I had a feeling I could be someone, be someone, be someone… (Goodbye HBO’s Girls)

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After six seasons the polarizing television show, Girls, ended its run on HBO.  I’ve been watching since I day one.  I remember seeing the articles and the commercials and getting excited. I felt like I found a show that might relate to what my friends and I were going through in our twenties.  I wasn’t wrong.  The show did cover how different being in your twenties was compared to when our parents were in their twenties.

Sure, I didn’t always relate. I had a different life in my twenties (I’m 29 going on 30 in July).  I wasn’t running around New York City. I was trying to get my bachelors/graduate degree. I was tethered to my small-town world.  I was living vicariously though the show sometimes. I hated a lot of my twenties and man did I hate quite a few seasons of this show.

Wait.

I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me explain how I feel about this show now that we have a final episode.  I see this how as a character study.  We, as an audience, joined these characters at one point of their lives, stuck around for six years and then moved on.  We were never meant to see any final decisions. It was just a slice of life. We had six years with these people, and we know as much as they do.

That is what Girls was.

We are left with so many questions because life leaves us with so many questions. To tell you the truth I felt like everyone had a better ending than I expected.  My favorites, Shoshanna and Ray, got their happy endings (not with each other which surprised me).  Jessa is still looking for a reason for her existence, but she has a grounding source in Adam. Adam is grounded but can still be crazy with Jessa. They work together.  Elijah finally started to grow up by finding his own path.  Marnie, being the eternal optimist, is still searching but perfectly ok with that.

Which leads me to Hannah.  I’ve been seeing lots of posts saying that the show set a dangerous precedent by saying that the only thing to make Hannah happy was a baby. I didn’t see it that way at all. This character runs from everything. That is her own arc for the show.  She is always searching for something to make her stay.  Each season she would set her sights on something and the minute it doesn’t fit she ran for the hills. She was constantly looking for something to make her stay.  She found it in the one aspect of life that requires you stay.  She found it in someone she can’t leave behind. If that works for Hannah, good for her. It was time for Hannah to quiet her mind and just settle.

This show also covered the idea of friendships, female and male.  As much as we wish it were true, the television show Friends isn’t a great representation of friendships. I’ve had so many friends over the years. Some stuck around, and some have left. Some have left great memories, some make me angry, and some don’t even get to be remembered. Friendships are fleeting or forever, and that is ok. In fact, I’m convinced that my oldest friend, she won’t read this, Erin and I are a mix of Marnie and Hannah. Depends on the situation. We can go years not talking, but then if something comes up, we are back in each other’s lives. Sometimes it works out, and sometimes it doesn’t. Either way, we aren’t going anywhere, but we have to lead our own lives. That requires not talking for years, so be it. That is fine. That is our friendship. This show talks about that, and it is refreshing. It acknowledges that friendships aren’t meant to be forever. Those friends you make in college, or high school isn’t always going be there regardless of what those movies and books tell you.

Sometimes you need someone for a particular time, and that is ok. That is something people talk about in entertainment, but Girls did, and I will always appreciate that. Speaking of which, Girls was a show that I needed for a time.  Sure, I’ll come back and visit, rewatch my favorite episodes, revisit a few friends but then move on because that is human.

I’m very happy this showed existed, but I think it ended at the right time.  So, goodbye Girls. I appreciated our time together, but it’s time to move on.

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The Ranch: Still Waters Run Deep

The Ranch is a show on Netflix that appears to be a typical sitcom.  It is about a son coming home to a hostile father, a brother who still acts like a teenager and a mother who appears to hate everything in her life. The son is no different. In his time away trying to become the next football superstar, he hasn’t grown much either.

It has a bro-like comedy and lots of drinking, swearing and stupid republican versus democrat jokes.  The typical sitcom tropes we have seen a million times before. However, underneath it all, The Ranch has much more going on.

You know that saying? Still waters run deep? That would be a good descriptor for The Ranch.

All the characters in the show have their sitcom tropes attached to them. However, as the episodes go on, there is a profound sadness that comes from each character.

Bo Bennett (the father) is stuck in his ways, and because of that, he is being left behind. He claims he wants to be alone and doesn’t care about his family but deep down he cares.

Rooster Bennett comes across as someone who only does the bare minimum and has a frat boy sense of humor.  However, there is a someone who takes pride in the ranch and knows what he is doing. He just wants to be recognized for his work.  He was the one who stayed with the family, and he never gets any recognition for that sacrifice.

Colt Bennett is the son who left because he saw something better for himself. He also couldn’t stand his father.  He still believes it is high school and wants to relive those glory days.  However, he learns how much his family has sacrificed for him to leave town. Ok, Colt doesn’t have much of an arc except he is slowly learning the power of family and staying in his hometown isn’t a death sentence.

Finally, Maggie Bennett who is the typical hard ass mother who loves her sons and tries to love her husband.  She started her own business, likes candles and lives in an airstream because she can’t handle her husband anymore. She just wants more than that. She wants to travel and learn about different cultures. She intends to take that airstream from behind the bar and leave.

These characters all joke and snipe at each other because underneath they all want something different for their lives.  Bo wants to connect with his family but doesn’t know how. Rooster wants recognition for his work on the ranch. Colt wants people to know that he is growing up. Maggie just wants adventure.

All these characters want something.  Their still waters run quite deep.

I sincerely hope we get more episodes so I can see if these characters not only get what they want but what they need.

Love it or Leave it: Cristela

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Welcome back! We all have that show. The show that you adore and can quote at the drop of a hat. You love it, but you are the only one.  Everyone has one of those shows that just didn’t take off with the masses. We are left with a very limited series that you watch over and over again as they write an analysis on the internet. Probably on a blog.

Ahem…moving on.

This is what this Saturday series is about.  Taking those shows that had a very limited run and deciding if the show deserved better. After all, you may love a show, but after you analyze it, you can understand why it didn’t take off.

What are we looking at this week?

The ABC show Cristela.

Background

Cristela Alonzo was a standup comedian that got her start in 2003 after getting an office job at the Addison Improv in Texas. A job she got after her mother passed away. According to an audio interview with Latino USA, she started doing stand up to deal with her grief and talk about her family. She moved to Los Angeles where she found success on the road doing college comedy shows. Since then she has appeared on Comedy Central’s The Half Hour and numerous talk shows.

In 2013 she created her semi-autobiographical comedy pilot for ABC. After not being picked up for the 2013-2014 season, the show decided to shoot a pilot presentation and try again. It got a strong testing response from the test audience, and the show was picked up for the 2014-2015 season on ABC.

The series follows Cristela Hernandez, a Mexican-American law school student in Texas.  She works as an unpaid intern at a law firm while living with her sister, her husband, niece/nephew and her mother.  At work, she has her boss who is unintentionally racist, his daughter who seems to be the typical dumb rich blonde and a fellow intern who has a thing for Cristela (and vice versa).

Due to low ratings, the show was canceled after the first season aired.

Rank in Pop Culture History

The show was revolutionary. Cristela Alonzo was the first Latina to create, produce, write and star in a primetime comedy.

The show was met with mixed reviews. As the series went on the reviews of the show improved, some stating that the show has found its footing. When the show was being considered for renewal, many websites called it the model for what modern sitcoms should be.

Being put behind Last Man Standing didn’t help its chances considering the Last Man Standing audience was much different from what Cristela needed to succeed. The show was preempted quite a bit.

In fact, Cristela herself said:

“It was a multi-cam sitcom that SOMETIMES aired on Friday nights,” Alonzo wrote. “I say sometimes because a lot of times we were pre-empted for more important things like an Easter egg hunt happening in real time. Kidding. In reality, we were preempted for other things like a documentary on a parade and some other things I can’t remember. I think one night was a show about Christmas lights?”

The show wasn’t treated well.

Did Cristela Deserve Better?

I watched this show live. I LOVED it. However, as time passed, my memory got fuzzy. So, before I wrote this, I re-watched the series.

Yup. Still love this show. If anything it made me angry the show didn’t get a second season.

This show deserved better than it got. A million times better.  Trillion times better. Not only did the show have great characters and funny stories; it also had lessons that they didn’t beat you over the head.  Cristela had characters that I loved. The plots were funny, and it left you laughing and wanting to see more.

A lot of articles have said it better than me but I love the relationships Cristela has with her family and at the office.  They are not saccharine or downright mean spirited. The way she interacts with her family reminds me of how I interact with my family.  We love each other, but we don’t mind needling each other from time to time. It is how we show love. Yeah, you see that in sitcoms now, but the way Cristela did it felt more natural than the others.

Same with the people she worked with at the law office. They started out stereotypical.  The racist boss. The rich-bitch party blonde and the overachiever law student that will do anything to get to the top.  As time goes on, you find that the boss isn’t trying to be racist and actual believes and trusts in Cristela (I always thought that if the show went on he might have gone from boss to mentor). The boss’s daughter turned out to be smart but was afraid to try. She was starting to become good friends with Cristela. The other law student intern proved to be a great friend and her love interest (never got to see them truly shine).  Every character started out one way until we got to know them and realize there is much more going on under the surface. Much like life.

I honestly believe that the show should have been on Wednesday or Tuesday nights on ABC. The other diverse shows got their shot there but for some reason, ABC didn’t let Cristela shine. Putting it after a show a show that is quite conservative in their views would make it hard to gain viewership. Being on a Friday didn’t help either.

I’m hoping this show can find a new life on a different network or even online. I haven’t heard anything but a fan can hope.

Check the full season of Cristela out on Netflix. I HIGHLY recommend it.  If you want to check it out click below to buy the DVD!

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Until next time, have a great weekend.