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An Ode to Three TV Shows that Did Hearing Impairment Right

Jokes about being hearing impaired and/or being deaf on television often include the following:

  1. Jokes about the vocal tone about a hearing impaired individual
  2. Gesturing wildly or physically moving the person
  3. Screaming and/or talking loudly. Which is also an unfortunate sitcom technique sometimes used to speak to people who do not have English as their first language.
  5. Did I mention voice?

I am moderately hearing impaired. I grew up that way, having been diagnosed at age six. I taught myself how to read lips. This is actually how I passed hearing tests when I was little. The doctor would look at me and say words to me like “football”, “baseball” and I just repeated them back by reading his lips. When I was six, one of the doctors thought that he should probably cover his mouth and the jig was up.

I also never learned to sign because I never needed it. I went to school surrounded by the fully hearing and went to a hearing impaired support group once only to find it to be the most depressing thing I’ve ever been to in my life.  They were all just complaining so much! I mean, come on, we can’t hear. It happens.

Although, I was told I talked too softly which was a fantastic compliment.

Now, I’ve always been worried about the tone of my voice. Is it too loud? Too soft? Does it sound like how hearing impaired people are often portrayed on television? I can’t always tell but I can tell when its become the butt of a joke and often, especially on a television sitcom, it is.

However, three sitcoms recently portrayed having a hearing impairment in a way which I found amusing, clever and it worked.

At least for me…..

1. Episodes

In a season two episode, Matt LeBlanc’s character Matt LeBlanc mimics what it would be like to have sex with a deaf girl much to the disgust of Sean played by Stephen Mangan.

Why it works?

By this point in the series, we already know the Matt LeBlanc character, not the actor, is a horrible person. At the end of the first season, he sleeps with Sean’s wife, Beverly. There had been enough character development by this point that instead of it being wildly offensive, it’s considered typical and oddly in character. The credit for this goes to the creators and writers, Jeffrey Klarik and David Crane, for building a strong enough character where mimicking sex with a deaf girl seems perfectly aligned with who Matt, the character, is. Instead of being outraged, my first thought was, “of course.” Additional credit, obviously, goes to the talent of Matt LeBlanc. It also helps that Sean, who is often the moral center, is begging Matt to stop. The combination results in making the Matt LeBlanc character look worse.

2. Life in Pieces

In a season three episode called “Treasure Ride Poker Hearing”, which by the way can we all just agree that Life in Pieces has the best episode titles ever, John played James Brolin gets hearing aids. He is reluctant to at first as he struggles with what it means for him to get them.

Why it Works?

John is the patriarch of the family and while it’s typical that losing your hearing is a sign of age and is often portrayed that way, the way it is shown here is relatable at any age. There were two moments in particular that I could relate to, well three if you count the hearing test.

Side note: Those hearing tests are stupid. I always fail them. They suck and they’re stupid. Oh, here’s your beep. What if I don’t wanna press the button when I hear the beep? Stupid tests. I like to pass tests, not fail them. Dumb. They’re dumb.  You press the button when you hear the beep. That game is the worst. 

Anyway, okay,  so when family matriarch, Joan, played by Dianne Wiest, informs John that he can’t hear the doorbell he informs her that he heard, just didn’t feel like answering it. Yep. That does happen.  The other moment occurs at the end of the episode when during a family gathering, John turns off his hearing aids to avoid hearing his family. It was not only perfect for the character, it was completely relatable.

Selective hearing loss affects all hearing impaired individuals and you can’t always tell when we actually can’t hear you or we just don’t want to hear you. I have often turned them off because sometimes it’s just easier and you don’t have to apologize for anything later. This final scene also felt like an inside joke from Justin Adler and the rest of the Life in Pieces team to the entire hearing impaired population. Almost as if they were exposing a rarely discussed perk to wearing hearing aids, which was appreciated.

3. The Mick

In this season two episode called, “The Dump”, after Mickey and Alba accidentally pick up an extra kid from a class trip they go to extreme lengths to return him. The situation gets worse and worse because the kid will not speak to them. The audience is not sure why at first but the reveal is that he is deaf and therefore cannot hear Mickey or Alba.

Why it works?

The Mick is produced by Dave and John Chernin who wrote on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. They clearly ripped a page out of the Sunny playbook which clearly dictates that the joke must always be on the central characters.  When Mickey, played by Kaitlin Olson, learns the child is deaf her non verbal response to Alba, played by Carla Jimenez, is one of  almost relief. This lasts a brief moment as the situation deteriorates because not only have they basically kidnapped a kid, their phone calls to authorities include what one might call racist and/or stereotypical imitations of different races making both Alba and Mickey look just awful and also in a very hilarious way.  The kid, however, is never the butt of the joke. It is always on Mickey and Alba and the lengths they go to get this kid back to the dump.

The final lessons in making hearing impairments work on television?

  1. Set up the main character to be kind of an egomaniacal jerk anyway so it works because you can completely buy it.
  2. Provide realistic moments that people with hearing impairments at any age can relate to.
  3. Keep the joke firmly on the leads, setting up the hearing impairment to be more of an after thought and never the forefront of the episode.

So thank you to everyone involved in Episodes, Life in Pieces and The Mick for taking on hearing impairments in three very different ways and succeeding.



Using Gardner’s Levels of Intelligence to discover who is smarter: Charlie Kelly VS. Joey Tribbiani


Dumb characters are a television staple. Characters who just don’t always seem to have it together, whom you wonder how they manage to live, survive and basically not die. Characters that despite their intellectual deficiencies, we root for them to maybe figure out or not.

Back in 1983, Dr. Howard Gardner discovered that there were eight levels or eight different types of intelligence. Later, existential intelligence and moral intelligence were added and will be added to this blog to determine the ultimate truth behind two of my favorite television dumb guys–the characters, not the actors who play them ’cause I don’t know the actors who play them and that would just be mean even though I’m sure they’re lovely individuals.

Now, given my Bachelor of Arts in Media Studies and my Masters in both Marriage and Family Counseling and Elementary Education, I am basically an expert in my own head.

So who is smarter?


Joey Tribbiani


Place of birth: Queens, New York

Age: 48

*While Friends ended in 2004, I am giving him the age he would likely be now, as It’s Always Sunny is still going and it’s just easier for me. 

Occupation:  Actor most notably for playing Dr. Drake Ramoray on Days of Our Lives

Vices: Food

Brief Background:

Joey Tribbiani is an Italian American, Caucasian male who grew up in a large family where he was the oldest and the only son. He has seven younger sisters whom he is close to and is very protective of. He has a close relationship with both his mom and dad. There has been no notable childhood trauma although when he was twenty-five years old, he discovered that his father was having an affair with a pet stuffer. His parents still remain happily married with his mom deciding the affair would simply be looked at as a hobby.

Charlie Kelly


Place of birth: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Age: 42

Occupation: Janitor at a bar in Philadelphia called Paddy’s Pub

Vices: Drinking, eating cat food, huffing inhalants, drinking paint, eating chalk, stalking, sniffing glue

Brief Background:

Charlie Kelly is a Caucasian male who was raised by a single mother in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Not much is known about his father though it is assumed that his biological father might be Frank Reynolds, a man whom he is currently sharing an apartment as well as a bed with. Charlie discovered at the age of thirty that he was the survivor of an abortion his mother had soon after she had a sexual relationship with Frank Reynolds. His mother often supported herself and her son through prostitution. One of Charlie’s most vivid childhood memories is of Christmas Day, opening the door to a series of men dressed as Santa who would “visit” with his mom. Despite this, there is some severe denial on Charlie’s part as to what was happening. There is also some suggestion that Charlie may have been the victim of sexual assault as a child at the hands of his Uncle Jack.

 Gardner’s Levels of Intelligence

Spatial Intelligence: Visualizing yourself in a 3D world, excels in figuring out puzzles and maps. Does well when presented with a construction project.

Joey: He does have some background in construction and did build an entertainment unit for his apartment, though he incorrectly measured the size of the unit which ended up being too big for the wall it was placed on. He is not skilled with puzzles and doesn’t quite understand maps. During a trip to London, he needed to lay his map down on the ground and step into it in order to find his way around.

Charlie: He is not clear on what 3D means, once wearing a pair of 3D glasses outside and wondering why they didn’t work. With assistance from his friend, Mac, he was able to successfully glue the pieces of a broken beer bottle back together and drink beer out of it which was required during a game of Chardee MacDennis, a game created with his friends and coworkers at Paddy’s. He is also not strong with reading maps, during a trip to the water park, he struggled to understand North, East, South and West and relied on Frank to show him where he needed to go.

Winner: While it is impressive that Charlie was able to successfully put together a broken beer bottle, Joey takes the point here. Despite being the wrong size, he did build an entire entertainment unit without assistance and was able to retile the bathroom floor in the apartment of his neighbors–Monica and Rachel. Joey’s construction background gives him the edge here.

Intrapersonal Intelligence: Understanding your needs, wants and desires. Understanding yourself.

Joey: His strengths, although not always successful, are in acting. While at times, he has been plagued with self doubt about his talents as an actor, he seems to come back to it. He seems to understand where his strengths lie and has a strong desire and motivation to make it as an actor, going so far as to beg for his job back at Days of Our Lives after he had embarrassed himself with the producers. He knows what he is good at and tends to go after those things. He did try to move into his own apartment in order to get in touch with his thoughts only to realize he didn’t have a lot of thoughts.

Charlie: He is a simple man who is happy with who he is. He has no desire to move up in life and is content to remain a janitor at a bar and continue living in squalor in Section 8 housing. He doesn’t have the drive or motivation to better himself because he understands who he is and likes who he is. That being said, there is not a lot of self reflection and there is a sense of delusion to some of his activities such as believing he is a lawyer who specializes in bird law without ever having attended law school.

Winner: Joey. Charlie’s needs and wants are more primitive and while he is content with who he is, there is a lack of self awareness and a lack of an inner thought process which often causes chaos in his life. He acts first, thinks later. Joey does seem to have a more advanced view of himself and while his inner thought process may not be deep, his desire to move forward or at least try gives him this point.

Linguistic Intelligence: The ability to understand spoken and written language as well as the ability to speak and write.

Joey: He is an actor so his ability to understand the words on a page is a strength. He has also shown an understanding of poetry, being able to decipher the meaning behind a poem a man had written about his friend, Monica. While he may not always enjoy writing or reading, he is able to do so. With encouragement from his friend, Ross, he did try to write a play although got bored doing it and instead wrote quick stories for his friends to act out. His favorite things to read are comic books, the backs of cereal boxes and pornographic magazines.

Charlie: He is unable to read or write and his friends have often stated that he has a learning disability, though he has not officially been diagnosed. During a group intervention at their bar where they staged several interventions for various reasons, they had suggested one of the interventions be about Charlie’s illiteracy. At one point, Charlie accidentally offered the bar up as a prize in a dance marathon after misreading “pride” as “prize”.  He is a song writer but instead of using lyrics, uses pictures instead. His writings are a serious of random words that are strung together in incoherent sentences. He also has difficulty pronouncing words with more than two syllables. When his friend, Dee, asked to take him to a spa, he thought she was asking him for a spaghetti day. There is also some suggestion that one of the reasons he struggled with working in a mailroom which he had done for a brief period was because he read Pennsylvania as Pepe Sylvia. He also seems to be in denial about the severity of his illiteracy problem, often blaming his friends or brushing it aside.

Winner: Joey. Joey may just be lazy when it comes to motivation in this area but Charlie’s illiteracy as well as his denial about said illiteracy gives Joey the edge here. Also, Charlie needs to be enrolled in some sort of Special Education reading program for adults but his lack of awareness regarding this problem may prevent him from doing this.

Bodily Kinesthetic Intelligence: the ability to use your body to convey feelings and ideas. They have good hand eye coordination and their gross and fine motor skills are above average as well.

Joey: He once broke his arm jumping on his bed. He is average at playing flag football and does seem to possess an average level of athletic ability.

Charlie: He jumped out of the back of a moving van without injury. He also took a shot at a Phillies Hockey game and while he missed the shot, he still showed skill as an ice hockey player and taught Mac how to skate. He also jump kicked Mac out of the way of a falling piano. He is a skilled baseball player.  After drinking seventy one beers on a cross country flight from Philadelphia to Los Angeles, he was able to hit a baseball out of the park on the first try. Of course, he did have some trouble walking straight but his abilities to hit the ball were above average.

Winner: Charlie. While both men seem to have average athletic abilities, Charlie’s ability to knock a ball out of the park after seventy one beers gives him the edge here.

**Disclaimer: It is not advisable to drink seventy one beers in one sitting because it is stupid and you will die.

Interpersonal Intelligence: The ability to understand others and make meaningful connections with others.

Joey: He has close, dependent friendships with five people in particular: Monica, Rachel, Phoebe, Ross and Chandler. While not often discussed, he does seem to be able to maintain friendships with others outside his core group. He often hosts a party for the people he works with on Days of Our Lives and moved to Los Angeles in 2004 by himself and fostered a new set of friendships. He is protective of his sisters and his friends. He genuinely cares about their feelings and supports them when he can.

Charlie: He is also part of a very close knit group. He is incredibly close with his co workers at Paddy’s: Dee, Dennis and Mac. He also shares a bed with Frank Reynolds and at one point, married him so he could get on Frank’s health insurance. They have since divorced. He saved Mac’s life once when he jump kicked him out of the way of a falling piano and enjoys smoking breaks with Dee. While it’s not always obvious, he does care about those friends in particular. This unfortunately has not extended to outside the group. Ignoring all restraining orders, he continues to stalk a woman known only as the Waitress. People who seem to come into contact with him and his group often end up with their lives completely destroyed.

Winner: Joey. While both men are part of two very codependent, fused groups, Charlie’s group is far more toxic. Joey seems far more capable of making meaningful connections with others both in and out of his group.

Existential Intelligence: People who are able to see the big picture and use intuition to understand that world around them. They seek meaningful learning experiences in understanding the world.

Joey: While he prefers to live in the now and doesn’t seem interested in deeper learning, it does seem that he does have the ability to think beyond himself. He does believe in ghosts and has a fear of little girl ghosts. When his agent passed away in 2004, he did believe that she was calling him from beyond–this was later revealed that his friend, Phoebe, was calling him pretending to be the agent to spare his feelings.

Charlie: He is a man with very primitive and basic needs and does not seem capable of meaningful learning. He does not concern himself with questions of life and death. He does not look at the big picture and how it relates to the world, but focuses on immediate gratification.

Winner: Joey. While neither man is that deep, Joey’s thinking is a bit more advanced than Charlie’s which gives him the edge.

Logical/Mathematical Intelligence: Skilled at deductive reasoning, detecting patterns and logical thinking. They excel at abstract and complex ideas.

Joey: Math is not a strong suit as he is often in dire financial straits, relying on his friends to bail him out. His thinking is not always based on logic and is not always linear. He struggles with basic arithmetic and confused his phone number for the amount due on his phone bill.

Charlie: He struggles as well with logical and linear thinking. He does not understand complex or abstract ideas but when presented with a scheme or a scam, without being told, he can understand the steps of the scam as when his friends were trying to run a contaminated chicken scam on a day of a surprise health inspection.

Winner: While this could end up in a draw as neither one excel in logical thinking, Charlie takes the win by a rat’s hair. When his friends doubted whether or not he had an understanding of the scam they were playing on the day of the health inspection, he got it immediately and was also able to help the gang pull off the scam while at the same time figuring out the steps needed to pass the inspection.

Musical Intelligence: The ability to understand pitch, tone and an enjoyment for making and playing music.

Joey: He does have ballroom dancing skills as he worked with his superintendent Mr. Treeger to teach him how to dance but does not show a skill for more complicated dance moves. When he got a drum set once, he seemed more interested in banging on them and throwing the sticks up in the air more than actually playing. He does not seem to posses a natural singing ability.

Charlie: He seems to be a prodigy in this area, having written a musical called The Nighman Cometh which his friends performed. He also wrote and performed  several songs for a bar industry night when important bar people stopped by Paddy’s to see if the gang had finally done enough to make them eligible for an award. He also wrote and performed a song at Frank’s Little Beauties kids beauty pageant.

Winner: Charlie. His skills to create catchy music and to be able to pick up an instrument and start playing put him far above Joey in this category.  Charlie is incredibly gifted in this area and seems to be self taught.

Naturalist Intelligence: The ability to understand the patterns of living things, understands animals and plants.

*it is important to note that this skill also comes with the ability to record and chart scientific data when it comes to plants and animals but we are just going to ignore that because I would like to.

Joey: He loves animals but doesn’t quite understand them. He believes that animals eventually go to a farm, showing a lack of understanding when it comes to the life cycle of plants and animals.

Charlie: He is a janitor who lists “rat basher” as part of his job description where he also has a special bat with nails as his rat bashing stick. He also created a line of mittens to put on kittens and through a speciality of law he invented, he seems to have an understanding of birds.

Winner: The whole scientific data part aside, it might be Charlie. He seems to feel an intense sadness when he has to kill rats, a feeling of remorse he surprisingly does not have when he interacts with other people outside of his core group.

Moral Intelligence: Ability to understand right from wrong, understanding of values


Well, this is awkward.

Joey: When he began a relationship with the ex of a best friend, he told his friend he would not pursue the relationship with her if the friend did not approve. He has a strong sense of right and wrong, cares deeply about his friends and family and expects the same honesty and loyalty from them.

Charlie: At this time, Charlie has committed the following: stalking, harassment, violation of several restraining orders brought on him by the Waitress, breaking and entering, public intoxication, illegal drug use, assault and battery, eating Santa Claus, grand theft, shop lifting, faking his own death, selling drugs, destruction of property, kidnapping and torture, fraud, false reporting, etc, etc….

Winner: Joey… explanation necessary

Final Score:

Joey: 6

Charlie: 4

Final result: While neither man would ace an IQ test, this very scientific and quite honestly pointless blog will put to rest the question absolutely no one asked.

Joey Tribbiani is more intelligent BUT Charlie Kelly does make some lovely music.















It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: Intelligent Comedy Masked as Unintelligent Comedy

The first time I watched “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”,  I hated it. I didn’t get it. It was crude. It was offensive. Why is it funny? I didn’t understand any of the things.

And then they removed “The Wonder Years” from Netflix.

In the throes of funemployment depression, I had come to rely on Kevin Arnold to make me smile just a little as yet another emailed cover letter went unanswered.

I used it to keep the constant inner sobbing down to only once a day instead of the average fifteen.

It was something to watch while constantly reminding myself that it would be seen as unprofessional to write, “why don’t you hire me, beeyotches?” at the bottom of any email.

Then it vanished and I decided the only normal thing to do would be to turn back to “It’s Always Sunny” because Fred Savage had directed a whole bunch of them and maybe I had missed something the first time around.

It turns out, I was….I was missing the point completely and while this isn’t the first time that I have been accused of missing the point, this is one of the first times where I felt I owed an apology to all those involved.

Dear Rob McElhenney, Charlie Day and Glenn Howerton,

I get it. I’m sorry.



It’s Always Sunny is not a surface show. It’s not a kid’s show. It’s a show that asks you to read between the lines without spelling it out for you. It allows the audience to think about what they’re really trying to say. There’s no pandering, there’s just an understanding that in between all the chaos, this is a show that truly has something intelligent to say.

Twelve seasons have passed and I have fully binged all twelve and like any good television viewer, I have picked out my favorites. This is all scientific in my extremely scientific poll of just me and it’s also super long because it’s been on for 12 seasons so there’s that….

So let’s do it:

  1. Dee Dates a Retarded Person

Now, I am going to start this by saying I am a Special Education teacher who truly despises the word, “retard”. I hate that “R” word with a fiery passion. I have gotten into arguments with people about how horrible this word is. I’ve worked with the most severe to the most mild and this word drives me up the wall. So when I started this episode, I watched on top of my high horse. I fully expected to hate it, to be offended, to be angry and then go into one of the political groups I was put in on Facebook and go on a tirade about how even television sitcoms shouldn’t use it.

Then I watched and now I may need to hire Charlie Kelly, Bird Lawyer, because I totally ate crow.

See, what I noticed in that episode was that they never actually confirmed whether or not the guy Dee was dating had a mental disability and that’s where the brilliance came in. Yes, this guy had certain things that seemed off. He lived with his mom, he had a very loud laugh, he had finger twitches or “unquiet hands” as I used to say to my students who had flapping tendencies. The thing is, nothing is confirmed and the episode is not about making fun of someone with mental disabilities but instead about perception and how we perceive certain qualities or quirks as a sign of mental deficiency when the exact opposite is true. In addition, we truly don’t know this guy’s deal. We do know, however,  how horrible Charlie, Mac, Dennis, Dee and Frank are which makes the episode even more powerful because instead of the viewer siding with Dee and the gang, we instead look to them and wonder why they, with all their awfulness, think it would ever be okay for them to mock someone else especially someone who seems to be doing quite well despite anything that may or may not be wrong with him.

The fact that there is never a confirmation is what makes this episode absolutely wonderful and debunks my long held theory that if you go looking for something to be offended by, you’ll find it because in this particular case, I went looking and came up with nothing.

2. Hero or Hate Crime?

Mac being in the closet and refusing to come out despite everyone around him knowing that he is indeed gay has been a long running joke in this series so in this episode which starts off with Frank calling Mac a homophobic slur that starts with an F to keep Mac from getting crushed by a falling piano, the whole “why won’t he just come out” thing is broached again but this time in arbitration over a lottery ticket that fell from Dee’s purse. Do you follow?

Mac was getting the lottery ticket which had flown out of Dee’s purse, walked under the piano, Frank called him a slur, Charlie, who had just voluntarily stepped in dog poop because that’s what you do,  jump kicked Mac out of the way, thus saving his life…..and now they need to figure out who owns the ticket.


Personally, I would think the ticket would belong to Dennis since he paid for it but then again, I wouldn’t spend seventeen hours in arbitration to figure out who it belonged to but that ending…..that’s what made the show. “It’s Always Sunny” doesn’t have too many of those quieter moments which is fine and those loud moments are hilarious but this had one of Rob McElhenney’s finest moments. After Mac is awarded the ticket which ends up being a winning ticket of ten grand for admitting he is gay, his friends tell him to go back in the closet as is it assumed by his friends and the audience that the only reason he came out was because the arbitrator–the third one–mentioned that if he said he was gay, he’d get the ticket. So he admits it and gets the ticket but the twist is at the end where he decides he will now stay out which is followed with him leaving the office with his @$$ pounder bike invention and his friends in stunned silence.  McElhenney was amazing in that scene as were Danny DeVito, Kaitlin Olson, Glenn Howerton and Charlie Day. Their reactions revealed that underneath all the awfulness, the scheming and mockery, that this is a group that genuinely cares and loves each other. When it comes time to pay the arbitration bill, they decide Mac will do it but will give him a day to enjoy being fully out. They get each other. The rest of the world might not but they do and that’s what matters at least to them.

And if you get it, that’s awesome and if you don’t…..well that leads me to my next favorite:

3. The Gang Desperately Tries to Win an Award

This episode in the series ninth season focuses on the gang trying to win an award for their years working in the bar industry and they wonder if changing how their bar is run will help them get the acknowledgement they so richly deserve.

If you don’t know by now, while the stunt people on “It’s Always Sunny” have been nominated, neither the show itself nor have the actors ever been nominated for their work so this episode is clearly a jab at the whole awards industry. The episode is ripe with metaphors referring to shows that have won or shows that have been recognized. Some of the criticism such as the fact that Paddy’s is just people yelling over each other mirrors criticism people have had about the show. They try to change to make their bar more appealing such as using brighter lights and having Mac and Dee engage in “will they or won’t they” banter which all just fails miserably.

You can never pretend to be something you’re not because the truth will always come out and this isn’t a glossy show with a laugh track. I’ve never wanted any of these characters to pull a Chandler and Monica and end up in bed together  in London. The glossiness worked for “Friends” but it doesn’t here. Dennis explains it perfectly as well when he says that the people who love their bar (or show) love it and the ones that that think their bar (or show) is cool know it’s cool. They don’t run their bar for awards. They don’t run their show for awards. They just do it to make people laugh and if you do, then they succeed.

The highlight of this episode, my apologies to the rest of the cast, is Charlie Day. Alright, this man has said in interviews he will not be releasing an album but holy crapballs Batman, is he talented or what?  He has two songs he performs in this episode, “I Like Paddy’s Pub” and “Go F**k Yourself” which ends with the entire gang spitting at people in their bar to get them to leave. Both are phenomenal but I love the lyrics to “I Like Paddy’s Pub”:

“Well, they say the world’s your oyster

Man, but oysters ain’t for me.

You’re the belle of the ball.

But you ain’t my cup of tea.

They always vote you Best in Show

But this doggie disagrees

‘Cause I like life at Paddy’s Pub.”

There’s something about those lyrics that ring true even in life. While looking for your group, when trying to fit in or trying to do what you think is popular, it will never work if it goes against the core of who you are.  You have to be you even if you may not fit everyone’s idea of cool but the people that love you, they’re gonna stick around.

As for the “Go F**k Yourself” song, with permission from Charlie Day, I would like this to be my motto for 2018. I would be more than happy to write him a lengthy and awkward explanation as to why this should be the case.

4. The Gang Broke Dee

Okay, I’m going to say this. Listen carefully. Kaitlin Olson is this generation’s Lucille Ball. What? No. Can’t be. Awwww, but she is. Lucille Ball was fearless although I’m not sure if Lucille Ball ran head first into a car door for the sake of a laugh as Kaitlin Olson did but she was fearless. Lucille Ball never played the “straight man” nor was she the “voice of reason”. She never played the typical sitcom female. She was the funny one and while the first season of “It’s Always Sunny” showed Dee as the “voice of reason” by the second season, she was just as messed up as the guys.  Lucille Ball never played dumb, she played funny and that’s what Kaitlin Olson is doing. In this episode, you see her brilliant gag reflexes and you see Olson at her finest or one of her finest. After years of abuse from the guys, she breaks and is at her lowest. The guys, feeling that making fun of her is longer fun, figure out an extreme over the top way to get her back up only to basically chop her back down at the end. The twist is cruel when you realize the only reason they wanted her to feel better was because it was no longer fun for them to make fun of her if she was feeling sad but on the same token, they did want her to feel better. The reasons were a little warped, okay a lot warped, but the reasons made it kinda sweet.

Kinda. Or maybe not. G-d, why does she keep putting up with these guys? I think maybe Mickey from Kaitlin Olson’s other show,”The Mick” needs to make a quick stop in Philly to knock some sense into Dee and given Kaitlin Olson’s amazing stunt skills, that would make for a very interesting fight.

Anyway Dee’s stand up career takes off, she becomes successful and even lands a spot on Conan only to have it all taken away at the end. Dennis was the only one not in on this cruel prank apparently which actually makes his plea to Dee, when she gets on the plane to head to Los Angeles for what she believes will be her big break, even sweeter.  It goes back to my enjoyment of those quieter moments. I love the moments where you can tell just how much love there is between the five.

There are some critics who question if the twist was a little too far but with regards to the character, I don’t think so. Yes, if this had been an episode of “Friends” or a typical sitcom, definitely. Had Ross pulled that with Rachel, I’d hate Ross even more than I typically do but Dee is no Rachel and while some could say it’s a little too far, others might say, “of course it was all a joke”.

So yes, what was I saying?

Kaitlin Olson is this generation’s Lucy. She just is. Lucy Ricardo was not always that likable but you were strangely rooting for her. Dee Reynolds is in that same vein, she may not be all sweetness and light and you may wonder why she is the way she is and why she sticks around but you’re going to root for her because her name is Sweet Dee and the joke’s on…..well, her.

5.  Charlie Work

This is Charlie Day’s episode. Why there was no Emmy nomination for this and this alone, I do not know but this was his episode. He shined in this episode when he has to get the bar ready for an unexpected health inspection. It’s all seemingly one continuous shot which makes it all even more amazing. From top to bottom, this is one of my favorites.

Here’s the thing about “dumb” characters. They can be funny but there’s always a point where it’s just gone too far and you wonder if this character is just incapable of being able to function in society. See Joey Tribbiani. Now, Charlie Kelly is not smart. He’s illiterate, lives in squalor, there’s an entire episode called “Flowers for Charlie” which is a take on a play I did in high school called “Flowers for Algernon.” Charlie is incredibly unintelligent and clueless in just so many areas of his life but in many ways he is more intelligent than Joey Tribbiani ever was. Charlie Kelly is semi-aware of what’s going on. His speech at the beginning where he tells the rest of the gang that he knows exactly what their scheme was which was to buy a bunch steaks, contaminate them with chicken feathers and get some money in the process shows exactly that. He might be dumb but he’s clearly not that dumb.  Charlie Kelly is street smart as well as a musical prodigy thanks to the guy who plays him. “It’s Always Sunny” has done “dumb” correctly.

Yeah, Charlie Kelly can’t read a book or write or pronounce words with more than two syllables. His favorite food is milk steak and his hobbies are magnets but there’s something else there and it shows in this episode. Charlie saves the day and let’s discuss more how brilliantly shot this episode is.

Every part of this was done well and I love Charlie taking control. See “Friends” did not do “dumb” well, for as much as I love it, it really did Joey a disservice making him pretty much incapable of everything. Joey didn’t even know how to do his job by the end. Charlie Kelly knows his job and does it well. He might be childlike but he’s not completely  clueless.

6. The Nightman Cometh

The musical written by Charlie Day. I wish I had seen one of the live performances although the Dayman song has been stuck in my head for months now and I have now taken to singing it during my part time job. It’s Dayman at Pottery Barn. Would you like a candle? It’s the champion of the goddamn sun. It’s a musical that delves into the psyche of Charlie Kelly. There’s an implication that perhaps the Nightman was Charlie’s “Uncle Jack” who may have been inappropriate with him when he was younger as evidenced by the Nightman song. The Dayman could be about Charlie Kelly or about the gang in particular as together they fight the Nightman. It’s a classic episode, one that features all the actors at their absolute best. The songs are amazing and honestly, I’m in awe of the talent of all five. They can all sing pretty well.

Honorable Mentions/Runner Ups

Although, not sure I should call them that….they’re just other episodes I enjoy.

  1. The Gang Goes to Hell Part 2

The gang is trapped on sinking boat together. The moment where they all hold hands while being completely submerged in water was amazing and as far as I am concerned, sums it all up perfectly. They might be drowning in the world around them, completely forgotten, but they’ll always have each other….of course, this is followed by them shoving each other out of the way when it becomes apparent that they’re being rescued. But for a brief moment in time…

2. Dee Gives Birth

The episode is dedicated to Kaitlin Olson and Rob McElhenney’s newborn son and the shot of McElhenney staring at Olson as she held the newborn made me way more happier than it really should have.

3. The Waitress is Getting Married

Filling out a dating profile for Charlie Kelly on is amazing only surpassed by the actual date in which Charlie confuses the word “philanthropist” with “full on rapist” and proceeds to tell his date that he is a full on rapist. Is it weird that if Charlie Kelly came up in my Tinder matches, I’d swipe right…just out of curiosity and to tell him that there is no such thing as too much cheese.

4. The Gang Gets Extreme: Home Make Over Edition

My favorite part? The vision boards. I often wonder if these actually do anything. I’ve made plenty of vision boards in my life and not a single vision has panned out. Neil Patrick Harris will never be my husband. Anyway, the gang takes  it to an extreme the likes no one has ever seen and it is a hilarious take on the whole thing. Note to self: do not kidnap and hold a family hostage in search of your dreams.

5. Mac and Dennis Buy a Time Share

Much like the mocking of vision boards, I also enjoyed the take on all of those MLM schemes. Herbal Life, Shakeology/Beach Body, Rodan and Fields, leggings and the fact that I watched this episode soon after receiving an email from a Facebook friend telling me that I clearly did not want a job because I did not want to invest in Rodan and Fields because she made one million in a year and my reluctance to join the ranks of MLM meant I really had no desire for employment. I told her she should sell cars and blocked her. These episodes that unknowingly trigger an emotion I am currently feeling are always simply the best ever.

6. The Gang Recycles Their Trash

The gang recycles an entire plot. On purpose. It works. They basically repeat earlier episodes which is so clever.

7. The High School Reunion: The Gang’s Revenge Part 2

The group dance. The fact that I actually have a family friend named, Tim Murphy. The message of perception especially when it comes to your high school self. People look back at those years and tend to recreate the years in their mind, making themselves better or worse then they actually were. That dance at the end? It was everything.

8. A Very Sunny Christmas

Okay, not a huge fan of  Charlie Kelly “eating” Santa and making it a huge bloody mess but that being said as I write that line, I am currently watching “Wives with Knives” so take from that what you will.  I also kinda love the fact that Fred Savage directed this episode which featured the guy who played Kevin Arnold’s grandpa on Wonder Years, only this time he played Frank’s old business partner, Eugene. That must have been an awesome reunion. Also you got Frank coming out of a couch naked which was something I didn’t even know I needed in life. There really are so many amazing moments in this episode and cannibalism aside, it really is hilarious and also touching.

9. Chardee MacDennis: The Game of Games

According to Rob McElhenney, Glenn Howerton and Charlie Day, this episode was an absolute pain to shoot and write because of all the screaming. So for that, I say thank you. Thank you for creating a fictional drinking game far more dangerous than “New Girl’s” True American could ever hope to be.

10. The Gang Turns Black

This is an episode that just hearing the title could cause outrage and offense but this is an episode you actually need to watch and listen to. After changing races during a power outage, the gang now tries to “figure out the rules” that come with being African American. It’s an episode that touches on so much controversy these days that it’s a must watch as the conversations it brings up are important especially in today’s world. The theme explores race relationships and how different races are treated differently. The twist at the end though makes it a very typical “It’s Always Sunny” episode as it shows the theme that is present through out the entire series–the gang never evolves.

They devolve.

They 12th season has now ended and they should be doing season 13 soon although there is some debate as to whether or not Glenn Howerton will return as he is going to be starring in the new NBC sitcom, AP BIO. At the end of the 12th season, it had Dennis leaving to go be with his son and baby mama in North Dakota and the gang exploding Dennis’ car.

I do hope he returns though. It just wouldn’t be the same without him.

It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia

An Open Letter Poem to the Idols of the 80’s

Scott Baio recently implied that Sandy Hook was a hoax after all…..

He retweeted a photo that made us wonder if he had fallen off a ball….

His support of Trump has been amplified as of late….

Leaving some wondering if he’s sealed Chachi’s fate…

He’s not the only one who has caused tension within the old school teams….

It’s not just him who has left us children of the 80’s coming apart at the seams….

Kirk Cameron has made his stance quite well known, you see…

How he feels gay marriage is simply a travesty….

So please idols of the 80’s, we must beg and plead…

As we watch our former young hearts bleed and bleed….

There’s an unsettling feeling for those now fully grown…

And into the trash, our Tiger Beat photos will have to be thrown…

We yell and scream, oh please former child stars of the 80’s…

Please help us through this never ending crazy…

Please let us know that we shall never despair…

As we scrunch and moose up our own hair….

Hear our cry as we break into a Roger Rabbit/Running Man routine….

A flash mob version of the Electric Slide will simply be the best you’ve seen….

So New Kids on the Block and the cast of Saved by the Bell….

Please tell us our childhood selves that all is well…

To the cast of The Wonder Years, Sandlot and Stand by Me…

Tell us we can still be everything we’d like to be…

Goonies, Alf, Small Wonder, St. Elmo’s Fire and ET….

Who’s the Boss, Family Ties and Doogie Howser, MD….

Please do not let us cry into the faded pages of our Tiger Beat….

We eighties kids are feeling very unsettled in light of recents events…

You were taped to our desks, notebooks and in some cases where some might repent…

Taped to our foreheads or in hearts neatly placed above our beds…

Out of this World, 90210, Party of Five….

Let us know that our youth will survive….

Paula Abdul, Debbie Gibson and Tiffany as well…

If you could let us know, well, that would just be swell…

Scott Baio has made us feel slightly nervous and ill at ease…

Stripping us of the memory of Charles in Charge being such a tease….

Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, Bueller and Pretty in Pink…

We all still care what you think….

As we sit here in our neon tops and acid washed jeans…

Our hair teased up in ways today’s youth could only hope to dream…

Back to the Future, Punky Brewster and Princess Bride….

Let us know at once that you will forever be by our side…

As we clutch onto our Tiger Beats and Teen Magazines….

                       As we wonder if all of our eighties idols have fallen from high beams…

White knuckling them so tightly as we yell in pain and despair….

Please don’t make us so sad, we rip out our scrunchies and further damage our hair…

We’re just asking this favor, so simple really, just make it all right….

So us children of the eighties can continue sleeping well at night….           We are the generation in between strife and facing strife and not turning our backs.

Open Letter to Hollywood about the new Lucy Biopic

Dear Hollywood Executives,

I recently wrote you about the reboots that I no longer want to see and you never got back to me. That’s fine. I will not take it personally but I do have a new letter and new set of questions. While I’m sure you know what you’re doing with all these reboots because you clearly don’t want my opinion which, okay, whatever but what about this new Lucy and Desi biopic which news about was conveniently released the day after what would have been Lucille Ball’s 106th birthday.

I see what you did there.

I also see as any dedicated, obsessive to the point of concern fan of Lucille Ball knows there have already been at least three movies that have dissected the relationship between Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. So my question to you is,,,

What is going to make this movie different than every other movie that has come before it.

Let’s dissect this…..shall we?

Lucy and Desi: Before the Laughter (1991) 

IMDB BLURB: This made for TV movie tells the story of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. It begins in the 1930’s when they met as actors under contract at RKO and ends with their divorce in 1960. In between we see how their careers developed, their often rocky marriage, and how they came to develop the groundbreaking and iconic “I Love Lucy” show.

This movie starred Frances Fisher as Lucille Ball and Maurice Benard as Desi Arnaz. It was good, apparently didn’t do well in the ratings but I watched it. It was enjoyable and I would totally recommend it to a friend.

Lucy and Desi: A Home Movie (1993)

IMDB BLURB: Home life of Desi & Lucy Arnaz, from beginning to end, actually, including clips of their early lives & family members.

This was exactly what it seemed like. Movies that showed an intimate behind the scenes look at Lucy and Desi. It really was quite sweet and heartbreaking at the same time as their relationship was very rocky and tumultuous. It was definitely not an easy relationship by any means and this was absolutely fantastic.

Lucy (2003)

IMDB BLURB: Movie of the week about the life of Lucille Ball, focusing on the loving yet tumultuous relationship with Desi Arnaz.

In this version, Rachel York played Lucille Ball and Danny Pino played Desi Arnaz and this too, once again, followed the relationship between Lucy and Desi.

So with this new movie coming out about the life of Lucy and Desi, we will be at four movies about their lives. Cate Blanchett will be playing Lucille Ball and it’s written by Aaron Sorkin. The movie will be about the tumultuous relationship between Lucy and Desi….so it will be like the others?

Well, okay, it is written by Sorkin so I’m assuming there will be a lot of long speeches said while walking down long halls but other than that….

What’s new?

What stories are there left to tell?

What secrets will we find out about?

I hope there’s something new in this.

Aaron Sorkin does like to throw politics into his movies and television shows. Hello, West Wing and Newsroom although even Studio 60 had its political moments so will this concentrate on the communist witch hunt of the 1950’s where Lucille Ball was accused of being a communist and Desi said that the only thing red about her is her hair and even that’s not real? Are we also going to get a glimpse into the hatred that existed between Vivian Vance and William Frawley?

What do I not know after having watched the movies and read the books?

I’ll watch and I look forward to it if only for the hope that you’ll give the obsessive fans like myself something we haven’t seen before.

Thank you!




Image result for lucille ball

Open letter to Hollywood Execs: Shows that Should NEVER be rebooted

With the return of Will and Grace,which has left me feeling very conflicted, I wanted to send an open letter which will most likely go unread by the executives of Hollywood but I felt it was super important to state my case anyway even though no one really cares.

Dear Hollywood Executives,

The reboot is all the rage. Gilmore Girls. Fuller House. I get it. They’re fun, it offers nostalgia, instant ratings. It’s fantastic and I happily binge watched them while eating snacks and refusing to speak to others which you know, is a healthy way of living in the world.

Now, we’ve got Will and Grace coming up and while I will hope for the best and have no power regarding any sort of reboot or how Will and Grace will go….I will beg and plead in a semi-desperate and slightly pathetic way to please leave the following shows alone and away from any rebooting.  Just wipe it away and they never need to be rebooted like ever in the history of the world. There are other shows. Leave these alone.

1) Friends

Yes, this would bring in A LOT of money and huge ratings but at what cost? Okay, that’s a dumb question and I don’t mean that as a literal question….’cause let’s just be honest, it would cost like bucket loads of money to get a Friends reunion show. It would probably take money that hasn’t even been printed yet.  Money that could go to feeding starving children and providing me with an employable salary and health benefits but that’s another issue for another open letter, one that involves a continuous stream of my tears  while sitting in a dark corner rocking back and forth. Anyway, that aside, the cast and executive producers have been saying they do not want it and they’ve been saying that since 2004.

The show ended so perfectly.  Sure there are questions like, ‘did Rachel really give up her dream job in favor of a clearly unhealthy relationship?’ The answer would be, yes….yes, she did. So that’s just how it will have to go. She got off the plane and we can only hope that she and Ross had some intense couples counseling off screen. Okay, so maybe instead of a show,  a group interview would be better. I would be happy to narrate and ask all the inappropriate questions. How does next Tuesday around 2, sound? In all seriousness, no Friends reboot. They aren’t in their 20’s or 30’s anymore and the show was about a specific time in someone’s life and now they’re out of it, married with kids and jobs except maybe Rachel…but they’ve moved on. That time where your friends are your family ended for those characters in 2004. There’s nothing left to tell.

2) The Wonder Years

First things first and probably the most important, Fred Savage has said it will never happen so unless you’re planning on doing a reboot taking place at Kevin Arnold’s funeral with Winnie narrating and a special appearance by Marilyn Manson played by Paul Pffeifer played by Josh Saviano, there’s no possible way to make this work. You kinda need Kevin Arnold, he’s necessary to the whole plot ’cause of the whole narration thing.  Besides, there’s that whole Wonder Years DVD thingy which has all the reunions. They did it, no need to be greedy. Although, if you really want it, I would like to pitch a Wet Hot American Summer version of a reunion where they do that seventh season but don’t recast. Just have them at the age they all are now playing seventeen….but I don’t think anyone will be happy with that except me. But I  could pitch….next Tuesday, around 2?

3) The Sopranos

Tony Soprano dies at the end! Spoiler Alert!  He totally dies. That cut to black proved it and I will yell mean things at anyone who tries to convince me otherwise. The show was told through Tony Soprano’s eyes and he has no more eyes because he’s dead. There’s also another much sadder reason why a reboot of The Sopranos would not work….the passing of James Gandolfini. Recasting would be insulting to his memory and it should be left in the fond memories of fans. James Gandolfini was a giant and was absolute perfection as Tony Soprano. The best way to celebrate his memory would be to not reboot the show that made him a household name.

4) Seinfeld

I am still hurt by that finale. It hurts my television watching soul. I mean, okay, it was finals week in college and that finale was going to be my reward for studying all week. I even took my tiny little television out of my dorm and gave it to a friend. I did not watch television for a whole week. I was proud. My parents were proud. My friends….well, they didn’t really care….but I like to think they were proud. When finals week was over,  I sat wrapped in a blanket, surrounded by boxes while drinking wine and eating a Papa John’s pepperoni pizza….they knew me at Papa Johns. College was fun.  Anyway, and oh, I didn’t eat the whole pizza by myself because that would have been wrong. Please believe me. Although, after watching that finale, no one would have blamed me for eating my feelings and because of that, I don’t think Seinfeld should have a reboot. That finale aside, it was a phenomenal show and I don’t think you could even capture it’s brilliance today. It was really a show about nothing so no need to make it into something.

5) Cheers

This show was a place where everyone knew your name and not only that, they were always glad you came! A reboot of Cheers just could not work today, not with information being a click away. Cliff’s stories would be debunked with a simple click or internet search.  Cheers was symbolic of a simpler time. No internet, no smart phone, just human interaction and technology would destroy a reboot of Cheers. It just would not work today as the premise was not a complicated one and considering how low the ratings were when it first premiered, it’s doubtful a show like Cheers would last longer than a season today. Cheers was about a quieter time and was about people, about finding humor and drama in relationships in a neighborhood bar.

In fact that’s what all of the above shows focused on which would not make them good candidates for reboots today. They weren’t about technology, instant information or whether or not you got a lot of  “likes” from that Instagram picture of your dog and you sharing spaghetti over a candle lit meal. I don’t want to see an episode where Monica posts a Facebook live video of the twins soccer game or Paul and Kevin arguing over Twitter about baseball cards. I don’t want to see Elaine, Kramer, George and Jerry sitting in a deli watching funny YouTube videos or Norm checking his Tinder at Cheers.

Let’s keep those shows where they belong… in the past and maybe come up with something new?

Just a thought….and if you need me to pitch you some ideas, I’m free next Tuesday. Around 2.



In Defense of Friends from College… and other First Season Shows

Terror. Fear. Horror. Fright.

The above is a list of the adjectives I felt when reading the reviews for the new Netflix show, Friends from College.

I was a little saddened by this. The cast is amazing. You have Keegan-Michael Key (Key and Peele), Cobie Smulders (How I Met Your Mother) and Fred Savage (The Wonder Years) which is more than enough to make me happy. Then you also have Billy Eichner, Kate McKinnon, Seth Rogen, Ike Barinholtz in supporting roles and Nat Faxon, Annie Parisse and Jae Suh Park to round out the main group, it’s the best and with all those shiny happy people, it’s the perfect group.

On top of all of that, it was created by Nicholas Stoller who is responsible for Neighbors and Forgetting Sarah Marshall and the very much underrated show The Grinder which has nothing to do with the app.

With all of this talent on board, why wouldn’t it be a hit?

The answer came with those reviews.

Now, I kept coming across two stories:

  1. The show is awful, horrible, just the worst…..everything that is stinky in the world is apparently because of this show.
  2. Fred Savage doesn’t like to play with others…..when the cameras stop rolling

Okay let’s discuss the second one first because this is going to be a rant that will be irrelevant to the rest of this but I feel like ranting anyway.

How is Fred Savage not wanting to hang out with his co-stars a story?

This has clearly taken on a life of its own so let’s take it out of the context of a celebrity not wanting to hang out with co-stars and put it into the context of someone not wanting to mix business with pleasure and wanting to keep his personal life separate from his business life, look at it that way and Fred Savage is no different than the millions of other people in the world who prefer to keep a distance between their work life and personal life.

In fact, I actually find it admirable that he has such boundaries. I always thought work happy hours were mandatory…..I could stay home instead? I always thought I had to go so I could network and be sociable and crap. I don’t have to? Fine with me. I mean, okay, people have boundaries. It’s no different than people who refuse to add work friends on Facebook. It’s not personal, it’s just a way to keep things separate. This should not be a story. Unless the story becomes “Fred Savage won’t hang out with his co-stars and also kicks them in the shins and runs away from them super fast” there is no story and we’re putting a negative spin on professionalism.

Rant over.

Now let’s discuss the reviews.

Is this show perfect?

Well… No, it’s not.

The show centers around six close college friends: Ethan (Key),Lisa (Smulders), Sam (Parisse), Nick (Faxon), Max (Savage) and Marianne (Park). Ethan and Lisa are married as is Sam but Sam and Ethan are having an affair which has been going on for twenty years. This is kept hidden from the rest of the group with the exception of Marianne. So basically, Marianne knows that one of her best friends is cheating with the husband of one of her best friends. It’s a little twisted, not gonna lie.

Now, the show has been compared to Friends but with the exception of it being a co-dependent group of six, the fact that it takes place in New York and two of the main friends in the group are married to each other, the two friend groups really could not be more different. For one thing, the six friends in Friends were in their twenties moving towards the future together. These friends are in their forties and are tied to the past and not looking ahead at the future. Also, Rachel and Chandler were not having an affair that only Phoebe knew about… there’s that.

Another difference is that Friends had 236 episodes and ten years to add layers to those characters. Friends from College only had eight thirty minute episodes. That’s four hours to get to know six people.

That’s not a whole lot of time and because of that, I hope they get a second season.

The world we live in now is fast. We want immediate gratification. If a show is not a smash right out of the gate, it’s finished. We are definitely in a Golden Age of  Television. We have so much amazing content out there. It used to be that movie stars would look down on television actors, now we have people like Oscar Winner Reese Witherspoon starring in one of the biggest shows on HBO: Big Little Lies.  We are so consumed by content that there aren’t enough hours in the day to consume it all and while this is most certainly a blessing, it’s also a curse.

The curse being that a lot of television shows are not being given a shot to prove themselves past the first season.

When shows are given a chance to grow, magical things can happen.

For example, did you hear about that show that took place in a bar in Boston? First season, it was dead last in the ratings. Yet when Cheers ended in 1993, 84 million people watched that finale and it is now considered one of the greatest sitcoms of all times and that finale was pretty awesome.

Oh and there was another show about four friends who basically sat around and talked about nothing. Research that was done on the pilot received mostly negative reviews and now, just like Cheers, Seinfeld is considered iconic. Even the horrible series finale did nothing to damper the quality of the rest of the series.

Seinfeld and Cheers were given a chance to find their footing, to grow, to be better. Even Friends, their pilot episode while hilariously funny no longer fits with how the series developed over time.

Look at Orange is the New Black on Netflix. The show doesn’t even resemble what it was in the first season. Piper is no longer front and center and rotating characters seems to be the norm now.

So, the point?

Sometimes more time is needed and in the case of Friends from College, I hope they get that chance. This is definitely a show that needs more than four hours to prove itself.

And if they do get a second season, I hope it’s longer and here’s what I would love more of:

1) This season focused mainly on the love triangle between Sam, Lisa and Ethan. Lisa had no idea about the affair between Sam and Ethan. Sometimes this got a little tiring. If there’s another season, can we focus on Max, Marianne and Nick? I felt like all three had so much more to add and there were so many stories to be told that could feature the three of them. Nick has a trust fund, but what does he do all day? What was his purpose in the group? Max is an agent with apparently a very light work load….he has one client, Ethan….and Marianne is an actress? I wanted to know so much more and let’s go back to Marianne. She’s stuck in the middle of her two close female friends, Sam and Lisa, knowing everything that’s going on. She deserves a prize.

2) I hope they go into more background on all of the six. I want to know more about them. Why are they even friends? That was the question I kept asking. Yes, they have fun together, they enjoy each other but for the most part, they’re not very nice to each other. There’s the affair and the episode where it’s revealed that all of the friends forgot Max’s 40th birthday. Lisa and Ethan interrupt Max’s birthday dinner with his boyfriend, Felix, who is played by Eichner….Max reminds them and yet nothing is really done. Yes, Lisa and Ethan were in the midst of a crisis of their own, dealing with Lisa’s infertility issues but I was hoping the final scene of that episode would be a birthday party for poor Max.

I also hope that whatever background they do bring, they add layers to Ethan because Ethan is not all that sympathetic in this series. It’s one thing to be unlikable but I wanted to root for him a little bit. He’s sleeping with his wife’s best friend who is also married, he’s an author but he relies on his agent so much that it doesn’t seem like Max has time to focus on anyone else.

3) Bring Billy Eichner back and have him be the Billy Eichner we all know and love. Yes, it’s great that he can play more subdued and he was a fantastic partner for Max.  He is very talented but I like the Billy on the Street character. It makes me happy. Although, I guess I can see why they had him be more subdued. It matched more with Max who was a little more hyper and the two balanced each other out…..but still… I’m  gonna just sulk about it.

4) Jobs? Yes, in the world of Hollywood, jobs are secondary to the plot, but if this is a show about the nostalgia of the past competing with the present then career would be important.  Marianne is an actress? Yet the play she does seems to be in a high school gym. Max is an agent but he has one client?  Lisa has a high profile job where she’s often subjected to sexual harassment? It might be interesting to see how their addiction to each other interferes with their real lives? We get a little bit at the end with Max. Max ends up not only losing Felix but makes a major mistake which I won’t spoil but in real life would cost him his job and quite possibly his one client..which leads me to my final thing

5) No consequences. There are no consequences to anyone’s actions. From adultery to destruction of property to drunk driving, these six friends live in a world where they don’t suffer from the consequences of some pretty serious actions. Television is filled with self absorbed characters, unlikable characters but every action has a reaction and maybe that’s where a second season will come into play….

What will happen next?  Is there a fall out? There are more stories and with this cast and Nicholas Stoller at the helm, these stories can be told.

These six deserve another shot…every show deserves a chance to grow even in the world of instant gratification.

Oh and if there is a second season, cool it on the YA dissing. As an adult who loves and writes Young Adult fiction, it’s not all about werewolves, witches and monsters but then again, the scene with Fred Savage tap dancing while high on cocaine was one of the better moments and also Kate McKinnon….okay, on second thought, continue with the werewolves and monsters if it means more Kate McKinnon.


Watching the Wonder Years 24 Years Later….Some Thoughts

Like any television watching adult knows, the summer viewing schedule is often littered with reality shows, repeats and random cable shows so when faced with a decision to read or perhaps binge watch an old television show, I chose to binge.

And I chose to binge on The Wonder Years.

Now, I have not watched The Wonder Years since it went off the air in 1993. Twenty-four years and when deciding to watch a show you have not actually seen for almost a quarter of a century, there are dangers involved in this task:

1. It will cease to be funny or charming and will have lost all of the appeal and humor it once had or you once thought it had. I’m looking at you ALF and also quite possibly Small Wonder.

2.  It will still be funny and you will love it still but you will start noticing more and more flaws that you hadn’t noticed in the first viewing. I love you Friends but let’s be honest, Ross could be kind of a dick. 

I went in with trepidation and snacks which is really how you should binge watch anything and I came up with observations.

It’s very scientific so get your pencils.

1. Kevin Arnold is a flawed protagonist

There are internet rumblings. Kevin Arnold is a jerk. Kevin Arnold yells too much. Kevin Arnold is the worst. There’s even a website listing everything that was wrong with this character.

My response:

Why would you want to see a show about a perfect person?

Also why are we criticizing the behavior flaws of a fictional character between the ages of twelve to sixteen. I would be willing to bet that most of us are at our worst between those ages.

Daniel Stern’s narration, however, shines light on Kevin’s behavior, reflecting on the good, the bad and the not so pretty. The adult version of Kevin Arnold fully admits to the times where he made an error, rushed to judgment or perhaps did not show himself in the best light. The narration took the show to a more vulnerable place with the adult version exposing his worst moments along with the best.

The Wonder Years also proves that we are the products of our environment, Therefore Kevin Arnold’s short tempered moments make perfect sense. Let’s take the episode where Kevin gets a puppy from his grandfather and his father Jack keeps going back and forth as to whether or not they will keep the dog. At the end, Kevin yells at his dad about his flip-floppiness. Jack Arnold’s response?

“You remind me of somebody.”

That line in itself shows one of the many messages of The Wonder Years:

You can never truly escape who you really are. You can never truly escape your surroundings.

Jack Arnold was short tempered so it made sense that his children might carry that on. I fully disagree with those internet rumblings. Besides, it didn’t seem like anyone was ever that intimidated by Kevin Arnold…even when he was all yelly. Instead, they all just seemed to brush it off as a quirky personality trait or gave it right back to him.

 2. Friendship Growing Pains

I am lucky enough to have two friends whom I’ve known for over thirty years so the friendship between Paul and Kevin feels even more familiar now than it did in 1988. The Wonder Years did a terrific job at reflecting those growing pains.

In a season six episode where Kevin and Paul are playing poker with friends, there’s a realization that they’ve both changed. That their friendship at that moment in time might be going in separate directions but with the imagery of Paul and Kevin as old men playing poker with their friends, their friendship will come back together.

While that moment had no true meaning to me back then, now it most certainly does. Back then, I probably took it as the end of their friendship. Watching it again, it’s not the end…it’s just simply another direction. A temporary detour and that’s the way it usually is when you’ve known someone that long. Your relationship ebbs and flows. Sometimes you need each other more than anyone because they just know things without you having to explain yourself but other times….other times, you go off, explore your own life away from that person. Sometimes you don’t speak for years, sometimes you lose touch for a time but they will always be there because they simply mean too much and their place in your life is just too special for you to truly let go.

3.  The show will be never be dated because it already was

The Wonder Years premiered in 1988 yet took place in the late 60’s, during the Vietnam War. A brilliant move in retrospect because it never ran the risk of becoming dated. The storylines were universal regardless of the decade. Yes, there were protests and young people dying overseas. There were race riots and turbulence in the sixties but when you’re twelve, your world is not that big. When you’re sixteen, your world still isn’t quite that big.

Take the episode that had Wayne’s friend Wart returning from Vietnam. When Kevin Arnold delighted in finally catching the owl mascot of the rival high school during homecoming, he spotted Wart sitting on a bench with his clothes off. Wayne approaches him and Wart’s line, “nothing fits” weighed heavily. The world had expanded in a violent way for Wart, a way that it had not widened yet for Kevin who was still young, still sheltered.

So while they did touch on some dramatic moments, it was only to widen the world of Kevin Arnold, forcing him to think outside himself which is a relatable part of growing up, learning that the world is so much bigger than you can ever imagine.

4. Winnie and Kevin were not meant to be

This was controversial at the time. People were upset. It would have been like Ross and Rachel not getting together but thinking it over, it actually makes sense that Winnie and Kevin were not meant to be. Fred Savage stated in an interview that Winnie and Kevin getting married would have almost ruined the fantasy because Winnie was truly the dream girl.  Danica McKeller had referred to her character as a bit of a mystery and it’s true.

We as an audience never really knew Winnie Cooper. We only knew Winnie Cooper through the memory of Kevin Arnold. To Kevin Arnold, Winnie was flawless. She was perfection. Of course there were glimpses into Winnie’s pain. Her parents divorcing and then later reconciling, her brother dying in Vietnam. Yet Kevin did seem oblivious to her pain at those moments quite possibly because it would ruin the image he had of her and also because he was twelve. It was the scene after Winnie was involved in a car accident and the two whisper to each other through the window that they loved each other that forced Kevin to see that the happiness and bliss he had been feeling may have been the polar opposite of what she was feeling.

So maybe having Winnie and Kevin getting married might have ruined that image.  Even adult Kevin keeps up that image of perfection. Winnie was the girl next door. She was an ideal, a dream. She was never meant to be his reality. We were never meant to know the true Winnie Cooper because Kevin Arnold didn’t really know the true Winnie Cooper.

5. Child Stars Gone Good

We hear so many stories. Hollywood is littered with tragic stories of child stars who have fallen victim to substance abuse problems, legal problems, just problems but for every cast of Different Strokes, there is the cast of Wonder Years. At the end of the series , the fictional characters of Winnie, Kevin and Paul are off to accomplish great things but so were the actors who portrayed them.

Danica McKellar went to UCLA and graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics. She even co-authored a paper called Percolation and Gibbs States Multiplicity for Ferromagnetic Ashkin-Teller models, which you know….duh.

She had also written five math books specifically geared towards pre-teen girls to get them excited about math. I wish she had written these when I was in high school, although when I took the CSET for math and science, I picked up Math Doesn’t Suck to use as a study guide and they are so well written and easy to understand. I recommend it for anyone who wants to improve their math skills.

It would have been amazing had the producers added this math genius part of Danica McKellar to character of Winnie Cooper. I was only a couple years younger than Winnie Cooper so it would have been pretty cool to see a female character around my age excel in math like that.

Fred Savage has continued with acting, starring in The Grinder with Rob Lowe which was really funny. It was like the story of Josh Saviano. Lawyer and actor….where does one end and other begin? Seriously, it’s like they took him and separated him into two characters.

Fred Savage will also be appearing in Friends from College on Netflix and if you have not watched his appearances guest hosting Live with Kelly, you really should. He’s also become a director. After leaving Stanford in 1999, he concentrated fully on directing. He’s directed everything from Boy Meets World (I heard he had an in….apparently the guy who played Cory Matthews is like a brother to him) to Even Stevens, It’s Sunny in Philadelphia, Modern Family, Party Down, Greek, Casual. He’s become an incredibly respected television director.

Oh and also Josh Saviano who played Paul Pfeiffer is not Marilyn Manson although I would like to restart that rumor and not have it die because of the truth.  So I guess we can call that a hashtag alternative fact?  Josh Saviano actually went to Yale and is a corporate lawyer who now specializes in helping actors with their brands, He was also in a few episodes of Law and Order SVU.  He may not actually be Marilyn Manson but maybe he really was the inspiration for The Grinder? Perhaps he should use his lawyer skills to discuss royalties with Fred Savage and Rob Lowe?

It’s not just the main three who are thriving. Jason Hervey is a producer producing reality shows and a lot of wrestling shows. Looking at his producer credits, is it weird that I now desperately want him to appear in the next season of GLOW?  He also produced a really interesting show coming out at the end of the month on A&E called Dope Man which is a documentary that follows an an ex-con struggling with a heroin addiction while he help others. It’s in the same vein as Intervention which means it will be amazing, difficult to watch and necessary.

Alley Mills, Dan Lauria and Olivia D’abo are still acting and doing quite well.

There’s just something comforting knowing that a show about nostalgia and hopeful happy endings transferred off screen. Everyone involved has had happy endings of their own….at least professionally. I can’t speak for them personally but judging them solely by social media posts alone, they all seem to know how to have a good time.

6. The Guest Stars Complete Me

David Schwimmer. Alicia Silverstone. John Corbett. Mark Paul Gosselaar. Juliette Lewis. Soleil Moon Frye. Carla Gugino. Jim Caviezel. Giovanni Ribisi. Seth Green.

I mean, come on!

It’s pretty cool watching the show now and seeing people who you now know from something else. I mean, was there a time when Alicia Silverstone wasn’t Cher, David Schwimmer wasn’t Ross and John Corbett wasn’t Aiden who was too good for Carrie Bradshaw?

There was.

My favorites?

Giovanni Ribisi  was perfect. I loved his character and he was so much more subdued than he was on Friends as Phoebe’s step brother. While he was fantastic on Friends, I kinda loved seeing a him in The Wonder Years. He added humor and seemed like a good match for Fred Savage.

Also, the episode with Carla Gugino called Triangle is definitely worth a watch again. Carla Gugino plays Wayne’s girlfriend who ends up making out with Kevin. I loved the quieter moments with Kevin and Wayne, the moments where you could tell they actually truly loved each other and the ending of this particular episode proves it.

And yes when David Schwimmer appeared on screen as Karen’s boyfriend Michael, I did say that he shouldn’t be there because he had to move to New York, change his name to Ross and tell Rachel that they were on a break.

Was that wrong?

7. Sibling Bonds 

Is there anything more complicated than the relationship between siblings?  You hate each other, you love each other. You can treat them horribly but G-d forbid someone else tries something.

The Wayne/Kevin relationship was intense. When we first meet Wayne, he seems like a monster, making Kevin’s life miserable. The episode where Wayne sucks up Kevin’s science class hamster with a vacuum cleaner comes to mind but as they get older, you see a bond form. They actually like each other despite their best efforts.

Kevin truly does care about Wayne. I mentioned the Triangle episode earlier but another episode that truly sticks out is New Year’s Eve when Wayne’s girlfriend, Bonnie, dumps him and goes back to her ex husband. Bonnie stands there telling Kevin that he must hate her. His response? “I’m so sorry….but not for you”.  Kevin then proceeds to search for Wayne, finding him in a laundry mat, drinking and throwing socks in a washing machine. Wayne also covers for Kevin as well as seen in The Lost Weekend when the Arnold parents go out of town, Kevin throws a party that goes wildly out of control and Wayne covers for him, taking the fall.

Wonder Years showed just how complex relationships with siblings can be and that never changes.

8. Spotty memory makes for great episodic television

In the eighties, you could have a child drive a car into a house in one episode and by the next, it’s as if it never happened. I’m looking at you, Full House.  This was a common theme for a lot of 80’s sitcoms. Things just happened never to be spoken of again.

The way The Wonder Years was set up, this very 80’s way of doing television, was the perfect fit. It didn’t matter if a girl featured in one episode was never mentioned again or a sport Kevin played in another was also never spoken of again. When you tell stories about your past, you pick and choose. You add your own embellishments. You make yourself look better or worse then you really were. Some characters or moments are really significant just for certain things. It works.

It also works because Kevin is not always in the right and as mentioned in the episode where Kevin hits a homerun and is carried out of the park, he says that it may not have actually happened that way. The Wonder Years is about selective memory and what you choose to remember. We are listening to certain stories in the life of Kevin Arnold and we’re listening to an adult looking back on his childhood, only showing the innocence, the successes, the failures, the moments you wish you could erase. It doesn’t need to be perfect or consistent or completely accurate because it’s all told through the memory of an adult and usually the stories of your childhood are never quite consistent.

9. No reunion but there should have been a seventh season

This one is obviously not the fault of the cast or crew but there should have been a seventh and final season. I didn’t think much of it at the time but now, yes, they needed a seventh season but now it’s too late.  Unlike Gilmore Girls, Arrested Development and Full House, there was always a bit more realism attached to The Wonder Years and now that Kevin Arnold would be older than his narrator, a reunion doesn’t work.

We needed that final season. It was necessary and for a show that won a Golden Globe, an ASCAP award, a Casting Society award, a DGA, a Peabody, a TCA, two WGAs, two Viewers for Quality Television awards, three Humanitas prizes, three BMI awards, four Emmy awards and four Young Artist Awards… more than earned a proper goodbye. Yes, the ratings had fallen in that final season and it was no longer a top 40 show as it had been the previous season, but still….it never got a true chance to say goodbye.

I get that it probably cost too much to make but it could have had a reduced season or maybe the network could have trusted the fans. True fans will stick with a show. The fans who had been elementary aged kids in season one were teenagers by season six and seeing Kevin in more adult situations would not have been as upsetting as maybe the networks thought it might be. I mean, the show began with Winnie Cooper’s brother dying in Vietnam….I think the fans would have been fine.

We had watched these characters grow up and not seeing them graduate high school, go to prom, get into college made that final episode a little jarring. It was a fine finale but it was a season finale, not a series finale.

And there’s what happened to Jack.

We learn from the narration in the final episode that Jack passes away. This was more shocking to me than Winnie and Kevin not ending up together. Jack did not seem to have any health problems throughout the run of the series and his death came out of nowhere. What if they had had Jack pass away in the seventh season? Watching the Arnold family adapt to a new normal that they hadn’t been expecting might have been interesting to watch but we never got that chance.

I was okay with Winnie and Kevin not ending up together, I understood the reasons but there were too many other loose ends. There  was also Karen who shows in the final episode visibly pregnant although without Michael, her husband, so maybe Michael really did move to New York and changed his name to Ross?

Or maybe that’s another Wonder Years message?

Sometimes things just don’t go as planned and you have to accept the goodbye even if it doesn’t truly feel like it, even if there are loose ends and more stories to tell. Sometimes the goodbye just comes when you aren’t quite ready and you just have to accept that sometimes things happen that are simply out of your control.

10. It still works

The Wonder Years still holds up. Despite my issues with the finale, it still works…..even twenty four years later.

The stories are timeless. Growing up is never easy, relationships are complicated and things don’t always end up the way they should. It will always work because the stories will always resonate depending on the age you are when you watch them.

The older you get, the more stories you have to tell.

The more you get to learn and make each year you get…..a wonder year.


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.


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….