Stunted Adults

Welcome to Our So-Called Adulty Life


Tim Riggins Is Ruining My Career

Next week, I have a VERY IMPORTANT work moment.  It involves putting on a suit, standing in front of a large crowd, and advocating for a position that will severely impact the rest of someone else’s life all while being interrogated by a panel of very smart people.

So, in light of having to face that special kind of professional hell in the near future, I need to focus and prepare.

One of the main pieces of my presentation involves discussing a legal case named United States v. Veal.

Whenever I say the word Veal, all I can think about is Anne Veal from Arrested Development.



And then I think about Amber Holt, who is the character that Mae Whitman plays on Parenthood.

No one knows how to make me cry like Amber.

No one knows how to make me cry like Amber.

And then I think about Amber’s ex-fiancée Ryan York.

My heart is breaking all over again.

My heart is breaking all over again.

And then I think about Luke Cafferty, who Matt Lauria played on Friday Night Lights.

Clear Eyes.  Full Hearts. Can't Lose!

Clear Eyes. Full Hearts. Can’t Lose!

And then I end up daydreaming about Tim Riggins.

All roads lead to you.

All roads in my brain lead to you.


I just lost 45 minutes of my day to Riggins.

At this rate, my entire presentation is going to be “Dear Important People, I know I am supposed to be talking about mortgage fraud, but, instead, let me tell you about what Texas Forever means to me.”

I’m screwed.

I am going to need to fake both blindness and a pregnancy if I have any hope of winning.

I am going to need to fake both blindness and a pregnancy to have any hope of winning.



The Day That Danny Castellano Stole My Heart

Mindy Kaling and I had been an item for nearly a decade.

She won me over as soon as Kelly Kapoor made her grand entrance on The Office, which, as we’ve discussed, was a, if not THE, defining television show of my lifetime.

With Kelly, there was finally a television character to whom I could relate, because, obviously, I had this exact same conversation, as well as many variations on this theme, while at work:

We were soul mates.

When Mindy lived out my fantasy to star in a low-budget pop music video with a rap breakdown, I thought I could not love her any more:

But then Mindy taught me that I had even more love to give when she created and embodied Mindy Lahiri, the heart and soul of the hilarious The Mindy Project.

Mindy Lahiri does things that I have done:

The 24 Most Relatable Mindy Lahiri Quotes From "The Mindy Project"

She has done things that I totally could do:

And she has done things that I really want to do:

The 24 Most Relatable Mindy Lahiri Quotes From "The Mindy Project"

With Mindy as my comedy beacon, no day was too dark or indiscretion too embarrassing.

My love for all things Mindy Kaling was ridiculous not only for its depth but also because, by all rational accounts, I should hate her.

That bitch stole my life.


Mindy and I are roughly the same age, we grew up in roughly the same quaint New England town, we went to roughly the same college, we both moved into roughly the same tiny and overcrowded apartment in roughly the same Brooklyn neighborhood after graduation to chase our dreams, and we are both roughly obsessed with writing about the same things (pop culture, lip gloss, and methods for smuggling booze in our undergarments*).  But, yet, despite Mindy and I being roughly one and the same, she’s the star of her own comedy empire and I’m not even the star of my own living room.

WTF universe. WHAT.  THE.  F*CK.

But, for some reason, I loved Mindy despite her wronging me so hard.  Instead of wanting to cut her, I wanted to trade thoughts with her on the enigma that is the latest Kardashian holiday card.  I really thought that together we could unlock the secret to their power and stumble our way into the Illuminati.

Because I only had eyes for Mindy, I didn’t pay attention to the supporting characters on The Mindy Project (except for James Franco for the obvious reason).  Sure they were entertaining and had great comedic timing, but I wouldn’t have been heartbroken if any of them, like receptionist Shauna, were unceremoniously written off of the show.

But then, last week, everything changed.

Mindy and I are over.

Because this happened:

Your eyes are not deceiving you.  That was a perfect rendition of the PRECISE choreography from Aaliyah’s Try Again, which is, of course, one of the all-time greatest music videos EVER.

Screw diamonds, a recreation of a classic early 2000s music video is what a girl really wants.

I will never be the same again.

Dr. Danny Castellano has stolen my heart.



* Also, why is this not a real thing?  I need it and I need it now.


Move Over Will and Kate, This Is the Wedding of the Decade

Blair Waldorf is marrying Seth Cohen.

I repeat.


Best idea ever.

Best idea ever.

THIS IS THE BIGGEST NEWS EVER, because the it means that the worlds of The O.C. and Gossip Girl, two of the most seminal television shoes of my generation, are finally colliding.  I can officially die happy.

For those of you living under a rock for the last decade, Seth and Blair are the king and queen of the Josh Schwartz teen drama universe.

Seth, albeit on first appearance the geeky second fiddle to Ryan Atwood’s leather cuff wearing brooding protagonist, was the driving force behind the wit, humor, and emo-laden indie music soundtrack that made The O.C. a tour de force in the mid-2000s.  Seth is the guy whose best friend was a plastic horse named Captain Oats (I swear it was much more charming than it sounds), who coined the term Chrismakkuh, who perfectly summarized the insanity that was the Cohen-Atwood-Roberts-Cooper family tree when he said “It’s a tale as old as time. Boy meets girl, boy likes girl, boy finds out girl is surrogate mom’s illegitimate step-mother,” who provided his girlfriend with a “Seth Cohen Starter Park” that included The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay and The Goonies and who might just be a stunning satire of Canada.  In short, Seth totally stole the show and is awesome.

Just a boy and his horse.

Just a boy and his horse listening to some Death Cab for Cutie.

Blair, albeit on first appearance the constant runner-up to Serena Van Der Woodsen’s cleavage-blessed protagonist, was similarly the driving force behind the wit, humor, and preppy-based fashion that made Gossip Girl a tour de force in the early 2010s.  This is the girl who is responsible for the power headband fashion trend, deporting Georgina Sparks to Russia,  making the Met steps a status symbol, turning Chuck Bass into a good person, and stating the obvious truth that “it’s so hard finding obedient minions.”  In short, Blair is everything that I want to be and is awesome.

As do I Blair, as do I.

As do I Blair, as do I.

With the union of Blair and Seth and their mutual love of Thanksgiving, everything is FINALLY  right in the world.  I’ve been waiting for this moment since Blair said, with respect to Serena, “I’m sick of always looking like Darth Vader next to sunshine Barbie.”  If that Star Wars reference wasn’t a mating call specifically meant for Seth Cohen, then I don’t know what is.

Of course, this blessed event leaves me with SO many questions. Will Dorota be the maid of honor?  Will Ryan Atwood be the best man?  Will Captain Oats be present?  Will he bring Princess Sparkles as his date to the wedding or will she refuse to attend out of loyalty to Summer Roberts, who was, after all, Seth’s first wife?  Will the ghosts of Bart Bass and Marissa Cooper haunt their blessed union?  Will Little J finally realize that the model who destroyed her fashion line was actually Kaitlyn Cooper? Will Blair walk down the aisle while Rufus Humphreys plays an acoustic cover of a song by The Shins on the mandolin?

Just imagine the dorky law and Judaism conversations that Blair’s stepfather Cyrus and Seth’s dad Sandy will have at the reception!  Kirsten Cohen and Lily Van Der Woodsen will drink the place out of Chardonnay in under an hour!  Taylor Townsend and Neli Yuki will finally be united, which means that they will assuredly plot to take over the universe together, because they went to the Sorbonne and Yale and were smarter than all of the rest of those kids and its about time someone noticed!

I, for one, could not be happier that Blair finally heard those “three words, eight letters” that she was always waiting for and that it was from Seth Cohen.

Mazel Tov!

* Okay, fine, perhaps technically it is Leighton Meester and Adam Brody who are engaged, but whatever.

Yes, fine, you are both very nice real people who just want to get coffee, wear comfy clothes, and be in love.  I understand that you are not actually Seth Cohen and Blair Waldorf.  But that doesn't mean I have to like it.

I’m sure that you are both very nice real people who just want to get coffee, wear comfy clothes, and be in love. I understand that you are not actually Seth Cohen and Blair Waldorf, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.


Good Friends Living Large In Texas Forever

Although its been years since it went off the air, I still cannot get over just how damn good Friday Night Lights is.

So damn good.

Good lord do I miss y'all.

Good lord do I miss y’all.

There are so many things that made that show amazing — the whisper yell, Coach Taylor’s pep talks, Landry’s surprising comedic flair, Tami Taylor’s hair — but one thing stands out.  The characters.  Friday Night Lights wasn’t a show about football.  It was a show about complicated people living in a seemingly simple place.

Indeed, these characters were so good, so damn good, that they did not disappear when network executives put an untimely end to their story.

Instead, much like the cast of the similarly phenomenal yet underrated Freaks and Geeks, the Friday Night Lights team has found a way to keep the story of their characters and the essence of Dillon, Texas alive despite having their show was taken away.

As Riggins predicted, they would all be “good friends living large in Texas forever.”


This kid always suits up and takes the field no matter what physical or mental illness he’s quietly battling.

For example, when we left Dillon, Luke Cafferty was on his way to the military.  When we pick up with him again he’s on Parenthood, which as you all know I love, as Sergeant Ryan York.  Luke/Ryan has completed two tours in Afghanistan with the United States Army.  We see how Luke/Ryan copes with the difficult aftermath of returning from war and how he has grown up to be a stronger and more confident person.  But, he’s still the same guy — seemingly simple on the surface but deeply complicated — and his love affair with Amber and mentor relationship with Zeek Braverman bring back his very best moments with his high school love Becky and with Coach Taylor. He’s still just a man desperately searching for his home.


Did you learn nothing from Riggins? Of course sleeping with Crosby is going to ruin everything!

When we last saw Lyla Garrity on Friday Night Lights, she had finally found a way to move on from Riggins and left for a bright future at Vanderbilt University.  She certainly put that educational opportunity to good use, because she came to Parenthood as Gaby Moss, a top-notch child behavioral therapist who worked with autistic children.  Lyla/Gabby is still sweet as can be, and you can tell she’s trying really hard to make the right choices.  But, she hasn’t been able to kick her bad habit of throwing all consequences to the wind after a few drinks and ending up in bed with the long-haired misunderstood bad boy.


One of these days, you’ll finally be able to move on from your past.

Post-high school Vince Howard is still wrestling with his demons.  Vince also came back to us on Parenthood where he’s Alex, a teenager with no family, a criminal record, and a battle with alcoholism.  Vince/Alex is still a great person at heart and he is still really, truly fighting to be better and make everyone proud.  But, he just can’t shake his penchant for self-destruction that remains both infuriating and endearing.  Just as with Jess on Friday Night Lights, Vince/Alex finds himself smart enough to fall for Haddie Braverman, a woman who is intelligent, ambitious, and fantastic, but he’s not smart enough to stop from sabotaging the entire relationship with a moment of sheer stupidity.  All you can do with Vince/Alex is keep rooting that next time around he’ll finally get it right, because he’s a kid who deserves to get it right.


Can we just elect Jess Merriweather as president already?

On the current season of Parenthood, we finally get to see what happened to Jess Merriweather.  Of course the girl who fought to be a football coach and not just a cheerleader watching from the sidelines turned out to be a bad ass fast talking campaign manager named Heather who got Obama elected and then swooped in to save Kristina Braverman’s mayoral campaign.  Jess/Heather’s domination of Vince Howard and Coach Taylor were just her warm-up for her future ability to use pure grit and ambition to get whatever she set her sights on.  No one puts Jess/Heather in the corner.

Beyond the Parenthood universe, two of my absolute Friday Night Lights favorites have also found a way to visit me every week.

New sunglasses, same exasperated look.

New sunglasses, same exasperated look.

Nashville has shown what Tami Taylor would do if she wasn’t a football coach’s wife who revolutionized education in small town Texas.  She would be Rayna James Country Music Superstar, obviously.  Have you seen that woman’s hair?  Have you seen her spunky attitude?  Have you seen that look she gets on her face when she’s been wronged and she is damn well going to do something about it?  Tami/Rayna was made to belt out songs about heartbreak and taking charge while strutting around in stilettos.  And, of course, she still makes time amongst all her taking names and kicking asses to help out any wayward girls who cross her path.  Juliette Barnes is totally her new Tyra Collette, right down to the troubled family, bad decisions about men, and surprising raw talent.


Every thought that Jason Street and George Tucker has is deep and meaningful.

One of my current CW guilty pleasures, Hart of Dixie, allows me to catch up with Jason Street, who now goes by George Tucker, but is the same old good guy who just wants to do right and make his small town better.  Street/Tucker is still prone to getting his heart broken by the small town’s Queen B with the important daddy and the perfect ponytail who inevitably cheats on him with his best friend.  Lemon Breeland is 2013’s Lila Garrity.  He also has not learned his lesson about the perils of befriending his small town’s local drunken and brooding loner who can’t get out of his own way.  Wade Kinsella is what happens when you make Tim Riggins tween-friendly.

I absolutely love that I know how all of these characters have evolved.  I love knowing that, when I turn off their latest television appearance, I’m not saying goodbye to them.  I know that they will always be back, and I can’t wait to see them again.

I’ve spent hours pondering how the Friday Night Lights characters have had such staying power.  Is it because Friday Night Lights and Parenthood showrunner Jason Katims hired actors who are actually, in real life, the very residents that he imagined inhabiting Dillon, Texas?  Or is it because those characters were just so damn good and complex that the actors and Katims are unwilling to let them go?

Honestly, it doesn’t matter whether its one or the other, or some magical combo platter of both.  All that matters is that this all exists.

Texas Forever.


Aerosmith Was Singing About Parenthood*

I love Parenthood even though it makes me cry every time I watch it.


Just looking at this makes my eyes well up.

Just looking at this makes my eyes well up.

For example, two weeks ago, I only made it 6 minutes and 40 seconds into the episode before I was bawling so hard that I was gasping for breath between snotty hiccups.  NOT EVEN SEVEN MINUTES in and I was inconsolable as a result of the look that Vietnam Vet Zeek Braverman gave to Sergeant Ryan York, his granddaughter’s off-again, on-again boyfriend, upon his return from a tour in Afghanistan.  In that one look was everything — relief, hope, happiness, fear, and understanding — that comes with the tangled mess that is returning home from war.

One look and I was out.

Y'all are lucky there was no video clip for this, because you would all be in danger of drowning in your own tears.

Y’all are lucky there was no video clip for this, because you would be in danger of waterboarding yourself with your own tears.

And that was not an isolated incident.  When it comes to ripping the emotions out of my cold little heart, Parenthood is a damn pro.

Take last season as another example.  Parenthood focused largely on the story of Kristina Braverman, the mother of three children ranging in age from 18 years to 18 months, who abruptly found herself battling breast cancer.  As she lay recovering from a surgery that would reveal her chances of survival, the following scene unfolded (get your tissues at the ready):

Take a couple of deep breaths and just let the tears wash over you.  Trying to fight them after that is useless.

But, Parenthood isn’t just a somber sob-fest.  The magic in it is that it deftly mixes humor with completely raw emotion.  The show understands that life is the most comedic tragedy ever written.

A clip from last night’s episode illustrates perfectly Parenthood‘s mastery of the happy cry.  Sarah’s and Amber’s discussion about her unexpected wedding to Ryan was that perfect mix of comedic moments — “I was wearing a tragic skort” — and feeling so powerful that there are no words for it — that poignant look shared between the incomparable Lauren Graham and Mae Whitman when Sarah says that she wants to give Amber the wedding of her dreams.

Happy or sad.  Good or bad.  Parenthood brings on the waterworks.  After last year’s season finale — where Jasmine married Crosby while a choir sang Make You Feel My Love (Download that song immediately.  You won’t regret it.  TRUST.) — I actually contemplated whether it was possible to die from tear-induced dehydration.  That’s how aggressive my crying was.

Country Boy is completely perplexed by my addiction to Parenthood.  He recognizes that it’s a well-written show with a cast composed of some of my all-time favorite television actors.  Where else can you find Coach Hayden Fox, Lorelei Gilmore, Nate Fisher, Ann Veal, Luke Cafferty, and Jess Merriweather all in the same hour?  It is simply glorious to have them all back in my life again.

However, despite acknowledging the amazing cast chock full of my best television friends, Country Boy doesn’t get why I would willingly watch something that makes me so emotionally overwhelmed.  He wonders why I would watch a show that so completely spends me that I often fall asleep on the couch in a crumpled heap the minute it’s over.

But, here’s the thing.

All that crying is actually amazing.  It’s cathartic.  It’s cleansing.  And, it heals me.

Watching Parenthood in the safety of my own home allows me to finally let my own guard down.  It lets me feel something about a fictional family that I won’t let myself feel about my own family.

I cry about Kristina’s illness because I can’t cry about my own family’s medical battles.

I cry about Sarah’s struggle to let go of her selfish addict ex-husband because I can’t cry about the bad relationships that are plaguing some of the people who I love the most.

I cry about Crosby’s and Jasmine’s wedding because I can’t cry about the tidal wave of emotions that are hitting me as both of my younger brothers get married this year.

I cry about Zeek and Camille’s struggles to start Act III of their lives together, because I can’t cry about my parents having two very different ideas of how to spend their golden years and that they don’t seem capable of reaching an agreement.

I cry about Ryan’s struggles to return home from Afghanistan, because I can’t cry about the overwhelming worry I have for my veteran family and friends even once they are home safely.

I cry about the love and loss shared between the Bravermans, because I can’t cry about my fear that I will be utterly lost without my family and that I can’t prevent them from one day being taken away.

I cry about all of the meaning in the moments of silence shared by the Bravermans, because most of our family interactions occur in those moments between the words.  Those moments when we are trying to find the words and take in everything that is happening around us.  When we are grasping to accept the change that occurs as we all grow even though everyone wants every moment to last just a little bit longer.  I feel those moments all of the time, but I just push them down because I don’t want to be the one who falls apart.

In sum, I love Parenthood because it lets me feel ALL of my feelings without having to explain them.  Or justify them.  Or feel like I should be stronger than I am.  Or worry that everyone in my family will think I am a crazy, emotional wreck.  When Parenthood is on, I can just point at the screen, shrug, and bawl away, because I’m crying about someone else.

So, thank you Parenthood, because there really is nothing better than a good cry, especially one that you didn’t know you needed.

* Oh Bravermans, I’ve been cryin’ since I met you.


The Jackson 5 Were Singing About the New Season of The Voice*

For the first three seasons of The Voice, I was a die hard fan.  I freaking loved that show.

And not just because of this dude, although, let's be honest, it didn't hurt.

And, not just because of this dude.  Although, let’s be honest, it didn’t hurt.

I loved that show so much that I actually voted for my favorite contestants.  I NEVER do that.  Indeed, despite my love of all things reality TV, I have never voted for any contestants on any show other than The Voice,  not even for So You Think You Can Dance, which, as you all know, is one of the great loves of my life.

Seriously, I never voted for Twitch yet I regularly and fervently called in for Vicci Martinez, Juliet Simms, and Casadee Pope.  What can I say, I love me a good rock and roll diva.  Also, the coaches on The Voice were so amped up about their singers that I felt compelled to help a sister out.

If someone can motivate me to actually participate in anything, they are damn good.

I was convinced that I loved The Voice this deeply for three reasons.

The first reason is the legitimately talented contestants.  Let’s be honest, all of these cats are WAY too talented to be reality television competitors.  But, yet, somehow, there they were chilling with Carson Daly.

How can you argue with a show where this happened?

You can’t.

The second reason is Blake Shelton’s charm.  I know he can be a little much with all that Oklahoma and Miranda and aww shucks accent, but I am totally a sucker for it.  How do you think Country Boy conned me into marrying him?

You will always be a tall glass of water on a hot day to me.  And, apparently, also to Cee Lo.

You will always be a tall glass of water on a hot day to me.  And, apparently, also to Cee Lo.

The third reason, of course, is Adam Levine.  Every Victoria’s Secret model lines up to date this guy, and I don’t think it’s for his sparkling conversational skills.

Please and thank you.

Please and thank you.

During the first three seasons of The Voice, I often rolled my eyes at Christina Aguilera’s aggressive cleavage and diva antics, especially her weird feud with former Mickey Mouse Club cohort Tony Lucca.  I had a similar bare tolerance for Cee Lo Green.  While I did love Puurfect the cat, I often didn’t get Cee Lo’s musical choices and generally found his chill demeanor a bit of an energy buzz kill.

I mean, really Cee Lo, you were responsible for this atrocity against music:


That was more offensive than your weird head tattoo this season.  It’s henna right? Please say it’s so, Cee Lo, please.

By the time Season Three ended, I was over both Christina and Cee Lo.  I didn’t necessarily get what they added to the mix other than maybe a little sass and a little quirk.


You two were the anchovies in the Caesar dressing. No one would miss you when you were gone.


On Season 4 of The Voice, Christina and Cee Lo both went on hiatus to work on their albums.  While I’m neither a big Shakira nor Usher fan, I wasn’t upset to see them added to the line up.  I figured that the replacements would have little effect since the crazy talent, Blake, and Adam were the core of the show’s success and Christina and Cee Lo were just fillers.

I repeat, I WAS SO WRONG.

I tried hard to watch Season 4.  I really did.  I loved Michelle Chamuel and wanted to see her through the season.  But I just couldn’t.  The magic was gone for me and I stopped watching The Voice less than halfway through last season.  I even found Blake and Adam to be utterly unbearable.

Your hips may not lie, but they didn't make me want to watch The Voice.

Your hips may not lie, but they didn’t make me want to watch The Voice.

That’s right, I stopped watching Adam Levine smile and beg people to choose him while wearing a tight shirt.  That is how bad things got.

When I saw this season’s premiere of The Voice appear in my DVR last week, I wasn’t sure if I was going to watch it.  That first night, I didn’t.  But, a few nights later, Country Boy was working late and The Voice was the only show in the DVR that I knew that I could watch without him without risking bodily harm.

So, I took a big gulp of wine and fired it up.


The talent was AMAZING and having Christina and Cee Lo back in the mix changed everything.  The show was fun, snappy, and entertaining again.  Everyone’s personality was on full display in the best possible way.  At the end of the two hours, my face hurt from smiling so big.

Also, Christina and Cee Lo are hilarious.  How did I miss that before?  And Christina’s little black fan is definitely the new accessory that I need to rock immediately.

Turns out you are the cheese in this macaroni.

Turns out you two are the cheese in this macaroni, not the anchovies in the Caesar.

In fact, The Voice Classic Edition Revisited was so good that I wasn’t even annoyed with Carson Daly, which is saying a lot because that Jennifer Love Hewitt reject is objectively and undisputedly annoying, especially when he’s subtly trying to work multiple product placements into every segment (we see you Kia and Starbucks).

Beyond the lovable coaching crew, Season Five is amazing for another reason.

And that reason is named Tessanne Chin.


I’m calling it right now.  Tessanne is going to dominate this season and we are all going to fall madly in love with her.  She will be The Voice‘s Kelly Clarkson. Mark my words (which are in no way identical to what I said about Juliet “who??” Simms a few years ago).

Christina and Cee Lo, let me tell ya now, I was blind to let you go.  You two are the secret ingredients that make The Voice the addicting television confection that it is, and I want you back.

No, I want you!

No, I want you!

*  Oh Michael, you always know just what to say in any situation.


Stunted Conversations: Just Call Me Dr. PinotNinja Because Seth Cohen Is Canada

Thanks to the following interaction with ErinGoBrawl, I have finally figured out my calling in life.

PinotNinja:  I have only just started reading Vulture’s List of 100 Pop Culture Things That Make You A Millenial, but it is SO RIGHT.

ErinGoBrawl: Although I seriously love this list: (1) I’m a 1979 baby and (2) I seriously refuse to be lumped in with the Millenial generation because, with the exception of this list, they are identified as everything entitled and over-privileged in this world. Though under some definitions I think we are called Gen X, we are also firmly in Gen Y. But damnit, I do love this list. LOVE IT.  I mean, it’s like they took everything that I love unabashedly and plopped it in a list – “the baby sounds” in Aaliyah’s song.  Yes. Perfect. Please.  Damnit, Millenials.

PinotNinja:  I don’t think we can fight it much longer.  This is our generation and everything that we love, even if we hate them.  I suppose this all makes sense. We did hate basically everyone in high school and college and have managed to stick with mostly the same group of friends for the past 15 years. That is what any good self-loathing millenial would do.

It’s not like Summer Roberts or Blair Waldorf ever made new friends or liked anyone (except for Summer and Che, but Che was actually Andy from Parks & Rec, so who could blame her because I TOTALLY want to be friends with Andy and April, even though April TOTALLY would not have me as her friend. But then one time she would sing Time After Time with me and it would be amazing and all TOTALLY worth it).

ErinGoBrawl: I can’t even breathe I am laughing so hard at your parenthetical below. YOU ARE AMAZING.

PinotNinja: If only I could get a PhD in Josh Schwartz soaps with a concentration in NBC comedies. I would clean up in that program.

ErinGoBrawl: Have you heard of Anne Helen Petersen? That’s actually what she does! She’s a professor.


I can actually get a PhD in Josh Schwartz soaps with a concentration in NBC comedies?!

Chris Pratt, you are my string theory.

Chris Pratt, you are my string theory.

Best. News. Ever.

Since that moment, the little hamster in the wheel inside my brain has gone on a Jesse Spano style caffeine pill binge and I have not been able to stop thinking about my future career in academia.

I’ve even started my dissertation: The OC was actually an Animal Farm-esque satire of the international political climate in the early 2000s.

The beautiful faces are deep metaphors about international political instability.  Really.  I promise.

The beautiful faces are deep metaphors about international political instability. Really. I promise.


Just hear me out.

Seth Cohen is Canada, Ryan Atwood is the United States, and Marissa Cooper may be Saudi Arabia (that part of the theory needs some work).

You see, Canada is the nice funny guy who for some reason is friends with the guy who beats everyone up. He’s the Seth Cohen to the United States’ Ryan Atwood in season one.

Seth always has Ryan’s back, like Canada usually followed United States foreign policy at that time, but he’s also the first to pull the victim country aside and apologize, to say he didn’t know what came over his friend, and to say that he would do his best to keep it from happening again, which is much like Canada’s diplomatic policy regarding the war in Iraq. Seth never has a problem talking a little shit about Ryan and his tendency to be too aggressive with his fists, love of leather wristbands, and his inability to have a functional relationship with any other kids at school, but he never really says it to Ryan.

Seth/Canada keeps its mouth relatively shut, because Seth/Canada knows that without Ryan/the United States he’s just some kid who no one pays attention to because he eats lunch all the way over on this side of the world. On his own, Seth couldn’t even get Summer to look at him, but, with Ryan, the guy is a babe magnet who has to choose between two girls on Chrismakkuh. Like it or not, Canada needs the United States to get anyone to pay attention to this side of the world, but that doesn’t mean it can’t apologize for its behavior and be a little defiant, as long as it’s not too defiant (see Seth telling Ryan that beating up various people is a bad idea, but not going as far as to physically stop him from doing it).

In addition, Seth loves shuffleboard and Canada loves curling. Both are games that involve using a broom-like object to slide a puck down an alley drawn on the ground.

Totally the same thing.

Totally the same thing.

Seth has an irresistible but dorky affinity for comic books. Canada has an irresistible but dorky affinity for “artists” who have the goal of taking over the world with their musical stylings through their superpower of belting out ballads while wearing odd spandex-laden costumes.  Sounds kinda like a comic book to me.

That number was made for ComicCon.

That number was made for ComicCon.

And, Seth loves the cold weather. Canada is cold.

Ipso facto, Cohen is Canada.  Canada is Cohen.

As is noted above, Ryan Atwood is the United States.  My Marissa being Saudi Arabia theory is still in the works, but here’s what I’m thinking. The United States and Saudi Arabia really shouldn’t be friends, because of pesky little things like September 11th and human rights.  Similarly, Ryan and Marissa really should have broken up long before they did, because of pesky little things like Oliver, overdosing in an alleyway in Tijuana, Volchuk, and generally being a hot mess.  But, yet the United States and Saudi Arabia share a tie that binds (oil), much like Ryan and Marissa do (teenage hormones).

The poster child for investing in green energy.

The poster child for investing in green energy.

That Josh Schwartz, such a fucking genius.


In Honor of the Annual VMA Pile-On: A Reflection

Look, I haven’t watched the VMAs in years. I am one of those annoying folks – you know, the one talking about how much cooler the VMAs were when the performances were (slightly more) raw, the drama was real, and the awards didn’t all go to some horrifyingly lame pop. I’m talking about, roughly, the first 15 years of the telecast.

Yes, I watched the 2013 VMAs, due in part to Twitter’s amazing job at being a co-pilot in snark and awe. Long and short of it: I Was Not Impressed. This could be due to the fact that I am An Old, who has held onto the VMAs of yesteryear as the pinnacle of all things awesome.

I shook my head at T. Swift and her ridiculously cloying personality (but, a hat tip to her slipping in a “STFU” caught on film – now that is how you subtly cast off years of a finely cultivated good girl image), let my jaw drop with Miley, and rolled my eyes at Macklemore. Oh, and snorted at the faux humility of Justin Timberlake (an impression that was confirmed by my Twitterverse). It was totally underwhelming and, frankly, gross.

I honestly couldn’t believe that this is what the telecast had come to – what happened to the amazing moments of the past? There was the usual moment when I thought: “Obviously this year’s VMAs would never live up to my memories of the Greatest Awards Show of All Time.”

But did it actually meet those expectations? The show has evolved, but upon further reflection, maybe we haven’t strayed too far from the road map of the first decade or so. I know, I can’t believe I am even going down that path, but bear with me.

1) Sex. See: Madonna in any performance ever. Think back to her rolling Like A Virgin performance in a wedding dress in the earliest VMAs. Shocking, sexual, crazy.

Or her Marie Antoinette-inspired tumble through Vogue.

Fucking fabulous. Madge being Madge.

Flash forward to this year: setting aside some of the very real questions of minstrelsy and appropriation that Miley Cyrus’ performance raises*, she maybe, just maybe, brought the same sex shock? Yes, comparing her performance to Madonna – without context – is apples to oranges, but compare them in context with the times? Maybe not so far off. It pains me to type this: humping a stage could be the equivalent of humping an oversized foam finger.

2) Drama. My favorite red carpet drama – Madonna v. Courtney Love. I loved the ridiculous silliness of CLove juxtaposed to the serious, but weirdly accented, Madonna in her interview with Kurt Loder. If you didn’t see this uncomfortable gloriousness live, it lives on in The Internet for your enjoyment.

OF COURSE C.LOVE WANTS ATTENTION. This is not news, though throwing make up is pretty amazing.

Okay, maybe it’s not quite the same, but the Kanye/Swift dust up was glorious. And, much like my love for CLove, I loved Kanye and his stepping in to take the mic. CLove stole the mic in the 90s by tossing a compact, Kanye stole the mic by stealing the mic. Plus, Kanye wasn’t wrong: Beyonce did have one of the greatest albums of all time. Was it handled poorly? Sure. I know Kanye regrets it now, but stand fast Yeezus – you are the best kind of crazy rock star.

3) The WTF award moment. Perhaps unsurprisingly the MTV Best New Artist Award has been handed out to some amazing hit singles. But, there have definitely been WTF moments – like who the hell is this person and how did they beat out Bel Biv DeVoe? That person was Michael Penn with his song “No Myth.” Do you remember him? Or his song? OF COURSE NOT. And I say this as someone with an unnatural grasp on pop music.

And this year, we have Austin Mahone. Who in the world is this dude and how did he pick off my current car jam “Clarity” by Zedd? Because I know I will remember Clarity for the long haul and have already forgotten to remember this Austin kid.

4) Utter spectacles. I really thought that I’d never see anything as forced and awful as Lisa Marie Presley and Michael Jackson’s kiss. It was slow, uncomfortable, and I seriously couldn’t look away. Here, share my discomfort:

Shying away from a double-Miley dose, I think that a better, sadder moment was Ms. Britney Spears’ attempted comeback with her “Gimme More” performance. I carry such a torch for Ms. Spears, I will forgive her everything and anything. So, “Gimme More” was the horrifying car crash that the show needed. I didn’t want to look away, but I wished it never happened to begin with.

I don’t know, guys, I feel like the more things change, they more they stay the same. And I remember a pre-teen ErinGoBrawl sneaking downstairs to watch the show way past her bedtime and reveling in the debauchery and madness. Though I bristle at the current state of the show, it’s safe to say that the standards are different now, and the show stays true to its formula.

* Check out some pieces – lighter, heavier – that raise these very real issues that deserve discussion.


Macklemore Was Also Singing About So You Think You Can Dance

A few months ago, just before it’s tenth season began, I made the very bold claim that So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD) is the best competition show on television.

Now, as the tenth season of SYTYCD draws to a close, I absolutely stand by that claim and take it one step further.  Not only is SYTYCD the best competition show on television, the current season of SYTYCD might just be the best season that the show has ever had.

In the words of the incomparable Macklemore, the ceiling can’t hold SYTYCD.*  The show has found its moment and its fighting ’til its over.

First, there is the triumph that is tap dancer Aaron Turner.  He is a testament to how deep the talent on SYTYCD ran this year.  He was not originally selected as one of the dancers for this season, but, due to an unfortunate injury, he  squeaked into the top 20.  He, however, has not been a mere place holder.  Instead, Aaron has completely dominated and is a contender to win the entire show.  He’s big, he’s strong, he’s absurdly talented, and he’s just damn cool.

See for yourself:

I actually threw my container of Ben and Jerry’s at my television because I was so disgusted with how good that routine was, and it takes a lot for me to part with my Half Baked. If that’s what the dancer who was ranked 21st could do, then its a sure bet that anyone in the top 50 for SYTYCD this year was capable of winning the entire show.

Second, the celebrity guest judges managed to get even better.  I thought that no one could ever top the super fandom that is Jesse Tyler Ferguson (can’t wait to see you at the performance finale next week, boo!), but then Anna Kendrick rolled in.  Girl brought her A+ game to the studio and nailed it.  She was a superfan, she referenced back episodes, she was on a first name basis with the choreographers, she joked with Cat like they were old besties, she offered insightful commentary, and she openly hit on the dancers.  She said to Hailey “Dude, if I could have your body for like one day, I feel like I could do anything.  I could solve world hunger,” and she was TOTALLY right.  She asked Aaron to give her a piggyback ride, which is like the greatest idea anyone has ever had.  I would pay money for that.  I would pay a lot of money for that.  My girl Anna summed the whole show up perfectly by sarcastically saying, “It’s like boring for me how good you guys are.”  Good god, I love that woman.  She speaks my truth like not even I can.

Third, SYTYCD‘s tenth season found new ways to showcase the astoundingly talented extended family of SYTYCD dancers.  A few seasons ago, SYTYCD introduced the concept of bringing back dancers from former seasons to serve as all-stars and partner the top ten dancers competing on that season.  I LOVED that concept.  I loved seeing my old friends again and seeing what incredible athletes and artists they had become.  And I loved that SYTYCD was showcasing and promoting its alumni.  You can really tell that the dancers, choreographers, and judges all genuinely care about and support each other.  

For example, with the all-stars, this happened between Twitch and Alex Freaking Wong:

That routine is probably the most ridiculous thing I have ever seen and it gives me involuntary stank face every time.*

I didn’t think SYTYCD could top the all-star concept.

I was wrong.

In this week’s episode, SYTYCD paired the top eight dancers with all-stars and then had those all-stars choreograph the routine.  Prior seasons of SYTYCD feature routines choreographed by former competitors — namely Travis Wall and Dimitry Chaplin — which was a fabulous opportunity for them to gain exposure, but, whenever I saw their work I couldn’t help but wish that I could see them dance, too.  Nigel has clearly been listening in on my prayers, because this week that little British man-minx answered them.

It was stunning to watch the all-stars show their serious chops as choreographers and to watch them throw down on the dance floor.  The amount of hard work that they put in to help the new crop of dancers grow and succeed was unbelievable.  It really goes to show that SYTYCD not only selects outstanding athletes but also just damn good people to join its ranks.


And who knew Allison Holker was an awesome choreographer?  The whole word does now.

Both of those routines reduced me to a seething pile of emotion.  I could feel the dancers’ longing and pain radiating out of my every pore.  They are incredible in their viscerality.***

Speaking of Twitch, Allison, the SYTYCD family, and things that induce uncontrollable emotion, Allison and Twitch, who met through their involvement with SYTYCD as alumni, fell in love a few years ago.  And, this love story had a very happy ending earlier this year when Twitch proposed to Allison.  Luckily for all of us, he proposed while they were filming a commercial for Microsoft, so it was all captured on camera.

You might want to get a tissue ready before watching this.

This show is just so good. SO GOOD.

Has there ever been a reality show that pulls off its best season after its been on the air for so long?  Maybe RWRR Challenge when it infused the Fresh Meat kids to bring us crazy Camilla and dramatic Diem, but that’s it.  SYTYCD is simply the best and it’s better than all the rest.

Thanks to SYTYCD, I’ve learned what a powerful art form dance is.  It’s put a smile on my face and its brought tears to my eyes.  And, most importantly, its made me realize how important it is to get out there and dance, however badly, whenever I can.

When it comes to our ability to create art and express ourselves with our bodies, the ceiling can’t hold us.

** Ellen DeGeneres is often living my dream.  But this moment took the cake.  How do I Freaky Friday her and take over her life?

***  If the word is good enough for Lil’ C, its good enough for me.


Dear RHOM, Get Out of My Brain

In honor of tonight’s premiere of the third season of the Real Housewives of Miami, I bring you the moment when I realized that I perhaps spend a little bit too much time with those “ladies.”  

Originally published on March 15, 2013.

It was insanely cold inside of my office today.  Whatever god-like figure controls the temparture for our entire building decided that the perfect way to handle a 65 degree day was to blast freezing cold air through all of the vents in our office.  FREEZING COLD.  As in, I was sitting inside and am bundled up in jeans, a long-sleeved shirt, a velvet blazer, and a scarf and I was still shivering.

A group of my co-workers, all of whom are much more senior than I am, had gathered outside of my office and were complaining about how damn cold it was in there.

I thought that presented a good opportunity to bond with my senior co-workers, so I wandered out to join them.

The complaining was reaching a fever pitch, so I thought it would be a good idea to introduce a silver lining.

Me: “Well, at least these cold temperatures are good for our skin.”

Co-worker: “Really, what makes you say that?”

Me: “I read it somwhere.  I think it was a New York Times article about a new study from the New England Journal of Medecine.  Spending long amounts of time in colder temperatures — especially when you are sleeping — keeps the skin tighter and reduces wrinkles.”

Co-worker: “I’m going to have to look that up and start blasting the AC at night.  You’re so good to make the time to read up on medical studies like that.”

I then wandered back into my office feeling very proud of myself.  I had said something positive and intellectual.  I might have even impressed some people around this joint.

And then I froze and felt like I was going to vomit.

I remembered where I actually got this beauty tip from.

It was not from the New England Journal of Medecine.

It was not from the New York Times.

It was not even from the New York Post.

It was from the Real Housewives of Miami.