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Hundredth Post…Self-Marketing, Self Exploration and Fixing the Broken

**the following is the speech I gave to my Marketing and Advertising course. Thought I’d post it here.

When I was in the fifth grade, I was going to marry Neil Patrick Harris. We were going to live in a mansion in Beverly Hills with our two children. Right across the street, my childhood best friends, Catherine and Amie, would live in their mansions with their respective husbands and children. Our families would be the best of friends and for a career, I would be an Emmy Award winning screenwriter having recently won an Emmy for having the number one comedy. I have a little bit of that for you tonight and I’d like to share with you that speech that won over my Barbie Dolls, Cabbage Patch Kids, Pounds Puppies and Care Bears:

“Oh my G-d, thank you so much for this honor. I really did not expect this. I thought the other nominees would totally get it…..their shows are amazing. Okay, so I’d like to thank my family, my husband and kids, the cast and crew, my friends and NBC….”

So why am I sharing this story? What’s the point?  

Obviously, there will be no love story for Neil and I. Catherine lives in Santa Monica. Amie lives in New York and I have yet to pretend I’m shocked about winning an Emmy for Best Comedy.

Dreams change and with the Self-Marketing of your dreams, so do you. So do I.

“People don’t change. If anything, you get more set in your ways as you get older. Not less.”


That’s a quote from author Sarah Dessen and while I adore her Young Adult fiction writing, I don’t adore this quote.  I would challenge this quote and say people do change. They change their dreams, their friends, their beliefs, their identities.  Every single day, people look at the broken parts of their life and make a decision to put the broken back together and to make that change because broken people don’t have to remain broken.

My career path has broken down at thirty eight years old.

It’s a dusty path littered with close calls, excessive emails, wasted money, two Masters Degrees in Marriage and Family Counseling and Elementary Education, discarded vision boards and snack wrappers that clearly point to the patterns of an emotional eater.

It’s an empty, blindingly bright road with the sounds of past employers echoing overhead and it’s lined with doors. So many doors, knocking, kicking, striking, punching, pounding on each one until the correct one opens.

It’s been seventeen years since my college graduation and I still have yet to experience finally knocking on the right door.

Maybe this door, the one I’m knocking on right now might be the right one.

I’m changing again.

I got my Masters in Marriage and Family Counseling in 2003. I tried working as a school counselor. I was twenty five and after a quick stint working as a script supervisor on what could possibly be considered the worst reality show ever called, Chains of Love. I had actually left my PR job because I thought this could be the right door. The show and I’m not lying was about six men chained to one woman or six women chained to one man. It was like Elimidate meets The Bachelor/Bachelorette but instead of someone not getting a rose, they were eliminated by being unchained from the group. I am not joking. I wrote down everything they said and after the show was over, I went back for that Masters in Marriage and Family Counseling.

Yet, being a school counselor was not the right door.

I remember two moments in particular where I thought another change was in order.

First was an eighth grader sitting in my office and I had to inform her that she would have to repeat the eighth grade. Her expression blank, she shrugged and seemed rather unaffected. I realized I was more upset than she was.

Second, was a six year old girl describing to me how she watched her father in the bathroom kill himself and she saw his body because she had been in the bathroom when he had pulled the trigger.

I brought it home. I cried. I wanted to do the eighth grader’s homework to hopefully change her circumstances. I wanted to go back in time and get that six year old away from that bathroom.

While I decided this may not have been the correct door, I took valuable tools that could help in any job, any field. I learned how to read people. Often times, what a person doesn’t say is far more important than what they do say. Knowing what the client really wants, knowing your audience is an essential skill for being an effective writer. It doesn’t matter if you’re writing a cover letter, an ad campaign, a book, a grant, a screenplay, a text, who are you writing it for?  

After getting my first Masters, I obtained a Masters in Elementary Education thinking this might be the better door. This led me to getting a teaching credential that would help me work with kids that have special needs. I’ve worked with students across the spectrum. I’ve taught life skills, behavioral skills, academic skills. I’ve worked as a Resource Teacher and an Educational Therapist where my job was to tailor a lesson to a student who needed more help. I wrote IEP’s where I needed to create learning goals, I assessed where students were in the learning process.

Yet, there was always a nagging doubt that this was not right. I love working with kids. I love understanding their minds. Kids don’t see hate. One of my favorite days in the school calendar year to work with children is when a school day falls on September 11th.

Why?

Because the kids I work with don’t remember it. Much like how November 22nd is just a day on the calendar for those of us not around in 1963, September 11th to today’s youth is simply a day on the calendar. That innocence, that excitement of just looking at everything for the first time or imagining a world bigger than them.

Hey, did I ever tell you about the magical jungle gym that’s at an elementary school in Encino? It’s quite impressive actually. It’s where the kindergarteners have recess. In that playground, there’s a jungle gym set that comes with the monkey bars and swings and slides…..and a steering wheel. Now, to the grown up eye, it’s a steering wheel that does nothing but not to the five year old mind. No, no, with the turn of that steering wheel…..they’re suddenly at Disneyland, at the movies, on a pirate ship, on a rocket ship. They’re ninja turtles, Elsa and Anna, Batman and Superman, Mario and Luigi. They’re princesses, superheroes, their imaginations take them to the ends of the Earth and beyond.

I tell this story to show that when working with the imagination of a child, the ideas, the marketing, the writing, it’s limitless. Math, Language Arts, science, history, they take the world, the messages they’ve taken from their screens and make them more than you can possibly imagine so if the imagination of a child is limitless….

Why are there so many limits for adults?

When did these limits get put in place?

When looking at job applications, there are limits. How many years experience? Degrees? Letters?

What happened to taking risks? To believing that a jungle gym could take you to the moon….if you just believed?

I never tell students how hard it is. I have been promised tickets to every conceivable awards show, concerts, New York Fashion Week, a Superbowl or two, anything because I don’t tell them the truth. I let them dream and believe with every fiber of their being that showing at New York Fashion Week is as simple as saying the words. When you’re under eighteen, you don’t need to know the truth just yet.

It’s the belief, that dream that you can marry a celebrity and get an Emmy that keeps kids going and keeps them believing they can accomplish anything. That no path is ever really broken when you’ve gathered the tools to fix anything.

I guess I should talk about the writing.

That’s another part of this crazy intense path of broken career dreams.

I wanted to be a writer and in college when a professor called my writing bubblegum, I knew immediately I needed to write and market myself to a younger crowd.

My senior thesis in college was a twenty two minute sitcom about six single friends that lived in Los Angeles called, Together.

Yes. I know.  Yes, you have seen that show before. It was called something else.

Now, I had no help on my senior project in terms of an advisor.  Professors looked at my production notes and went, “alright, well, it’s not really our thing but okay.” But I knew I had a formula that worked and not just ‘cause it was blatantly ripped off from a formula that was currently on the air at the time. Although, there’s a reason that formula works. People will always enjoy shows that remind them of hanging out with friends.

When I showed my film at 1a in the Pitzer College theater, it was a hit. The greatest compliment I got was from a kid who told me that he didn’t own a television and hated television but if my show was on the air, he’d buy one just so he could watch it and no, I did not tell him he could probably watch a version of it at 8 o’clock on Thursday nights on NBC.

Years later, I would stick to that same feeling of knowing who I was writing for when I rewrote Grease. I was working at a summer camp for kids with severe special needs. These were and are kids who cannot function in a general education environment. They have autism, emotional disturbance, they are the kids that are unfortunately cast aside and considered forgotten, their voices silenced because they have a disability that diminishes their credibility. I made it appropriate for teenagers, rewrote the songs, added funny lines and I had people say to me, “I think you made it too hard for them” or “oh, they need it simpler” and I said they didn’t.

They hit every note, remembered every line and were phenomenal actors. They didn’t need it simplified. They didn’t need limitations. They already had limitations and this performance was like their version of taking a jungle gym to the moon.  It doesn’t matter what obstacles or hurdles they have, if you know you have the tools, limits mean nothing.

While getting my Masters Degrees and working in education, I have never stopped writing.

I wrote spec scripts for Lizzie McGuire, Sex and the City and of course, Friends. I put them in mailing tubes and put Hershey kisses in them with a note that said if you don’t enjoy the script, enjoy the chocolate.

From a Fan Fiction story I wrote, I wrote a Young Adult fiction called Choose about the aftermath of a school shooting. It received five manuscript requests. I am currently working on another fiction story about addiction. I am fascinated by people who manage to succeed even when their lives have broken down.

I have written about dating and relationships for Thrillist and about being hearing impaired on HelloGiggles, I have written for other people’s blogs and created my own. While my path is crooked and a little broken, it’s fixable because the tools I’ve gathered have made me an asset to any job. I’m also hearing impaired so I am resourceful. If you’re lucky enough to have an impairment in middle school, it’s kind of a required skill.

Look, if MacGyver can open a locked door using dental floss, a piece of paper and a vacuum cleaner, I can certainly have a successful writing career with a BA in Media Studies and two masters degrees.  With the tools I’ve gathered, I’ve learned nothing is ever truly broken. There are more doors to be knocked on and eventually the right one will open.

Will it be yours?

 

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Open Letter to People Who Keep Asking About a Friends Reunion

Dear People of Earth,

In yet another article, this time in Variety and while promoting his play End of Longing, Matthew Perry stated that he has a recurring nightmare about a Friends reboot that no one watches. As a fan, I am getting a little annoyed at the constant question of whether or not there should be a Friends reunion. I can’t even begin to imagine how annoyed the cast is getting with that question.

So, I am here to explain the reasons why we DO NOT need a reunion show and/or reboot of Friends. Here are my reasons, please read them and discuss it with your friends and/or family….or don’t do that. Whatever.

Everyone involved in Friends has said they don’t want a reboot. 

Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer have all said they don’t want a reboot or reunion episode. They have said it in pretty much every interview where they’re asked which is pretty much every interview. Matt LeBlanc even joked once that no one would want to see an episode of Friends where Joey and Chandler get prostate exams together. Each of the cast has said in every way possible that they do not want to do it and not only has the cast said it but the creators of the show, Marta Kauffman, David Crane and Kevin Bright, have shot down any thoughts of a reunion. So with the entire cast and the executive producers saying no then maybe it just should not be done. If they did do it, it would feel forced. It would almost feel like a “money grab.”  It would be like they just did it so people would stop asking and it wouldn’t feel genuine given how many times they have all said there’s no way it’s happening.

Yes, Matthew Perry can crack a joke. So what else is new?

Matthew Perry playing a sarcastic funny guy. Jennifer Aniston playing a spoiled girl next door. Lisa Kudrow playing a ditz. Matt LeBlanc playing dumb. Courteney Cox playing a mom character. David Schwimmer playing a lovable geek.

Been there. Done that.

Those actors can play those roles. They can play them unbelievably well. They spent ten years playing them. Why do I need see it again?

I loved watching Jennifer Aniston playing a self-absorbed drug addict in Cake or seeing Matthew Perry playing a possibly sociopathic politician in The Good Wife and The Good Fight. They’re actors. Sure, they’re famous for a particular role and all six have gone on record to say how grateful they are and how everything that has happened in their careers has been because of Friends but I don’t really want to see them play a character I already know they know how to play.

I would love to see Jennifer Aniston do more indie films or see another season of The Comeback with Lisa Kudrow. Matthew Perry said in that Variety article that he wants to play dark and edgy, so maybe he could pop up in a darkly funny show like Shameless.

It’s crazy but it might just work?

All I’m saying is why force them to do the characters we know they already know how to play?  They’re actors….let ’em act.

I really don’t want to see Chandler and Joey get prostate exams together

The Gilmore Girls reboot worked because the show originally did not have a series finale so the Year in the Life reboot, despite its problems, worked because it finally had an ending.

Fuller House works because Full House was always a little cheesy and Fuller House sticks to the nostalgia which everyone needs. Especially now.

Arrested Development works because it’s about family and there will always be an endless supply of stories about family. Drama, laughter and the subtle chipping away of self-esteem and self-worth…..wait, what?

Anyway, Friends was about six people in a very specific time in their lives. We followed these six people from the ages of twenty-four to thirty-four even though the writers were very inconsistent about their ages. The show began with six single friends relying on each other for love and support. It ended with them starting families of their own. Monica and Chandler moving out of the apartment to the suburbs with their twins, ended things. Joey moved to Los Angeles. Ross and Rachel had Emma. Phoebe had Mike. They didn’t need each other as much as they had in their twenties.

So what could they possibly do?

I would even venture to say that it’s easier to do a reboot of a show where the main characters are family members rather than friends because friendships do change over time, family members you’re stuck with which leaves an endless supply of stories to tell.

Why does it need to be a show?

Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow, and Courteney Cox did a skit on Kimmel. Oh, and Lisa Kudrow and Jennifer Aniston did the celebrity curse off on Jimmy Kimmel as well.

Matthew Perry, Jennifer Aniston, and Courteney Cox did a skit together on Ellen.

Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow, and Matthew Perry all appeared on Courteney Cox’s show, Cougar Town. Jennifer Aniston also appeared on Dirt which was another show of Courteney Cox.

Courteney Cox appeared on Matthew Perry’s Go On and appeared on Lisa Kudrow’s Web Therapy and Who Do You Think You Are? which Lisa Kudrow executive produces.

Speaking of Web Therapy, not only did Courteney Cox appear on it but so did Matthew Perry, Matt LeBlanc, and David Schwimmer.

Courteney Cox and Lisa Kudrow played Celebrity Name Game together and Lisa Kudrow not only did Hollywood Game Night with Matthew Perry but was also interviewed by him when he filled in for Piers Morgan.

Finally, David Schwimmer also appeared on Matt LeBlanc’s show Episodes.

Add all of those appearances to the countless interviews done with any number of them together in the last twenty-three years and I wonder why we even need a scripted show in the first place?

These six actors play off each other and still play off each other so well that why couldn’t we just get Ellen or Oprah or Kimmel or Andy Cohen…..or me (hashtag wishful thinking)….to do an interview with them?

Sit them at a table like those Hollywood Reporter roundtables and let them go. Why does it need to be a thing? They all clearly still adore and love each other. There’s no need to see them as Rachel, Ross, Monica, Chandler, Joey, and Phoebe. We did for ten years. Let’s hear stories from Jennifer, David, Courteney, Matthew, Matt and Lisa. I’d much rather watch that.  I want to hear them talk about the projects they’ve done since then. I want to hear what they have to say, do they have thoughts about each other’s projects? Let them talk and see what comes up.

An interview would be far better than any scripted show could possibly be so maybe instead of trying to force something that it seems no one connected to show wants, maybe we should go in another direction?

Just a thought….
Luv,

me

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An Open Letter to Hollywood Darlings and Why It Makes Me Happy

Dear Christine Lakin, Beverley Mitchell and Jodie Sweetin,

Thank you for Hollywood Darlings and for bringing nostalgia back.

Thank you for the ultimate in fun nostalgia for all those kids in the 90’s who know how to sing the themes songs to Step By Step, 7th Heaven and Full House on cue.

Thank you for giving us a moment to escape which was the true essence of 90’s television and we need it more than ever.

Thank you for bringing that to Hollywood Darlings and thank you for helping the fans relive the wonders of Al Lambert, Stephanie Tanner, and Lucy Camden.

Thank you for filling each episode with tons of 90’s stars: Patrick Duffy. Staci Keanan. Andrea Barber. Nicholle Tom. Jaleel White. Soleil  Moon Frye. Lori Beth Denberg. Tamera Mowry….it is so packed and so awesome to see all of them. I loved that, for the most part, we did get to see a very mini Full House reunion and a very mini Step by Step reunion.

Maybe for season two, Jessica Biel and I heard she was married to some singer guy from a 90’s band…..wonder whatever happened to him?

Now, I’d like to be kinda weird and address you each individually if I may….

Christine Lakin is underrated and also I want to be her friend and appear on her podcast, Worst Podcast Ever. Now, I realize this all sounds creepy and borderline desperate and slightly obnoxious but let me explain.  First, she’s hilarious on Hollywood Darlings and second, her stories on Worst Podcast Ever are just the best. Okay, can I please mention Angela Watson?

Holy crapballs, Batman!

I mean, I guess there won’t be a Step by Step reunion and I did love hearing Staci Keanan on the podcast as I’ve been a fan of hers since My Two Dads and I love that she’s doing so well but wow, the whole Angela Watson saga was heartbreaking. I definitely felt for Christine Lakin when she explained what happened. I’ve had so many “friendships” like that where you give your heart and then without warning, they decide you’re no longer worth their time and do not give you any explanation. It’s one of the most painful experiences and while I don’t know Christine personally (although I have been tempted several times to friend request her on Facebook) I hate when anyone goes through something like that.

I loved the female characters on Step by Step. Dana was who I probably was, Karen was who I wanted to be and Al was the perfect mixture of both. They each brought something so different to the table and I’m glad there’s a friendship still going with Staci Keanan and the reunion they had with Patrick Duffy on Hollywood Darlings was nothing short of perfection. Maybe for Season 2, Suzanne Somers….she can bring the thigh master?

Jodie Sweetin is amazing. I love comeback stories. I love stories of people who put themselves back together. Post Full House, the road clearly hasn’t been easy for Jodie Sweetin and yet seeing her on Fuller House, seeing her be sarcastic and hilarious on Hollywood Darlings, it makes me happy. Stephanie Tanner was always the best Tanner. My apologies to Candace Cameron and Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen but Stephanie could drive a damn car into a house and suffer no consequences, that is pretty badass and the next week, it was as if it never happened.

There’s a strength there that is unmatched and it’s exciting to watch. It gives credence to Matthew Perry’s quote that broken people don’t need to stay broken.

When she was on Christine Lakin’s podcast, she talked about her time working at a treatment center. She talked about loyalty to her daughters. There’s something amazing to watch there and as a fan, it makes me happy. Yes, this may sound weird and creepy as well but when you watch someone not only break through obstacles but overcome them and crush them as well, it gives the rest of us who are struggling hope…..although, word of advice having read how she broke her ankle: stay away from fences.

I want Beverley Mitchell to organize my life. I strive to be how she is on Hollywood Darlings but seem to fall short. I want to go shopping with her, listen to her stories because I think she’s got some stuff to tell. I will be blunt and my apologies to Beverley Mitchell but of the three shows, I wasn’t always the biggest fan of 7th Heaven. It did sometimes make me slightly angry with stories that seemed to be way too over the top and I didn’t mind Stephanie Tanner driving into a house!

I remember once there was one episode featuring Beverley Mitchell’s character desperate to get out of jury duty, only to go and find the defendant was an ex-boyfriend and all I could think was–what did he do? There’s the story! It was never explained but still in Hollywood Darlings, Beverley Mitchell might just be the person I relate to the most. I want an assistant to answer my phone and tell people I’m busy. I don’t like to go out too late and I would do a 90’s sleepover party as I was never that wild either. I feel you, Beverley Mitchell, going out after 10 is just ridiculous.

I am now ending this week’s open letter and while I know I will never get a chance to discuss my worst dates ever or worst job experiences ever on the Worst Ever Podcast….or get to ask wildly inappropriate questions which will make everyone feel slightly awkward….nor will I ever get asked to sing a Full House/Step by Step/7th Heaven theme song mash up which will make everyone scream for the pain to stop….even though those dreams will never occur….here’s to a nostalgic filled second season of Hollywood Darlings!

Thanks for bringing back the 90’s!

Luv,

me

P.S. Also because everyone needs a theme song

 

 

 

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Visualizing. Manifesting. Praying. Still single and unemployed.

Television plots are ripe with manifestation. It’s what a story is, we need a hook, a plot, a reason to root for the characters to get anything they want. We get an imaginary world where boyfriends are a dime a dozen, you can marry your best friend, you can get any job regardless of your qualifications and if you need a job, well the right person will just be there and by the end of an episode, you will have exactly what you want.

Show of hands.

How many of us have been in a restaurant complaining to our best friend about our employment history only to have the guy sitting next to us just happen to not only be in the industry you want to work in but also happen to know of a job in that field?

Anyone? Or was that just a plot from Friends?

Here’s the question, has this fictional version of life messed with our heads so much that it has given us this false hope that it can happen in real life?  That all we have to do is visualize and pray and manifest and there it is, in sixty minutes or less we are planning our weddings while sitting in our corner office overlooking the entire city of wherever you want to live?

We see the posts on Facebook:

“I visualized and put it out into the universe that I would land my dream job and/or my perfect man and I got exactly what I wanted.”

We read these posts and wonder, “wait, why not me? or “why am I not that lucky?”  “Am I not visualizing/manifesting/praying enough or correctly?”  The rest of us go on a string of failed dates and are doing everything in their power to apply for that dream job only to be rejected and it doesn’t matter how many times we imagine it happening, it’s not happening. At least not now.

So is this idea of praying/manifesting/visualizing just a fictional, made for television way of looking at the world? Is it too easy? Vision boards are like storyboards for sitcoms and dramas. Here’s what will happen in Act 1 and by the final act, well, everything will end happily. I will be living the life I was meant to live.

Lately, the real world seems to be a far more depressing place. You can imagine your dream job down to the outfit you will wear, where you will go to lunch and imagine the meetings you will attend, only to be rejected from the job. You can imagine your wedding day down to the last detail, know where you want your future children to go to school only to go on yet another date with a guy who will never speak to you again after that outing or tell you he’s not interested.  You can imagine your novel being loved by millions or going on Ellen to promote it only to receive yet another letter saying that it’s not what they’re looking for and to the millions of truly struggling people out there, the truly broken, whose to say they haven’t visualized a better life for themselves and have found it led to nothing.

So how do we fight this whole fantasy story or do we fight it? There are plenty of people that do fight it. We see the negative Facebook posts declaring it all to be fake. I’m sure I’ve been guilty of writing a few. There are the eye rolls at the people who talk openly about the luck they had just simply by putting things out into the universe.  All of it seems like a television plotline. “I wanted this character and that character to get together by the end. I wrote it and they did.” Is there a fight to be had or is it just something nice to look at, to comfort us as the real struggles threaten to take us down. It’s like wrapping yourself in a blanket when you feel sick. You’re still sick, but the blanket is nice.

Maybe we have to look at those “putting things into the universe and being successful” posts the same way we would look at a plot of a television show. People don’t typically post the number of rejections they get. They don’t post the tears, the pain, the number of times their dream job was not to be or how many times they stared at their emails, hoping someone would respond or every time the phone rang and thought, “well, this has to be for a job” only for it to be from someone selling life insurance or a trip to Cancun. So just like the plot to a television show, all this manifestation/visualizing/praying is just that….a plot. It’s just nice but there’s no basis in reality or it’s an altered reality that is instead purely fiction.

The real work has nothing to do with the universe or a higher power or a vision board, it has to do with you. Sending the resumes, the cover letters, letting the rejections bounce off you like Teflon.  It’s listening to the people telling you to give up because you’re clearly not good enough while you keep on working because someone somewhere is going to finally say yes because you know you’re good enough. It’s about you as you keep working and working and working some more. Maybe put away the vision boards and rework the resume, that might make more of a difference or update your dating pictures and keep going out until finally, there’s a connection in both your professional and personal life. Then at the end of the day, you’ll finally be able to sit back and say….it was worth it.

 

An Open Letter to Ryan Murphy about Other Feuds I’d like to See

Dear Ryan Murphy,

Before I start this letter, I have to start with an apology. I hated Glee. I had an irrational anger towards Glee. I didn’t get the plots, people randomly bursting into song. It just all made me mad. I also tried watching American Horror Story but I could not do it with all that horror. While I am more than happy to binge on countless hours of shows on the ID Channel, I just could not deal with the horror of American Horror.

Then came American Crime Story and then Feud and now, I take back all the negativity and will faithfully follow you……metaphorically, I mean….like the stuff you put on TV. Not in a creepy way, although some might agree that statement is a little creepy. A lot creepy.

Anyway, The People vs OJ was phenomenal. I was a high school student during the trial and I did not know most of what went on. It was an incredible feat although, I will say I was slightly disappointed by the ending. I know the actual ending was that he was acquitted but there was a part of me that was hoping you’d go another way, but I digress. Honestly, I don’t want to talk any more about American Crime Story as you seem to have several seasons covered. Season 2 will be about Hurricane Katrina, Season 3 will be about the murder of Versace and Season 4 will be about the Lewinsky-Clinton scandal. So clearly, your work is done there and me adding any ideas would just be pointless and unnecessary and I also have nothing to add.

Now, let’s move on to Feud. A phenomenal story delving into the lives of iconic actresses, Bette Davis and Joan Crawford during their tumultuous time while filming, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane. Every part of this movie was incredible and made me think of other feuds I’d like you to consider if you have any desire to hear the random thoughts of a random chick living in the San Fernando Valley and really, why wouldn’t you?

Okay so Feud Suggestions by me:

1. Olivia DeHavilland and Joan Fontaine

You touched on this briefly which I appreciated as a human being BUT I mean, they were sisters and hated each other and it wasn’t just “oh, goodness we hated each other”, this was intense hatred along every level. Olivia apparently broke Joan’s collarbone and I think we can all agree that if you break the bones of your siblings, it’s going to leave a lasting impression. They were also acting rivals and Joan was apparently up for the role of Melanie in Gone with the Wind first and that ended up going to Olivia. Also, when Joan and Olivia’s mother died, Olivia didn’t even invite her sister to the memorial service. That’s cold…and also good television but super cold.

2. Debbie Reynolds and Elizabeth Taylor

In a love triangle that would later be repeated by Jennifer Aniston and Angelina Jolie, Debbie Reynolds was the girl next door and married to Eddie Fischer and then when Elizabeth Taylor’s husband, Mike Todd, died Eddie Fisher comforted Elizabeth Taylor and then they got married…..and later divorced. This was a scandal and a feud and I know this would be dream casting that will never happen but it would make me so very happy, Jennifer Aniston in the role of Debbie Reynolds and Angelina Jolie in the role of Elizabeth Taylor….it could work or you could have a whole feud within a feud….

3. Vivian Vance and William Frawley

Ethel and Fred. There have been so many stories about Lucy and Desi. There have been movies, books, we know and I don’t think there is anything else to know but the feud between William Frawley and Vivian Vance who were supposed to be playing husband and wife in I Love Lucy is legendary. She hated that he was so much older than her, he just disliked her in general.  I would watch it and there’s a rumor that when he died, she was happy and said everyone should have champagne. I mean, come on!

4. Abbott and Costello

This one was surprising! The legendary comic duo,  Bud Abbott, and Lou Costello did not always get along. In 1945, Costello called Abbott a drunk and there was a huge fight over a maid because Abbott had hired a maid that Costello had fired. There were times where they stopped speaking to each other except if they were performing.  That coupled with their own individual tragedies: Costello’s son died, Abbott had health issues and this also proves that feuds did not just involve the women of Hollywood.

5. Louella Parsons and Hedda Hopper

This was also briefly touched on in Feud but I think it could be revisited. These two women were the biggest gossip columnists of that day and there was a rivalry, a feud (see what I did there?) and people were pissed…..well, celebrities were pissed. It would give an insight into tabloid culture, especially at that time when things were hidden far better than they are now. They did have the power to destroy careers and they did….while trying to outdo each other.

So in conclusion. while you probably aren’t going to see this and my opinions are well…mine….perhaps these feuds might inspire you or maybe inspire someone else. I don’t need credit….well, a little wouldn’t hurt……

I do enjoy cookies.

That’s all….

Luv,

me

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The Problems with 13 Reasons Why as Stated in One Reason

Isolation.

Reaching out has failed me.

Remember that message I sent you asking for help and your response was to get over myself?

Remember when I confided in you via text, I wasn’t feeling like myself, so you told someone else I barely know to respond to my concerns and have not spoken to me since?

What about that other time when I unloaded in a Facebook group and months later saw a job posting you had posted. I was curious and you said no because of how I had unloaded.

Oh and that time when I opened up and you told me to go kill myself or you sent an email telling me I was desperate and pathetic.

Let’s also not forget that I was spoken about in a political group, “people actively avoid her” “She really does suck” “What did she do wrong?”

“You have an eating disorder.”

“You suck.”

“You need to die.”

“You’re not worth it.”

“Desperate.”

“Pathetic.”

These have all been said to me by different people. I’ve been isolated, ostracized, ignored, excluded with no reason ever given to me as to why I was treated that way, why I was cast aside, why I wasn’t worth a friendship.  I have wondered what would happen if I disappeared, vanished.

I never had the luxury of thirteen tapes but my thirteen reasons would ultimately be thirteen reasons……you just don’t get it. 13 Reasons Why…..I won’t be broken down.

But 13 Reasons Why is about teenagers. About the angst of those teen years and that is worrisome.

13 Reasons Why is problematic.  It is a story about Hannah Baker who tells the reasons of her suicide through thirteen tapes. These tapes explain about how she was raped, how she was ignored, how the school counselor broke many ethical rules. The most glaring being that he let Hannah Baker leave the office despite some very bright red flags. If someone seems suicidal, you don’t let them leave. That’s one of the first things they teach you when you’re getting a Masters in Marriage and Family counseling.

13 Reasons Why shows suicide as trendy. Look, you can make all these cool tapes! Look, you can make it a thing! It’s not trendy and should never be made into a thing. The root of it also being the time it took to make those tapes. It must have taken awhile. To go to each spot, to remember each moment and there were no consequences. Nothing happened to the guy, Bryce, who raped both Hannah and Jessica and where did Justin go after he bailed on the hearing and did Jessica ever go to rehab? This was meant to show bullying, to show the cruelty of others and apparently show clueless adults.

When you’re truly at rock bottom, wondering where the next step is or if your next step is worth taking, you don’t have time for thirteen tapes. You drink, you eat, you search desperately for that one person who will stick with you at your worst. The friend who will stick by you and not drop you when times get rough or when you aren’t acting in a way that’s considered “socially acceptable”.  You sit and stare at social media pages wondering why you can’t be as happy as those Instagram and Facebook posts. The world seems darker, isolated and there’s a not thought of tapes. No one giving thoughtful explanations of why they’re choosing this path.

Hannah Baker’s story is a story. It’s work of fiction. It’s not glamorous to feel lost. It’s not thirteen tapes of interesting. Teenagers often think in hyperboles. Hannah Baker was clearly was one of those teenagers and her story was that way, told through the eyes of a teenager. Her life to her was out of control but there were moments in the present, moments where we could have gotten truth but we didn’t. We could have gotten the other side to the story. All we got was that the hyperbole was correct. That the counselor didn’t do his job. That the school didn’t do its job. The adults didn’t do their jobs. Through the series, now airing on Netflix, we are living the world of a teenager. We’re living a hyperbolic world and we need something steady. Someone to be the grown up, yet that never comes.

13 Reasons Why is asking you simply to believe those thirteen reasons as truth and yes, there is truth. People act strangely sometimes in ways you don’t get.  I remember being perplexed by a friend who ended our friendship because I insulted the color of her oatmeal. I was most perplexed as to why it was okay for her to be and continue to remain friends with people who would discuss openly how she went out of herself look unattractive. I am still confused as to why criticizing oatmeal was the far more offensive action? Sometimes things just don’t make sense but the problem with a television show depicting loneliness, suicide, isolation is the viewer wants sense to be made. They want consequences even though sometimes there are none and when a teenager is in pain, a teenager is struggling, there is a need for people to be held accountable.

This also makes 13 Reasons Why dangerous.

People who are struggling don’t make tapes. They don’t have the clarity to do that. People who are clouded by emotion and pain, act from impulse. Hannah Baker’s suicide is not an impulse. It’s a long, thought out act, carefully orchestrated which in a way makes her actions incredibly selfish and makes the people around her seem cold and uncaring.

Suicide is a desperate act. It’s an act that should not be made trendy. It’s when you feel you have no other option and no one is listening. Those silent screams become painfully loud.

I question this story. I question the impact and I hope that it raises even more questions.

The importance of the role of the school counselor?

Consequences?

The help should be there. Should be provided. The hand extended and this show should not be used as a blueprint.

Adults need to pay more attention. We need to set better examples. Be kinder to each other and don’t say the words, show the actions. A text. A message. A random compliment. You never know the impact.

Maybe we need to look at 13 Reasons Why through a different lens. 13 Reasons why we need to just check in. 13 Reasons to not ignore someone. 13 Reasons to not blow someone off. 13 Reasons to engage in conversation, discuss feelings, discuss emotions instead of running away, leaving the person to wonder their worth.

Maybe the problem with 13 Reasons Why isn’t just that it glorifies pain. Maybe the problem is that we aren’t asking the questions.

So maybe I’ll start….for whoever is reading this:

How are you?

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My Love Hate Relationship with Girls

Girls on HBO ended its run last night and its finale showed once again why this show ultimately ended up being one I hated to love or loved to hate. I haven’t decided.

I tried though.

I tried a lot to love this show.

It’s about single women navigating life and love. It’s like Sex and the City for a younger generation. I understand that. I get the journey, the pain, the close calls professionally and personally. I get how you’re at the stage of your life where life has kicked you in balls many times but you can’t give up quite yet. It seemed like the perfect show. Perfectly relatable in every single way. Hannah. Marnie. Shosh. Jessa. They were Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda, and Samantha but a decade younger.

I soon realized that the women of Girls were the worst. Simply the worst. I know that’s an extreme statement to make but I stand by it. It was a far more self-indulgent version of Sex and the City with characters who seemed to just enjoy being naked because they could be, it’s on HBO.

Now, Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda, and Samatha did not always have their stuff together. They made mistakes, they said and did things that would make even the most devoted fan scratch their head and go, “wait….what?” They were not perfect BUT there was a sweetness to their friendship, there was emotional support.  For as different as those four women were, I could see how they could be friends. I never understood how Hannah, Marnie, Shosh, and Jessa were friends. They were consistently so awful to each other while constantly telling each other how they were friends as if to tell the audience that despite what they were seeing, they really were supposed to be best friends.

I’m not sure which episode it was where I just gave up. Was it the episode where Hannah was wearing a yellow mesh shirt, running through the streets of New York trying to find drugs? Or maybe it was the episode where she was held hostage for an entire weekend at some doctor’s house and she was playing naked ping pong?  There was often no point to the nakedness. It didn’t do anything to the show and it felt like she was naked because she could be and it’s her show.

It always felt like Lena Dunham was trying way too hard. She strikes me as someone who tries so hard to be different and edgy and when there’s controversy in a statement she makes like the time she said that she wished she could have had an abortion so she could relate to women who have had them or the time it was revealed in her book that she molested her little sister when they were kids….when the rest of us get offended, it apparently says more about us than her. She is evolved, we are not.

Throughout the seasons, I’ve attempted to give this show more chances. I’ve tried to tune in but each time left feeling angry. I was angry at their choices, angry at how self-absorbed they were. I just never got the appeal. Unlike the Sex and the City women, I’ve never heard anyone argue over whether or not they were a Hannah or a Marnie or a Jessa or a Shosh because I’m not sure anyone would want to be? This show just made me angry.

All that anger aside, I decided to binge the final season in preparation for the last episode. There were some great moments. One of the final episodes featured Hannah and Adam sitting in a diner, discussing Hannah’s surprise pregnancy that was the result of a fling with a guy she met at surf camp. After Adam and Hannah spent an entire day together, they ended up in a diner discussing the future and that moment was amazing. Lena Dunham is truly at her best when she’s not saying anything. She says so much without saying a word. It was a truly amazing moment between two characters who had had quite the tumultuous and volatile relationship. Adam was now with Jessa, Hannah’s former friend and Hannah was getting ready to move on. It was a moment that cemented the end for those two characters.

The second to last episode should have been the finale. It was called, Goodbye Tour and took place at an engagement party for Shosh and it was Shosh herself who laid down the friendship law. She no longer had any desire to be their friend. They were way too selfish. She had invited Marnie to her engagement party while Hannah and Jessa pretty much crashed it. The scenes in the bathroom were terrific. It was the four of them coming to terms with the end of their friendships, they were all changing in some way. Still struggling but it felt final, you could feel that pain, that relatable feeling of looking at someone who you had tried so hard to be friends with only to realize, it’s just easier to no longer try. It was an amazing episode.

And then came the finale.

We flash forward, Marnie is living with Hannah in order to help her take care of baby Grover and Marnie is a complete mess as is Hannah. Jessa, Adam, Shosh, Ray, Desi and Elijah who had been prominent characters in the show did not appear which frankly made no sense. What happened to them in the five months since Hannah moved out of the city? A series finale should feature the characters from the show unless they’ve been killed off. No, it doesn’t have to go the Seinfeld route and feature every single character that has ever appeared on the show but the main characters? They should appear.

The finale felt like a random episode and yes, of course, we saw Lena Dunham one last time with no pants because she had given them to a random teenager which is something always happens. Then when a cop drives by and sees her walking without pants, he just trails her home? Really, that happens? I grew up in a city and not a small town but if some random woman was walking around the streets at night with no pants, I think that would be cause for an arrest? That moment though seemed out of the blue. She had a fight with her mother whom Marnie had called because Hannah was flipping out and she also had a fight with Marnie so she’s storming around town, she encounters a bratty teen and ultimately gives the teen her pants. This all leads to some sort of epiphany.

There was no closure, no end, did Shosh get married? Are Jessa and Adam still together? Marnie isn’t planning on living with Hannah forever so what happens to her? Are we also supposed to believe that the father of Hannah’s child has truly vanished off the planet? Yes, when she called him in an earlier episode to tell him she was pregnant with his child, he did say he wasn’t ready and it was the evidence Hannah needed to know she’d be raising the child alone, but still. Oh, and can I please mention that scene where she tells the baby’s father? That scene felt so contrived and rushed like they just needed to put that there but it really just felt too easy, too cut and dry. In a world where every choice made by the four girls of Girls seems like a messy one, it didn’t strike me as true to the show that the father would just disappear completely.

The show ended the way it began, by bringing out all the anger feelings.  This felt very much in line with the How I Met Your Mother or Dexter finales….it felt pointless.

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