I’m a total city mouse and ever since my college days, I’ve developed plenty of go-to hacks for free entertainment opportunities in New York City. Register for a ticket to an AOL Build talk! Go to Broadway in Bryant Park! Most especially, sign up for free tickets to one of the late night talk shows. I attended a taping of Late Night with Seth Meyers in February 2016 and two tapings of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, once in May 2016 and again in February 2017. I’m even waiting on my ticket status for another visit next month because, yes, I love Colbert and his show just that much.
While I definitely need to score a ticket to Jimmy Fallon just to check all of the major New York shows off my list, I could honestly see myself planning an annual visit to The Late Show for as long as possible (you’re required to wait six months before requesting tickets for another taping). As weird as it sounds, I now have a special fondness for the corner that the Ed Sullivan Theatre is on, both because of all the hours I’ve spent queuing outside the building and its position right next to the Broadway Theatre, where the last revival of Fiddler on the Roof played (I’m sort of a major Fiddler fangirl). The street is technically in the theatre district but is so far up that it’s a relatively calm area far away from most theaters and only a few blocks’ walk from Central Park!
Colbert in his own form has always struck me such a class act and when the guest lineup of my second taping didn’t live up to the first one, I didn’t even mind. He and his house band put on a spectacle that only feels emphasized because of the literal theater you’re in as opposed to the smaller TV studios at NBC.
Back in the day, I know I had plenty of questions about going to a talk show taping. Going to The Late Show also requires a bit more prep than a NBC taping does, so I have five tips on how to make the most of your experience! Continue reading
For an entertainment writer, I’m sorely uninformed about the world of music. I don’t know what Cardi B is famous for, I’d blast Taylor Swift’s old-school country music over Reputation any day, and I can’t even go a minute of watching the Grammys without saying, “Who’s that?.” Sorry, guys – my beat is TV and film, but if you want to give me a Music 101 course, let me know.
But when it comes to music’s role in TV and film, I think some of the most standout moments are amplified by song. Depending on how powerful a certain movie or TV scene is, I can forever equate a certain song with those fictional moments. Whether those scenes be sweet, romantic, or victorious, music tends to convey the natural mood of that instance, and I wanted to share five of my favorite of these kind of TV and film moments.
“Forever” — Jesse and Becky get married on Full House
I know it’s cheesy and gimmicky and that everybody of a certain age got bored of the revival after about half a season, but Full House was like the sitcom for my sisters and me when we were much younger. It was one of our first true forays outside of Disney Channel and PBS Kids, and because of the role “Forever” played in the series and particularly in Jesse and Becky’s relationship, I still find the song one of the most romantic ever. I love the Beach Boys’ original version of it.
If you saw my post about which movie scenes always make me cry, then it’s no surprise to you that I cry over certain TV shows on a regular basis. It could be a character’s death, an emotional monologue or, in the case of the usual suspect Call the Midwife, a particularly devastating medical twist. I seem to be ridiculously sensitive to TV trauma, and because I’m such an emotional sop, I wanted to share 6 of the TV episodes that made me cry the hardest.
There are definitely spoilers ahead (mostly with a theme of dead characters), and I’ve reserved the most spoiler-y episodes for the last two slots on the list. If you’ve yet to finish the most recent season of This Is Us, watch out for No. 1 in the post. As for the rest of them…well, it’s been quite awhile since they aired!
It’s my job to write about TV, and I can’t complain because this kind of path is what I’ve dreamt of and worked towards since I was 18 years old. That being said, being a writer, let alone an entertainment writer, can be a little draining and affect your desire to watch any new shows outside of your job. When you’ve spent all day working on your computer, sometimes the last thing you want to do is spend more time in front of a screen watching TV for your own enjoyment.
So, while I’m still trying to cut down on unnecessary screen time, I’ve only recently gotten out of a rut where I really wasn’t watching anything other than shows I cover for work. That being said, I definitely recommend the following three shows if you’re like me and enjoy historical shows or unconventional reality TV.
Also, I’m so excited for Timeless and Call the Midwife to come back in March!
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Otherwise known as the show that finally got Amy Sherman-Palladino some award show love, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel follows a Jewish housewife in 1950s Manhattan who finds a calling in stand-up comedy when her marriage abruptly ends.
One half of the duo behind my favorite podcast, Gilmore Guys, now runs a podcast deconstructing Maisel episodes, and in this, someone commented that Maisel includes the time period and type of characters where Sherman-Palladino’s writing style and reference points just thrive. Gilmore Girls included old-school, mid-20th century references that were a little less believable for young characters in the early 2000s to use, but given that Maisel takes place in the ’50s, Sherman-Palladino’s knack for vintage pop culture can truly shine.
The physical quality of the Amazon Prime show is also great. There are sweeping, detailed shots that make the setting so believable, and things like that just make the entire story more immersive as a whole.
I love getting to roll out the Christmas movies and specials every year. After seeing other bloggers’ end-of-the-year book surveys, I was inspired to create my own Christmas pop culture survey focused on the TV episodes, movies, and specials associated with this time of year. If you’re compelled to try out the survey on your own blog, please feel free to do so! I’d love to see your answers, so link back to this post so I’m in the know!
1) What is your favorite Christmas TV episode?
The most memorable one for me has always been Full House‘s “A Very Tanner Christmas,” which I basically grew up watching every year. Something about the holidays in the ’90s just makes me feel so warm and fuzzy inside, no matter how cheesy the episode is. Also, watching that clip, I’m reminded of one of my favorite sitcom tropes – where do all of the guests at main characters’ house parties comes from? Suddenly they all have great friends outside of the recurring cast? These are the little details that haunt me, guys.
In recent years, I’ve loved the Season 3 Christmas special of Call the Midwife (although all of its specials are just delicious) and, being another show that does great holiday episodes, The Middle‘s “Not So Silent Night” from two years ago. While it’s not distinctly a Christmas episode, How I Met Your Mother‘s “False Positive” also gets a special shout-out.
2017 was a bit of a mess politically and socially. Trump’s tirades, several terrorist attacks, and an onslaught of sexual assault allegations were just some of the difficult moments we faced on a global scale this year. Although it’s important to find a balance between caring enough for the world’s struggles and taking note of your own self care, I’ve always loved entertainment and pop culture because of the relief they provide from sad or negative things.
Despite all of its negativeness, 2017 had plenty of moments that made me happy. I wanted to share my favorite pop culture moments of the year, so get ready to go down memory lane!
1) Prince Harry and Meghan Markle get engaged
Guys, this love story is a made-for-TV movie come to life! But, seriously, I’m hoping for another perfectly cheesy Lifetime flick about them a la William and Kate. Until recent months, I never knew much about Meghan Markle, but I definitely liked the sound of her and her relationship with Harry. After watching their adorable engagement interview, it’s clear that they’re truly in love and that Meghan has already begun a seamless-looking transition into royal life. Try not to smile watching that interview.
Anyone who knows me well is probably aware that that music is really the only form of pop culture I’m terrible at keeping up with. I don’t like a lot of modern Top 40 music and my iPod (yes, I keep music on an iPod I got in 2009 rather than on my phone) is a little embarrassing, filled with show tunes and songs that hit their peak about a decade ago.
However, videos like this one inspire me to think about more recent music in terms of book and TV characters. The mood or lyrics of a song can easily summarize a character’s motives, personality, or experiences in just a few minutes. When I was finishing Lost back in freshman year of college, I imposed a hiatus on myself in the last few weeks of the year – I wouldn’t watch Lost because if I finished one episode, I’d just want to keep going. During that little break, so many songs that popped up on my Pandora instantly made me think of certain characters on the show.
When I completed the series in July 2014, I wrote a journal entry about my thoughts upon finishing the show and why it had become so important to me. I included the songs I had paired with certain characters, which I thought would be fun to share and talk about today! I’ve also adapted a bit of the original journal entry to include some very emotional gibberish about why Lost is amazing.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year: fall TV season! Although most of my shows don’t come back in September (I’m just waiting for This Is Us this month), a new season of TV is one of the several reasons why I’m so drawn to autumn. Tomorrow, September 17, is the day of this year’s Emmy Awards, and anyone who knows me gets that awards shows are my Christmas.
The results of last week’s Creative Arts Emmys got me hyped and ready for tomorrow’s ceremony. Alexis Bledel of The Handmaid’s Tale and Gerald McRaney from This Is Us won there for the Guest Actors in Drama categories, and Bledel’s win probably thrilled any Rory-Jess shippers who are pulling for Milo Ventimiglia to win tomorrow. After the episode “Memphis,” Gerald McRaney in the Dr. K-centric episode of This Is Us was probably the greatest cause of tears for me.
Compared to previous years, I’ve watched a good amount of the Emmy-nominated shows this time around. I’m also so excited for Stephen Colbert to host, because I know firsthand that he puts on a good show. Before covering the ceremony over at Her Campus tomorrow, I wanted to make predictions for who I think will win in the Best Comedy, Best Drama, and Drama and Comedy acting categories. Here we go!
Better Call Saul
The Handmaid’s Tale
House of Cards
This Is Us
It seems that The Handmaid’s Tale taking this is all but unannounced. I’ve yet to watch it because I just haven’t been in the right mindset for such an intense show. I think it definitely deserves the recognition because of its politically relevant material, strong cast, and success on a streaming site that isn’t very known for its original programming. Although I’d love for The Crown to pull an upset win, I think This Is Us is the strongest contender after Handmaid’s Tale.
The last few weeks of summer dragged for me, bringing plenty of important but sad news regarding politics and the world, but not enough happy, fun cultural news. Now, just as you snap back into gear for school or work after Labor Day, the past week’s pop culture announcements have been crazy! Given that there’s still a few weeks before fall TV starts, I’m thrilled for the release of so much news to hold me over!
More casting news for next year’s Carousel revival, which I’m so excited for, was released. Betsy Wolfe, who’s currently playing Jenna in Waitress, will play Julie Jordan’s best friend Carrie. Having watched Betsy’s current Broadway.com series and realized how great of a career she’s had, I think she and Jessie Mueller will be great in their scenes together. The two also starred together in The Mystery of Edwin Drood several years ago, and I love seeing old costars reunite for new projects. Carousel‘s marquee also went up this week at the Imperial Theatre, and I think the artwork is so old school and classy. While I’m waiting on My Fair Lady casting news to determine if it’s worth seeing, I’m definitely planning on going to Carousel and seeing this awesome cast!
I always feel like I came into the podcast game a little later than everyone else, listening to some for the first time about two or three years ago. In actuality, I think there was a huge surge in podcast production over the last year or so, and the forum has gained so much more attention as literally anything in the pop culture world seems to have a well-known fan podcast now.
I’m not a huge fan of podcasts that consist of “unknowns” talking to a long-distance friend/relative/whatever. I also don’t really enjoy ones produced by bigger publications that might have a more serious reputation and think podcasts will get the “young folk” interested. I’ve also never listened to Serial or any podcasts that are like a radio play, and I don’t think I’m really interested in trying them out. My favorite ones tend to focus on a certain theme I’m already a fan of, and I love hearing deep discussion about a production’s little inconsistencies or fun facts.
That being said, I’d like to share my four favorite podcasts with you and talk about why they’re so great!
Arguably the greatest podcast success story out there, Gilmore Guys is so popular that the titular guys, Kevin T. Porter and Demi Adejuyigbe, partner with Up TV for its Gilmore Girls airings and have interviewed several of the show’s stars. Coming from the perspective of a longtime fan (Kevin) and a first-time viewer (Demi), the podcast goes through each episode of Gilmore Girls and discusses characters’ fashion, pop culture references, how an episode was originally advertised, general critique of the episode’s storyline, and more. The guys are hilarious and have great chemistry with each other and their guest co-hosts, and they’ve even done live shows for some later episodes that are absolute must watches (I recommend this one if you have the time!).