A Look Back At…

Welcome back! I was recently listening to Spotify, and a very familiar song came on the radio. It brought me back to my middle school days, and it made me smile. The same feeling happened again when walking about Barnes and Noble (the only bookstore left…that is an entry for another day) when I came across a book series that was a big part of my childhood. Same when I go through Netflix and come across a show that defined my teenage years.

Sometimes that feeling is warm and sometimes it makes me feel sad. Sad for the days that have passed me by. I am sure you have experienced that as well. Those old feelings that bring you back to happy and sad times.

That is when I decided I needed to write about these feelings. I am going to look back on those songs, movies, books and television shows that bring out those very strong feelings in me. I am going to look back with nostalgia but look with a much critical eye. It is amazing to think that we look back at certain situations or media with rose-colored glasses.

Sometimes to move on you need to analyze your past to move onto your future.

The first topic to be discussed on this journey into the past? Boy Bands. Oh boy. I grew up in the boy band boom, and it was a glorious ride.

Do you like to look back or do you just keep moving forward? Tell me below in the comments section.

Until next time, the randomness has ended. I hope you enjoy this new look into my nostalgic past.

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Are Teen Dramas Dead?

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Welcome back to the randomness! The holiday season is over. Everyone is trying to follow through those New Year’s Resolutions and get back to the routine. That is what I am doing this month. So, let’s begin!
Over the course of the holiday season, I have become obsessed with watching Beverly Hills 90210. A teen show that was on the air for ten years. It follows the Walsh family as they try to navigate the 90210 world. The show is much more detailed than that, but it is addicting. Even worse? It got me thinking.

What happened to the teen show?

Watching this show that dominated the 90’s television landscape reminded me of the teen shows that I watched as a kid. To start, I was part of The O.C. generation. The label whoring, rich is better, quirky style type of teen dramedy. I remember watching Dawson’s Creek on TBS in reruns, which was more of the folksy, 90’s complaint rock, and warm type of show. Beverley Hills is a mix of the two with some Melrose Place stingers mixed in. I will not lie; One Tree Hill is in there too but much later on. I did not get into that show until college. Regardless, I remember those types of shows fondly. They were a big part of my childhood, teenage and early twenties.

What do teens have to watch now? This question came up when I was talking with my good friend Jamie. My guess was MTV. Teen Wolf, Awkward and Faking It seemed like a typical teen dramedy. Except they are not. They are genre pieces. They include issues teens are facing today but with a slant.

The CW (former WB) is something my friend threw out there. The CW is the new WB. So, they would be teen show central. Umm…no. Yes, the shows tend to be around teenagers and early 20-something, but again they seem to be genre specific. Jane the Virgin is 20-something with a family twist. I-zombie is genre based (zombies…duh), and The Flash is straight up superhero genre.

The shows on the CW do not reflect what I watched on the WB. The WB was the place that teen went to when regular network television (Cable was not that big yet) was too boring. It reflected what we were going through as teenagers growing up in a turbulent era (every teenager has a turbulent time, but I got to live through 9/11 and the stock market crash of 2008). The CW does not have those types of shows anymore. They are targeting specific audiences and selling to them like mad, and it is working.

Which lead me to ask a new question.

Do we even need the traditional teen show anymore?

Each generation has its struggles. Some never change (pimples, mean girls/boys and SATs) while others do (social media bullying, over-sexualization and constant scrutiny at every turn). There could be teen shows written about the new struggles, but they are not. Which leads me to think that teens do not need that type of show anymore. They do not need to be force-fed lessons the way my generation had. Hiding those lessons through superhero shows or shows about accidental artificial inseminations seems to work better than talking about an issue straight out.

Maybe that works better because constant messaging from brands, their friends and their families has made that teen bracket harder to reach. Television shows have to be subtle and hide the lessons in genre specific ways.

Is that a bad thing? No. Not at all. I just long for the days where I could relate to a character’s struggle flat out. Now I notice that I cannot relate as easily since my time worrying about the pimples on the face was secondary to saving the world.

I guess I long for the simple times since things are not so simple anymore.
What do you think? Do you think the teen show still exists or is it dead? Tell me below in the comments!

Stick around because tomorrow I will be listing the top three teen shows everyone should see once in their lifetime.

Until then, the randomness has ended. I hope you enjoyed!

New Years Resolutions: TV Junkie Style

 

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picture from academics.cedhd.umn.edu

 

Welcome back! It is officially that time of year everything is brand new. Not only is it a new year but a new set of possibilities. To help reach those possibilities we make resolutions. Resolutions to keep us on track. Something to help us make the most out of the New Year.

Oh please. Like any of the above is true.

Sure. It is a new year. New possibilities. However, resolutions are as useful as ice on a road. You start out feeling confident just to slip and feel sorry for it.

That does not stop us from making them, though. Therefore, here are my New Year’s resolutions…for social media. I will more than likely break them instantly. I blame the Kardashians.

Resolution #1: Will Not Subtweet Hate

I have a tendency to make passive aggressive comments about a television show or actors on a television show. It is not nice, and I would not want people to do that to me.

Resolution #2: Will not Mock Television Writers on Twitter

Kind of like the first one. This applies more to soap opera writers. I am on a break, but I watch Young and the Restless at some point I will say I can write better than these people can. I do not know how complicated the process is or what had happened from outline to screen. However, seriously Young and Restless. You need to step up your game. You have managed to piss off my grandma who has been watching from the start. That is a genuine talent there.

(Damnit. I already broke the first resolution…in blog form)

Resolution #3: Will Not Get Sucked in By Tumblr Drama

I think everyone has had this happen to him or her. An actor says something stupid or a show plot is controversial, and Tumblr reacts…usually dramatically and in numbers. I’ve been caught up in a lot of dramas that ultimately does not matter.

Here is a thought. Let people like or give an opinion, and you can agree to disagree. Sometimes people will never agree. However, we can learn to be civil and learn to stay in our fandom corners.

Resolution #4: Don’t Be Afraid of Reality Television Love

I am admitting something here. I LOVE reality television. I understand a lot of it is set up. I know that editing has changed people’s actions. I understand how junky it is.

I still love it. However, in social media world it is not cool to like reality shows. I usually tweet or Tumblr ironically about reality shows while secretly enjoying them.

Not anymore. I will be loud and proud with my love for reality shows. Excluding that comment in the opening paragraph of this entry. It is not January 1st yet people!
In reality (ha), it is ok to love something that isn’t considered smart. Sometimes everyone needs a guilty pleasure. That is one of mine.

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I have so many personal resolutions, but those are my top resolutions for social media/pop culture discourse. I think one thing we all can resolve to do?

Be nicer to each other.

Happy New Year and I hope you can follow through on all your resolutions in 2016!

Until next time, the randomness has ended. Hope you enjoyed.

The Awkward Between Week

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Welcome back! How are you doing? Are you still recovering from the holiday season? Getting ready to go through it all again on New Years? Can you believe it is almost 2016? It is as if 2015 flew by. Everything seemed to rush by without me even noticing. All those new ‘toys’ I have gotten on Christmas are starting to lose their shine. Television is a bit weird, no new episodes, but no specials to air either. One can only make so many ‘Year in Review’ specials.

I think during that ‘awkward between week’ about these things. Even as a kid, the week between Christmas and New Years Eve was always weird. We had this great build up to Christmas and now we are supposed to come down from that. We get a week (usually. Most people just go back to work but for the sake of this entry let us pretend shall we?) to get ready for the next big blowout that is New Year’s Eve.

How do you come down from any holiday? It is odd and that between week just proves that.

I usually catch up on movies. I catch up on television. However, one can only do that for so long.

I don’t know what else to do.

What do you do during that awkward between week?

Tell me below. I need some suggestions.

Until next time, the randomness has ended. Hope you enjoyed.

Merry Christmas and Happy Movie Watching!

Welcome back! It is Christmas Eve. I am not going to lie. I’m writing this a month early. I am not sure how anyone is feeling or what is happening around us. All I know is on this day I am usually cleaning the house, helping cook Christmas Eve dinner and watching some of my favorite Christmas movies. So, I decided to talk about three of my favorite films. Also, guess what? They aren’t Hallmark related! High fives all around people! Anyway, let us begin!

White Christmas(1954)

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This one is a given. I LOVE this movie. I LOVE the musical that I got to see in New York one year. I love the idea of the film, the songs, and the sets. The idea that Christmas isn’t about making money or worrying about your problems. It is a good time to remember that other people are having a hard time too. Some have it worse off. Sometimes being nice goes a long way.

I wish I could see this movie on the big screen than the television screen. I can imagine all those song and dance numbers would be fantastic on a bigger screen. I love how bright everything is in this movie too. It is magical looking. It is hard to explain why I feel this way about this film. I just enjoy the plot (even though it has been done to death), and I enjoy how it makes me feel. It is like the ultimate Christmas comfort movie. It never fails to make me smile even when I feel like I can never be happy again.

  Remember the Night(1940)

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Not too many people know about this Christmas story. Mostly because it is not marketed as a Christmas tale. This movie has Fred MacMurray (of My Three Sons Fame) and Barbra Stanwyck (if you don’t know her…get out) playing a district attorney and criminal spending Christmas at his family’s farm and falling in love. To delve deeper, Stanwick as the thief goes with MacMurray, the district attorney, to his family Christmas because her trial was postponed. Not wanting her to spend Christmas in jail he takes responsibility for her and brings her home for Christmas. The two start to fall for each other making it much harder to bring her back for her trial. I’m trying not to give anything away, but you have heard this tale before. It is not an original story (Lifetime and ABC Family have done this plot many times) but it is not about the plot for me.

It is about the chemistry between the two leads. They go from complete disdain for each other to true love, and you buy that journey. The two leads have this incredible chemistry that sells the story. Also, the funny family living on his farm gives some nice comic relief to a story that gets pretty sad.  I will not lie to you; this is not a happy Christmas movie. Back in the day, movies didn’t shy away from the unpopular ending.  One thing Lifetime managed to fix in their version. Even if this movie breaks my heart, I watch it every year to enjoy the leads chemistry, and I secretly hope the movie changes their ending. Randomly. I know. I’m a nerd.

A Christmas Story (1983)

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Yes. I know everyone has seen this movie more times than they can count. For as long as I could remember TBS has been running the 24-hour marathon of A Christmas Story. I remember having it on as background noise on Christmas day. I remember watching it carefully. I remember not caring it was on. Either way, it is a big part of Christmas for me. This is the final Christmas movie I watch. Yes, we do have that week before new year’s and people still watch Christmas movies through that week but to me, this movie’s marathon is the final hurrah.

I have watched this movie as a kid. I watched as a teenager and as an adult. My opinions have changed about this film as I have grown up. I sided with Ralphie and his quest for the perfect toy as a kid. I couldn’t stand anyone of them when I was a teenager. Finding both sides annoying. Then as an adult I find myself understanding what the parents are going through during the movie, and I know and love Ralphie’s journey.

That is why I love this movie. It is generational. The meaning of the film can change depending on who is watching. One thing I think everyone can agree on is that it is a fun portrait of a family trying to get through another Christmas season. It never ages because all families still go through the same highs and lows this family does. Except we have more technology now. I can see Ralphie setting his parents ‘home screen’ to show the gun every time they logged on (instead of the magazine on the bed).

I love this movie because it has been part of my life, and I appreciate its impact on my Christmas Eve and morning.

These movies are my favorites (not my complete list but you can’t sit here all day). I can’t imagine Christmas without them on television or in my DVD player. Everyone has a favorite holiday film, and I like to think that those holiday films can make the season even brighter than anyone expected. I hope you have a great Christmas Eve, or if you don’t celebrate, I hope you have a great night.

Until next time, the randomness has ended. I hope you enjoyed!

Are Christmas Movies Dead?

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Ho Ho Ho! Welcome back to the randomness! Other than the obvious, what have I been thinking about a lot lately?

Are Christmas Movies Dead?

You are probably confused. You are thinking, you have written more about Hallmark Christmas Movies than anyone should. You have spent the whole month just talking about things that ultimately relate back to Christmas movies. What are you talking about?

Well, my dear reader, this question came to me while watching White Christmas. You know the film. Two guys fall in love with two girls while putting on a play for their retired general. It is lush, musical, bright and warms even the coldest of hearts.

While I think about this movie, I think about the most recent movie I have seen Love The Coopers. Another Christmas movie follows different members of the Cooper family on Christmas Eve. In comparison the film was dull (in color and topic), slow and less fun to watch.

What has happened to the Christmas film? What happened to these kinds of films that distract us from our problems for two hours. White Christmas lets go into a world where miracles can happen, and it can snow even when it won’t. Now, movies seem to take in all the problems of the world and display them back to us.

I know, as a society, we are much more open about problems and willing to talk about these problems. I’m perfectly fine with that. However, sometimes I need to take a break. Everyone needs a break from the real world. That is what movies are for! Especially movies set during the holiday season.

Hallmark does provide us with more holiday movies than we can handle, but something is off with those movies as well. It tends to follow the same formula of romance or over religious family drama. There is nothing lush or heartwarming about these movies. They are just there with their formulas and cutest covers of Christmas songs.

I wish Hollywood would try to make that type of movie again. I bet people would welcome the break from the real world. Even if the film is corny and full of dancing, I think people want to see that type of film again.
For now, are traditional Christmas movies dead? My final assertion? Yes. Mostly because, as a society, we have let that part of us die as well. That part of us that believes in the corny, lush, romantic, sweet world that could exist. It does not seem like it, especially these days, but on film, we can have that world. In two hours at a time.

Stick around because I will be listing my favorite traditional Christmas movies. See if your favorite is on the list!
Until then, the randomness has ended. Hope you enjoyed!

Wanted: Christmas Spirit

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image from Flicker 

Welcome to a special blog post! Here is where the randomness rears its head on this blog.

I just needed to send this question out into the universe.

Are you searching for Christmas spirit this year?

I have gone through waves of disappointment, embarrassment or complete indifference this past month as I thought about this question. I guess it is because my usual traditions are not working. Let me explain.

I live in New Jersey. If you live on the east coast right now, you might understand where I am going with this. It is usually quite cold this time of year. We even get ice and snow. However, this year we have record temperature in the wrong direction. The day I went into the NYC with my mom, it was close to 80 degrees outside. Looking at the Rockefeller Tree felt odd. Watching people skate in Rockefeller Rink in shorts was weird. Looking at the windows while sweating was weird. My trip to New York City with my mom to enjoy some windows, the tree, shopping and tea had gotten too weird. Did I say weird enough yet? No? Just making sure. I love going to have some tea while looking at beautiful lights but on that day, it felt like it was a typical spring day in the city.

Another tradition of mine, baking cookies, did not even help. I was indifferent to that. It was something that needed to be done.  I helped out. It felt like a chore instead of something that could be fun to do with my family. That didn’t stop me from eating my weight in cookies, but I digress.

I don’t know if it is the warm weather. I don’t know if my traditions that I adore are failing me. Maybe it is my age. I am getting older. I didn’t even have anything to put on a list for my family. I told them to get me anything for Christmas. I will be happy with anything.

I will say that I am excited for my family to open the presents I got them this year. I’ve noticed that over the month. I felt that twinge of Christmas spirit when I was wrapping the gifts I bought for my family.

Maybe, just maybe, the reason not all my traditions are putting me in the Christmas spirit is because they are juvenile. Not that being juvenile cannot be fun, but age seems to change how I approach the holidays now.

I would rather just spend time with my family doing something spontaneous than preplanned traditions that I have done so many times before. I like buying presents for them that reference inside jokes or something they have been looking at and haven’t bought for themselves. That gives me twinges of Christmas spirit. It warms the cold cockles of my heart to think about my family being happy. Not me, just my family.

How do you feel this holiday season? Are you full of the Christmas spirit or are you like me? Struggling to understand what went wrong this year?

In closing, I will say that I still have hope that Christmas spirit will find its way back to my heart. I may only be for one day, but one day is better than never happening at all.

Until Wednesday, the randomness has ended. Hope you enjoyed.

My Top Three Christmas Traditions

Welcome back! Tradition. I spent a long time talking about the importance of them especially during the holiday season. Traditions bring us closer to our families and are something we can look forward to when the holidays become too much for us to handle.

Here are three of my favorite traditions during this holiday season.

Lights

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Not my house but close 

My family is the real life Griswold’s. I am not kidding. Well, except my dad knows what he is doing. Since I was a little kid, Christmas lights were a huge part of my life. Started when my grandfather put four of those soldiers blow molds. After my mom had met my dad, that is when the extreme Christmas lights started.

It started small. Lining our little townhouse with white lights. Blow mold soldiers were outlining the lawn. Then grew to a bigger house that has become a destination in town. There are three houses on the house tour. You think I am kidding? One Christmas Eve a bus showed up at our house. A bus full of nuns. They were awesome sisters who loved Christmas lights.

Anyway, there is something about Christmas lights. I like how it brought together the whole neighborhood. I liked how it made our quiet suburban street into some bright and cheery. I like seeing the kids in the neighborhood stare at the lights in wonder.

No matter how old I get, I will always love Christmas lights.

Here is a version of our house in 2012. Ignore me yelling over the music. I have no chill.

Christmas Light Show (2012)

Baking Cookies

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If you know my mom, she isn’t the best cook. She loves to call for takeout or make reservations. However, when it comes to Christmas. She becomes one of the best cookie makers around. For two days in December, my mom and I would go on a cookie making frenzy. It is fun, frustrating and we gain a lot of weight eating cookie dough.

Even if the cookies come out horrible. Even if we end up eating a good amount of the cookies as we go. I still look forward to this tradition. It is a way make the house smell awesome for a day or two, and it is a way for me to bond with my mom. Yes, we are close but during the holiday season things usually get tense. Being able to listen to music, cook and eat some cookies together makes the holidays a lot more fun.

Television Specials/Music  

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Being the pop culture nerd that I am, I always look forward to the television specials and Christmas music extravaganza. It is tradition to watch A Charlie Brown Christmas. It is a tradition (generally new tradition) to watch Michael Buble sing classics with the Muppets every year. I love that there are baking specials and merriment on television for a whole month. I do not know if any of you noticed, but network television shows (in general) have gotten dark lately. To the point where I have been burned out from all the sadness. For one month, television gets a little brighter. I truly enjoy seeing that happen every year.

We all have our traditions. Things that warm the heart. Things we look forward too. I cannot wait to enjoy these traditions of mine, and I hope you enjoy all of your traditions this holiday season.

Until next time, the randomness has ended. I hope you enjoyed!

Crazy People and Traditions

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Image from: eagle.northwestu.edu

Welcome back! By now, I am sure you are completely sick of the constant Christmas movies, advertisements and people in general. I have another word for what people become this time of year, but you know, let us think of the children. It is not safe, and I need an adult. I am sure you are longing for January when things will get back to normal, and people go back to being normal idiots.

Even though I might be going slightly insane with all the holiday wear and tear, I find ways to combat those feelings. This is through traditions. I am the type of person that holds onto traditions tightly. To the point where if I do not get to participate in a tradition or a tradition does not go off as planned, I get annoyed. Angry even.

Why?

Traditions are something I hold dear. The one thing that holds me close to family, the seasons and good feelings. Traditions are what I look forward to when things go a little too crazy. Some traditions even keep me warm during times when everything/one is cold.

During this crazy holiday season, I think it is important to keep those traditions close. They should be the one thing that does not drive you crazy. It should make you look forward to this crazy season and build some warmth in your heart.

That is what traditions, especially this time of year, does for me.
Stick around because tomorrow I will be talking about the traditions that drive my family crazy but make me insanely happy.
Until then the randomness has ended. Hope you enjoyed!

How Spoiled Am I: My Favorite Toys

Toys. Toys are a big part of our childhood. Obviously. Some toys left a mark on us in a positive way and an even greater mark on our parents (sorry mom and dad! Mostly sorry to your wallets). I was looking for the next ‘big toy’ and couldn’t find any. However, I remembered some of my favorite toys that left a big mark on Christmas Day. Here are my top three favorite Toys!

Tickle Me Elmo

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Tickle Me Elmo was the toy when I was in the fourth grade. I have an adamant memory of waiting in line to leave school and everyone talking about it. I stood in that concrete hallway wondering if I would get an Elmo too.

I don’t understand why that damn toy was so popular. I look at it now with its 101 phrases and find it so creepy. However, that was the first toy I remember wanting more than life itself. I did get one that Christmas and I remember loving it with all my heart. For a few months. Then I moved on to another toy.

My Size Barbie

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There is a funny story about this particular toy. Every year around this time my family likes to tell it.

Apparently this was the ONLY toy I wanted that year. I would die without it. Which made things worse because my parents couldn’t find My Size Barbie anywhere. All they could do is put their names on many waiting lists. Once Christmas Eve showed up and there were no calls about My Size Barbie, my parents decided this was a moment to teach me that you don’t get everything in life. They put me to bed and got the presents out.

Then they got a call.

A toy store got a last minute shipment of My Size Barbie’s. If they managed to get there in a half an hour, they would get one. If not they were going to the next person. So, with that, my parents flew out of the house. Both in their nightclothes. Screw life lessons. They were getting that damn Barbie. They had to call my grandma to get over to the house just in case I woke up. They got there with ten minutes to spare. Got the Barbie. Wrapped it and placed it front and center under the tree.

That morning I opened the present, and  my parents said I let out the loudest scream and couldn’t stop jumping around. I was the happiest child that day. I had to play instantly with it. Making that toy the best toy of the year.

I remember that toy. It was pretty awesome. Too bad I treated it like all my other Barbie’s. Within a month, it was naked hanging out on the floor. My dad annoyed that after the drama I got bored with it within a month. Finding it creepy to see a naked Barbie in my room at all times. They ended up donating that toy, but I remember it fondly as do my parents but for different reasons.

Furby

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You thought the Barbie story was bad, wait until you hear the Furby one. I am sure you remember the Furby craze. Everyone needed to have this electronic gremlin. It was the biggest toy that year. I was exempt for wanting it. I wanted this Furby. My mom already told me that it was going to be hard to get one and that I might have to wait until the craze died down a bit. I was prepared for that to happen.

Christmas morning comes. I anxiously open each present, slowly understanding that I more than likely did not get a Furby. The last box came, and I noticed my dad was grabbing the camera. Why would he do that?

I opened the box carefully, and I could feel my whole body start to tingle.

A Furby was inside. I screamed and ran to call my best friend who had gotten a Furby as well.

Cut to my grandparents house. I opened presents there too. There were five boxes. I was distracted because I wanted to play with the Furby, but I opened them to make my grandparents happy. I opened each box so fast I didn’t notice that there was a familiar present inside.

Another Furby.

Let me say. I screamed. Hugged the wrong person and screamed again.

That my friends is a story about how spoiled I was as a child. Apparently my whole family was on the hunt for a Furby. Some wires got crossed, and I ended up with two.

I may have some hang-ups about my childhood, but I knew how much my family wanted me to be happy. I never forget that.

I loved these damn Furbies because they were a fun toy. They interacted with you, and I managed to be interested in it for a good year and a half. The My Size Barbie must be disappointed about that.

Those toys made Christmas a little more special. Sort of like how video game systems and cell phones make kids years too. Since I was a teenager, there hasn’t been a “Toy of the Year”. I wish we could bring that back. I wish kids got more excited about toys they can play with not only inside but outside too!

Until next time, the randomness has ended. Hope you enjoyed!