31 December 2010

The Cupcaker Awards Are Here!!

Welcome to the most prestigious awards reception of the year, "The Best 'Best Of 2010' List of 2010!" In honor of James Franco's co-hosting gig at the upcoming Oscars, my spirit animal (James Franco) will be presenting this year's awards:

JAMES FRANCO: Hi, it's me James Franco, and welcome to Becklectic's Best of 2010 List. My innate grace and zest for knowledge have made me a shoo-in for this first category-

Best Spirit Animal of 2010: I can't...I can't believe it! It's me, James Franco! Thank you so much. Now that I'm up on stage and can make my thank yous, I want to do a little joke - What's the sound of one arm clapping? Haha, because of 127 Hours and also because of philosophy, which may be something I'm getting a master's in right now. I can't say for sure. Thanks and let's get onto the next category.

Best Car of 2010: Born in 1996 and still purring like a 14 year old kitten, Gabe Kotter the Camry wins again. Lately he's getting to know a new trickle charger. Gabe, you old tech nerd!

Best New Blog of 2010: Although I, James Franco, don't have a celebrity lookalike yet, I am presenting this award to Becky's newest endeavor, Celebrities That Look Alike. The girl from Modern Family and Mila Kunis? Wow, truly a great call.

Best Zombies of 2010: In spirit [animal], Becky & I watched 6 episodes of the newest, awesomest zombie show on tv: The Walking Dead. Based on an extended graphic novel series by Robert Kirkman, the tale of Zombiepocalyptic survival is both scary and addictive...just like ___'s personality.

(ring ring)

JAMES FRANCO: Wait a sec- my phone. (picks up) Hello?

FAT CATS AT CORPORATE: Yes, James Franco please.

JF: This is he.

FCAC: Ah yes, James. Would you like to tell us what that blank joke is supposed to be about?

JF: Blank joke? Oh, you mean the insert-your-own thing at the end of the Walking Dead award?

FCAC: Affirmative.

JF: What about it?

FCAC: If you value your livelihood, you will turn in your jokes in a 100% complete format. We can't expect these people to come up with their own punchlines. It's New Year's Eve, for Christ's sake! They're already drunk!

JF: But it's only 10 til noon, not that I'm judging.

FCAC: Give it a rest Franco! Fill in the blank and then give it a rest!

JF: Ok...how about...well, let's see. Who has an addictive and scary personality? Lindsay Lohan? I wouldn't say that's scary. Gaga? I could see her scaring people into becoming addicted to her, but that's not really right.

FCAC: You've got ten seconds before this whole place gets blown to smithereens. Decide!

JF: Ok, just wait a second! Teen moms? The Tea Party? Natalie Portman? Why haven't I seen Black Swan yet?!

FCAC: Five...four...three...

JF: KELSEY GRAMMER! No, Mel Gibson!

FCAC: (long beat) Approved. (click)

JF: Which brings us to-

Best Heinously Miserable Surprise Celebrity Meltdown of 2010: One day Becky plans to read transcripts of Mel Gibson's marital rants to her babies to help them fall into deep, misogynist slumber.


Best Article Readership of 2010: This celebrity breakup post garnered 7800 page views in the half-month it's been around. Congratulations for unlocking the formula, Beck! And sorry to all the famous people whose personal romantic failures are the nourishment upon which we survive.

Best Dream Job of 2010: To write for Sesame Street.

Best-Used Present of 2010: An ice cream maker from Matt (technically from Chanukkah '09), which has so far helped create:
Strawberry Ice Cream
Eggnog Ice Cream
Cinnamon Basil Ice Cream
Sanka Ice Cream
Dutch Chocolate Ice Cream
Basil Gelato
Pistachio Ice Cream

Best Jersey Shore of 2010: If memory serves, all Jersey Shore that has ever taken place has been within 2010. Oh, nope - preliminary research into Wikipedia shows that the first season premiered on Dec. 3, 2009. This doesn't really matter because it's all swirling into the same toilet drain: ALL of The Jersey Shore was the best of 2010. And I can't wait for season 3, which premieres in something like ONE MERE WEEK.

A humble suggestion: clearly it would be a tall order to change the name of the show, but maybe it's possible to call it "Jersey Malapropisms" one or two times? No one would notice the graphic. For instance, when Sammi wants to beat up a girl, she says "Like when I left Karma, I didn’t even know what was going on in my head, like I’m gonna fucking knock a bitch up." Aw! That's about as cute as Amelia Bedelia at her most confused.

Best Roommates of 2010: My roommates!

Best New Twitter of 2010: A tie between my roommates' new twitter (@TheModelHome) and Matt's cool new account (@YonesSays). Congratulations, short and to-the-point wit!

(ring ring)

JAMES FRANCO: God damn it, just a second. (answers phone) What is it?

FAT CATS AT CORPORATE: Is it you talking now, or is it Becky?

JF: James Franco, obviously. Do you mind? This award show is prestigious-

FCAC: Just wanted to double check. Your roommates, they're cool?

JF: What? I don't have any roommates. I'm a rich actor.

FCAC: Oh really. Then whose roommates won the Best Roommates of 2010 award?

JF: Becky's!

FCAC: But it's all in first person, and you're the host.

JF: People will get it.

FCAC: 100% complete, Franco...100%.

JF: I'll give you 100%!

FCAC: That's the right attitude. Carry on (click).

BECKY (OS): James?

JF: Becky? Is that you? Where are you? I can't see you!

B (OS): I'm but a disembodied voice here, James. I'm here to help you.

JF: Help me? But I'm your spirit animal. Shouldn't I be the one helping you?

B (OS): Oh, pish tosh.

JF: It's these fat cats, they're such sticklers.

B (OS): Maybe they're baiting you.

JF: That's not it. It's their greed. Their corporate greed.

B (OS): Come now James. Think. Why would the fat cats at corporate bother you like this?

JF: (thinking very hard, then getting it) (simultaneous with Becky's disembodied voice) BECAUSE EVERYONE WANTS A PIECE OF JAMES FRANCO!

B (OS): Bam!

JF: You are the best, Becky.

B (OS): No James, you are.

Best Spirit Animal/Blogger Pairing of 2010: James Franco & Becklectic. THIS is why it mattered so much that I find a spirit animal. And THIS is why Becklectic Takes Manhattan has this year's Best "Best of 2010" List of 2010!

CONGRATULATIONS, WE FINALLY DID IT!

29 December 2010

Check Out My New Blog Project!

It's called Celebrities That Look Alike and it will make my life more full! Possibly yours too.

25 December 2010

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

My family is talking about Mel Gibson and what the hell happened. And we are watching Scrooged, and now suddenly I'm defending Zach Galifianakis with my entire life.

18 December 2010

In Honor Of The Repeal Of DADT

My apartment is watching In & Out tonight. Congratulations, everyone!

14 December 2010

Another GG Tricap, Right On Time

The thing about recaps is that they're most useful/interesting/appropriate when they're published within a few days of the episode. Since I took notes on the last three Gossip Girls but still haven't written anything about them, I'm going to have to present a useless/boring/irrelevant one. JUST KIDDING OBVIOUSLY THIS WILL BE GREAT!

Three Weeks Ago: "Serena has Fallen, but Not the Parts of Her You Might Expect"
(Juliet tricks Vanessa and Jenny into helping her destroy Serena at some sort of saints and sinners ball that Chuck is inexplicably hosting)
  • At one point Blair gets a pedicure while she's on the phone with Chuck, who is also getting a pedicure. I believe it is the same pedicurist, or a twin.
  • Serena tells Lily, "You know, you just let yourself get blackmailed for no reason." Yes and no? I guess if I had unlimited money, I'd throw it at any/all persons who seem like they might actually have something on me/my progeny. Or I wouldn't? I don't know, I guess. I guess that's why I'm not Lily van der Woodsen.
  • This episode contained Serena's now infamous line to Eric: "You're my little brother. You're not enough." ZING, BIG SIS! She still hasn't apologized.
  • There were so many things wrong with Juliet's ultimate plan to take down Serena: 1) Neither she nor Jenny look like Serena, completely disregarding her face. 2) She kept her "ether" in some sort of potion bottle, which even I would have been suspicious about and I'm not even paid security. 3) You can't withdraw from Columbia via text or email or anything that could issue forth from a phone. I'm pretty sure someone has to sign something, somewhere. 4) It all takes place alongside Taylor Momsen's band's terrible single. 5) No one cares that Blair and Chuck are dating. 6) YET SOMEHOW IT ALL WORKS OUT LIKE GANGBUSTERS! Juliet comes out of that smelling like a rose! How?
 


Two Weeks Ago: "The Tate Donovan-Directed Episode"
(Serena wakes up surrounded by pills and her mother commits her to a mental institution without even asking if it really happened or if her daughter was framed or what!)
  • The main thing about this episode is Vanessa "Tofu Stuffing" Abrams's technicolor navajo peacoat. It's the main thing because when you see it, it makes you barf and you end up missing the entire rest of the episode due to being so sick. 
  • Rufus has been in such top-form lately. In this episode he both tells Lily he "thought she was over this" and corrects Lily about the possibility that Serena takes antidepressants. Of course Serena doesn't take antidepressants, dummy. How would she know to get them? Oh, and then Rufus spills all of Serena's secret beans in the hospital to whomever will listen.
  •  Oh man, when Chuck spots Jenny walking into the Ostroff Center it's like watching a zombie pass by. Speaking of, you can always find my Walking Dead season 1 recaps here!
  •  And finally, it took a few thousand slow-motion rewinds but I got to the point where I could make out the check Lily hands to Juliet as hush money - and it's only $5000. Blah blah, it'll be $5k every month, but come on. This is a van der Woodsen. Come on.
 
 
One Week Ago: "The Very Beginning Of The Best Best Friendship In The World: Blain!
(Blair and Dan travel to Connecticut together to solve the mystery of Serena's teacher fiasco at boarding school. On the way they run into Draco Malfoy Damien and he spills his guts.)
  • There is a dictionary in Blair's room that appears to be glowing.
  • Lily wears not one but two red power dresses in this episode. Wait a minute, red? Like as in evil?! Wait, guys, I think they're trying to say something about Lily...but what?
  
 
  • "It's a little early in the day for that, don't you think?" says Rufus to Lily, mistaking himself for Sandy Cohen and her for Kirsten yet again. She's a businesswoman, Rufus. She's allowed to drink during the day.
  • Serena's like, the best ever at making absinthe apparently. Everyone's good at something!
  • One for the show bible: Blair Waldorf can't drive. But probably Chuck can.
  • "Eric, somewhere between a Marlins jersey and the absolute truth lies the better part of decorum. Becoming an adult is about learning the distinction." See, Rufus? Rich women are allowed to get a little tips during the day! That is when they give the most coherent advice to their sons.
  • It should be noted that everyone forgives Juliet immediately when they could probably stand to be like "Hey, how did you sneak into the Ostroff Center?" or "Which drugs exactly did you give Serena?" for a few minutes.  
  • Friendship eyebrows!!
  • Until January 24th, the best we can hope for is that Rufus has roadtripped off to find his true love Vanessa and that Serena roadtripped off to give a great big apology to her old teacher, boobie-style.
Thanks for hanging in there!

A Whole Slew Of Gather Articles!

Hi guys,

Here are more gather posts I've written, which will earn me small amounts of money if you click through them. The good news is that, according to math, all large amounts of money can actually be broken down into small amounts, such that one day all my small amounts of money might equal something big.

PS I got a few HTML books out of the library so maybe some changes are headed for Becklectia? We shall see!

Posts I've Written Lately (please to click!)
1. AMC's "The Walking Dead" Episode 5 Recap: Wildfire
This is my penultimate recap of The Walking Dead season 1. It has a great picture of Andrea's sister Amy waking up as a zombie as well as some particularly biting wit sprinkled in throughout.

2. Bob's Burgers Is Coming! Watch a Preview for Fox's Newest Animated Show, Premiering January 9th 
I am so excited for this show, mostly because I am so excited for everything H. Jon Benjamin does. Plus we got Kristen Schaal and Eugene Mirman over here, HEY! Seriously everyone, this is going to have some great voice talent in it. I can't quite speak for the plot yet - my impression from the trailer is that Kristen Schaal's girl must be the narrator at least sometimes and Eugene Mirman's boy looks like he's going to get into some serious trouble which could be funny - but frankly plots are for suckers.

3.  AMC's "The Walking Dead" Episode 6 Recap: TS-19
This is my recap of the season finale of The Walking Dead, which was sort of underwhelming. Look, I loved watching The Walking Dead and I learned my lesson from the finale season of Lost - don't get your hopes up when you love a show based on mysteries. No one has the answers, and you're the only one who will end up with a broken heart. So here's the deal: It's cool that they visited the CDC when it wasn't even mentioned in the comics (since Kirkland famously "didn't know that's where the CDC was"), and the whole thing ended as a big invitation to join them on the road again next summer/fall/hopefully sooner than that. So that's what it was, and that was okay.

4. Watch a Preview of Holly Flax's Return to The Office: Welcome Back, Amy Ryan!
I wrote this as soon as I heard what was to be. What an episode! I mostly enjoyed Erin's mistrust in whatever Michael sees in Holly Flax. Mindy Kaling wrote the episode and is obviously the smartest gal in LA. Actually I would bet that's true.

11 December 2010

We Don't Need No Stinking Girlscouts

Today is Josh's birthday so I have made him a present influenced by his favorite girl scout cookie: The Samoa. This isn't his actual birthday cake and I didn't have any candles or anything, so don't get your hopes up and then let my negligence get you feeling down. I made him a present!* That's great!


I got the recipe from a blog called Crepes of Wrath, who got it from Baking Bites, who got it from Margaret Mead, who got it from the Samoans in the 1900s. Here it is (as printed in Baking Bites):

Here are the ingredients I used!

Homemade Samoas Bars
Cookie Base:
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt

First, make the crust.
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan, or line with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter, until fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla extract. Working at a low speed, gradually beat in flour and salt until mixture is crumbly, like wet sand. The dough does not need to come together. Pour crumbly dough into prepapred pan and press into an even layer.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until base is set and edges are lightly browned. Cool completely on a wire rack before topping.

 
Here is how mine looked. The edges looked browner than this but thanks for trying, camera.


Topping
3 cups shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
12-oz good-quality chewy caramels
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp milk
10 oz. dark or semisweet chocolate (chocolate chips are ok)

Preheat oven to 300. Spread coconut evenly on a parchment-lined baking sheet (preferably one with sides) and toast 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until coconut is golden. Cool on baking sheet, stirring occasionally. Set aside.

Unwrap the caramels and place in a large microwave-safe bowl with milk and salt. Cook on high for 3-4 minutes, stopping to stir a few times to help the caramel melt. When smooth, fold in toasted coconut with a spatula.

Put dollops of the topping all over the shortbread base. Using the spatula, spread topping into an even layer. Let topping set until cooled.
When cooled, cut into 30 bars with a large knife or a pizza cutter (it’s easy to get it through the topping).

 
The bag of coconut I bought only had 2 2/3 cups of coconut in it, so I think the topping turned out a little skimpy. Or it would have, if I hadn't added extra caramel to fix it.

Once bars are cut, melt chocolate in a small bowl. Heat on high in the microwave in 45 second intervals, stirring thoroughly to prevent scorching. Dip the base of each bar into the chocolate and place on a clean piece of parchment or wax paper. Transfer all remaining chocolate (or melt a bit of additional chocolate, if necessary) into a piping bag or a ziploc bag with the corner snipped off and drizzle bars with chocolate to finish.


Here is another picture of mine! Boy did I have 99 problems with the melted chocolate. First of all, its bowl got ridiculously hot in the microwave, and then the chocolate melted my plastic bag when I was piping it over the bars! That just meant that two of them were mega-chocolate ones, which is actually great. It's a birthday miracle!

 Let chocolate set completely before storing in an airtight container.

Makes 30 bar cookies.
Note: You can simply drizzle chocolate on top of the bars before slicing them up if you’re looking for yet an easier way to finish these off. You won’t need quite as much chocolate as noted above, and you won’t quite get the Samoas look, but the results will still be tasty.

Happy birthday, Josh!
*I also got him an autographed picture of Michael C. Hall (Dexter, himself) and some secret gifts that haven't been revealed yet but do exist and in fact I'm only waiting on the last third of it to come in the mail.

09 December 2010

Other Great Moments From U.B. & Their Influence On My Life

1. The time Uncle Buck makes a huge breakfast for Miles's birthday.
For years, I haven't been able to look at a stovetop without seriously considering how I would finagle it to cook huge pancakes. Also, the pat of butter on the pancakes looks like four sticks of butter side by side. This isn't necessarily an impact on my life, but it's in my brain probably 41% of the time. The other 59% is subway maps and muppet trivia.

2. The time Uncle Buck tells Maizy's principal to go downtown and have a rat gnaw the mole off her face.
This is the height of zealous principal-mockery, of which I only dare dream when I'm asleep and dreaming.

3. The time all the pots and pans crash down in the kitchen and Uncle Buck is like "shit!"
Thank you, John Hughes, for teaching me that sometimes you just have to be like "shit!" and that oughta do it.

4. The time Maizy tries to saw her eggroll in half with a chopstick at the dinner table.
This is a great idea.

5. Everything Amy Madigan ever does or says.
Just ask Ed Harris!

Alright, enough already. Let's all just watch Uncle Buck right now.

U.B. Meets Marcie Dahlgren-Frost

Marcie Dahlgren-Frost: Marcie Dahlgren-Frost. Dahlgren is my maiden name, Frost is my married name. I'm single again, but I never bothered to remove the frost. And I get compliments on the hyphen.

You're The Best In The Biz, Uncle Buck!

Buck: Hey, I stopped smoking cigarettes.
Cindy Russell: Oh, good.
Buck: Isn't that something? I'm on to cigars now. I'm on to a five-year plan. I eliminated cigarettes, then I go to cigars, then I go to pipes, then I go to chewing tobacco, then I'm on to that nicotine gum.

Once Again, Uncle Buck's Dialogue Makes Kindergarteners Of Us All

Miles: Where do you live?
Buck: In the city.
Miles: You have a house?
Buck: Apartment.
Miles: Own or rent?
Buck: Rent.
Miles: What do you do for a living?
Buck: Lots of things.
Miles: Where's your office?
Buck: I don't have one.
Miles: How come?
Buck: I don't need one.
Miles: Where's your wife?
Buck: Don't have one.
Miles: How come?
Buck: It's a long story.
Miles: You have kids?
Buck: No I don't.
Miles: How come?
Buck: It's an even longer story.
Miles: Are you my Dad's brother?
Buck: What's your record for consecutive questions asked?
Miles: 38.
Buck: I'm your Dad's brother alright.
Miles: You have much more hair in your nose than my Dad.
Buck: How nice of you to notice.
Miles: I'm a kid - that's my job.

Uncle Buck Day Continues

Buck: Did you brush your teeth?
Miles: Yeah. You can even feel my toothbrush.
Buck: You know, I have a friend who works at the crime lab at the police station. I could give him your toothbrush and he could run a test on it... to see if you actually brushed your teeth... or just ran your toothbrush under the faucet.
[Buck leaves, as Miles gawks]
Maizy: If that's true, we're gonna REALLY have to start brushing our teeth.

Today I'm Going Uncle Buck Style

Maizy's Teacher: Does anybody have a special story to tell the class about something that happened this week?
[Maizy raises her hand]
Maizy's Teacher: Maizy?
Maizy: My uncle was microwaving our socks and the dog threw up on the couch for an hour.
Maizy's Teacher: Honest?
Maizy: Mm-Hmm.
Maizy's Teacher: Why was your uncle microwaving your socks?
Maizy: He can't get the goddamn washing machine to work.
Maizy's Teacher: BLASPHEMER!

03 December 2010

Ok, 92Y, Good Joke. Because This MUST Be A Joke, Right?

A few nights ago, Steve Martin (a professional comedian, maybe you know him) went to the 92Y to talk about a few of the other sundry things he's interested in/talented at doing. This time, it was going to be art. He'd recently written a novel about art (or at least taking place in the art world), and he was going to be interviewed by Deborah Solomon (who generally uses her Journalism degree to talk about art). Why, then, did some PA scoot onstage halfway through to hand Solomon a note that said "MORE COMEDY!!! TALK ABT SNL MORE!!!" or whatever it actually said? Because whoever's in charge of the 92Y must be either severely overwhelmed or otherwise fully stupid.

Linda Holmes wrote a great article for NPR about the situation:

Steve Martin Isn't Predictable Enough!: This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things

Steve Martin tweeted last night, "So the 92nd St. Y has determined that the course of its interviews should be dictated in real time by its audience's emails. Artists beware." Ouch.
Here's what happened, according to reports from, among others, The New York Times: Martin sat down at the Y (which is famous for its lecture series and other cultural events) the other night for an hour-long chat with interviewer Deborah Solomon. The discussion apparently displeased some of the people in the audience by focusing too much on art, which forms the backdrop for his new novel, An Object Of Beauty. [UPDATE: I think it's fair to note that later reports have suggested that the issue wasn't as much that they were discussing art, but that they were discussing his new book about the art world in a significant amount of detail. Possibly even boring-er than previously reported.]
Midway through the interview, a Y representative brought a note to Solomon — on stage! — telling her to talk more about his career. Presumably, she was supposed to ask more stuff about what it was like making Three Amigos and The Jerk. In other words, stop talking about the things people aren't used to hearing Steve Martin talk about, and get back to having him answer questions people could easily find the answers to if they cared to use Google. (Martin has said this redirection was the result of real-time e-mails coming from people watching on closed-circuit TV; the Y apparently hasn't confirmed that.)
Now, without having heard the interview, it's impossible to say whether it was good or bad, and it's entirely possible that it was boring. It certainly bored some people.
But the way the Y responded was stunning. Not only did it chastise and undermine an interviewer and a guest in the middle of a live event, but the next day, it offered everyone who was there a full refund in the form of a credit toward a future event. Not because the lights went out, and not because there was an outburst of profanity that was winding up on YouTube or anything of that nature. No, closest the Y came to explaining what substantively motivated the refund (other than the very fact of people complaining) was, "We planned for a more comprehensive discussion."
When you go to hear someone speak, and you have no guarantee of the agenda, you do not get your money back because you didn't like the subject areas. Listening to a human being speak and being put out that you didn't get what you ordered as if you've gone to KFC and gotten Original instead of Extra Crispy is ridiculous, risk-averse, and (coincidentally) deeply chicken-hearted behavior.
It is exactly — exactly — like demanding your money back because Elton John didn't play "Rocket Man." Too bad, so sad. Nobody promised you the cookie-cutter experience that every other audience seeing every other similar event has ever seen. When you see an artist perform — and even more so when you hear an artist interviewed — there is no guarantee of the content; that's the exact point of going. Why would you go to hear someone speak if you already knew what he was going to say? If you want to read about how Steve Martin feels about acting and comedy, couldn't you find several looseleaf binders full of that stuff? The guy is not a recluse.
What on earth ever happened to encouraging audiences to pay attention to things that may be different from the things they were expecting? Steve Martin is not just an actor in movies and stand-up. He's a playwright and a novelist; he's been doing that for years. He's a serious bluegrass banjo player. He's passionate about art. Acting, in fact, has fairly clearly taken a back seat to some of his other interests in recent years. Anyone who paid $50 to see Steve Martin speak and didn't know these things about him, or that he might talk about those things, frankly has his or her own limited understanding to blame.
Hearing new things is supposed to be positive. It's supposed to be what interviews are for. If you want to hear Steve Martin say "wild and crazy guy" for you, there are clips. If you want to read about his experiences in comedy, there's his autobiography. This was an opportunity to hear him talk about something about which he's deeply knowledgeable that he doesn't often talk about, but his passion for which drives the new book that, frankly, anyone could have expected him to be most interested in discussing. A public figure isn't a talking bobblehead; you're not necessarily going to hear what you anticipate every time you push the button.
Maybe the audience had every reason to be disappointed; maybe Martin was boring. But if he had given boring answers to questions about Saturday Night Live, would anyone have concluded that they were entitled to their money back? Would the 92nd Street Y have indulged that particular demand?
It really doesn't matter whether the talk was about the right topics or not (and indeed, that seems to be the only dispute), and it doesn't even really matter whether rolling your eyes on the way out and saying "Well, that was boring!" would have been a perfectly reasonable response. Attending a live discussion is a risk. So is live theater, so is live music, so is dance. Sometimes you don't like it, and that's part of the experience. When you encourage audiences to feel entitled to get from a live performance or discussion what they get from a CD or an on-demand episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition — that is to say, an experience they could have outlined for themselves ahead of time — you kill the entire point of having people work, speak, or perform live.
Why promise people the worst kind of celebrity interview — the one where an actor is forced to choose between bland endorsements of past co-stars and spicy griping about them? When Martin recently appeared on Talk Of The Nation, he got calls with questions about his music, his writing, his interest in art — that's the entire point of talking to an interesting guy. Why make him seem less interesting than he is by demanding that he talk about the things you already know about?
But even more, why be so rude to your own guests? What writer or actor is going to go to the 92nd Street Y for a public interview knowing that the next day, the institution might say, "We realize that was a totally boring discussion and are happy to give you your money back"?
This is what makes the world boring, quite frankly: the absolute refusal to risk that anything might be disappointing, and the accompanying conviction that if you are disappointed, you've been wronged. It's the entitlement of the incurious, and it does nothing good for anyone.
If you want to know more about Steve Martin the comedian, you should read Born Standing Up and watch all the videos of him you can possibly find. If you want to hear him get interviewed by an art journalist about his upcoming [art] project, go to the 92Y. If you want to hear him play banjo, just pick up the phone and call him. I'm sure he would oblige.

23 November 2010

More Fascinating Articles To Oh Nevermind

I wrote even more Walking Dead articles for Gather, and then I also wrote one about how Taylor Momsen is on indefinite hiatus from GG. Hooray!

If you click these, I will earn money which I will then put towards making gifts for you etc:

1. AMC’s “The Walking Dead” Episode 2 Recap: Escape from ATL
Here is a handy recap for episode 2 of The Walking Dead. You'll like it, I basically promise!

2. Watch Gwyneth Paltrow's Performance at the CMAs: "Country Strong"
This was from one afternoon when I was just like "ok, let's do a trending topic article." Surprisingly, no one searching for this topic on google wanted to read my article.

3. AMC's "The Walking Dead" Episode 3 Recap: Tell It to the Frogs
I think you know what this is all about! 

4. AMC's "The Walking Dead" Episode 4 Recap: Vatos!
This is my recap of the most recent Walking Dead episode. It was a doozy. That's a paraphrase from the article itself. 

5. "Gossip Girl" Exiles Taylor Momsen; In Her Own Universe, Blair Waldorf Feels a Pleasant Shudder
BOO-YAH!!!

And in the meantime, is everyone watching Glory Daze on tbs? I recommend it, and also I recommend Stankowski. He's a great new television character! Fin. 

 

22 November 2010

Sometimes You've Got To Ask Yourself Why, Though

Q: Becky! Shouldn't you have written like two other things by now? Probably a gossip girl and then also you wanted to watch the Anne Hathaway snl so you could write about that one in the hopes that it's excellent? I mean it's already gossip girl night right now, again! What are you doing, Beck?

A: Eating as many Thanksgiving sandwiches as humanly possible

17 November 2010

That Robot Everyone Said I Made Up


Every few months I find myself trying desperately to describe a particularly obscure robot. "No no no, you remember him," I plead with friends. "He lives in the basement and he has videotape ribbon for hair and I think he looks sort of like Short Circuit? But he talks more like Screech's robot butler. Do you know the one I'm talking about?" Understandably, the answer is always no. No one remembers this robot that would say cool slang things and drink soda pop and stuff. How could they? He hasn't been on tv for 20 years!

But thanks to a recent article I read about fictional robots, D.E.C.K.S. rolled right back into my life. It turns out that he DID exist, and he was on a show called Wake, Rattle, and Roll (until it became Jump, Rattle, and Roll). His best friend was a shaggy haired kid named Sam Baxter (played by R.J. Williams, who went on to work at Full House as DJ's crush, the paperboy). The two best friends would show cartoons to me, their adoring fan, and occasionally call up the stairs from the basement to wherever their mom was yelling about something. Classic!

Upon further research, I'm finding that they had a time machine in their basement but would only rarely use it. Also, D.E.C.K.S. stands for Digital Electronic Cassette-Headed Kinetic System, which is hilarious.

It wasn't just a crazy cassette-headed dream! He did exist!

14 November 2010

Various Thoughts On Recent SNLs

So it's public knowledge by now that I found last night's episode of SNL to be actually bad. And I'm never the person saying that SNL was bad. AND I'm never the person who's like "I never think blah but tonight I thought blah." Well, sometimes I am but not so much that you shouldn't take this really seriously.

I've been a fan for so long, for so many punishing years of Nancy Walls and Finesse Mitchell and Melanie Hutsell, and I don't think I've ever been driven to declare an episode totally useless. The cast is usually enough to save the night from total disaster, and if you're lucky there could be an oddball digital short that could turn out to be amazing. But what happened last night? Scarlett Johansson slipped gracelessly between her go-to deadpan-without-any-actual-humor ScarJo persona and a "Millionaire Matchmaker" (but not really at all, since the Millionaire Matchmaker actually sounds like something) fake miserable "New York" "accent." But we all knew she was going to be the lame part of the episode. That's not a surprise. What's a surprise is that the writers apparently let her come up with all the sketches. "Broken Knee Middle School" and "Ceramic Busts" were barely even recognizable as snl sketches (well, the ceramic busts thing is basically on every week, but this time it lacked that certain quality of having funny lines occasionally). Vanessa Bayer managed to be hilarious during "Stars of Tomorrow," even though it was clearly brought in because the writers realized that ScarJo could really only do that little-girl-bad-actress act in the first place (badly). The monologue was delivered so miserably, I could hear John Mulaney writing the lines and then crying them out into the toilet at the same time. God, what a shit show. Oh how horrible.

Other recent SNL topics I wanted to talk about:

1. The return of Shy Ronnie: I TOLD YOU!  In January I had declared that watching the evolution of the Shy Ronnie character was similar to reading John Irving novels. He's getting there...Samberg's got his main character worked out...he knows vaguely what he wants the guy to be doing...he's going to Vienna again...wrestling...Exeter...and there's a dancing bear ok we're done.

To talk more about Shy Ronnie 2.0, I'd say that I enjoyed seeing Ronnie try out a new situation - in this case, bank robbing. It's how he learns to utilize that mouse-quiet-then-gangsta-screamin rap talent. Next it will be him babysitting some children. Mark my words? Either way, it's very exciting to be watching this happen as we watch. Usually these things come into the world fully-formed, but this time we get to watch it find its way. I think that is very good.

2. Hmm, what else has been going on? Let's see, I loved Emma Stone - especially in the "Ta Douleur" French sketch - but was not that "I Broke My Arm" thing the exact same as "Broken Knee Dork Kids?" I still need to finish watching the Jon Hamm episode and I don't think I saw any of the Jane Lynch one. I remember liking Bryan Cranston, and Vanessa Bayer's Miley impression really grew on me throughout the sketch.

3. I'm glad Snooki (and thus Bobby Moynihan) is still around. My roommates and I just added her to our pencil height-chart on the post next to our door. She's a proud 3'6" but the poof brings her just over 5'. T-shirt time!

It's hard for me to write such a negative post about SNL because I can't imagine what I would have done with Scarlett Reynolds if it were me in that writers room. It would be pretty unfair to complain without also offering up new ideas, so here's the best I can do:
a. have Scarlett Johansson play the legs in some sort of magician's act sketch
b. have Scarlett Johansson just open and close her mouth while someone speaks her lines for an entire sketch (that way it can serve some different set-ups - like a marionette or a woman who lost her voice - but also it will be a little bit meta)
c. have Scarlett Johansson try to dance something
d. have Scarlett Johansson play a wax figurine
e. have Scarlett Johansson play a femme fatale in a noir sketch
f. have Scarlett Johansson stuff her face with food for an entire sketch

Oh man that was exhausting. And if you're Scarlett Johansson reading this, I'm sorry I just did all that in public. That's not really fair either. Here, tell you what - I don't brush my teeth as often as I should. That's something about me that's not great.

Wow

That was easily the worst Saturday Night Live I have ever seen in my life. And it's all thanks to Scarlett Johansson.

I should probably collect my thoughts and write an actual recap, but until then, IS THIS ENOUGH PROOF FOR YOU? THAT SCARLETT JOHANSSON IS TERRIBLE? WHAT WILL BE????

05 November 2010

Money Clicks!

Dear fandom,

I've written 4 new articles this month! If you click through to them, you'll be helping me earn a little spare change for these cold winter months. Oh won't you please help with the spare change? I'd be more than happy to repay you by continuing to post hilarious material on the internet. Do we have a deal?

1. AMC's "The Walking Dead" Recap: Half-Zombies and Half-Seasons
This is my recap of the first episode of AMC's new tremendously scary zombie show. As you can see from my following articles, it turns out I like it a lot.

2. How I Met Your Mother Recap: Canning Randy
This is another himym recap, tailored to your exact interests in the show. Will Forte made a guest appearance in this one. See? I get you.

3. The Walking Dead Ep. 2: A Video Interview with Andrew Lincoln
This is a video interview with Andrew Lincoln (Rick Grimes, main character of The Walking Dead) about what episode 2 has in store. We're gonna meet an Asian!

4. AMC's "The Walking Dead" Google Map Tells You Exactly Where Not to Go (Spoiler Alert!)
This is a hilarious map that someone meticulously crafted based on every event from The Walking Dead comic books issues #1-78. Unfortunately for me, I couldn't really read much of the map because I wanted to shoot for minimal spoilers. I already know too much.

So there you go. If you click them, they will come. The cash, that is!

02 November 2010

It's Blair's Birthday And No One Is Allowed To Cry

In the words of whomever it was that said "Things are happening!!!" in that sing-songy way that time in whichever movie/tv show it was, things are happening(!!!) on Gossip Girl. I couldn't watch Monday's episode until tonight, which was quite a challenge in an apartment of one television and five roommates on Election Night. But still, I made it. And it's all for you! PS who ended up winning the House? JK Rowling, I know who won. And it wasn't anyone who would approve of Gossip Girl, that's for sure.

PS Did you see Christine O'Donnell's "concession" speech? Where she recounted the list of demands she gave to Senator-elect Coons over the phone? Dummy Alert! You can't make demands when you lose! Even babies know that. Even BABIES!!!!!!

Ok, here is what struck me as notable in this week's episode:
  • I'm not sure if you could say it was a directorial decision, an editing decision, or a cinematographical decision, but something was up with the whacked-out sex scenes that bookended this week's episode. We start off with Serena and Professor Colinsby slurring words and losing ocular focus for the entirety of an office hour...because they're so lusty? I applaud the way the show embraces visual innovation and I can appreciate the attempt, but this was a clunker. It didn't make sense. If I felt the way it looked like Serena felt, I would be throwing up that Hungarian coffee all over my bra-dress before I even thought about kissing the teacher. But that could just be me. The episode ends with a remix version of Chuck and Blair going for it (Hate Shtups, what did I tell you!). Now that I think about it, it makes sense that this vitriolic duo would get back together in the style of a remix. Bc they're remixing, you see? Buh-buh-ba-Blair! Ch-ch-chuh-Chuck! Hay-ha-hay-hay-HATE SHTUPS!
  • According to Josh, "Dorota is like a living stuffed animal that's been blair's best friend forever." I feel that this is 100% correct.
  • Holy crap, the Humphrey-VDW men have finally thrown an official clothing swap. As Rufus, Dan, and Eric walk down the sidewalk, it's perfectly clear that they've all shifted their outfits to the right. How else would Rufus wear denim chinos and a crisp navy sweater?
"It just seemed natural that the Humphrey men trade clothes every once in a while."
  • Why anyone would try as hard as Dan is trying to get Jenny back when she just left is beyond me.
  • REALLY, Serena and Nate came up with the idea to write out a PEACE TREATY between Blair and Chuck, REALLY. In the cleared-out dining room of DANIEL, apparently. REALLY.
REALLY.
  • Haha, a provision of the treaty is NO TOUCHING! Did Mitch Hurwitz guest-write this one?
  • Oh no, Dan and Eric attempting to out-scheme Chuck and Blair = if the scene from The Little Mermaid where Flounder gets chased by a HUGE shark did not end with said shark getting caught in that gigantic chain.
  • Columbia Reality Meter: Serena runs into CryptKeeperJuliet right outside the 116th subway station, two steps away from Ollie's. Bingo! However, if I saw all those blazers at that corner, I would go find some eggs to buy because guess what, it's finally time to start egging people like this. "Blazers are dumb and that's no yolk!" Thank you.
  • Serena's "favorite" "book" "is" "The Beautiful and the Damned." HAHAHAHAHAHAHA
  • I'm still flabbergasted that anyone would even speak to CKJ after what she pulled at Fashion's Night Out. Apparently Serena is grateful to her for framing Vanessa for her spicy teacher-sexts, but come on. Blair would have done that for Serena even in the midst of a huge blowout.
  • Dan steals a contract from dumb ol' Nate even though they're best friends. Classic Dan, NOT. Classic Dan would have berated himself if he could only see him now.
  • Poor Blair and these filthy gladiolas in the cabbage roses. Will no one even TRY to understand?
  • Rachel Zoe, who cares.
Although she did deliver "I. Die." very well.
  • It's always a pleasure when Nelly Yuki comes up. One of the minions thinks the impromptu video screening at Blair's party will be a "Nelly Yuki snuff film." Oh, minions. Nelly Yuki could out-minion them all, and you know it's true because she's long gone.
  • Despite herself, Serena can't stop wearing clothes that say "Professor Colinsworth, anytime is a good time for me!" (see: mile-high skirt slit) Maybe this actually was one of her more demure dresses. It looks like somebody needs a Dorota in her life.
"I'm not sure why I'm upset but I have to touch my leg right now and things should be fine soon enough."
  • When Blair accuses Chuck of showing her embarrassing video, he retorts with "You really believe that?!" UM, YEAH, WELCOME TO BASSHATYLVANIA, WHICH YOU FOUNDED
  • Ok, time to make sense of CKJ's ultimate plan:
    • Based on this prison phone call, it looks like Colin is only in cahoots with CKJ because he's paying her way through college and no one can know that it's happening because he's a faculty member and they're cousins. This doesn't make sense but ok.
    • Based on Professor Colington's white hot rage, it's bad news for Juliet to be talking to Ben again, who is either her brother or another cousin (since Ben referred to Prof. Col. as their cousin).
    • Based on my knowledge of SVU, it looks like we are in for a wild ride. If it turns out they were in foster care together, it's all over!
    • I still have no idea what any of this has to do with Serena.
  • When is Rufus going to get that Father of the Year award already? He's judging Dan like whoa for one screw-up, then deciding that Dan has actually done nothing wrong when he sees all these flower paper craps strewn about the VDW living room. And I quote: "Maybe there's a little Humphrey left in him after all," says Rufus to his wife, Lily (not a Humphrey). RUFUS, GO VISIT VANESSA AND STAY THERE PLEASE
  • Oh no, what is Vanessa doing back here?!?!?!?! Why is she going into a room as though she still lives in the loft? No, no, no, I think it's getting pretty late and you should probably catch that Chinatown bus back to hippieville, Vanessa. Probably you should do that right away, like right this minute.
  • Oh man, Dr. Colintooth believes that Serena is a "great teacher." Tell me he's not tenured.
And so concludes another episode of Hate Shtups. That's right, "Hate Shtups" went from being the name of this episode to the name of the whole series. Because that's all that matters at this point. Rufus's parenting style, meaningless. The return of Vanessa, forgettable. The only thing that anyone wants to see anymore is hate shtups, hate shtups, hate shtups, and it looks like next week's episode will be just that. Chuck & Blair's Hate Shtups, the saga continues!

30 October 2010

Honey Ice Cream

A month and a half ago, I made dessert for Rosh Hashana dinner at Grandma Bobbie's house. I went with apple pie and honey ice cream, and it was my first time making both. Here's how it went!

I found the recipe on a website called Pinkbites.com. What I liked about it was that it used only four ingredients, and its only sweetener was the honey, itself. Here are the ingredients:

 "We are half-and-half, whole milk, four egg yolks, and honey! (We are best friends)"

I cooked up the milks until they started to simmer, then tempered the eggs and honey with them. At that point the ice cream officially became custard

 "I still need to thicken up, but in the meantime I really like your cds, bro!"

Here's the recipe, lifted straight out of the pinkbites page:

Pure Honey Ice Cream Recipe:
You will need:
4 egg yolks
2/3 cup of pure honey
1 1/2 cups of half-and-half
1 1/2 cup of whole milk
a pinch of salt
Bring the cream and the milk to a simmer, do not let it boil. While the cream mixture warms up, whisk the yolks, honey and salt together until pale and fluffy.
Slowly incorporate the warm cream mixture into the eggs, one ladle full at the time, whisking vigorously. Return the egg and cream mix to the stove and cook over low heat, stirring often with a wooden spoon. Do not let it boil. The custard is ready when it is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon and leaves a clear trail if you pass your finger on it.
Cool custard completely in the fridge before putting in the ice cream maker. Follow instructions of your ice cream machine.


I can't find the picture I took of my finished ice cream, so here's the picture from the pinkbites page:

"We looked basically the exact same."
And here's a picture of the pie I served it with:

"I come from a Cooking Light recipe. But what's REALLY great about me is that I'm the first apple pie Becky's ever made. And I think I turned out pretty good."


Oh man I just found my picture! But I'm leaving the other one because it's prettier:

 
"But I still look pretty good."

My Newest Gig

May I have your attention, America:

I now have a job writing articles (for money!) at gather.com. I'm planning on posting a link for every article I write, and I'm asking you to click on those links so that: (1) you can read my hilarious stuff that's legally obligated not to appear here and (b) I can make some money! (it's based on page views, obviously, you know that, I know you know, I was just saying just in case, etc)

So far I have written 3 masterpieces:

1. How I Met Your Mother Recap: Baby Talk
An in-depth look at not only Monday's episode (6.6 "Baby Talk") but also Ted's quest for The Mother on a larger scale.

2. Gossip Girl's Blake Lively & Penn Badgley Break Up - And What It Means for Gossip Girl
A speculative journey into the fabulous teen soap's dating dramas - onstage and off.

3. Halloween Costumes for the Entertainment-Minded 
How to dress like one of your favorite characters from film, television, or music without being too blah. 

I still plan on writing my more hilarious posts here, where the blogging guidelines work a lot more like Calvinball. So don't worry about that - Becklectic Takes Manhattan is here to stay! At least until it moves away or dies, whichever happens first.

26 October 2010

Chuck Bass De Sade

After months of waiting, Gossip Girl finally opened Monday's episode with one of Blair's gratuitous me-as-Audrey-Hepburn dreams. FINALLY! And just as Blair's ugly side has nothing to do with Audrey Hepburn at all, the rest of the GG team has ugly sides that are getting to be unavoidable. Serena's so..."accessible," she's dating a known womanizer/known faculty member THE WEEK AFTER the dean told her to stop being so flirty with professors. Nate's so not unstupid, he's only
starting to get suspicious of Juliet's one million lies. Blair and Chuck are so self-absorbed, neither of them remembers that it was actually Chuck who screwed up so much at the end of last season - shouldn't Blair feel more self-righteous about her ex-boyfriend (who sold her to get back his hotel, cheated on her with her arch nemesis, and then pretended to be dead) trying to ruin her so hard? Looks like Ugliness was the name of the evening, as embodied by any piece of clothing Jenny Humphrey has ever designed.

What I Thought:
  • Amazingly, Serena wastes no time in finding a blue business shirt/business-shirt-style-pajamas at any new lover's apartment. Is this really his apartment, by the way? Because, as we know from the end of the episode, he's not exactly who he says he is...even if he does own a co-op and work permanently as a faculty member at Columbia University.
  • Columbia Reality Meter: Nate wants to get breakfast at Tom's with Juliet. That is, he wants to go to Tom's and have the brittle old Greek waitresses bark at Juliet while she tries in vain to order a hundred cups of coffee at once. Classic CU!
  • Is it just me, or does Chuck go to more classes than any of the rest of them? And he's not technically in college...right?
  • I know I should've given up on this question a long time ago, and I did, but now it's back: How on earth did all these kids make it into Ivy League schools? How did Serena make it into two of them? Yes, these people are rich. They're unearthily rich. But there are tons of schools that you have to be rich to afford that do not require their applicants to be the geniuses of their prep schools, right?! Because what kind of grades did Serena really make, really? I'm not trying to say "Hardee har, dumb old Serena could never hack it there." I'm trying to say "I didn't think Serena was the type of student in high school who would even want to go to an Ivy League." Then again, it's a tv show. A soapy tv show. So let them all transfer to Harvard next year and I'll deal with it silently in my room.
  • Jenny: "Parsons is like 100 blocks away-" Blair: "SEMANTICS! You were banished!" Oh, Blair. Is that semantics? Let's face it, anything Blair doesn't want to hear is semantics.
  • Surprise surprise, Juliet's wearing another blazer ensemble in gray/neutral/beige. Coming from a costume designer who recently declared Blake Lively as the Jackie O of our generation, I totally get it. I get it.
  • Blair is the best despot ever: "Yours is not to wonder why/ Yours is to do or die. GO!"
  • Chuck sneaks off with Jenny's portfolio, then stands around his hotel suite in a silk robe waiting for her to come fetch it. Was his master plan to have Blair walk in on them sleeping together again? Or does he just set up situations (while wearing silk robes) where a number of things could happen, but each possibility will piss off Blair? It's senseless to ask. Chuck's brainwaves are clearly like "$$$$$Blair$$Fleur$$$$she'll wear a silk dress$$$$no that would look better on me$$$$I might as well grab this portfolio$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzhookers!$$"
  • Vanya, you old Heavyweight!
  • Wow, Dan really went into Big Brother mode this episode. He waits outside Parsons for Jenny to finish her interview. He guards Jenny on the sidewalk so these khaki-floppy-red-bow freaks won't descend on her. What a great big brother! He cain't even halp it none!
  • Remember last year when Jenny was nonstop trying to get the best of Serena? Well, against all odds, Serena does.
  • But not without swinging by Lily's pad first to say "Mummy, I came by to raid your jewelry box!!"
  • Let's face it, Lily was the Master of Reverse Psychology before she ever read about it in Colin's magical book. Somehow, she always knows the exact wrong thing to say - she's always like "I'm so proud that I think you're doing the opposite of what you're actually doing." That's like, super-mega passive aggressive reverse psychology. "I'm afraid you'd have to correct me in order to tell me the truth, which will make you feel even worse. Now let's raid my jewelry box!"
  • Tim Gunn, I don't care what you do or say. Just be on my tv screen always.
  • When I saw Chuck waltz into the party, I was pretty sure he had two non-sister identical models on his arms. Now THAT'S what I'd call Classic Chuck, until the other recaps started referencing the models as actual twins. I can't get confirmation from imdb either way. Real twins would not be pure Classic Chuck.
  • Obviously Tim can arrange for another interview for Jenny. Tim Gunn is the man of a thousand chances.
  • It's rough to hear about Nate's dad getting shanked and everything, but remember how miserable he was in season 1? I'm not saying anyone deserves to get shanked. But would you feel that bad if Georgina got non-fatally shanked?
  • Isaac Mizrahi, what are you doing here?!?! This season of GG has even more celebrities than ANTM!
  • I think Chuck has seriously misjudged how much punishment Blair deserves. What is he, the Marquis de Sade? Just trap her on a platform on a sunny day and be done with it! SHEESH!
  • Chuck to Blair: "I warned you I wouldn't stop!" Fair enough, he did warn her.
And true to form, Chuck never stopped. It looks like next week, Chuck won't be stopping for anything. But he will likely be shtupping. Shtupping Blair, that is. Next week's episode: "Hate-Shtups!"

12 October 2010

Celebrities I Confuse With One Another


An Homage to the Ladies (and Occasional Gentlemen) of Hollywood whom I Can Never Keep Straight: 
Meryl Streep and Glenn Close, I was merely a child when I first noticed the two of you. And I was merely 21 or 22 by the time I could finally refer to you as your correct name.  



Mira Sorvino and Marisa Tomei actually look pretty different, but since they play the exact same roles all the time, I still can't tell them apart. Romy and My Cousin Vinny's High School Courtroom Drama?



Ellen Barkin and Ellen Burstyn, why can't I do this? One is old and the other looks like she would rather die than get old. I think this is a simple case of "Ellen B Syndrome."













Abby Elliot looks just like Jayma Mays from Glee. I can tell them apart but theoretically shouldn't be able to.



Wentworth Miller and Channing Tatum. I don't exactly know who either of these guys is, but I know they share a huge case of Last-Name-Last-Name-itis. And they both play characters who've been through jail even though they're good looking white guys and I'm suspicious that they'd really make it through. And probably they can both breakdance.

11 October 2010

Gossip Girl Mega Triple Play

*look at the note at the bottom if you want to live

Somehow I've missed the past three weeks' worth of Gossip Girl recaps. Tonight I'm going nuts and stuffing it all into one magnificent blog post.
Bloggy: But do you really think that could ever work, Beck?
Me: Of course, Doubting Thomas dot com!
Bloggy: I only brought it up because that might take like an hour or more even, and maybe you have to get to sleep for work-
Me: THAT'S IT! I'm doing it!

My first recap (from three weeks ago) would have been called "First Day at Columbilair."
  • Barely one day back as Chuck Bass and he's already wearing half a purple suit. Welcome back, Bass!
  • JulietPrisonBrother wears a lot of blazers. Even at Fashion's Night Out. Blazers.
  • Columbia Reality Meter: it's the first day of school and Blair and Serena walk straight into St. A's. Classic.
  • As Serena, Blair, and JPB catfight over membership to key club, Best Friends Lily and Chuck reunite across town. Lily's text reads something like: "Eric and Rufus not here come over" and when I say "something like," I mean "verbatim." It's really nice of Chuck to apologize to the girl he deflowered's stepmother. Maybe she'll be kind enough to pass the sentiment along to what's his face, Roofio.
  • Meanwhile in Brooklyn, Vanessa is nonstop staring at Dan & the baby and about to say "I will be Milo's mother" all the time. Oyyyyyyyyyyyyy
  • At one point there were two different denim vests in consecutive scenes. And wouldn't you know it, they took that episode off cwtv.com already. 
  • It was nice to see Nate get some closure with Serena, like when my barbies used to play When Harry Met Sally(...). Of course Serena thinks they "parted as friends."
  • Then the episode ends with us seeing JPB at P with her PB. Boring!
The next week's recap would have been called "I Finally Get It, Vanessa Is Supposed To Be One Of Those Blue-Eyed Missing Roanoke Settler-Native-American Kids."
  • This episode was pretty unpleasant - Blair goes for a big stupid doomed frame job, Dan makes a thousand awkward "please take off your clothes" jokes to Serena, and Eva turns out to be a nurse/hooker. In retrospect, the Dan comments were actually a highlight of the episode.
  • Miracle of miracles, a prophecy fulfilled:
    Vanessa wears something stupid.
  • Dan falls in love with the movie Wild Hogs and then says something like "It's okay, I'm having fun. I mean, we always have fun" to Serena about how it's going with Vanessa. He's the best one on the show, I don't care what anyone says. This kid is for real.
  • OldLadyJuliet sure mentions coffee a lot, doesn't she? She takes Nate out for all-night coffee after drinking a latte in her room while she reattaches pricetags. She offers to buy everyone lattes. What is this mysterious coffee endgame?
  • I just don't think it's okay to donate $5 million to your girlfriend, no matter how generous a person she is. She's still not a charity or a nonprofit or a school or anything. Right?
  • Nate: "We Archibalds all have skeletons in our closets...and we have mansions FULL of closets."
  • So Chuck and Blair are going to war. I sure hope it's like the War of the Roses. I need to see that. I'm assuming it's great, if it's really the sequel to Romancing the Stone. Which I also need to see.
  • No no no, I just did a little research. That's wrong up there. What's The Jewel of the Nile?
  • Who closed that door in the end? Gossip Girl.......!!!! You get out of there!
This week's recap shall be called "Bad News Joan, He Didn't Go to Vietnam After All."
  • As much as I still hate Joan's fiancee (now husband) for the things he's done, I can still appreciate that he's playing a character that's basically Rock Hudson from Pillow Talk. You're my inspiration, Serena...
  • Columbia Reality Meter: They're up at Grant's Tomb! That's pretty close.
  • What is this scene between Vanessa and Rufus, the one with all the tight close-ups and bedroom eyes? Now this is a headline for Gossip Girl - "Ex-rock dad & exotic beauty eyefuck for a minute or two." I was paying attention to what they were talking about, and trust me, they were babbling. That's your first sign.
  • What did Serena do to MelrosePlaceJuliet's prison brother? Is he the one Serena and Georgina killed? Is he one of Serena's many scorned suitors? I can't imagine the other possibilities, but there must be literally thousands of other reasons PB is so mad at Serena. Did she steal his horse at that racetrack thing when she was still trying to make tabloid covers for her dad's sake? WHAT HAPPENED IN SANTORINI?
  • Two different attempts at "taking away Columbia" from Blair and Serena. Guys, you can't take what isn't even shot on location. Even if you're Chuck Bass, trillionaire.
  • Columbia Reality Meter: Serena's drinking a coffee from the Hungarian! Hipster Classic!
  • It's hard to believe that Blair would think she could win over a visiting professor by promising her an introduction to a woman-respecting businessman. Chuck's response was therefore appropriately inadequate. 
  • Why is STD testing the bad guy here? So far like three couples have been shaken today over people going to the clinic. I thought STD testing was like carte blanche. Please don't confuse the tweens!
  • Dan is hilariously annoyed at how stupid Rufus is: "Please get there faster."
  • Serena's dress buttons are popping open and it looks like what I'm desperately trying to avoid every time I pin my between-buttons areas together on my shirt. Congratulations, Serena, you can do it.
  • I wish we could have seen the professor's face as the dean accused Serena of emailing him a sexual proposition - you know it was like "oh, yes, oh no, I mean, I might actually be into something like that"
  • "TELL THE DEAN I QUIT!"
  • For a minute there I got really close to feeling sorry for Vanessa as she got framed for sending the email. Realllly close. Soon enough the gang will band together to get back at MPJ.
  • Wow, I've got to get a picture of MPJ's crazy face as she peeks between Serena and Blair's heads. She looks hypnotized!
  • According to drinksmixer.com, a Red Snapper is
    • 1 shot Crown Royal Canadian Whisky
    • 1 shot amaretto 
    • 1 shot cranberry juice
  • So Phase II of Chuck's big plan is to get Jenny a recommendation for Parsons from Tim Gunn. Diabolical!
There you go, that's three weeks' worth of recaps in one night. Oughta tide you over for a week or so. Actually, I think Gossip Girl's taking a break next week, so *you might want to break this up into a few separate readings. And you should probably read this part first. I'll do an asterisk.

27 September 2010

Here Was The Only Thing Good About Today

This broccoli cheese soup.

25 September 2010

Getting Slightly Closer To Meeting Your Mother

How I Met Your Mother's season 6 opener was a nice start to a season that PROMISED to be more like season 1 (with more concrete steps closer to finding the mom), but it's definitely nothing like season 1. Robin's a dirty slob who yet again has to prove her hotness to herself (and to Barney). Barney remains obnoxiously unchanged and carelessly witcivious. These were the worst two things about last season, and they're still very present. As far as Ted's story goes, I'm not sure why this is such a necessary part of the how-i-met-your-mother myth. YET AGAIN, I DID NOT MEET YOUR MOTHER. THIS TIME HER ROOMMATE WAS A LESBIAN. It's a season opener! They can afford to go a little crazy and, I don't know, show the mother's other ankle or something. I take it Ted's not meeting the mother this season. I hope to Marshall I'm wrong.

It was interesting to see an aspect of young marriage that's not totally obvious: in-laws getting too comfortable inserting themselves into their kids' business. Against all odds, Marshall and Lily's marriage foibles continue to entertain me, and I attribute it all to Marshall. He's such a goof troop, it's hard not to identify with him on sight.

So I'm pretty sure I heard Bob Saget say that it wasn't his wedding day at the beginning of this episode. It was, however, the day he met the mother. And it was a wedding. So I guess it's Barney and Robin's wedding, since they're both complete tragic figures now that they've wrecked each other, and the only way to redeem either of them is to make them forget all their woes together. Not that Barney has woes.

I liked this season opener, but I have to admit that I'm feeling slightly let down at the lack of actual mother-presence. Season 1 was great for several reasons, but possibly the most wonderful thing about it was the urgent, excited feeling of accompanying Ted on his direct path towards The Mother. You never knew when she was about to turn up! You never knew when that yellow umbrella would pop out of nowhere and kick off the rest of Ted's life! Maybe it was asking too much, but I really would have loved to get that feeling again this season. Instead, I saw Ted sad in the rain on someone else's wedding day and barely heard anything about meeting the mother, and it all made me feel pretty blue.

But it's NEVER too late to turn all that around. Maybe next week will be the day Ted sees the mother's wrist or ponytail. You never know!

24 September 2010

Dr. Rufus & The Blood Type Solution

This week's episode of Gossip Girl is called "Double Identity," which I guess is a play on Double Indemnity, since every title is a pun on a movie title. But I did a little research and found out that Double Identity is actually also a movie from 2009 starring Val Kilmer. It's about an American doctor in Chechnya, and our episode featured a blonde Chechnyan(ish) "doctor" and an American, maybe. Great, I get it!

How I Felt About Gossip Girl This Time:
  • No matter how many times I hear it, "Milo Humphrey" sounds just like "My li'l Humprey." Which settles the Three-Men-And-a-Baby-Retitling-Dispute. My Li'l Humphrey, 9/8 central.
  • I'm still unconvinced that Blair wouldn't be able to recognize any and every European royal by face.
  • Did Serena wear this gold-jacket outfit last episode? I feel like she's been wearing it for my entire life.
  • Haha, Nate and Stalker talked for 7 hours and then Stalker was able to recap all of it in 45 seconds. Must've been a deep, winding conversation. And she wants to be his life coach? Oh Nate, how does this keep happening to you?
  • Oh no, they're having Serena ID Chuck's body. And, copying True Blood, they've hired a werewolf to accompany her.
"I am Inspector Chevalier and I am a French werewolf in Paris, which is actually nothing to write home about."
  • Oops, correction: Chuck is going by "Henry Prince," not "Henry Francis." 
  • Serena looks so shocked and confused when Chuck tells her "there's no Chuck here":
"Oh, pardon me then. I must have the wrong address."
  • Honestly, Danessa is more brother and sister than Dan and Serena are, and they're technically brother and sister (ish, by law?). So watching Vanessa say "I think...I can help" before she kisses him is disgusting, plus Lily is all set to walk in to get to work on that nursery, oh gross, oh gross...
  • Blair in a sweeping red gown, struggling with a hairdresser: "Perhaps this [hat] should be tilted more comme ├ža?"
  • UH OH, NATE
Busted!
  • Serena is leaving "We need to talk" text messages all over town. How neurotic are floozies supposed to get? Can't you just wait to magically bump into these guys?
  • Oh dear, Blair loves the ring that Chuck bought for her without realizing where it comes from. This whole thing is wrapping up quite nicely, and in fact, I'm sort of glad the thieves stole the ring from Chuck. It gave him a heroic story (he wouldn't let go of it) and it helped out in the identification process and it ALSO helped Blair understand what Chuck has been going through etc etc etc. I thought they were too young to be getting engaged, but this ring is really working overtime symbolically.
  • Dan and Nate, just two pals enjoying some beers on the roof wearing pink plaid shirts:
"Most of the time it just feels like you're the only one who gets it."
  • Serena to Blair re: stopping Chuck from leaving forever on a London-bound train: "You and I both know you're the only one who can do that." So true, so convenient. Thank god she knew when and where he would be inside the train station.
  • Serena's FUNNY! "Dan, a good shoulder to cry on. Nate, good shoulders." Just seven hours on a plane and suddenly we've got a comedian!
  • Dan has graduated to wearing Dad Shirts in the park:
  
"Yeah I got this out of Rufus's drawer. I thought you'd like that."
  • Yet another pink plaid shirt wearer, royalty-style:
"I zeenk ze costume dezigner eez een love viz pink plaids!"
  • And furthermore from the Louvre, I never would have thought Blair would have the guts to take off a shoe in there. It's the little things like this that force us to love Blair.
"I just hope and pray Gossip Girl can't see this OR DO I?"
  • Holy moly, Serena's world caves in in Brooklyn. Danessa, NateStranger - it's too much!
"As you can see, we're together. Not Nate and me! I mean me and Vanessa and Nate and this new one. Not all of us together! I mean both of us with girls. Both of us together, with girls."
  • By the way, here is a better shot of the stranger, who is at least ten years older than these kids:
"Hi how are ya I'm a young 29 if that!!"
  • Haha, Rufus the doctor is the first one to realize that Milo has blood type O-. If both Rufus and Dan have AB+, what must Georgina's blood type be in order to have this kid (if possible)? Sounds like a bio problem to me!*
  • Lily cuts Rufus off before he can even attempt to figure out the blood type problem with "The closest you've come to medical school is having a Lincoln Hawk song licensed for Chicago Hope." IT MUST RUN IN THE FAMILY!
  •  And the teaser from next week looks like Blair and Serena are going to throw a real shitshow next week. PS Are they using another college for the Columbia set because they used Columbia already as the Yale set? Don't do it!
* The Blood Type Solution:
The blood types are A, B, and O. Both types A and B are co-dominant, which means that if Mom gives an A allele and Dad gives a B, the baby will be AB rather than one or the other. O is recessive, which means that both Mom and Dad have to have at least one O in their own blood types (either A(O), B(O), or OO) in order to have an O type baby, and they'd both have to pass on their Os. If Dan is type AB, he's passing on either an A or a B, so even if Georgina is type O, baby Milo would be either Type A(O) or B(O). He couldn't be type O. BADA BING!