What you should be watching and reading and listening to this week.
First of all, if you’re still not watching Broad City, you’re missing out on the most hilarious, inventive… you know what? There aren’t even adjectives to properly describe it amazing-ness. Just watch it.
In other news, the ex-writers of cult hit of comedy wonder, Happy Endings, have posted an extremely cryptic tweet linking to this website, counting 52 days down to something. WHAT DOES IT MEAN? Happy Endings is one of the best television sitcoms of all time and deserves whatever revival it can find. (I’m looking at you, Netflix. *crosses fingers and prays*)
Eddie Huang wrote a really interesting article about the process of adapting his memoir, Fresh Off the Boat, to network television. And E. Alex Jung over at Vulture wrote about watching said adaption with nearly a thousand young Asian-Americans. I haven’t seen the show yet (as my PVR is a hat made of ass and I have yet to find legal distribution of the pilot), but it’s MIND BLOWING that this is the first Asian-American family on TV in 20 years.
TV: Jane the Virgin
I do not envy the person who had to pitch this show. That being said, The CW is clearly open and willing to take chances; and this show is a sign the network wants to hold their own with the Big Four.
IMDb offers this log line: A young, devout woman discovers that she was accidentally artificially inseminated.
But that’s not even the tip of the iceberg. Loosely adapted from Venezuelan telenovela, Juana La Virgen, the soap opera plot twists in JTV are marvellous and many. But unlike the soaps you watched while home sick as a kid, the characters in Jane the Virgin react to each twist like actual human beings. And that’s what makes this show so brilliant. The show knows it’s crazy (and often reminds us with a stellar narration, dream sequences, freeze frames and text on screen), but it never treats its characters as crazy; it lets them roll with the punches in honest, character-based ways. And no one has to deal with more than Jane, played by the categorically wonderful Gina Rodriguez. You’ll fall in love with her instantly. Watch it and I promise you will be utterly charmed. And if you’re still not sold, google ‘Best TV 2014’ and I swear, you’ll find Jane the Virgin on every list.
You can find the entire series on Shomi or iTunes in Canada and a million other places in the States.
Movie: Obvious Child
Unfortunately deemed the ‘abortion rom-com’, Obvious Child is so much more. Starring Jenny Slate (SNL, Parks & Rec, Marcel the Shell), this film is about a young woman growing up and figuring out her life and maybe falling in love and dealing with her career and her family in the oh-so-terrifying time that is your late twenties. Oh, and she also happens to get pregnant and get an abortion.
Whatever. It’s a part of the plot, an important part, and an important story to tell and discuss, but Obvious Child is about so much more. Just see it. See it because it is hilarious. See it because it’s sweet and heartfelt and honest. See it because it was one of the best films of 2014 and not enough people paid attention. Also, did I mention that it’s hilarious? Because it really, really is.
Obvious Child was written and directed by Gillian Robespierre based on a short she made in 2009. I sincerely hope we don’t have to wait too long for another film from Robespierre. As Vulture pointed out the other day, Sundance (where this film debuted) has a major ‘white guy problem.’ Basically, studios troll Sundance for new directors for their upcoming tentpoles and franchises, yet somehow manage to ignore anyone who isn’t a white dude. Sure, things are a’changing, but it’s not fast enough — so hopefully Robespierre and, frankly, every talented, worthy director being ignored by Hollywood (this is an assumption. Maybe she has lots of stuff in the works?!) can keep doing their own thing, writing their scripts and telling their stories; because I really want to keep watching. And, hopefully, Hollywood will start watching, too.
One of the coolest things about reading is when you get to sit down and within a couple days or weeks, you can live through and experience someone’s entire life — or at least the most formative part of it.
The Interestings is a hypnotic, expansive novel. It takes place over the course of several decades, following a group of friends from summer camp to middle age. Meg Wolitzer never worries about making our protagonist, Jules, that dreaded buzzword: likeable; instead, she makes her human. And when she shows us her life, she gives us its interior, with all its terrible thoughts and emotions included.
It is an aching study on friendship, depression, talent, jealousy, and unrequited love. There are so conversations to be had within this novel that I don’t even know where to start. (Though, I think I might try with, ‘What makes a life interesting?’)
I suggest starting this when you have time to be swept away. It’s not a short book and it’s not easy to put down. Read it and let’s talk more.
Song: Hunger of the Pine by Alt-J
I am painfully, painfully out of the loop when it comes to new music. (Happily accepting suggestions!) This song isn’t new, but it’s really, really good.
Happy Saturday, friends!