Tag Archives: television

The Office Finale: Bidding Adieu to One of My Favorite Sitcoms

17 May

So last night The Office aired its final episode.

To be completely honest, the last couple seasons of The Office haven’t been my favorite. To me they were sort of lacking in everything that the earlier seasons excelled in: the humor, the relationships, the plot lines (but mainly the humor, and the fact that Andy got a million times more annoying the second he took on the job of Manager). Because of this, I didn’t think the finale was going to effect me all that much, despite the fact that I loved the three or four episodes leading up to it (and even teared up at the end of each of them). I figured I’d shed a tear or two, be a bit nostalgic, and move on.

But Christ, that finale. It just… I mean, it had everything I wanted to see happen. They hit all the right notes; all the right stops. The episode as a whole was beautiful – the coming together of old friends to celebrate and say farewell – and everyone got their ending. Everyone was where they wanted/needed to be. It was wonderful to see happen to characters who have been with me for so long that I might as well consider them friends. Not to mention the humor was first-rate, and it felt just like the good ol’ days at Scranton once more. Honestly, there was no other way they could have ended it.

I was emotional throughout the entire experience (especially when one Mr. Michael Scott showed up), but I really lost it at the end when the characters were speaking for their last time to the camera and they started showing flashbacks of earlier seasons. It all seems so long ago; not just for the characters on the show, but for me as well. I was a sophomore in high school when I first started watching The Office on a regular basis. I had tuned in the year before, back when I was a freshman, a few times, but I think the awkward-cringe-humor was a bit much for me at first. However, I remember EXACTLY where I was the moment this show finally hooked me and the episode that did it (ie. I was on a cruise ship, it was about one in the morning, Rachael Lowary was asleep three feet away from me, and I was watching “Casino Night” on my iPod). After that, I rewatched the entirety of seasons one and two, and then watched the show devotedly for the rest of its run – even when the episodes took a dip in their later years. I was obsessed with it when I was in high school; it was the quintessential comedy in my life. Hell, I even have fan fiction that I wrote about it back in the day (which is by far the most embarrassing fan fiction I have ever written and I will never speak of the premise ever because of how embarrassed I am about it and you’ll have to pry it from my cold dead hands to ever read it – only Connie Limbrick knows why, and I’ll kill her before she ever gets around to telling anyone about it).

I watched the finale at work last night – thankful that no one came into my own office, as I was heaving with sobs by the end of the episode – and as I walked home after I clocked out I cried the whole way. I couldn’t figure out why the ending of this show was taking such a big toll on my emotions. I didn’t cry this much when 30 Rock, Ugly Betty, or any other show I’ve ever watched ended. The only show I could think to equate my emotions to were what I went going through with LOST‘s end (except LOST was a million times worse and I literally couldn’t get out of bed the morning after its finale because I was so sad it was over). However, I began to think about it, and I realized that my experience with LOST was a lot like my time with The Office. Both shows started back when I was a freshman in high school (2004/2005) and stayed with me until I was in college. Unlike LOST, which ended three years ago, The Office stayed with me until now. That means it lasted from March 2005 (freshman year of high school) until May 2013 (senior year of college). I think a part of me is projecting a lot of my sadness/anxiety about school coming to a close on the Office’s series finale. The Office has been with me for so long, and it’s what I’ve come to know and expect from my Thursday nights – kind of like school (except with, y’know, life in general, not just Thursday nights). And I journeyed with all these Dunder Mifflin characters every step of the way, and now their time at Dunder Mifflin is ending at the exact same time my journey with school is ending. It’s hard not to equate life with television right now, especially when no other television show has been with me for as long as The Office.

As scared as I am about leaving college and entering the real world, I found so much of what the characters were saying at the show’s end encouraging. Plus the fact that many of them were moving on to do bigger and better things… well, I just found it comforting. I could relate to what a lot of the characters said about coming to terms with endings (“I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good ol’ days before you’ve actually left them…”), but there was one quote that truly stuck out to me. One quote that I truly found encouraging as I make my dreaded approach to graduation:

“I didn’t watch the whole documentary. After a few episodes, it was too painful. I kept wanting to scream at Pam! It took me so long to do so many important things, it’s just hard to accept I spent so many years being less happy than I could have been. Jim was five feet away from my desk and it took me four years to get to him. It’d be great if people saw this documentary and learned from my mistakes. Not that I’m a tragic person, I’m really happy now, but it would just make my heart soar if someone out there saw this and she said to herself, ‘Be strong, trust yourself, love yourself, conquer your fears, just go after what you want and act fast because life just isn’t that long.’

So thank you, Dunder Mifflin. Thanks for the laughter, the tears, the memories, that time the bat got stuck in your office, and the journey.

I’m gonna miss you.

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Contemplating Theon Greyjoy.

31 Mar

I’m so conflicted when it comes to a particular character in Game of Thrones and in the A Song of Ice and Fire series. A character who, the first time reading the books and watching the show, I loathed so very much. Who I still kind of can’t stand the majority of the time he appears on screen. However, upon my recent rewatch of the show, he became a character I had to call into question. One who I found my dislike for dwindling. Not all the way, of course, I still can’t stand the guy most of the time, but, I mean…

Theon Greyjoy is such a dick.

… but he’s obviously a character with a complex upbringing, and one who can’t be fully judged without taking his complete story into consideration. As a fan, it’s important to keep in mind that Theon was raised as a hostage; never truly part of a family. Oh sure, he was treated like a brother by Robb, but he was never fully accepted into the rest of the Stark household. Never truly welcome. He was treated kindly enough, but he was always reminded that he was there for a reason: as a hostage for the crimes of his father.

Even so, Winterfell became his home. It became what he knew and what he loved. Then, after all those years of waiting, when he finallys goes back home to the Iron Islands – bam – he’s a disgrace for embracing the Stark’s way of life despite the fact that he had no fucking choice in the matter when he was a child. Never mind that it was his father who decided to send him away. Never mind that it was his father’s doing by starting a useless rebellion. Never mind that Theon never did anything wrong, nor did anything to deserve being sent away in the first place. Never mind that he was punished for crimes he never committed. Never mind that he was never in the wrong. At least, not at that point.

So, when it comes down to it, who is he supposed to side with? His own flesh and blood, who sent him away as a child, only to then treat him like he had betrayed them all by developing a relationship with a different family? Or the family who raised him well, but always reminded him that he would never be one of them? What the fuck would you do in his shoes? So, yeah, he thinks he can show his father he’s still a Greyjoy by ransacking the place that cared for him all those years, thus proving that they never meant anything to him. He thinks that will help him make amends for all the years he’s been away; all those years where he did absolutely nothing wrong. The thing is, Winterfell did mean a lot to him, and we so clearly see that as he’s taking over the Stark’s home in both the show and the book. He puts on that front of not giving a flying fuck about Bran or Luwin, but there’s just so much guilt riddling him (Alfie’s done such a phenomenal job with his character, seriously, that boy deserves a ton of awards). Especially when he kills Rodrick. He does it, yes, but man, you can tell that it’s the last thing he wants to be doing.

The point is, I feel bad for Theon Greyjoy. These are not words I ever though I’d say. I came to loathe his character over the years, and even still I’m not really a fan of him. Even so, I like to think if he didn’t have such a shit-tastic father he would’ve turned out a whole lot better. While he should never have gone against the Starks in the second book, I understand his folly. I’ve come to see the path he went down and why he choose it, and where all his bad choices have stemmed from. So yes, I can’t help but feel bad for him…

… but, man, he’s such a dick.

The best part: I didn’t make this graphic.

A Reflection on a Certain Ghost from “Being Human”

15 Mar

So I finished the fourth series of Being Human last night and, needless to say, I was a mess by the end of it.

I’ve really come to love Being Human. Like other supernatural shows, such as The Walking Dead and Buffy, the core of this show really comes down to humanity and what makes us, in spite of everything, human. While I wouldn’t put Being Human on my top ten television shows list, it’s definitely a show that will resonate with me for many years to come and I wouldn’t be surprised if I rewatched the entire thing sometime in the future.

Now, here’s where I’m going to get spoilerly, folks, so if you intend on watching this show and haven’t gotten a chance yet, turn back now.

As already mentioned, I wrapped up series four last night, and if you’ve watched the show then you’re familiar with how it ends. We’d already lost Nina and Mitchell at the third series end, and George was gone within the first episode of the fourth, so all we had left of the original three was Annie. It was because of this premise that, going into this series, I wasn’t particularly fond of it. I missed the sense of comradeship between the three flatmates that we got so much of in the first season, and just, y’know, the characters still being alive. I liked Tom well enough, since he had already been introduced at the start of the third series, but it took me half the fourth series to like Hal at all. Eventually they both did grow on me. I now kind of adore Tom beyond all rhyme and reason, and Hal won me over the second he got caught singing while washing dishes.

However, what really made the fourth series work for me was Annie. Well, Annie and Eve. Annie is, in my mind, one of the most well written characters in television that I’ve ever come across. Sure, George may be my favorite Being Human character by far (I’ve always had a soft spot for the comedic relief), but Annie… there’s just always been something about Annie, y’know? And with her whole plot line of raising Eve, well, it really heightened her role on the show for me. When the fourth series came to its end I was both disappointed and glad to see her go. While I knew I’d miss her as a character, I also knew it was for the best and that her storyline came to a (rather beautiful) end.

In my bidding farewell to her, can we all just take a moment to relish in what an amazingly well-crafted character Annie Claire Sawyer was? She was peppy, enthusiastic, optimistic, and happy, despite the heartbreaking way of how her life came to an end. Not only that, but she was trusting, caring, and kind to just about everyone (so long as they weren’t threatening her or her friends’ existences). Was she perfect? Good lord, no. She certainly drove other characters a bit nuts at times, and even George hated her in the first couple episodes. Yes, she could be annoying and over persistent, and yet you couldn’t help but love this girl. The tea-making ghost who saved the world.

Of the original trio, to me, Annie will always be the strongest. She grew so much over the course of her four series; much more than Mitchell and George ever did. At the start she was a mere dead girl, not really sure what to do with herself, but by the end she became a force to be reckoned with, because she was Annie fucking Sawyer and no one was going to mess with her or her friends or take her fucking baby. She became so very strong, not just in her powers as a ghost, but in mind and soul as well. She toughened up and learned how to take care of her own, but at the same time never losing any of that peppy, happy-go-lucky nature we first saw in her all the way back in episode one.

And compassion. Oh my god, Annie embodied compassion. She just had so much love to give, so much so that she almost couldn’t go through with saving the entire planet because it meant hurting the one she loved most. Yet, it was for that love that she did what she had to do. For the love of her friends, for the love of mankind, and for the love of her baby (because, in the end, Eve really was hers, wasn’t she?). She would not let Eve go through the hell of living as the War Child, of watching the world burn around her just because of what she was, which was how Annie made the hardest choice a mother could ever make, and she did it all out of love. And that look that overtakes her face as she opens her door and sees what’s on the other side, oh god, the way she just lights up at the sight of whatever it is tugs at my heartstrings. I’m so glad they didn’t show us what was waiting behind her door, because, honestly, we as the audience already know what’s there. It’s written all over her face.

As I press on to the fifth and final series, I’ll leave this entry on this one last note: it’s pretty clear to me that George was the brains and Mitchell was the brawn, but Annie?

Annie was the heart.

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Reflecting on Lost :: What Made it such a Great Show

24 Jul

I think it’s no secret that I love Lost. A lot. More than a lot. If I had to list my top ten favorite things on this planet, Lost would be one of them (along with, y’know, family and friends and Muppets and hamburgers). It’s a show I was with from beginning to end. Not only that, but it was my first real “adult” show that I ever partook in, as in the first show I tuned in once a week to watch that was not aimed solely towards kids/teenagers.

It’s been two years since Lost came to a close, and it’s been two years since I’ve really sat down and watched a entire episode (the last time I truly watched it was the beginning of summer 2010, when my ex was still going through it). Even after all this time, no show has replaced Lost for me. Not just yet. Sure, shows have tried and, hell, some shows have even come close. I recently went coocoo bananas for Breaking Bad (which I will go as far to say is the best written show I’ve ever seen), and I’ve also fallen desperately in love with shows such as Downton Abbey, Mad Men, Sherlock, Game of Thrones, and Shameless. All that being said, while those shows are all fabulous in and of their own way, they still have not replaced the love I have for Lost.

For starters, Lost is a show about characters through and through, and I’ve always been one for character-driven programs. With the exception of Nikki and Paulo (and Ethan. Christ, I hated Ethan), you gave a shit about pretty much every character on that show. Even when you declared hatred for characters (ie. Anna Lucia), you still were devastated when the unthinkable happened to them. I have never been invested in television characters quite the way I was when it came to Lost. True, maybe that’s because I was fourteen years old when the program came on, so I was still very young and clung to characters much more easily back then, but that’s the thing. I was fourteen when I started watching this show. I’m now twenty-two. This show, these characters, they’ve been with me for a third of my lifetime. Eventually I’ll be able to say that they’ve been with me for half my life (once I turn twenty-eight). That’s pretty incredible.

And, of course, Lost is the king of cliff hangers. My friend Nick was telling me how in almost every episode, in the last five minutes, they would throw something at you, which would leave you yelling, “Well fuck! Now I have to watch the next one!” This was something that I loved. I remember being a youngin’, my brother and I huddled around our TV back in Portland, the last five minutes would play, the “LOST” caption would appear, and we’d scream that they couldn’t just leave us like that. How many shows are capable of evoking such a reaction? Not many. Not just end of show cliff-hangers either. There were some magnificent reveals in many of the episodes. God knows the reveal in the third episode, ‘Walkabout’, is what hooked me for good.

It was also, of course, gorgeous to watch cinematography-wise. While some scenes were shot on a sound stage, there are so many beautiful on location shots. Not to mention this show will make sure you never look at an eye opening/closing the same way ever again.

Lost told a lot of beautiful stories as well. The way that the writers weaved all of these characters from all walks of life together was amazing. From Jack to Rose, Lapidus to Cindy, Juliet to Hurley, you got such a feel for where they came from, what they’d been through, and who they were.

Not to mention Lost also had Ben Linus, who is one of the most complex, brilliantly written characters in all of television history.

This whole scene in ‘Dr. Linus’ is why it’s among my all time favorite episodes of the series. Michael Emerson deserved more than just one Emmy.

Now, the reason why I’m writing up this entry is because of this clip. I came across a photoset of .gifs of the scene on tumblr last night, which led me to rewatching this particular moment, and I was overcome with such emotion. For those of you have not watched Lost, in the scene some of the guys discover a van on the island that doesn’t seem to run. So the four of them work together and, sure enough, are able to get that blue van to work once more. Here’s the response I wrote after I watched it last night:

Just… just the idea of them finding so much joy and freedom in making that car run. That’s what I fucking love about Lost. Yes, it’s a show about people trapped on a magical island that is inhabited by crazy French women, polar bears, god-like entities, a giant statue of a foot, and a monster made out of smoke, but do you know what? Lost was always so much more than that. It was about humanity at its core. People finding themselves. People being able to adapt to new environments. People finding so much joy in the simplicity of a walkman, molded glasses, invisible peanut butter, running water, and a beat up blue van. Lost is about being a human and connecting with others and just, fuck, it is the most beautiful show ever.

Was Lost a perfect show? No. Did it answer all the questions it set up? No. Were all the plot lines stellar? Good God, no.

And, okay, it was also about a group of people being brought to an Island to serve out a purpose that a god-like character had been setting them up for all of their lives, blah blah blah, the island was magic, blah blah blah, Bai Ling ruined that one episode, blah blah blah, but once you get past all of that can you truly see the show for what it really was.

I have never seen another show depict the trials and tribulations of what it’s like to be human better than Lost did. Behind the running from boars and trying to avoid getting shot with flaming arrows, there was more. There was always so much more. When people are put in life-threatening, dire situations, only then do they show their true colors. And that’s Lost. It was about survival. Humanity. Love. People being people. It was about people staring at the jaws of death and finding the will to keep on living. It was about people finding love where they least expected it. It was about self discovery. It was about redemption, forgiveness, mortality.

It was a show about letting go.

I could gush on and on about this show (or even write slam poetry about it), but I think I’ll draw this entry to a close. I plan on rewatching Lost once I’m done watching Shameless and Once Upon a Time, and the idea of reuniting with these characters and their stories after all these years warms me to the bones. People can hate on this show all they’d like, but there’s no denying that it is still a stand out show even after all this time.

Downton Abbey: Stand Out Characters

14 Jul

I started watching Downton Abbey yesterday and I am, so far, ridiculously in love with it. I’ve gone through six out of seven episodes of the first series thus far, and I’m anticipating starting series two tomorrow morning. The thing I love about this show the most is that it’s a wonderful ensemble piece, portraying varying classes back in the early 1900s. Here are ten characters that stand out the most, in my personal opinion (in no particular order).

1. Violet Crawley (Maggie Smith)

No need for explanation. Everyone loves Maggie Smith’s sass, and she has nothing but sass on this show.

2. John Bates (Brendan Coyle)

I liked Bates from the moment he was introduced. He’s a pleasant, good natured fellow, with an physical obstacle that is quite out of place for his occupation, which makes him all the more fascinating. His relationship with Anna is by far my favorite on the show. Not sure exactly if it’ll end up where I’m hoping it will, but I love watching them get on well together. His ethics are also pretty wonderful, as a whole.

3. Anna Smith (Joanne Froggatt)

Anna is probably my favorite character on the show, as of right now. She is sweet, earnest, and cares deeply about her friends and the family she serves. She has a great rapport with Gwen, Bates, and the Crawley sisters. She means well, above all else, and doesn’t digress in obnoxious drama, which is highly admirable.

4. Sybil Crawley (Jessica Brown Findlay)

My favorite of the three Crawley sisters, Sybil shows great enthusiasm in the progress of women’s rights. She shows this by taking interest in the female staff’s aspirations and also through the way she herself acts and even dresses (her coming down in pants is a high light of this first series). She’s a lovely character on the show, and a great reminder that the times were most certainly changing for the better around this time era.

5. Carson (Jim Carter)

Gotta love Carson. The butler of the house, Carson is loyal and dutiful. While he (and Mrs. Hughes) are in charge of all the staff, I love seeing his personal relationships with them all and how he interacts with everyone. An especially tender moment between him and Mary Crawley won me even more for Carson. I’m also intrigued by the relationship between him and Mrs. Hughes. I doubt it will ever veer towards romantic, but I would really like it if it did.

6. Sarah O’Brien (Siobhan Finneran)

Just because a character is on this list doesn’t necessarily mean that I like them, it just means that they stand out and are serving the role they play on this show marvelously. Siobhan is wonderful at playing the conniving, bitter Mrs. O’Brien. One action she performed in the opening episode made me gasp out loud from its sheer cruelness. Almost every action this character performs leaves me fuming; a sign that an actor is playing their part extremely well. She’s a perfect coupling for…

7. Thomas Barrow (Rob James-Collier)

… Thomas, Mrs. O’Brien’s footman friend. If there’s anyone just as conniving, or even more so, than Mrs. O’Brien, it’s Thomas. Everything he does on the show is either for personal gain or to hurt the other staff he works with, be it William, Bates, or Daisy. While his characters drives me mad, I must say that Rob James-Collier is doing a fabulous job portraying him.

8.  Mary Crawley (Michelle Dockery)

Mary is a character I’m still waiting to grow on me. While this is an ensemble miniseries, it is pretty obvious almost all the action circulates around her and that if there were a main character, she would be it. Her character does definitely stand out amongst the rest, but as of right now I find her pretty self indulgent and, well, greedy. Both her and Edith tend to get on my nerves equally, which is why Sybil shines so much more in my eyes.

9. Gwen Dawson (Rose Leslie)

It’s unfortunate that I went into this show knowing this character wasn’t going to last. This isn’t a spoiler, by all means. Anyone who’s an avid Game of Thrones fan, like myself, knows that Rose Leslie goes on to play the dangerous but lovely Ygritte in season two, so of course by the end of series one I’m expecting her to leave the cast (I can definitely see how it’ll happen to, and I’m glad how the writers have gone about it). That being said, it is unfortunate because Gwen is a truly delightful character. Her sisterly friendship with Anna is so much fun to watch, and she’s striking in the sense that she is very ambitious and determined.

10. Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens)

Why didn’t Mary jump his bones the second she met him? Look at those eyes. Matthew is my favorite male on this show. He is gentlemanly, simplistic in his needs (which is a lovely trait), and funny. He also has the bluest eyes I’ve ever seen. He’s like the love child of a young Carey Elwes and Matthew Goode. Yum.

15 Favorite Episodes of 15 Favorite Television Shows

8 Jul

When watching Breaking Bad yesterday (I’m halfway through season 3), I came across my favorite episode of the series thus far. This got me thinking about my favorite episodes of all my favorite television shows, so I came up with this list. I’ve seen these fifteen shows all the way through at least once (with the exception, again, for Breaking Bad) and consider them my favorite shows of all time.

Please keep in mind that these are all my personal opinions, and that opinions are subjective. So while my favorite episode may not be yours, that doesn’t make either of us right or wrong.

Here we go.

Arrested Development: Hand to God

Truthfully? I don’t have a favorite Arrested Development episode. Every episode is just as hilarious as the rest. That being said, I chose the episode ‘Hand to God’ merely based on the fact that it contains my favorite moment of the entire series.

Runners up: ALL OF THEM.

Breaking Bad: One Minute

Let me start off by saying: I am no fan of Hank Schrader. Throughout the course of the series I continue to find him to be the ultimate douchebag (his PTSD subplot is fascinating, but his general personality makes him a DB thus far). That being said, this episode provides (again, thus far) the most heartbreaking moment of the series in which Hank shares an elevator ride with his wife, Marie. What’s more, this episode proceeds to deal out intense moment after intense moment. It has a major character revealing cold open right before jumping straight into an intense fight, followed by an equally shocking, perfectly over the top speech given by Jesse (which won Aaron Paul the Emmy for Best Supporting Actor that year). The episode keeps its stakes high throughout, keeping every single character on edge in what they are doing, until it finally peaks at the very end in the most epically intense closing five minutes of any episode in this show. I won’t go spoiling it for anyone, but it involved me clutching my face and murmuring, “Just drive, you bastard. Drive away now!” Breaking Bad knows how to play to its audience with their shock and awe methods, and they rarely let you down with their ability to play up the tension.

Runners up: Peekaboo, Grilled, 4 Days Out

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Body

There’s basically next to nothing I can say about this episode that wouldn’t cause spoilers, so I’m gonna keep it short and simple. Here’s the DL: the use of zero music will give you chills, the absolute raw emotion will cause reality to sucker punch you in the gut, and in the course of a single episode not only does Anya deliver one of the most heart rendering speeches of the series, Buffy speaks the most heartbreaking line of the entire series as well. As someone who has gone through exactly what Buffy does in this episode, it tears at me just thinking about this episode. While I’m not sure when I’ll be able to bring myself to rewatch ‘The Body’, it goes without saying that this is the episode that has stuck with me the most of the series, and it is definitely the most powerful, best written, best acted, and best produced as well.

Runners up: Storyteller, Hush, Conversations with Dead People, Becoming Part 2

Community: Remedial Chaos Theory

It’s fair to say I’m not the biggest Community fan out there. That doesn’t mean that I’m not crazy in love with it. Oh no, it just means that there are some really rabid fans for this show, and while I’ve been watching it since the beginning and adore it to my heart’s content, I’m definitely not the most rabid of the fans. However, this show is one of my favorites, and last season’s ‘Remedial Chaos Theory’ surpassed every other episode for me. When it comes to taking a film genre, a theory, or, heck, even just an idea, Community manages to go above and beyond just about every single time, and ‘Chaos Theory’ is definitely the cream of the crop. Offering six different alternate realities in the case of one of the gang going to pick up a pizza, the show displays their powers of comedy and intellect when taking several story lines and finding multiple ways to reveal them differently in each story arch.

Runners up: Critical Film Studies, A Fistful of Paintballs/For a Few More Paintballs Mores, Intermediate Documentary Filmmaking, Basic Rocket Science, Advanced Dungeons and Dragon

Doctor Who: The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances

I’m an odd Doctor Who fan. I prefer Eccleston over Tennant and Smith, I don’t understand everybody’s great love of the episode ‘The Girl in the Fireplace’, and I will never understand why there is so much Martha Jones hate. Even so, I am a passionate Who fan and it’s still nearly impossible for me to choose a favorite episode. After much debate and consideration, I think I’d have to go with the two part arc of ‘The Empty Child’ and ‘The Doctor Dances’ in season one. It’s a chilling plot, and will change your entire perception of gas masks for the rest of your life. Not to mention the episode introduces the infamous Captain Jack Harkness and offers some wonderful Doctor/Rose moments. (Cutting it close for first was ‘Vincent and the Doctor’, which has positively the best ending to any Doctor Who episode.)

Runners up: Vincent and The Doctor, Blink, Rose, Doomsday, Human Nature/The Family of Blood, Bad Wolf/The Parting of Ways, The Stolen Earth/Journey’s End, The Girl Who Waited

Firefly: Out of Gas

Oh man. This was a difficult one. I was torn between ‘Out of Gas’ and ‘War Stories’, since both episodes have such rich, compelling plot lines. In the end, I decided to go with ‘Out of Gas’, seeing as I’m probably biased on ‘War Stories’ since I can’t say no to a Wash-centric episode. ‘Out of Gas’ is a wonderful episode because the fans finally get to see how the crew came together, along with just how much Serenity means to Mal. It’s a fun episode, but also one that borders on tragic. Plus Alan Tudyk with a mustache is always a ridiculously good thing.

Runners up: Our Mrs. Reynolds, War Stories, Jaynestown, Serenity, Objects in Space

Frasier: The Ski Lodge

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Frasier is the smartest, funniest, sharpest sitcom with a laugh track that ever was. ‘The Ski Lodge’ is an episode where Niles, Daphne, Frasier, Frasier’s current boa, and a ski instructor travel up to a cabin, all under the impression they’re gonna get laid. The only problem is, they’re all mixed up about whom will be sleeping with whom. A top-notch script with impeccable humor. (Honorable mention: the episode ‘Three Valentines’ simply for Niles’ seven minute ironing fiasco, which is one of the most brilliant comedic pieces in television history.)

Runners up: Mixed Doubles, Goodnight Seattle, Something Borrowed Something Blue, The Ski Lodge, Three Valentines, The Proposal

Game of Thrones: Winter is Coming

Truthfully, I’m a much bigger fan of season one of Thrones. I hadn’t read the book series when I watched the first season, and I was so captivated that I watched all the episodes in a little over twenty-four hours. Season two was wonderful, but didn’t hold my attention quiet as well as season one did. I’m positively in love with the first episode of the entire series, ‘Winter is Coming’, because I think it does such a good job setting up the show and introducing all the characters. Plus it may very well be the only time all of the characters are somewhat remotely happy. Not to mention the ending of the episode, which is an amazing hook to draw fans in.

Runners up: A Gold Crown, The Pointy End, Baelor, Blackwater

How I Met Your Mother: Slap Bet

The major problem with How I Met Your Mother is, unless you’re completely invested in the characters and their stories, you’re not going to find it funny. Lucky for me, I’m incredibly invested in every single character and in love with all of them, even Ted (whom the internet has decided to hate, apparently). For a fan favorite, you can’t go wrong with ‘Slap Bet’, seeing as it contains two of the best jokes in HIMYM run. It’s got both the birth of Marshall and Barney’s slap bet, along with Robin’s retro “Let’s Go to the Mall” music video. (Honorable mentions go to ‘Best Burger in New York’ which I credit, to this day, for gifting me with my ultimate love of hamburgers.)

Runners up: Sweet Taste of Liberty, Showdown, Slapsgiving, Best Burger in New York, Bad News

LOST: Finale

When it comes to the LOST series finale, people either praise it or loathe it; there is no in between. Not only were people upset with questions being left unanswered, but a crazy amount of people seem to get very confused about the Finale and don’t fully understand it. It leads fans to say such idiotic things like: “I can’t believe they were dead all along.” Look. I know I said no spoilers. But no. They weren’t dead all along. You’re just dumb. The ‘Finale’, to me, is the perfect wrap up to a perfectly imperfect show. It tied up loose ends with characters in the flash sideways, it has an absolutely gorgeous monologue delivered by Christian Sheppard, and some of the most emotional moments of the entire series. The very end of the episode takes the cake though, as the character of Jack Sheppard reacts the opening moments of the series, only backwards. If you say that doesn’t bring a tear to your eyes then you’re not a true LOST fan (sorry, but I calls ’em like I sees ’em).

Runners up: Walkabout, Constant, Dr. Linus, Ab Aeterno, Pilot, Confidence Man, Greatest Hits

Mad Men: The Suitcase

You can’t get any more cliché than saying, “Oh yeah, ‘The Suitcase’ is totally my favorite Mad Men episode,” but the fact is it’s a stupendous episode. Pam and Don have the most dynamic relationship of the series, and watching them interact is always a treat. It’s the only episode of Mad Men I had to go back and rewatch because it was THAT good. Why Elisabeth Moss is Emmy-less is still a wonder.

Runners up: Shut the Door. Have a Seat, The Phantom, The Other Woman, The Beautiful Girls, Nixon vs. Kennedy, Smoke Gets In Your Eyes, Commissions and Fees

Modern Family: Family Portrait

Okay, I admit it, ‘Family Portrait’ is number one specifically for the pigeon scene matched with Cameron’s singing. That is the high light of this shows entire run. I mean, every episode is hilarious and perfect, but nothing beats watching a grown man try to take down a pigeon with a tennis racket.

Runners up: Virgin Territory, Dude Ranch, Fizbo, The Kiss, Halloween

The Office: Business School

I guess it should come as no surprise that all my favorite Office episodes come from the first three seasons of the series run (with the exception of ‘Michael’s Last Dundies’, ‘Goodbye Michael’, and ‘Garage Sale’, all from the seventh season. Say what you will about the more recent seasons, the show did it right when they had to write Michael off). You’ve gotta admit, The Office was in its prime back in the day, and no episode more so than ‘Business School’. We get to see Michael pull his normal antics in front of Ryan’s class, Jim trick Dwight into thinking he’s turned into a vampire, and Michael and Pam share a truly tender moment. Plus there’s something so endearingly funny about Meridith’s head and a bat being inside a plastic garbage bag together.

Runners Up: The Fire, The Injury, Casino Night, Initiation, The Dundies, Ben Franklin, Gay Witch Hunt, Garage Sale, Michael’s Last Dundies, Goodbye Michael

Parks and Recreation: The Fight

Like a fine wine, Parks and Recreation keeps getting better with age. After a shaky first season, Parks and Recreation has continued to impress its audiences more with every passing season. That being said, nothing quite tops season three’s ‘The Fight’. The montage of all the characters talking drunkenly into the camera (or just laughing, a la Jerry Gergich) is the bees knees. Plus drunk Ron Swanson dancing while wearing April’s tiny hat? Yes please.

Runners up: Camping, Pawnee Zoo, Summer Catalog, Time Capsule, Andy and April’s Fancy Party, Flu Season

30 Rock: Greenzo

To be honest, I had to type “best 30 Rock episodes” into Google in order to fulfill this one. I’ve been watching 30 Rock from the beginning, but I’ve only ever rewatched a couple of the episodes. This show is one of my favorites, but the episodes have all kind of blurred together after all this time. When I kept trying to rack my brain of all the episodes of 30 Rock I love, I kept coming back to ‘Greenzo’. It’s from season two, which is when the show really found its footing, it’s got a great guest spot for David Schwimmer, a brief Al Gore cameo, and an out of control party at Kenneth’s. It also contains two of my all time favorite lines from 30 Rock: “Mr. Jordan, I saw you steal my sink” and “If the earth’s not here, where else is Greenzo going to dance?” (My runner up episode is ‘Lee Marvin vs. Derek Jeter’, but that’s simply based on the fact that Liz delivers a monologue that describes my perfect guy to a tee.)

Runners up: Lee Marvin vs. Derek Jeter, Tracy Does Conan, Believe in the Stars, Poppa Mia, Apollo Apollo, Everything Sunny All The Time Always

Roger Waters is Gay.

18 Jun

First and foremost, this has absolutely nothing to do with the lead member of Pink Floyd. Sorry to disappoint, but I know nothing about that dude. (Plus I’m fairly certain he’s not gay.)

This entry has been something I’ve wanted to write about for a while now. I’ve never really had much motivation to start it, but sometimes something in your life happens and you are given that push you’ve been looking for. Suddenly you have to write a piece or you will just die inside; the words choking at the edges of your fingertips, aching to be written. That’s one of the things I love most about writing. You can go from zero to a hundred in a matter of seconds when it comes to motivation, simply because of a single image that you see or a single sentence that was spoken to you.

I called up my dad this morning, what with it being Father’s Day and all. I can’t remember the last father’s day I spent with my old man, so every year I see it as my civic duty to make up for my lack of presence in Portland by having a nice, lengthy chat with my him over the phone. We talked about the normal things: grades, moving into my new apartment, my brother taking him out for a Father’s Day dinner, my cat, OSF, my upcoming camping trip, etc. Then, somehow, we got onto a certain topic. I’m not really sure how it came about, seeing as my memory is incredibly short-term for things of this nature. I think it started when my father began talking about someone I went to elementary/middle school with wanting to host a class reunion. I went to the same Kindergarten through 8th grade school for nine years, where my entire class consisted of thirty students. Not thirty students per class in the grade, I’m talking thirty students in the entire class. Sure, a student or two would transfer out/in almost every year, but for the most part there were always thirty students there (I was part of the core twenty students who were there for all nine years). A reunion would be easy to accomplish, seeing as there are so few of us. Then, as my father and I talked about whether or not I might be in Portland for said reunion, if it were to happen, a name popped up. The name of the guy who I was insanely in love with from second grade until I graduated from eighth grade. We’re good friends with this guy’s family, so it didn’t strike me as odd that we were talking of him. Then my dad said gravely:

“I don’t know if you’ve heard the news…”

I, of course, instantly thought he was going to tell me that this guy’s dad died in a forest fire. Or his mom was bludgeoned to death by a toaster. Or his younger sister was trampled by a rhino. Or his even younger sister was killed in midst of a freak bungee jumping accident. I’m sorry, but when someone says “I don’t know if you’ve heard the news…” in a fucking grave voice, my brain instantly jumps to death. I should know better by now with my dad, seeing as he once called me while I was in a movie theater three times and then left me a voicemail saying “Hey, we need to talk…” in the most serious voice ever, and when I returned the call I learned that he only wanted to ask how I felt about being flown up to Portland to see a national touring production of Les Miserables. I had thought he was going to tell me our house had burned down. My father. The Michael Scott of my life through and through.

Anyway, I replied with the expected, “Um, I don’t think so. What news are you talking about?” and here is what my father then revealed to me:

“I don’t know if you’ve heard… it’s fairly recent news… I’ve only known a couple of months… but Roger Waters is gay.”

First of all, no. The great love of my youth is not really named Roger Waters. Just a pseudonym. A really awesome pseudonym. (Which I’ve now just learned is the name of the main member of Pink Floyd, which was probably tucked in the back of my subconscious when I choose this name, but fuck it, I’m sticking with it.)

Second of all, I freaked the fuck out.

I was flabbergasted; shocked out of my mind. Gay? The boy I spent a third of my life mooning over was gay? What followed was a repetition of the phrases “What?!” and “You’re joking me!”, while also throwing in a couple “Not that there’s anything wrong with being gay!” phrases, to let me dad know that I wasn’t trying to be judgmental of his orientation. My dad went on to explain a bit how the news had come out and it was still a new development, which I listened to… But… Roger Waters… gay? I’ve been in contact with him for a while now and I see him at least once a year. Had the signs been in front of me all along? Had they been in front of me as a child too? I’ve always known I have ridiculously poor gaydar, but man, I’ve known Roger Waters for fifteen years now. I just really did not see it coming. At all.

This photo makes me want to jump into a TARDIS and warn the younger version of myself of this news. It also makes me want to commend my brother for being consistently more adorable than I was throughout our childhood.

You’ve got to understand what I went through with this guy. No, Roger Waters and I were never involved, although sometime in high school he once said he had a crush on me in the fifth grade (which I now somewhat call into question). I spent seven years being unconditionally in love with this kid. I wrote poetry for him in the sixth grade; beautifully awful poetry – which I still have – while I should’ve been listening to Mrs. Robinson’s final period geography lesson. I wrote up diary entries in the fourth grade that generally were along the lines of “I wish Roger Waters would be my boyfriend” or “Roger hugged me today! I’m happy!” I even made him my boyfriend in some of the (awful) fanfictions I wrote in my youth, but only for the fandoms that had no male present that I wanted my OC to be with (here’s looking at you, Star Wars). There have been many a summer spent with this kid and many vacations gone on together with our families (spring breaks in Palm Beach or Bend, summers in Mexico or Seaside, you name it). The first time I ever danced with Roger Waters at one of our many school dances was in the sixth grade to Kelly Clarkson’s ‘A Moment Like This’, which you might think is weird that I can still recall after all these years, but that’s how momentous it was for me at the time. The first sex dream I ever had? Roger Waters and me. Of course, it was the most incorrect sex dream that’s ever taken place, as my fifth grade mind didn’t fully comprehend what else happens once two people were naked and in bed together. Then for months and months, in the sixth grade, I listened to the Les Miserables 10th anniversary edition of Lea Salonga’s ‘One My Own’ and sobbed, all because Roger Waters was dating Angelica  Putcelli (fake name as well) and not me. My little sixth grade heart could not take the idea of Roger Waters holding hands and sharing Baskin Robins ice cream with some other girl after school who was not me. And maybe, even after all these years, Roger Waters would still sporadically cross my mind and I would think to myself with a smile, “Wouldn’t it be the kicks if he and I ended up together someday? After all this time?” I hope you now don’t think I’m over exaggerating when I say that this guy, from age seven to age fourteen, was my world.

All of this equals out to why, after finding out from my dad, I went to Roger Water’s Facebook page and started yelled, “WHY COULDN’T YOU HAVE JUST TOLD ME WHEN I WAS TEN?” And of course he couldn’t have told me when I was ten, because he was also only ten. It’s not fair for me to jump to conclusions about his knowledge of his own orientation at the time of elementary/middle school, but it’s just… it’s just frustrating.

And up to this point you’ve probably thinking, “Chill the fuck out, Julia! You haven’t liked this guy for eight years. What’s wrong with him being gay?” There’s nothing wrong with him being gay and while I haven’t liked him in years… well… you see, lovely readers…

This is not a first time experience.

I have fallen for many a gay male, which was something I often joked about throughout high school, but you see, in the last year it has gone from a hilarious coincidence to something that is just plain fact: I am attracted to gay men. Not all gay men, mind you, and the attraction tends to end once I learn that they are gay, but it has happened far too many times for it to be just a comical coincidence. Maybe my mistake is unsuspectingly falling for guys who are involved with theatre because, as much of a stereotype as it may be, you can’t deny that there aren’t a lot of really attractive, funny, amazing gay men who do theatre. Not counting Roger Waters, in the past I have fallen for nine gay males, all of which are involved with theatre. Roger Waters is the first crush to ever turn out to be gay that is not actively involved in theater, so I guess that’s…. new?

Roger Waters was also the first guy I was ever in love with. Legitimately. A crush that lasts for seven whole years? Even to this day the longest crush I’ve ever had has been only a couple years. Let’s just say there were a lot of deep emotions when it came to my feelings for Roger Waters, or at least as deep as an eighth grader can get. Looking back on every crush and infatuation I’ve ever had, I really think only four crushes have been actual love, and Roger Waters was clearly the first one.

The thing about that though is, the third crush I ever fell in love with? Yeah. He came out to me a little over a year ago. When he did I made it very clear that I supported him and still wanted to be his friend, but the guy had taken me out on couple dates several months back when I had asked him out initially. As happy as I was for him finally coming out of the closet, it still felt a bit like a slap in the face to have been led on in the first place.

But let’s not stop there. Know what else? My first two celebrity crushes that I ever had when I was in the second/third grade? Nathan Lane and Lance Bass. How many eight year old girls do you know of that have crushes on Nathan Lane? None, that’s how many. I’ve had an abundance of other crushes over the years on gay celebrities, from David Hyde Pierce to Neil Patrick Harris, from Alan Cumming to B.D. Wong. The best crush I ever had on a gay celebrity was John Tartaglia, who I ran around sophomore year of high school telling everyone I was going to someday marry after I discovered Avenue Q, until Maddie Standish finally had enough and wrote on my Myspace wall, “You do know that he’s gay, right?” which incoherently broke my heart, because I guess I really thought I had a chance with him… which is dumb on very many levels. Also, John Tartaglia is a very obviously gay man. Oh silly, dumb, fifteen year old Julia. You make me cry laugh.

“Screw you all! You can keep Justin Timberlake and Jack Dawson!” eight year old Julia yelled from the tire swing set on the Holy Family playground. “I’m way too busy crushing on the middle-aged gay man who was in Mousehunt and makes for one sexy meerkat!”

Needless to say, I find it a bit unsettling that I’m initially so attracted to men that, in every way, are unattainable. I will repeat, I have nothing against gay men and I’m not saying that they’re using some form of gay magic to trick me into falling for them (although…), this is really something that makes me worried about, well, me. That I am so consistently falling for men who have no desire to be with me in the way I want to be with them. It’s happened so many times that it can’t be coincidence anymore.

So, that being said, let’s examine my relationship with the homosexual male.

Looking back on my life, I’m not exactly sure when the term “homosexuality” or “gay” entered my vocabulary. I’m pretty sure slash fanfiction was my introduction to gay culture, which is sort of a terrible way to be introduced (especially since the majority of slash I read in middle school was for Newsies and involved the guys having lots of really hot sex and… yeah, okay, that was really it). Actually, y’know, I think the episode of The Simpsons – I think there was a Santa Robot in it? –  where Homer has a gay friend might’ve introduced me to the idea of same sex relationships… which actually, y’know, isn’t the worst introduction ever. Think about it. Homer freaks out when he realizes his friend is gay, but in the end comes to terms with it and is totally fine with his friend’s orientation. For all I know, Simpsons could be the very reason I’ve never been homophobic. Thanks, Matt Groening, for making me a well rounded person! (I guess my parents, who are/were the most tolerant people I’ve ever known probably had a hand in it as well… but screw it. I’m just gonna chalk it up to Matt Groening.)

What I do know is that by the time I reached high school I thought gay men were the bee’s knees. This probably came from all my hours of watching Will and Grace after school, which then led me to believe that every gay man was exactly like Will or Jack. (I actually remember my brother going on a long spiel about how I was going to grow up and live with David Hyde Pierce, which resulted in him saying “He’ll be the Will to your Grace!” a lot.)  I became obsessed with the idea of having a gay best friend someday when I was in high school, and I talked about it nonstop. Needless to say, I was a strange teenager, and when I grasped an idea I would not shut up about it, so if you knew me in high school chances are my perception of gay males was a bit… terrifying.

I mellowed out in college and, while I never did gain a gay best friend (unless there’s something you’re not telling me, Nick!), I have gained plenty of gay friends. I do not, as I would have in high school, obsess over their orientation and drag them to go shopping with me, because I understand now that they are people and I cannot mold them to fit an idea, or, rather, a stereotype. Not every gay man is a Will, and not every gay man is a Jack. I even know some gay men that I find positively unpleasant, which probably would’ve blown fourteen year old me’s mind. I also learned that one of my cousin’s was gay about two years ago, which then resulted in me being grumpy as all get out with my family for leaving me to figure it out on my own. I am, as always, the last person who knows anything in the Allegretto family.

That being said, why is it whenever a guy in a TV show is introduced as gay he becomes my favorite character? Why do I always go on about wanting a gay son someday? And why am I so attracted to gay men?

Firstly, I think the reason gay characters in TV shows tend to be my favorites are because of how they’re written. Or at least how they were written in the shows I watched throughout high school. They’re usually sassy, funny, and have interesting plot lines, and more often then not they’re made into the comedic relief of the show, which I tend to have a soft spot for. Before I had ever met, or been aware that I’d met, a gay male back in high school, I tended to think that every gay guy in life was like Marc from Ugly Betty, Jack Harkness from Doctor Who, or, again, Will or Jack.

As for wanting a gay son, well, I’ve also planned out wanting to have twin boys, a geeky daughter, and an adopted daughter. It’s more just me wanting to have a diverse, large, happy family.

And why am I so attracted to gay men? Well, I do have a type of guy that I like. I like guys that: can make me laugh, can hold intelligent conversations, are clean, have a great personality, and are more talented than myself. Every guy I’ve liked in the past, I don’t know, ten years or so has fallen into all of those categories. All other things I like in a guy (can sing, arm muscles, geeky, etc.) are perks, but not exactly something I’m specifically looking for.

I’d like to think the reason I keep falling for gay men is because of these qualifications and not because I’m subconsciously terrified of commitment, which I don’t think I am. All the gay males I’ve fallen for generally fit into these categories of what I look for in a guy (except one, who is the messiest motherfucker I’ve ever met). They just simply happen to be, in my mind, the makings for the perfect boyfriend, which sucks for me, but at least they’re going to make some other guys really happy someday.

And I just shouldn’t be angry at Roger Waters. I’m sure he spent a lot of times debating his sexuality, and it’s not like I didn’t struggle with my own throughout the second half of high school, only to get to college to realize I’m very much into guys. But those two years of high school were scary. I remember being terrified as to how people would react if they found out. Nowadays Emma Stone is the only Lady Love for me… well, drunk me would probably disagree, seeing as she tends to have a thing for making out with girls at parties.

Nothing says “good theatre” like watching two girls mack on stage.

The thing is, while I’ve fallen for many a gay male and had my dreams dashed many a time, I don’t regret any of it. Lots of great friendships have come out of these crushes. I’m good friends with over half of the gay guys I’ve liked in the past, and consider many of them very important figures in my life. The friend that came out to me a year ago, the one who I was in love with, is now one of my closest friends in the world. I’m really happy and content with how my relationships turned out with all of them, in the end, even if I was pretty miserable at the start.

And you know what? Roger Waters most likely did not know he was gay in elementary school, or even in middle school. Or maybe he did. We went to a Catholic school, where coming out probably was never an option for anyone that’s ever attended that school. But even so, holding any angry feelings towards Roger Waters is just not fair to him. And maybe being in love with Roger Waters for seven years of my life wasn’t a waste of time. Maybe just the expression of the love I had for him helped me grow as a person; helped me understand heartbreak, as well as understand what it’s like to love with your whole heart. Maybe that feeling of flying as I got to stand on the spokes of his bike and put my arms around his shoulders, which was the happiest moment of my life for the longest time, was a gift that I still cherish to this day. And maybe if thirteen year old me were present she’d want to slap the shit out of Roger Waters, but luckily twenty-one year old me (going on twenty-two in 2.5 weeks) is a little more mature than that. I’d very much like Roger Waters to be happy, for him to find love, and for him to be able to feel comfortable coming out to everyone that he knows. We shouldn’t have to live in a day and age where people still fear the repercussions of expressing who they do and do not love. Love is love. It’s the twenty-first century. We should know this by now.

So good luck, Roger Waters. You deserve every ounce of happiness in the world, and I sincerely hope you find it.

Now let’s just hope Breaking Bad‘s Aaron Paul isn’t gay and would like to marry me.