Drop Dead Diva

Drop Dead Diva

Drop Dead Deiva

My wife is an evil person. She starts watching shows on Netflix and then she gets me hooked. Once I am invested in the show, I have to watch the whole thing. So, we are burning our way through Drop Dead Diva. This TV show has one of the goofiest premises that I have ever heard of in my entire life but… it works and it is completely entertaining.

The concept is that a model, Deb, dies in a car wreck. At the same time, a lawyer, Jane, passes away and Deb’s soul goes to inhabit Jane’s body. Not making this up. This is the real plot device behind this show. Again, it works and you learn to embrace it and you learn to love it. Your suspension of disbelief happens really quickly and you just start to really dig the world that the story takes place in. The cast brings their A-game to a show that I am sure seemed unlikely from time to time.

Deb vs Jane – The dual personality between Jane and Deb plays well from episode to episode. Deb is in Jane but there are parts of Jane that surface from time to time. Jane’s intellect, her brain, and her legal knowledge are all still there but underneath it all is Deb’s bubbly personality – Deb’s high spirits. Add to this the fact that Deb was dating a lawyer in the same law firm as Jane and the already muddy waters just gets muddier.

Parker – Josh Stamberg plays Jay Parker, the managing partner of the law firm that all these legalistas work at. He is my favorite character in the show. Much like my love of Roger Sterling in Mad Men, Jay Parker is that combination of HR nightmare, empathy and womanizer that you get to watch grow up during the course of the show. Unlike Roger Sterling, Jay Parker is a much better person and therefore you enjoy watching him grow up a lot more. Especially because he actually seems to learn from his mistakes.

Margaret Cho – Holy crap, do I love Margaret Cho! She is an amazing comedian and she is equally as great as Jane’s quirky, resourceful assistant. Margaret Cho is perfect. I refuse to say a whole lot more. My vocabulary for how wonderful she is in this role does not suffice. She needs a spin off.

I hate to call this a guilty pleasure show for me, but it is. This seems like one of those shows that I would never have watched if not for my wonderful wife. This is not something I would have ever chosen to watch on my own and at times, I really don’t believe that I am watching it. All of that being said, I really am enjoying the show and will be sad like I usually am when we are done binge-watching all six seasons.

 

The Geek and I

The Geek and I

The Geek and I

As a little girl, growing up playing with Strawberry Shortcake, Rainbow Brite and Barbie.  I thought for sure I would live in my Malibu Barbie Dream House with my hot pink Barbie convertible, but in March 2009, I met my geek. He opened a whole new world and I traded Malibu Barbie’s Dream House for Castle Grayskull and my hot pink convertible for an X-Wing.

What I have learned from my geek: 

First, let’s start with comics, we are a Marvel family.  Growing up I knew nothing about the difference between Marvel and DC.  Since 2009, I have heard my share of reviews of the superhero movies.  The Marvel brand won me over. Since the Disney company has produced both movies and TV shows their story lines tie together so much better than DC and Warner Brothers. And it does help that Marvel has Chris Hemsworth as Thor and Hugh Jackman as Wolverine aka Logan.    

Secondly, I have learned a lot about Star Wars and if only I could have those Jedi mind tricks.  At first, I was super-confused by the order of these movies and why George Lucas would make them out of order, but with that said, it probably is one of the great love stories on film and you can only watch them in that order.  I have to admit that I did tear up a little when Han Solo met with his death. I still sometimes do get the names mixed – up like C-3PO. My geek has to correct all the time –  it’s C-3PO, you know what I mean the gold guy or R2D2, the trash can and the hairy one. Maybe one day I will have the perfect body like Princess Leia in the Return of the Jedi: Episode VI.  I can see the smile on my Geeks face that I knew all of these names.  

Lastly, but not the last thing I have learned from my Geek is a love of The Walking Dead.  It took him about a year and a half to get me to watch the first episode.   I am not a fan of Zombies. In fact, they really kind of scare me to death, but if you cannot beat them, join them.  I gave it a try and OMG Sunday at 9 Eastern is one of my favorite times of the week.  If the Zombie apocalypse happens I hope I have the guts of Rick, the courage of Carol and I hope I would be as bad ass as Daryl and hope I never have to deal with Negan and Lucille.

There is a lot of other geeky things I love about my geek and hopefully, will write more in the future. I love my geek and everything he has taught me about all his Geeky things. We have learned that Grayskull and Malibu Barbie can live under that same roof with a two car garage: hot pink convertible parked beside the X-wing. And who knows if and when that blue Tardis will show up.

The Eighties – A Documentary

The Eighties – A Documentary

The Eighties – A Documentary

Recently watched The Eighties – A Documentary on Netflix. My wife and I are hooked on documentaries and we will watch one on almost anything but this one, covering one of the decades that we both grew up on was a no-brainer.Add to that the fact that Tom Hanks is one of the executive producers and it was put out by CNN and we were really ready to be entertained.

This is actually a mini-series that aired in 2016 and has now made its way to Netflix. The title says it all: The Eighties. Everything from MTV to Reagan, AIDS to technology. All of those phenomenon, both pop-culture and otherwise, that made one of the most impactful decades in modern times. The creators of this series make a great argument that the eighties set the trends, the technology, the entertainment that we would still be following today. So much has changed from the 80s but once you dig into this series you may find that less has changed than you think.

Episodes:

  • Raised on Television – Prior to the 80s, there were like 3 stations. You watched what they had on or you didn’t – those were the options. All of sudden in the eighties, you got to have choices. Stations dedicated to niche markets and topics, sports centered, news centered, music centered. There was a channel for every taste and a taste for every channel.
  • The Reagan Revolution – Ronald Reagan, love him or hate him, was one of our most influential political figures of the last 40 or 50 years. His policies, his handling of the cold war, his fiscal structure – all of it made the 80s a time of rise for the upper class and a very tough time for those in the middle to lower ends of society. His policies still affect us today and have since he left office. All of that being said he was one of the first presidents to really make himself seen on mass media all the time. You had channels devoted to politics and news and they loved to put a camera in Reagan’s face just to see what he might say or do.
  • The Fight Against AIDS – People born past the outbreak of the AIDS epidemic don’t remember how scary, how devasting and how much bad information was being pumped out. In particular, the terror that people felt was palpable. AIDS is still very much a threat, but during the 80s it was something to strike fear in the hearts of everyone and to really divide the nation over.
  • Tear Down this Wall – Communism took its first big blow as the cold war started to wind down and the Berlin wall was torn asunder. The footage of the people of East Germany and West Germany coming together to remove this literal barrier… those scenes, that footage, is worth the time spent watching this series.
  • The Tech Boom – The personal computer, the video game – all of those pieces that we take for granted today – came out and grabbed hold of our culture in the 80s. The computer was this clunky piece of tech that no one really understood why they needed. Video games were the first pieces of tech that we could interact with. Tech was and still is king.
  • Greed is Good – Financial gains and losses were also a trademark of the 80s. Wealth grew, poverty grew, Wall Street grew. Finance became much bigger and had a bigger impact on the culture than any point since the Great Depression.
  • Video Killed the Radio Star – I want my MTV. Back when MTV actually showed music videos, they changed the way that we decided what music was popular. The music wasn’t always good but the videos were always entertaining. I think they missed some of my favs but they did a good job of cramming the change in music into one segment of this series. If you think that MTV was made for everyone from the start, think again. They take a good look at the lack of diversity that MTV faced to begin with and how Michael Jackson had to blackmail his way onto the channel.

Trailer:

Mad Men – Post Binge Watch

Mad Men – Post Binge Watch

Mad Men

Creator:
Matthew Weiner

Cast:
Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, Vincent Kartheiser, January Jones, Christina Hendricks, John Slattery, Robert Morse, Kiernan Shipka, and so many more that I don’t have room to list them all.

MPAA Rating:
TV-MA

Release Year:
2007-2015

mad-men-title-cardI am sitting here watching the last episode of Mad Men with my wife. We decided to jump into this show this summer and it has been all consuming. We have managed three episodes a night most of the time. I am not a huge fan of the network schedule but I for one would have loved to have watched Mad Men as it came out. That being said, it has binge-watched very nicely. So here are my thoughts on Mad Men – Post Binge Watch.

Damn good story. From the moment Jon Hamm walks on the screen, he emits this epic cool that very few actors can exude. There is something in the dark suit, white shirt, tie and cufflinks that makes him classic, cool and curious all at the same time. You get thrown into the story almost immediately. Here is this guy that works at an ad agency. The ad agency is something new on the scene for big business in the 60s and they are making up the rules, the roles and the rights as the go along. You get introduced to most of the cast during episode one, at least those cast members that are going to stay with us for the duration. You learn that Don has a secret in episode one, you meet all of these people and you are amazed by the interactions. By the time you finish season one, you are really amazed that any of the people haven’t died from an STD or been killed for cheating on their significant others. From beginning to end though you are rooting for this band of deviants, this odd assortment of people that are forging through life together. They are standing with each other, against each other and at times at each other’s throats but they are still getting the job done. Mad Men shows the struggle for minorities of every type throughout its run. From equal rights for women to civil rights to LGBT struggles not one of these very mold encrusted stones of our history is left alone.

The cast is second to none and the real high point:

mad-men-castJon Hamm – Don Draper – our man in the dark suit – switching identities, sexual partners and drinks like some people change clothes. His ability to leave you as speechless as his clients is incredible. His lack of outward emotion makes him hard to read but when he breaks… it rips your heart out. He is the typical 60s male and then he isn’t. I am a Fan-of-Hamm now. If he is in a show/movie I will be watching it.

“The reason you haven’t felt is because it doesn’t exist. What you call love was invented by guys like me…to sell nylons.” Don


Elisabeth Moss – Peggy Olsen – the heroine of the entire story – the agent of change throughout the whole show. She is the rock. She is the person that stepped outside fo the norm and made a name for herself. She is the one that you root for all the time. Her transformation from the secretarial pool to being a copy supervisor is inspired.

“Am I the only one who can work and drink at the same time?” Peggy


Vincent Kartheiser – Pete Campbell – you love him, you hate, you hate him a lot. You never can really decide if you want to see Pete fail or win. Either way you cut it, without Pete fouling things up from time to time, the plot don’t move. Pete holds a lot of the weight of the show on his shoulders. He is the weasely little brother/cousin/coworker/creepy uncle that you don’t trust but that seems to get ahead in spite of himself. In the end, Pete becomes more than competent and redeems himself.

“This is ridiculous. If I’m going to die, I want to die in Manhattan.” Pete


Roger Sterling (John Slattery) and Don Draper (Jon Hamm) - Mad Men - Season 6 - Gallery - Photo Credit: Frank Ockenfels/AMC

Roger Sterling (John Slattery) and Don Draper (Jon Hamm) – Mad Men – Season 6 – Gallery – Photo Credit: Frank Ockenfels/AMC

John Slattery – Roger Sterling – the reason I think I stuck with the show – glib, polished at times, always ready with a cutting remark and is the catalyst that saves the day most of the time. I love this character. Whenever Roger entered a scene, you waited to see which Roger would show up. Would it by sarcastic/fun Roger? (I love that Roger) Would it be businessman Roger? Or would it be the Roger that let us glimpse at the man behind the remarks?

“Remember, Don…when God closes a door, he opens a dress.” Roger


Christina Hendricks – Joan Harris – Red Headed Bomb-Shell! Strong female lead to a show that already has strong female roles. Maybe the most interesting character of them all. Complex and a little catty all at the same time. She has such a tragic life. You vacillate between enjoying seeing her get hers and feeling bad for the things that are being forced upon her. And at times the men that are forcing themselves upon her.

“He may act like he wants a secretary but most of the time they’re looking for something between a mother and a waitress. And the rest of the time, well…” Joan


Loved! Loved! Loved this show. If you haven’t spent the time getting to know all the mad men & women on Mad Men, start the binge.

So, what did I learn from watching Mad Men:

  1. The 60s are why we have Human Resources Departments now
  2. Cigarettes, in fact, do cause cancer and the ad campaigns for those companies worked in the 60s
  3. How did anyone survive the 60s
  4. Apparently, it was easier to fall into bed in the 60s then to sell pantyhose, tobacco, cars, airlines, fast food, etc
  5. Don’t let Betty Draper watch the kids
When I Grow Up I Want to Be Nick Offerman

When I Grow Up I Want to Be Nick Offerman

nick-offermanSo, I am almost done listening to Nick Offerman’s book Gumption and I have decided that When I Grow Up I Want to Be Nick Offerman. Forget the obvious benefit that he is married to the funny, talented and gorgeous Megan Mullally, was one of the linchpin characters in the hit show Parks and Rec and that he is a fabulous stand-up comedian and author. Forget all of that. He is brilliant. He is thought provoking. And he has a grasp of culture, history, art and our world that few possess. It is to this last – his grasp of our world – that I want to draw particular attention.

Gumption, the book of his that I am reading now, outlines the lives and character of various people throughout history that he sees as having those traits that make them important to the fabric of our nation and the world. Gumption came out in May of 2015 but it needs to be on the reading list of every single American, in particular, those between the age of 18 and 35. Those folks young enough to be molded or at least bright enough to realize they need to be shaped.

Take a look at the tag line:

“Relighting the Torch of Freedom with America’s Gutsiest Troublemakers”

nick-offerman-2Literally, he names a figure from history, entertainment, etc to represent various character traits and he divides them into chapters such as Makers, Freemasons & Idealists. These individuals range from George Washinton to Wilie Nelson but they all have something in common. They were/are revolutionaries… visionaries… thinkers… doers. His choices and the traits that he chooses for each of them shows a real love of the topic and a lot of thought aimed at his subject matter. I don’t believe that I have ever read a book twice in a row but I believe that I am about to break that rule. I downloaded it using OverDrive so I will be listening to it as well – read in the dulcet tones that only Nick Offerman can offer.

“Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” – Gumption by Nick Offerman

 

offerman-woodshopOfferman is a modern day renaissance man. Stand up comedian, trained actor, author, woodworker. Yup, woodworker. His personal website: www.offermanwoodshop.com, is an actual shop that creates works of art out of wood. It is not a joke, it is Nick Offerman’s business. It offers info on his other projects as well but it is the eCommerce end of an honest to god woodshop, you can buy things made of wood, that he and the artists he employees have made. WHAT!?! The first time you visit the site, you might have the same reaction that I did: “Am I at the right place?” I love the fact that he is more than just a comic or an actor or an author. The fact that he can “do” things and make things, makes him even more interesting than if he was just writing about those topics. If you get to choose one celebrity to get stranded on an island with – you pick Nick Offerman.

nick-offerman-3“Find out what makes you kinder, what opens you up and brings out the most loving, generous, and unafraid version of you—and go after those things as if nothing else matters. Because, actually, nothing else does.” – Gumption by Nick Offerman

At the end of the day, this book is life changing. This book makes you re-evaluate what you do, why you do and how you do. I think I might have to buy a couple of copies of this book for those young people in my life that are about to move from being children to being adults. Gumption goes on my annual read list (this is a very short list of books I read or listen to each year). And, of course, as I stated before, when I grow up I want to be Nick Offerman.

Nick Offerman for Mayor of Detroit and then President – just saying.