I See You Aunt Becky, You Ain’t Low

Oh I have many, many thoughts on the college admissions scandal. I could literally write 72 blog posts on this (but I’ll spare you). I think one of the ickiest vibes I have from all of this (aside from the blatant cheating and the continued marginalization of underprivileged teens and first-generation college students) is that all these chill, work-hard, down to earth celebs are LIARS who are just gonna came the system like every other stereotypical entitled rich white lady — ahem — I’m looking at you Aunt Becky.

But let me just real quick sum up my thoughts with a side by side comparison of two episodes of Full House that I’m sure you’ve already heard a lot about this past week. Like wtf how many of us get to literally role-play potential crimes and then are like “yeah sign me up for the cheating and the fraud, please.” Psychologists of the world, let me read your case studies.

Okay, bear with me as I now undertake the HERCULEAN task of reviewing two Full House episodes SIMULTANEOUSLY. (Lord, I don’t even know if I can handle it. Will I go into a diabetic coma from all of the saccharine schmaltz. Pray for me, Very Special Readers. Pray.) They are: “Be True to Your Pre-School” and “The Test.” I will not have time or patience for B-plots!

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First of all. I think this a wig. I no longer trust this woman to have real hair. Thoughts?

During a play date, Rebecca and Jesse realize that they’re behind on the preschool game. They haven’t been researching preschools, so they other parents tell them that there is a big risk their kids won’t be “on the fast track for life.” Okay, are we noticing some similarities to REAL LIFE yet, people??

The questions on the application are very difficult for two year-olds and include things like, “Evaluate the scope of your child’s verbal skills.” Joey recommends that Jesse lie on the application. (I hate Joey but I do feel that this is a little out of character). Basically, Jesse feels that he’s only helping his children out because if his parents had sent him to a good preschool then he probably wouldn’t be in night school trying to earn a high school diploma.

With Jesse’s lies, the boys make it to the next stage of admissions: THE INTERVIEW (cue ominous music). As they walk into the interview, he confesses to Becky that he embellished on the application “little bit,” which included claiming to be an ambassador.

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Evidently, this is how Jesse thinks an ambassador dresses.

Although, Becky goes along with the shenanigans at first. She comes clean pretty quickly in the interview and admits that her husband lied. The admissions person tells her that they figured that out when they read the portion of the applicant that referred to the boys as “proficient on the bassoon.” However they don’t care because: “it only shows you want whats best for your boys.” UGHHHH WTF I DISAGREE WITH THE PREMISE.

Anyway, Becky is yet again the voice of reason when she tells Jess (who is rigorously trying to cram some knowledge down the boys’ throats) that they’re not letting their kids “be kids” and he’s asking too much of them. Almost like you should let your children be guided by their natural abilities…hm…

“When they’re ready to go to preschool, we’ll find the right one and do everything we can to encourage,” she says. I guess this doesn’t apply to ASU. That must be an exception.

Now, let’s move on to “The Test.” In the opening of this episode Joey calls out Jesse for trying to reuse a stamp a.k.a. “trying to cheat the U.S. postal service.” WHAT ARE YOUR MORALS JOEY? Anyway, DJ is stressing because she has to take the SAT and she MUST do well so that she can go to Stanford.

When DJ says she is too stressed out to eat dinner, Danny coaches the family to tell DJ the whole SAT isn’t a huge deal and to not be so stressed. This doesn’t work and she has a stress dream in which Uncle Jesse steals an SAT answer booklet off of the proctor’s desk and proceeds to read the answers to her through a walkie-talkie hidden in a breakfast burrito.

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Joey overhears this and is very upset about the cheating. Once again, I would like to know what happened in Joey’s life between season six and season seven that caused him to go from cheating-instigator to cheating-police.

The next morning, DJ is so upset from her dream that she asks her dad, “Can you write me a note to get me out of college?” And her dad’s like no and apologizes for minimizing her stress, which actually only made her more stressed. And then he’s like just do your best cause he’s a normal dad and believes in his daughter.

I do believe I’m getting older though because this was the first time I watched an episode of Full House and realized that Bob Saget was kind of a DILF. So now I have to live with that knowledge.

I would also like to take this opportunity to say that standardized testing is some bullshit, patriarchal tool of the oligarchy and plenty of smart people are setup to fail on it. GOODBYE.

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Regarding: “One Day at a Time”

Hello, hi. It’s me again! I know it’s been a while. In fact, I haven’t even been watching that much television lately because I’ve been busy devouring Bad Blood (the book about Theranos) and listening to “The Drop Out” (the podcast about Theranos). Should my next blog be about grifters?

Anywa, I’m here today to appeal to you about “One Day at a Time,” a.k.a. the only good reboot of the recent reboot trend (and I will die on this hill!) I reviewed the first episode of the first season way back when it was first released.

But I’m bringing it up again now because the show has just returned for its third season and word on the street is that renewal is not exactly a lock. And that would be so, so terrible.

This is the best possible reincarnation of the classic sitcom I like to write about on this blog. The new One Day at a Time is tackling “very special” issues in a way that is neither silly nor trite. In fact, I can hardly write about it because it is a vast improvement on the old school shows I grew up with. But I’m writing today to make a simple plea that you give it a watch. It’s the kind of show I would want to watch with my kids, if I had them, and that I would have loved to have the opportunity to watch when I was growing up.

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A Very Special Shopping List for Your Holiday Season

Happy Cyber Monday! Have you already been shopping all weekend? Do you already have a robust list for all of your loved ones holiday gift needs? Are you wondering what niche gifts you can purchase for the pop culture fan in your life? Why check out Oprah’s Favorite Things when you can check out this fully curated list of random things that I think are cool for the holiday season?

To wear:

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Duckie and Andie pins, $16, Mondo

To read:

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Pop Culture Trash, $24.99, ModCloth

 

To write:

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HiFi Greeting Cards, $12.95, Chronicle Books

To decorate:

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Stranger Things Funko Pop Ornament, $4.95, Barnes & Noble

Halloween 2018: Phoning it in

Full disclosure: I’ve covered MANY a Halloween episode on this blog (head on over to the side of the page there and you can check them all out on “A Very Special Halloween.”) And this year I didn’t really have it in me to do a full week of episodes again.

Instead, I watched The Haunting of Hill House, which was AMAZING and this is coming from ME the person who had a traumatic reaction to Scream.

But tonight, I decided to get reflective and was like…huh…so what were my favorite episodes from every single Halloweek on The Very Special Blog?

In short, I’ve loved every single Halloween episode of Boy Meets World, especially the one with a Sabrina bonus. It’s not a show I can usually write about on The VSB (frankly because it’s too good and doesn’t have very special episodes), but this episode of That 70’s Show is one of the greatest Halloween episodes of all time.

The Halloween episode of Happy Days is so aesthetically pleasing that it gets an honorable mention, but I don’t really recommend it overall because it’s a bit boring. Watch it for the set decoration and costume pieces alone.

And finally, nothing could ever hold a candle to one of the weirdest pieces of television I’ve ever seen: The Miami Vice episode with the aspiring-mime, amateur artist, raw-meat loving, cover your face in flour, cat burglar. This episode is a GIFT, people.

God bless the person who made this higlights video:

The BSC: The Baby-Sitters Remember

This post was originally posted in September of 2014.
Once upon a time in the ‘90’s, there was this little gem of a show based on Ann M. Martin’s classic book series about a group of middle school girls who spend their free time in a club devoted to babysitting. This show must have been filmed at Astoria Studios because even Dawn, who is supposed to be from California, sounds like she’s from the tri-state region. If you were a girl child of the ’90’s you could not escape this book series. There was bossy Kristy, artsy Claudia, fashionista Stacey, California Casual Dawn, good-girl Mary Anne, ballerina Jesse, and Mallory who had red hair, wore glasses, and other than that had no defining features. I hated this episode as a kid because I thought it was a flashback episode full of clips from episodes I had never seen. As it turns out, it’s a clip show full of new material. I guess these were ideas Ann M. Martin had but never felt like turning into a full length book, and the TV show decided that these random clips would make the best series finale, which just goes to show you that not all very special episodes are about terrible topics. It’s the last day of school and the BSC is having a slumber party. Jessie is nervous about going to dance camp, Kristy is excited about going to softball camp, and Mary-Anne is totally bummed that she see won’t see her friends every day for two months. All of these thoughts about their impending separation lead the girls to reminisce about how they first began the club.

Is this jersey from a 1970's athletics store?
Is this jersey from a 1970’s athletics store?

Cue Memory #1 in which Kristy is wearing this bizarre jersey that says Sport Shack in some seriously old school lettering. She gets in trouble for cheering when the last bell rings, and some hard-ass teacher makes her write one hundred words about the importance of decorum. Meanwhile, Kristy’s mom is stressing because she can never find a sitter. Most thirteen year-olds would totally ignore this because it’s not really their problem, but like two and a half seconds after talking to her mom, Kristy’s eyes get wild and she casts aside her homework to plot out her magnum opus: The Baby-Stitters Club. She tells everyone how she didn’t think she would survive her first job, in which the mom meets here at the front door and describes how she must keep her rambunctious three year-old twins locked in the laundry room until it’s time to “go out.” Kristy can’t resist the promise of some cold hard cash, so she doesn’t run screaming from this house of apparent child abuse. Luckily, the twins turn out to be two dogs instead of toddlers.

Sure lady, I would be happy to sit for the twins you keep locked away, just as long as I get paid.
Sure lady, I would be happy to sit for the twins you keep locked away, just as long as I get paid.

Memory#2: The girls head downstairs for snacks and Claudia finds her dead grandmother’s teacup, so the girls reminisce about that relationship for while. Kristy does a really offensive fake Japanese accent which all of the girls find funny except for Claudia who is too lost in her thoughts to call Kristy out for being such an insensitive loser. Truly, the best part of all of this is that the very next scene is a flashback with Mimi (Claudia’s grandmother) and she has no accent whatsoever. This is a truly rare very special episode because it doesn’t involve any drugs or pregnancy and includes a racist joke. Also, in this scene Mallory ends up being the only baby-sitter with lucky steam rising from her tea. They had to throw her a bone because Mallory never has anything else going for her. Memory #3: The baby-sitters share a creepy memory about “staging a ceremony” before Kristy’s mom’s wedding. This ceremony turns out to be a full on mock wedding between two of Kristy’s younger siblings, which has clearly been orchestrated by the baby-sitters club. They make everyone attend and the they make the two young siblings exchange wedding vows. Luckily, the little boy runs away when they tell him to kiss the bride,so no almost-incest was committed.

Creepy Fake Wedding
Creepy Fake Wedding

Finally, all of the baby-sitters get sleepy after a night of reminiscing and fall asleep at midnight in what must be the tamest slumber party ever imagined. Note: I didn’t include all of them memories. Some of them were really boring.

Very Special Lesson: You don’t always have to have a very special lesson to have a very special episode. Or maybe friendship…friendship was the lesson.

P.S. This set came from Ikea before everyone shopped there:

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The Baby-Sitters Club: Stacey Takes a Stand

Words cannot describe how much I hate the saccharine theme song at this point in the review process. Thank GOD for 10 second advance!!

hqdefaultFirst of all, everyone on the internet will tell you that this show had its full run in 1990. But I’ve noticed the recurring kids (mostly Danny Tamberelli) having major growth spurts that would be a real-life version of television-kid rapid aging syndrome. But that is simply not true because here we are in the penultimate episode of the series and the girls are talking about the 1992 revival of Guys and Dolls on Broadway.

Anyway, the sitters are jealous that Stacey gets to hang out in NYC with her dad, but Stacey is like guys it is actually kind of hard to have two parents in different cities and have to split time with them. It gets even harder when her dad asks her to move back to New York for high school.

snapshot151Stacey tries to reason through this very difficult decision with the shortest pros and cons list of all time. It’s NYC: 1. Dad 2. Museums; StoneyBrook: 1. Mom 2. The Baby-Sitters Club! She calls the club from her Dad’s, so they all head to NYC for the day to cheer her up. They rent boats in central park (this is legit filmed on location btw). I love this episode. It is so sweet and they’re such a nice group of friends.

mv5bmtg3otiynzqzov5bml5banbnxkftztgwnjuwmjezmje-_v1_uy268_cr870182268_al_Stacey decides to talk to both of her parents. She explains how she’s constantly keeping things from one parent or another because she’s afraid of hurting one of them. She also asks them to stop shit-talking each other in front of her. She hasn’t even invited her dad to attend a special Father’s Day event that the BSC is putting together in Stoneybrook. But luckily, her mom comes through and invites him at the last-minute. He agrees to back off on the moving to New York thing and also to make a better effort to get over to Stoneybrook more often. I mean people literally commute from CT to NYC daily, so yeah he needs to get his shit together.

Okay, that was kind of a bummer, so let’s round things out with the most 90’s dance ever.

Very Special Lesson: Don’t try to violate your custody agreement by asking your kid to move across state lines.

The Baby-Sitters Club: Dawn Saves the Trees

7986_300The baby-sitters take the kids for a picnic by a brook. (Woah, do you think this is THE Stoney Brook??)

They find an injured bird, but Dawn cautions against getting too close. Kristy says, “Sometimes it’s better to let nature take its course.” And an adorable little preschool boy replies, “You mean let him die??” GEEZ, KRISTY. But instead they agree to call the parks department.

On their way to find the proper bird-authorities, Dawn stumbles upon some surveyors who plan to build a road through the woods. She goes to city hall and requests information. They give her a copy of all of the plans and permits. She promptly throws all of these papers into the trash because she figures they only gave them to her to slow her down with READING. So much for informed civic duty…oh and saving the trees. That is not a recycling bin, Dawn. Screen Shot 2018-08-12 at 11.50.28 AM

She also meets a new teenage boy (played by Zach Braff) immediately after that so Dawn has a LOT going on right now.

Dawn decides to plan a demonstration. She’s even going to make one of the kids dress up as a tree! Geez, these parents give the baby-sitters a lot of latitude with their children.

Dawn is supposed to go on a date with Zach Braff, but he comes over to pick her up and sees her picket signs…which prompts him to tell her that he supports the road and his mother is the Commissioner of the Department of Public Works.

Dawn yells. A lot. And refuses to go out with him. Even Kristy tells her that Dawn was rude…and like Kristy is THE rudest.

mv5bntqyntq1mtu4mv5bml5banbnxkftztgwotmwmjezmje-_v1_So Dawn goes to the hearing and tells everyone it’s wrong to cut down trees. And Zach Braff’s mom is all like um sounds like you didn’t even read the plans because we’re going to build an access road so elderly people and those who can’t trek over rocks like you and your friends can enjoy this park and also we’re building recycling facilities there so that people don’t throw their trash in the water. I guess Dawn wants to save face because she still tries to tell them they’re ruining everything, but it is just embarrassing at this point.

Afterwards, Mary-Anne tells Dawn, “You have to learn to persuade, not just scream and yell.” That’s insightful stuff, Mary-Anne!

Dawn finally does some research and with input from the club and drawing by Claudia, she creates plans for an accessible packed-dirt pathway that winds around the trees. She goes to Zach Braff with the idea. He has his mom meet them by the park, where she reviews the plans. She is impressed and agrees to take the plans back to the commission for further review.

Very Special Lesson: I think Dawn best sums this up when David asks her why she didn’t come up with the great packed-dirt road idea earlier: “Because I’m a jerk. Well, a nice jerk that just gets a little too worked up.

Also, fun fact. This is kinda based on a true story or life imates art or art imitates life or idk but here’s the park they filmed at in NJ:

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