Raise your hand if it felt like January simultaneously lasted sixty seconds and six hundred years. Anyway, glad that’s over.
They hit just like Ariana’s whistle notes in ‘Imagine’.
The Fyre Fest Documentaries
My favorite January story is that Hulu and Netflix both planned to release docs on the same subject this month and in a sneak attack move, Hulu dropped “Fyre Fraud” days before “Netflix’s Fyre Festival: The Greatest Party That Never Happened”. Delicious pettiness aside, the Fyre Fest docs provide plenty of entertainment and eyebrow-raises. Personally, I am of the opinion that you should watch both. Each one explores a different side of the story in perfect contrast with the other. Do it. Right now.
Sure, it ended up being more like “RENT: Only a Little Bit Live,” but I loved it anyway. The entire cast shined in both the pre-tape and live editions of the show. I sighed wistfully with every appearance of Jordan Fisher, sang along to every single Roger song, and watched Vanessa Hudgens opposite Kiersey Clemons with rapt attention. In the words of my friend Kathleen, “RENT: Live was good, you guys are just mean.”
Since its unceremonious move to Friday nights (aka where shows go to die) I can only assume Speechless is circling the drain, which is a shame. I love the DiMeo family like they are my own. We’re three seasons in, the writer’s room keeps delivering one hilarious, heartwarming moment after the next. Plus, Minnie Driver’s perfectly styled curls continue to be an inspiration.
The Good Place (S3)
My official, TL;DR review? The Good Place is the good place.
In this season, we were witness to such greatness as Ted Danson flossing, Chidi and Eleanor falling in love (again), D’Arcy Carden delivering a pitch-perfect imitation of Manny Jacinto and all her other cast-mates, more horrible yet delightful puns, Kristen Bell saying the line “I’m a legit snack” (she is), and dozens of other astronomically great moments in TV history. In summary:
While You Were Sleeping
While You Were Sleeping has everything: beautiful leading actors who see each other in their dreams, murder investigation plot holes, and Kim Won-hae, a fixture in practically every drama I’ve seen. I was completely blown away by a major reveal at the end of the season, a twist that secured the title of ‘favorite K-Drama of all time’ in my heart.
A Conversation Between Bill Simmons and Aaron Sorkin
In 2018, I rewatched every episode of The West Wing (well, except for the 9/11 one, sorry guys) so when my brother suggested I give a listen to Aaron Sorkin’s interview on The Bill Simmons Podcast, I didn’t think twice. Most of the sportsball discussion went over my head, but I did get a kick out of hearing Sorkin essentially out himself as a serial plagiarist. Skip about 55 minutes in to circumvent the sports talk.
In January, I was wooed by sirens of YouTube. Aside from dodie’s latest EP and the colorful, haunting ‘Monster’ music video (directed by one PJ Liguori), I’ve also enjoyed Orla Gartland’s ‘Between My Teeth’, selections from moody pop queen Maisie Peters, and ‘Bad Ideas’, a recent Tessa Violet single.
Stuff I Read
The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Sáenz, a touching coming of age story that tackles issues of family, faith, and grief. I learned a new term for the thing I do at work every day in “The new rules of eating al desko”. With my historical fiction fix for the month, The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah – though equal parts spy and romance novel, for me, the real theme was the complicated yet enduring nature of sisterhood. And a piece I suspect was written to re-affirm my break from social media.
PS. I’ve challenged myself to read 52 books this year. You can follow along on Goodreads.
A solid medium.
Friends From College (S2)
Full disclosure: I actually enjoyed this season more than its debut. It was weirdly refreshing to pick up with these characters a whole year after the first season ended in flames, and I felt true kinship with Max trying to write. That said, overall, Friends from College lands somewhere in the middle for me. The Friends try too hard to be on the same trashbag level as, say, Jimmy and Gretchen of You’re the Worst, but they never feel quite genuine enough to be likable characters that you want to root for.
The Slack Rebrand
You can tell I’ve been in marketing for a few years because I now geek out over things like a software company rebrand. Speaking as a slack user and design dabbler, I’m not a huge fan of the rebranding, but I did thoroughly enjoy the article they penned on the logo change. Again, marketing nerd.
Taylor Swift Reputation Stadium Tour
In a perfect world, Netflix and TSwift would have partnered up during the 1989 era and we’d all be spared the gratuitous snake imagery and “look, I can dance!” choreography. Admittedly, I had lukewarm expectations when I pushed play on Taylor Swift Reputation Stadium Tour. The concert missed the mark for me, but then again, so did the vast majority of the Reputation album – ‘Delicate’ and ‘Getaway Car’ notwithstanding. Taylor’s enthusastic backup dancers and rainbow sequined dress made entire thing watchable.
The Girls by Emma Cline
This book was a choice. I can’t believe WaPo praised it with “Debut novels like this are rare, indeed.” The 20 horrified minutes I spent reading Manson’s Wikipedia page years ago was far more suspenseful than anything occurring within these pages.
Pop of the Month
“When you find yourself jolting awake in the early hours of the California morning, just know that you have helped mold the world that people like me were born into decades later.” Stephen Aichele to Duane Sherman
Duane Sherman, World War II veteran, received over 50,000 birthday cards after his daughter asked Facebook friends to send a card. Sometimes the internet gets it juuuuust right.