her face the back of the cabinet. She seems to have THOUGHTS and a PERSONALITY. This is just WRONG on SO many levels.

Anyway, I’m thinking the real kid in this family might get away with smoking/dipping with no consequences from his parents. They’re pretty distracted by the artificial intelligence in their bedroom and they did carelessly throw out a pack of cigarettes where their twelve year-old son could easily find them. So I’m thinking, they are hands-off on the whole parenting thing. Plus, the kid stupidly swallowed the dip and I thought maybe THAT would be the whole “learning your lesson” thing because like omg the horror. I’m feeling ill just thinking about it. Nicotine poisoning is REAL, people!

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The horror!
But in the last 5 minutes of the episode, the parents both learn about and resolve the issue. That’s a pretty tight turn around even by very special episode standards. Actually, they only find out because they are self-conscious about sharing their bedroom with the robot child, so they turn on the TV to watch a Bette Davis movie. And by the way, the robot just happened to learn how to SMOKE from a Bette Davis movie. Oh yeah and their kid was also dumb enough to store cigarettes in the robot’s pinafore pocket and not remove them before insisting she hang out with his parents overnight. So she starts smoking a cigarette in her cabinet and the parents start to ask some questions. (Finally.)

This kid is more stupid than I ever thought possible (once again, even by VSE standards.) He tells his parents that he’s never going to smoke again because chewing tobacco is his new thing. His dad tries that parenting tactic where you make your kids do a whole bunch of one thing to make them hate it. But like here’s the thing, forcing your kids to ingest a whole bunch of nicotine (oh yeah the kid swallows it again, smh) is almost definitely child abuse. You don’t get to swoop-in with five minutes to spare and make your kid really sick just because you were too busy dealing with a robot in your bedroom to notice he’d not only gotten into your cigarettes, but also picked up a dipping habit. Try explaining that to the social worker someone’s going to send to your house.

Also, in the last two minutes of the episode, that cool kid who does dip ends up getting cancer. So. Yeah. Bummer.

Very Special Lesson: Don’t leave cigarettes where kids can get them. DON’T DIP/CHEW/WHATEVER BECAUSE IT IS GROSS. Gross is not cool. Also, purchase Alexa or a Roomba or whatever, but don’t have a creepy childlike robot.

Girl Meets Goodbye

Girl Meets World aired their series finale last night. You all know how I feel about this show, so I may as well have called this post Girl Meets Good Riddance. But I am excited to post about it because this is finally the episode with the gigantic Boy Meets World reunion!! (Including both Morgan’s!! Cannot wait to see how they do that!)

BACK ROW: RIDER STRONG, CHERYL TEXIERA, DANNY MCNULTY, WILLIAM RUSS, BETSY RANDLE, LEE NORRIS, WILL FRIEDLE, ANTHONY TYLER QUINN; FRONT ROW: AUGUST MATURO, DANIELLE FISHEL, SABRINA CARPENTER, ROWAN BLANCHARD, WILLIAM DANIELS, BEN SAVAGE, URIAH SHELTON, LILY NICKSAY, LINDSAY RIDGEWAY, MICHAEL JACOBS

The episode starts off with Maya asking Riley if Topanga has made a decision about taking a job in London (meaning the entire family will move away from New York City). Cory teaches some overbearing lesson to the class about “Belgium 1831” and how it’s all like what they’re going through (namely, what HIS kid is going through) right now. UGH these kids better not be Millennials. We don’t need anyone else accusing us of being self-centered like this! When were these children born? They better be in a different generation! (Ugh, crap. Apparently Millennials were born all the way until 2004. We’ll I’d just like to divest the late 80’s/early 90’s babies from that set, PLEASE.)

So Topanga assembles everyone important to her to bounce around some ideas. (This includes former school bully/current school janitor, Harley. And Minkus…who we didn’t even seen for the last several years of Boy Meets World, but I guess he’s kind of a big deal now because he’s Farkle’s dad.)

Morgan_Matthews(s).pngAs far as both Morgan’s are concerned, they address them both as Morgan. Both as “their sisters.” This is horrible. I REALLY REALLY dislike this. Also, Mr. Turner isn’t even here. This episode super sucks. Oh wait, jk. He literally just walked through the door.

The only cool thing is you get to see Feeny and Eric talk. They’re still funny together. Also, Shawn announces he’s going to adopt Riley. Topanga is mad because she wants to talk about the job offer and she feels like they’re stealing her thunder. Uh, sorry Topanga. A kid just gained a dad today, you jerk.

The Morgan’s offer Cory and Topanga’s youngest kid some advice. They tag-team out mid conversation. This is weird. Maya is really sad and she says that Riley won’t leave because they belong together, but then Josh comes over to talk with all of them and Maya decides that life is replacing Riley with Josh (because she’s a self-centered person who gives a bad name to us older Millennials). They all say they hope to get to keep being themselves and blah blah blah.

Oh, whoops, guess what! Topanga decides they won’t move!! (So really they totally ripped off the end of That 70’s Show where they think they’ll sell the house and move but then they actually don’t. Is this a trope? How many other shows have done this?)

Ugh, now we’re back to Corey talking about “Belgium 1831” and how it applies to their small little lives again. Like seriously, there are like 5 kids in this class who ever cared about the move and the other 12 kids must be so pissed. If my kid had a teacher who taught around 5 kids, I would be calling the PTA like crazy. Cory must be really taking advantage of tenure.

Then there’s a flashback to Cory’s last monologue from Boy Meets World (to original Josh, who I think is the show creator’s son). Now, THAT was a good finale. And then we return to Girl Meets World. As they wrap up their chat inside Topanga’s bakery, a patron comes in and I am 99% sure that he is the grown up version of that OG Josh. By the way OG Josh is a lot older than replacement Josh. They like definitely aged that character down. And then that’s the end! This writing is so bad, it’s literally just the nostalgia factor that kept this show going. OMG it HAS to be. So yep, good riddance.

Anyhow, if you made it all the way end to this crappy post about a crappy show, tell me in the comments which Morgan you liked better on Boy Meets World. I’m team OG Morgan, Lily Nicksay.

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One Technicolor Acid Dream of a Biopic, brought to you by your school supplies from 1995. 

Yes, yes, I know that’s TOO long of a title. But did you spin the wheel and solve the puzzle correctly? That’s right, Very Special Readers! Lisa Frank is working on a biopic about her life. It will be part cartoon, part live action. Kinda like Space Jam? TBH I’m scared and excited all at the same time. I’ll probably be the first in line for a ticket. I’ll also probably take notes on a notepad while eating a big box of gummy bears (providing me both the sugar high and memory recall tips necessary to report back to you). Oh pleaaaaase, oh pleaaaaase let this go into production, 2017! Don’t tease me with this pipe dream. 

One Day at a Time, a Very Special Reboot

I have been seeing a lot of buzz around my social media accounts about how awesome One Day At A Time is on Netflix. I have only seen the original once (back when I did “The Runaways” episode for the A to Z Challenge). Since I don’t have a strong attachment to the original, I was perhaps more open to giving the modern version a chance. But I think it’s more likely that Netflix’s One Day At A Time earned this positive press in its own right. 

Most people I’m friends with on Facebook are also Millennials and for reasons totally lost on me, most of them do not also worship at the house of canceled sitcoms. Suffice it to say, I think this is one Netflix reboot (more like “revamp” honestly) that will survive on scripts, not fan service. This ain’t Fuller House

So what I’m going to do now is talk about all of the fluffy aesthetic things that I noticed on a totally nerd level. Then I’m going to talk about why I’m geeking out on this show on a sociocultural level in the next paragraph. Basically, if puff pieces aren’t your thing (How did you even find this blog? How have you read this far??) skip to then next paragraph. Oh great, you’re still here! So having only seen the original One Day At A Time once, I can tell you that the first thing I noticed was that the main set of the apartment is remarkably similar, if not identical. But as a casual viewer, I will leave that to a bigger fan than I to investigate. The similarity of set intrigued me in two ways. One, it made me feel cozy and familiar both in that I had seen it before on television and in that the layout feels very late 70’s (so I had more or less seen similar styles as a kid at Grandma’s). But ultimately, it’s just a great layout for a wide angle lense with lots of areas for staging without looking, well, “staged.” Similarly to the original, mom and grandma are raising two kids alone (a boy and a girl this time instead of two girls) and their landlord is very involved in their lives (in a non-creepy way, unless you count cracking corny jokes as creepy). They also kept the original theme song and revamped it in a wonderful way that kind of makes me want to play it on repeat. But you know I love theme songs. I also love Gloria Estefan.


In another difference from the original, the family is Cuban-American. The matriarch is glorious EGOT Rita Moreno from West Side Story and The Electric Company. Her daughter is played by Justina Machado (who I’ve seen as a guest on many shows but never as a lead). Justina Machado is the X-factor here and why you should be watching. You can tell this script is important to her. She’s really connecting with it and she’s having fun with it. And that’s exactly what she should be doing not only because it’s literally her job as an actor, but also because this script is both important in content and fun in delivery. 

In the pilot episode, which shares a title with the theme song “This is It,” we learn that Rita Moreno has moved in with daughter, Justina Machado, to help raise her kids–a feminist teen girl and a materialistic preteen son–while her husband works abroad in a private security firm. We learn that both parents are army vets, but by the end of the episode it’s clear that Justina’s character is not on-board with the separation. Basically, she’s a single parent so her husband can have the job he wants instead of one closer to his family. 

She’s also struggling with anxiety and depression. Much of the first episode deals with whether or not she will take an anti-depressant medication. As a nurse, she’s okay with it. But as an individual, she feels weird about it. She seems to have internalized some of the stigma around mental health, even as a medical professional. It’s interesting to see her grapple with this and I truly hope it’s an ongoing theme. This in an important conversation. 

But that is not to say that One Day At A Time is a downer. It’s anything but. The show is COZY, which makes it more comfortable to have these conversations. The issues are modern but this reminds me more of Growing Pains than Modern Family. It’s a traditional sitcom format. You won’t be laughing at one-two punchlines and little quirks or awkward slapstick situations. But the issues are real, both the kids and parents are legitimately funny, and everyone seems like a human. And yes, maybe the anti-depressant issue is resolved a little too neatly in 30 minutes (though it’s definitely not “very special”). But this is a sitcom after all. As much as I malign them, at best they’re 30 minute conversation starters. I hope the conversation doesn’t end here.