Tuesday, December 24, 2013

I still think Miley Cyrus's 'We Can't Stop' is a sad song

It's the end of 2013. Well, it's close to the end, anyway. And naturally, this is the time when we all reflect on the past 12 months of our lives — where did it go wrong? where did it go right? what were the big events of the year? And I don't know why I woke up this morning thinking about this, but one of the biggest events of 2013 is Miley Cyrus. I know she's a person and not an event, but throughout the year it seemed that Miley Cyrus wasn't just a person, or a pop star, or a Disney actress going through a "transition." She was a spectacle, a topic to be discussed (also, disgust), a chance for talking heads to get on their soap box. As she said in her MTV "documentary:" This was a strategic hot mess. She even states that now no one can put her face on something and just sell it like they used to in the heyday of Hannah Montana. Miley traveled so far to the other side of the spectrum so that people would stop associating her with her Hannah Montana alter ego, so that they couldn't stop talking about her.

We can't stop stalking about her. We can't stop. Just like her summer anthem. When I first heard "We Can't Stop" right before summer was set to begin, I thought it sounded almost lifeless. I turned to my sister and said how it was slow and kind of depressing, without paying much attention to the lyrics. Now, I have no problem with a sad song, I just didn't think it would climb the charts with how melancholy it sounded. It took several repeated listenings, but eventually "We Can't Stop" was engrained into my brain in its pop predictability.

I have no arguments for this: "We Can't Stop" is a good, solid pop record. But it didn't sound like all other pop records I've heard. I'm sure if you despise pop music, it all sounds like the same dreck. In fact, people say that every day about "We Can't Stop." We've made an entire year of statements like that. Listening to "We Can't Stop," however, was different than listening to the other (number one, according to charts but not my personal iTunes history) summer anthem "Blurred Lines" or even "California Gurls" a couple of years ago. I don't think anyone listening was able to articulate it; we all thought it was different yet still catchy. Then the video came out, which looked like a hodgepodge of non sequitur eye candy. By the end of the summer, all I could think of was how disconnected its anthem status was to how I felt listening to Miley almost whine on the record. Apparently, I wasn't alone; a perhaps over-analytical Business Insider article mentioned the same (met with some perhaps deserved guffaws), as did Philly Mag, and other bloggers.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Lost Girl 'Lovers. Apart.' review: Elemental whisperer

Welcome back, Bo. We’ve missed you! Anna Silk’s bigger presence in this episode just confirmed what I believe most of us felt during the past couple of episodes: We need Bo. Yes, the supporting characters are great, but ultimately this is Bo’s show — and I’m certainly glad that she’s back. I’ll still venture to say that during the premiere, it wasn’t so dire because of its whacky premise. More so, the premiere still chose to have a lead character: Kenzi. The previous episode tried to mesh everyone together in an ensemble, and it just didn’t work. Even this episode, where Bo’s back, lacks some of the rest of the cast; it’s better than last week’s, but it still leaves something to be desired.

Read the rest by clicking here!

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Vampire Diaries 'Dead Man on Campus' photo recap: The over-friendly ghost

Who's got the time to think critically about The Vampire Diaries? On last night's episode, a lot of stuff happened — and most of it was entertaining on a superficial level. And that's why we watch The Vampire Diaries! It's fun! Let's not think so much. In celebration, I've decided to recap what happened. Here we go:

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Lost Girl 'Sleeping Beauty School' review: Fatal express

Sorry about the delay! As if anyone reads this, but if you do and want to know what delayed me: college life! November as a college student is overwhelming. Anyway, let's get into this episode.

There's no simple way to say this, but this wasn't exactly my favorite episode of the series. Where the season four premiere made a strong case for the series without Bo and for the show to be carried by its supporting players, this episode did not. I think a lot of that has to do with the premise of the premiere episode, of course. "In Memoriam" set itself up for campy success when it had everyone lose their memories. It also had quite an easy plot to follow, perhaps too simple, but never confusing. Everyone was trying to get the compass to regain their memories.

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Vampire Diaries 'Death and the Maiden' review: Doppelgängland

The Vampire Diaries is a lot of fun when you can just stop thinking and enjoy it for all of its insanity. At least that's what I've been telling myself during these past two episodes, seeing as I haven't allowed my quibbles to overshadow the entertainment. I've been struggling of what to make up of this season's episodes during reviews because plenty of times there just isn't much to talk about. Where before we could discuss the intricacies of characters and their motivations, now it's just a bunch of people running around doing some crazy stuff. I suppose it's been that for a while, but I'm not so much concerned with what they're thinking as they do it.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Lost Girl 'In Memoriam' review: My death was greatly exaggerated

"All that's kept me alive is my hate."

The season four premiere of Lost Girl made the case for a show headlined by Ksenia Solo — and it exceeded expectations. Due to a real life pregnancy, Anna Silk had to sit out of the major duties for the premiere (and perhaps the next episode, too), and while Bo was greatly missed, I can't lie and say that I wasn't at all entertained by this episode. In fact, I was quite entertained by this episode. If Lost Girl can keep up the energy from this premiere, it may have a home run season. I don't think an episode has ever felt more assured, weaving all elements of the series together quite naturally.

And did you see that cinematography? I could go on and on about that aspect. But I won't indulge in the geekiness.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Lost Girl season 4 premieres today! Here are 4 reasons you should watch

I have bad news, everyone: a somewhat groundbreaking show has been on the airwaves for three years now and you've been missing it. Yep, sorry to break it to you; I also hate it when I've been missing awesome television.

The truth is that Lost Girl isn't breaking the bank most of the time. The creators know it; the fans know it; and it really doesn't matter. That's because what Lost Girl can't bring in spectacle, it makes up for in charm — and trust me, you're going to like it. People asked me to watch it over the summer, and I'm very glad I did.

Lost Girl is the story about Bo, a succubus who is always in dire need of sexual healing. The only problem is that her recreation can kill, and being "fae" comes with its own set of issues. Think Angel meets Chuck, and you kind of have Lost Girl. I won't bore you with a long diatribe, but here's why you should watch, in no particular order:

Friday, November 8, 2013

The Vampire Diaries 'Handle With Care' review: Breaking Kat

Let us all bask in the glory that was the best episode of The Vampire Diaries in a very long while! Am I delusional or was that just some very good stuff? I'm beyond the mythology, though sometimes with how wonky it is, it can be plain fun in its own right. It's not that I'm saying this episode was specifically compelling, but for some odd reason I just relished in it.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Review: SNL confronts diversity issue in 'Kerry Washington/Eminem'

As we all know, SNL has a diversity problem. Kenan Thompson was quoted in a recent interview saying that he and Jay Pharaoh, the only black cast members, told executive producer Lorne Michaels that they weren't interested in appearing in drag on the show. This has caused an issue: SNL can no longer satirize black women. Public figures such as Michelle Obama, Oprah, Beyoncé, and, heck, even Kerry Washington are left out of commentary — and the show.

Enter Washington during the opening sketch of last night's Saturday Night Live, where she played Michelle Obama, Oprah, and herself. That was basically the theme of this episode.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Vampire Diaries 'Monster's Ball' review: Babies having babies

I must really be a masochist. OK, here's a stream of consciousness (I apologize in advance):

Well, let's be honest: that wasn't a bad episode of The Vampire Diaries. But, then again, as I've been reiterating for this entire season, this season is just a reiteration of the show. Even Caroline is tired of having the same talk with Tyler about him leaving and having to do things elsewhere. Tyler should take the word "hi" out of his lexicon, because he's more prone to goodbyes, anyhow.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Review: Lorde - Pure Heroine

Lorde is just so tired of your teenage antics and vapid pop songs. Can't a girl feel connected to something with substance? Gosh.

That's how she opens up her debut album, anyway. Lorde wants you to know that she's just bored. She's striving for something with more meaning, but continues to only find trite mainstream songs that she can't see herself in. And yet, she fantasizes about the very thing she despises. She's desperate to see what's out there, and fearful of what she may be losing in the process — her friends, her city, and her innocence.

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Vampire Diaries 'For Whom the Bell Tolls' review: Ghost whisperer

When Stefan lost his memory last week, I was split pretty evenly about it. On one hand, you have what could be a trite plot twist. On the other, it could be a lot of fun having Stefan rediscover this weird world. I mean, these are people who are vampires and where a friend is dead but is making sure no one knows. That’s kind of funny, and maybe he would point out some of these oddities in a breaking-the-fourth-wall kind of way. He did do that, a bit. And then there was a lot of what was supposed to be serious that, to put this blatantly, was just hilarious. Ultimately, I struggled with whether to be much more lenient with this episode because it was, in a way, entertaining, but in the end, it failed at what it wanted to accomplish. It’s not like this is worst-episode-ever territory (the worst TVD episode is still “Into the Wild”). But it just did not live up to what it set out to do.

Monday, October 21, 2013

In defense of last night's Homeland twist

Eureka! Moment: Claire Danes in Homeland Season Three, Episode Four "Game On."
SPOILER ALERT: If you haven't watched last night's Homeland episode titled "Game On," just stop reading.

Saul and Carrie have been working together this entire time. And plenty of people aren't buying it. Why would she react when she was alone or with people that didn't need her to put on a show for them? I like to call that the Dan Humphrey Effect.

Let's face it: Homeland season three has been anything but superb. Season one of Homeland was just absolutely fantastic. In fact, I told several people that it was "perfect." It came in a year when someone on Twitter finally made me catch up on Breaking Bad. And while I was so-very glad that they made me watch Breaking Bad, I also had to tell them that there was just no way that Homeland wasn't taking home the gold statuette on Emmy night. It was just that good.

Season three of Homeland has been something of an excruciating anomaly. While plenty of people were upset with season two, it never bothered me like season three has. It's just been, in a word, boring. A show about a bipolar CIA agent fighting terrorism should never be boring. And yet. Keep in mind, I've never ascribed to the camp that thinks Brody should have been killed off ages ago, but seeing the Brody family meander in the fringes of every episode has been irksome. For one: we know where Dana's story is headed — page six scandal. And for another: we should probably care more about the Brody family aftermath ever since Nicholas Brody was labeled a terrorist, but we don't. I think that says more about the structure of the show than it does an overwhelming majority of the audience.

But that's beside the point. On last night's Homeland, it was revealed that Saul and Carrie have been in cahoots this entire time. Alan Sepinwall called it "a hail mary pass." Linda Holmes of NPR said that it basically undoes everything we've seen for the past four episodes. I'm inclined to disagree.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

On being obsessed with Gillian Flynn

I have just finished reading Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl. Well, I didn't just finish reading it; it has been about three days and three hours since I finally finished the novel, which ended more like a whimper than the punch I wanted it to follow through with. No matter, that's not what the point of this post is. (Though, if you want to read that short review on Goodreads, be my guest.) The point is that I hardly read anymore.

This year alone, I've read a total of three and a half books. Allow me to explain: The first book this year was The Fault in Our Stars. I had TFiOS sitting on my shelf for a good year before I ever decided to pick it up. (Side note: why do people constantly add "good" to things when they really just mean "long"? Also, can a year even be long, per sé? A year is as long as it is, which just so happens to be a year.) I fell in love with it the way I fall in love with all John Green novels. I have no idea why it took me so long to read it, but I think it may be that I kept trying to get through Will Grayson, Will Grayson just because I love John Green novels. But I just couldn't. So I picked up TFiOS and read it last spring and loved it.

Then, someone on Goodreads suggested I read Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma, which is overwrought and deals with incest. I didn't know what to think about it.

Needing a laugh, I decided to buy Ellen DeGeneres' latest book. It wasn't funny like the first two books. I got through half of it and said no more. This is the "half" as aforementioned.

So, after hearing about Gillian Flynn's "weird" novel Gone Girl and how it has become a #1 New York Times Bestseller more than a year and a half after it was published, I figured why not. I powered through that novel so quickly, I lost time. Reading new books takes quite an investment, so when you find an author whose voice and prose you just love, you want to cling on to them and never let go. It happened with John Green, and it happened again for me with Gillian Flynn. Halfway through the book, I knew I had to read one of her past novels — and soon.