Posted in Uncategorized

HVAC and Cats

This summer our air conditioner bit the dust, we we ended up having to get a whole new shebang, included duct work.

As soon as we lost the air and it became hot inside, the cats would walk into the room and melodramatically drop to the floor to show us they were hot. You can tell temperature by looking at a cat and the longer and more spread out they are, the hotter they are. Cecil, my oldest orange cat, started walking on us at night, which is not unusual, and would meow a lot and paw my face, which is unusual. I figure he’s just hot and he will be ok when we install a window unit.

This is Cecil.  He’s the orange cat we have with a long nose.

We install window units in a few rooms to combat the heat. One of the rooms is the bedroom and we had a window unit blowing constantly along with the fan blowing, too.

This does not diminish Cecil’s night time meowing. I start to worry something is wrong with him, but outside of being loud and annoying, nothing else looks wrong with him. I figure the week after they install the new furnace and AC I will take him to the vet.

Cecil, Joey (Scarface Joe,) and Shadow watching the new window unit being installed.

The very first night with the new AC he did not meow at me and paw my face until I woke up.  He walked on us and then slept on us, like normal.  It’s been a week or two and he hasn’t done it since.

He was waking us up because he didn’t like how windy it was. I mean, first world problems, dude, but at least he isn’t sick.

Scarface Joe – he’s not too hot in this pic, he just likes sprawling in the middle of all pathways.

 

Posted in Reviews

Wine Country? More like whine country

This past weekend, on a whim, my husband and I watched “Wine Country” mainly because we both love Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.  We thought it would probably be a dramedy, and while it did have drama, it had very little in the way of humor.  Considering that most of the Fey/Poehler SNL favorites were there, the lack of humor was a surprise.

“Wine Country” is directed by and stars Amy Poehler, with Rachel Dratch, Ana Gasteyer, Maya Rudolph, Paula Pell, Emily Spivey and Tina Fey.  The premise is a group of women who became friends in the ’90’s as waitresses at a Chicago pizza place get together in Napa Valley to celebrate Rachel Dratch’s character’s 50th birthday.

This is the type of premise I simply love – the big party or weekend getaway with friends.  The classic of this genre (or would it  be subgenre?) is of course, “The Big Chill” but many other movies with that premise have happened since then and I tend to watch them all.  There’s something fun about watching a bunch of friends get together and love, laugh, and more often than not fight and resolve conflicts.  Another great one of this type is “Peter’s Friends” with the always wonderful Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry as the titular Peter.  I recommend it heartily.

Sadly, I cannot really recommend “Wine Country” with the same gusto.  If I were to recommend it, I would be doing so in the “smell this, I think it’s rotten” kind of way because this movie was weird.  And not great.

First of all, Maya Rudolph is one of those actresses who is always in everything – especially anything Amy Poehler or Tina Fey have a hand in – and I simply don’t find her funny.  Her characters on SNL were annoying at best, and as someone who doesn’t care for improv, I have no idea why people keep casting her.  When she’s in something I want to watch, I often simply change my mind and don’t bother.  Her brand of funny is simply obnoxious or rambling.

Of course, her character is the most annoying one.  She spends the entire movie avoiding getting her medical test results and then being maudlin and morbid about her theoretical illness.  This behavior is believable but maddening.  This is the type of thing that drove me crazy in my 20’s when a friend would be hysterical because of a missed period but hadn’t bothered to take a pregnancy test because they were scared.  Hysteria with no supporting facts is just stupid drama for drama’s sake.

Yeah, let’s freak out about our imagination without any facts to support it.  Let’s mire ourselves in uncertainty instead of simply finding out out if there is even a legitimate problem.  So the ever annoying Maya Rudolph is made more annoying by her being one of those people who would rather ruin a weekend with friends than simply find out if there is any reason to actually be upset in the first place.  And spoiler alert, this bitch is fine when her friends finally call her doc.  Ugh.  Just an entirely annoying subplot that was solved with a fucking phone call.  Bleh.  Meanwhile, her character mopes around and then talks for a long time to bore the crap out of anyone of watching.  Why do people find this funny?  I don’t get it.

Sadly, Maya Rudolph – usually the worst part of any ensemble – isn’t even the worst part of this weird ass movie.  There are so many other things to hate here.  Sadly, Tina Fey was not impressive either.  She plays the owner of the airBNB where this friend group decides to stay.  And honestly, I have no idea what she was going for with her character choices.

My husband and I debated this:  Was she trying for a butch kind of character?  Or was this her way of trying to play country/blue collar?  Was she trying to be a male character?  Other than being negative and warning the friend group not to listen to anything that starts off with “Can I just say something?”  If this were a horror movie, she’d be the old man warning the kids that cabin was haunted.  Only she was not believable as anything other than Tina Fey trying to do some character that wasn’t a good fit for her and that was actively uncomfortable to watch.  When watching a movie, I don’t want to sit and think about what the actress was trying to achieve, I just want to watch her do it.  So Tina Fey, usually a favorite, sucked mightily in this role.

That said, her telling the friends to eschew anything starting with “Can I just say something?” was prescient, because any time two friends are alone, they say this sentence and then trash another friend that is on the trip.

The next part of the movie I disliked was the tarot reader they hired to come and read for the group.  First of all, as a professional tarot reader myself, I’m always interested in Hollywood depictions of this activity, mainly because I can critique the ways they get it wrong and occasionally say, hooray, they got it right.

Right off the bat, this tarot reader was just an unfriendly bitch.  Her goal seemed to be to destroy the friend group or at least sow strife.  Her readings consisted of her turning over a card for each person – and the way this was done was shoddy, too.  Instead of re-shuffling the deck for every person, she merely laid one card for each person leaving the old card on the table to be covered up by the next card.  You know, sometimes more than one person is a group is dealing with the issues of the same card.  Ugh, bad tarot reader.

The only thing interesting about her way of reading tarot was the cards themselves, which looked like the regular Rider-Waite-Smith, but with shiny gold looking parts on the cards themselves.  If this deck exists in the real world and wasn’t just created for the movie, I really want it.

Anyway, at the end of what was basically a total of a 5 minutes reading for the entire group, she charges them $475.  Other than giving the characters a common enemy and foretelling fights between them yet to come, which was already done by the awful farmer character of Tina Fey’s, this scene just served to outrage.

No matter how they are portrayed in the media, tarot readers always come off as shitty stereotypes.  It’s annoying.

This movie was just bizarre in so many ways.  After they fight with each other they roll down a very large hill and that is supposed to be cathartic, although god knows why.  It made little to no sense.  I’m not saying that I’ve never been drunk with my girlfriends and gone along with stupid shit that was nonsensical, but there is at least somewhat of a rationale in our minds.  This was just “we need to end the movie so let’s roll down a hill.”

The group is in wine country but doesn’t want to learn anything about wines, so they actually come off as pretty rude to those working in the wineries.  I live very close to dozens of wineries and have been to many of them.  They aren’t trying to make you learn about wines, they are telling what the wines are like while you taste them so you can decide what you like best.  Maybe the Napa Valley is different, but once you buy the bottle, they tend to wait on the next person as even on slow days, there is usually somebody waiting.

That said, even if someone is trying to teach you about wine, being rude bitches isn’t really a good way to go.  The characters – who will piss you off in their actions, pretty much all of them – go to an organic winery, and the woman there is very pretentious about her wine, which basically has a ton of sediment in it “because it’s organic” and instead of storing the wine with ice or fridges, they keep in cool by keeping it in the dirt.  Ok, annoying, yes, but then you just leave the dirt wine place.  The one rule of this winery was not to walk in the vines, a rule they all broke pretty much immediately.

I get it, the lady was pretentious and annoyingly happy with her wine and herself (for shame!  how horrible that she likes her own winery!) but to break the rules of a place you are visiting isn’t just shitty behavior, it’s tacky as hell, too.  They of course cop an attitude with the woman – who nicely but passive aggressively tells them to get out of the vineyard itself – and are pretty rude about leaving and have no remorse for breaking the one rule given to them.

They were all just so crappy as humans.

There were things the movie got right about female friendships – when women hang out together and drink wine, yes, we will break into song at any opportunity.  We will play music and dance and sing along to it and laugh our asses off doing so.  They did this portion of things really well, even having a very intense conversation about what music to put on their playlist.

Much of the interactions and hanging out was very well done in that it did resonate for me as I’ve seen that and done that.  Even the weird resentments and infighting were accurate to the experience, in my opinion.  The other part that was mostly well done, was Rachel Dratch’s character is married to Brian, an asshole every single woman hates.  The movie has a lot of fun with them bashing him but not in front of Dratch’s character until the very end when she realizes she is in a crappy marriage.

This bashing of the asshole male screwing up a friend’s life is something I think is universal to most if not all women.  We have all had that friend who is with a worthless scumbag and we have all puzzled over it, I’m sure.  This echoes that perfectly.

The other thing this movie does well is the way arguments and tensions are diffused in a friend group – sometimes you are shitty to each other, there is silence, and then someone breaks the silence with a song, joke, laughter, or a non-sequitur and everyone latches on to it for tension breaking purposes.

My favorite character of the movie was Val, played by Paula Pell.  Val flirts with a really cute waitress at dinner and thinks of having a fling with the girl.  They go to see this girl’s art show because of Val’s crush.  The entire art show was simply – to me – let’s bash millennials and what they like and make them out to be douche bags.

The art show itself was merely different depictions of Fran Drescher from “The Nanny”  and was more than a little eye rolling.  Meanwhile, Val’s crush acts as if her “art” is the most deep and resonant thing she’s ever seen.  The girl comes off as pretentious and full of herself in the extreme, and of course, the friend group we’ve come to know and loathe go off on their millennial rant.

Dear movie makers, you come off as assholes when you portray millennials this way.  Maybe stop it, because they are the ones who will be taking care of you in the nursing home.  Yes, “we just don’t understand the uppity kids today” can be played for fun, but mostly it just comes off as older people being assholes about the younger generation.  As Gen X, I’m really tired of the whole Baby Boomers versus Millennials thing and seeing Gen X’ers play into that trope is just gross, in poor taste, and more than that, BORING.

Normally, I would have shut off a movie like this after the first 10 minutes, but I hung in there for Poehler and because I wanted to see how they would depict female friendships.  For my husband, he continued watching it because he felt the characters were so weirdly alien, that he kept watching, much like an anthropologist trying to make sense of their universe.  When someone says, “I only finished it because…” you are not dealing with a great movie.

The one character I did identify with was Emily Spivey’s Jenny (no, not because I’m Jennifer) because she didn’t want to be there and when she called her husband she told him she wished the trip was 3 days shorter.  “But it’s only for three days,” he replies, and yeah, exactly.  Jenny normally is the one who is a no-show, and after seeing the weekend they all spent together I can totally see why.  Spending a drunk weekend with back biting friends isn’t how most people want their time spent.

So all in all this was a weird movie, not really funny so much as dramatic-ish, and much in the way of making mountains out of molehills for all of the women in this group.  So while it did have parts that anyone who has spent time with a group female friends will identify with and like, it was not a good movie.  I’ve given it about a D+ and my husband gave it a thumbs down on Netflix.

I want you to watch it, so we can both agree that this movie does indeed smell bad.

P.S. For all female comedians – simply talking about you vagina in disgusting ways is no longer considered funny.  You have to actually be making a joke, not just merely referencing your lady bits.  There was a lot of humorous attempts at vagina jokes, but all of them were just boring and wtf inducing.  Fart and poop humor isn’t funny, and putting a vagina into that type of joke is just annoying, gross, and not even remotely humorous.

 

 

Posted in Anxiety, Reviews

Flash Season 3 Review

My normal spoilers are for light spoilers.  This review is going to have major spoilers.  Big time spoilers that will spoil everything about the season, pretty much, so read on at your own risk.

Season 3 of “The Flash” starts off with the results from Barry going to back to save his parents.  This creates the alternate timeline of Flashtime, where Barry lives with his parents happily and eventually asks out the girl at the coffee place, Iris.  Flashtime is entertaining because it does show what a happy life Barry would have had if his parents lived, plus alternate lives for everyone else.  Flashtime is also Wally at his most likable, since he is the hero Kid Flash, and he doesn’t that huge chip on his shoulder about Barry being fostered with the Allens while they didn’t know Wally existed.  Instead, he’s just a hero.

However, during Flashtime, Barry starts losing his memories of his other history, Wally gets injured in a pretty permanent looking way, and Caitlin is an ophthalmologist.  One of the most likable scenes for Wally comes this episode as Barry collects everyone from Team Flash, but in doing so kidnaps Caitlin.  He brings her to the cortex without really asking her permission.  Everyone but Wally and Caitlin leaves and she asks Wally if she’s been kidnapped, and he kind of shrugs and says, “Unclear.”  It seems like a little thing, but I thought it was hilarious.

Anyway, Barry puts everything back where it was before, but when he gets back to reality, Iris isn’t speaking to her dad because he lied about her mom (that season 2 boring ass storyline) while Cisco hates Barry because he won’t go back in time to save Cisco’s brother, Dante.  Barry also has to deal with Julian, one of the most unpleasant people in the universe.  Needless to say, things are different here, so he goes back to fix things again and is stopped by Jay Garrick.  Garrick basically explains that Barry can’t fuck with the timeline anymore, as once it gets broken, it never really gets fixed the same way, plus, the speed force actively dislikes it and will send scary things after you when you do it.

So, he tells everyone, and the rest of the season is Blame Barry for Everything Because of Flashtime and Barry actually blames himself, too.  I never enjoy when a series plays the game of punishing a character for an entire season (with the exception of Sam Winchester in season 4 because he started the apocalypse, that punishing was deserved and fun), and this season’s theme of “Barry’s bad” is just frustratingly stupid.  However, it seems to be the theme as we start the season with his “crime” and end it with him in the speed force jail, paying for his sins.

First off all, I’m going to start with some Arrowverse characters who aren’t even on the show as regulars.  Dig and Lila no longer trust Barry because they now have a son instead of a daughter.  Keep in mind, they have no memories of this daughter, in their experience a child was born and it was a son, but yet, they really don’t trust Barry anymore because of this.

So, as someone who hasn’t gotten past season two of Arrow, yet, how awful is Baby John if they are this upset?  Is he like a demon spawn of some sort?  Or is he completely unlovable?  While I’m not a parent, I assume that a parent would love any child they have and not totally lose their shit over some other theoretical child they have no emotional connection to.  Baby John must be a real asshole is all I’m saying, considering the level of upset these two show Barry all fucking season.

Cisco this season is an unmitigated asshole, constantly.  He hates Barry for Dante’s death, even though Dante was killed by a drunk driver.  Dante, every time he’s been on the show, has been an over the top dick to Cisco all of the time.  Honestly, I tend to fast forward through Dante scenes because his character is so nasty and irredeemable.  But basically, Cisco is an angry asshole to Barry until the Crossover “Invasion” and then he lessens up.

However, Cisco is constantly an asshole to HR, the nicest and most fun iteration of Wells so far.  First Wells was the bad guy, season 2 Wells was an ally (eventually) but totally an asshole just as a personality quirk, while HR is fun, funny, usually in a good mood, a writer, and all around good guy.  However, because he isn’t a genius, Cisco treats him like shit, constantly.  By the end of season 3 I pretty much hated Cisco and considered him to be irredeemable.  Grief can make you a dick, I get it, but being a jerk to someone because they aren’t as smart as you simply isn’t acceptable to me.

Cisco sucked this season and I have no idea why they made the decision to make him such a total jerk.  It wasn’t interesting, it didn’t make for interesting conflict, it just made me hate Crisco for being a whiny ass bitch all season.

Julian in the earlier episodes simply isn’t believable as a human being.  He’s too full of himself, too much of a jerk, and too much, period.  Julian is new to Barry, but has apparently worked with him for over a year and they have a mutual hatred of each other.  While I can’t imagine Barry hating people who aren’t actual bad guys, I get why with Julian.  Julian is the type of co-worker everyone hopes drowns in the bathtub.  It is only after he joins Team Flash that he becomes more likable, but really that isn’t saying much.

Caitlin is turning into Killer Frost so she is also super annoying this year.  She lies constantly, she betrays them whenever it seems like she might have the slimmest chance at an opportunity to get rid of her powers, and she inevitably turns into Killer Frost by the end of the season.  First of all, the Killer Frost is evil and Caitlin is good thing just doesn’t work for me.  They are in the same body, same brain, and therefore the same person.  Caitlin acts like Killer Frost even when she’s just being Caitlin, and vice versa, so this whole storyline had me really hating her as well.

By the time she kept the philosopher’s stone, I was just done with her as well.  Yeah, we get it, Caitlin doesn’t like asking for help, but for the love of God this much secrecy from her own Team is simply inexcusable.  Furthermore, Danielle Panabaker does not look comfortable at all in the Killer Frost outfits.  She looks like she’s afraid of falling down while wearing a corset she can’t breathe in.  So over the top BDSM outfit really doesn’t work well with the actress as she acts like she’s uncomfortable even just walking, which really takes you out of the moment.  Season 4 is better as they tend to dress Frost different, but not all BDSM-y, but the completely awful and unbelievable wig never gets better.

Basically, this season, all of Caitlin’s actions are inexplicable in the extreme as she tries every single dumb thing she can to get rid of Killer Frost.  It’s stupid and it makes me think Caitlin’s stupid, too.  I feel like the writers don’t really know what to do with Caitlin.  First season, she was just either in grief or in search of Ronnie.  Second season is the whole Jay arc of pain, then this whole Killer Frost nonsense this season.  Find her a decent storyline that doesn’t make us hate her, sheesh.

The main three characters have always been Cisco, Caitlin, and Barry as Team Flash.  They are the core group of people we have come to care for since the beginning.  They were all three so likable and so likable together and played off of each other so well.  Their excitement for science and for helping Barry was so fun and so full of cool moments, but it’s as if they’ve abandoned the scientific fun nerdiness of the three in favor of stupid, unbelievable, BORING angst.  I get stories need tension, but the tension has to be believable or at least remotely interesting, and Cisco and Caitlin were neither this year.  They were just the enemies within, being dicks to everyone all the time.

Flash does a lot of this type of angst, usually with their romantic relationships, enter Barry and Iris.  They are finally together, living together and then engaged.  The whole thrust of the year is that Barry goes into the future accidentally, and sees Savitar kill Iris.  So Barry’s focus – other than blaming himself for everything that has ever happened ever – is saving Iris.  In the future he saw, they weren’t engaged, so he proposes, trying everything to offset this future.  Then Wally sees the same future, while Joe throws a really baby-ass hissy fit about Barry not asking his permission (for fucking real, Joe? Like, fucking SERIOUSLY??) so when Wally returns and acts like a dick about it, Iris breaks things off with Barry because he asked her for the wrong reason and “tainted’ their engagement.

Bitch, he loves you.  He wants to marry you, but he didn’t do it completely out of love, some of it was to prevent your DEATH and you break up with him?  Fucking seriously?  This type of thing is pretty out of character for Iris, actually, who is exceptionally pragmatic about most things, which is why we viewed this as the show having to “CW things up” with the romantic angst.  The next episode shows Barry going into the speed force to save the asshole Wally, while Iris is pretty cold to Barry and refuses to even give him a little bit of reassurance that their relationship is still salvageable.  At the end of the episode, Iris realizes that she was an idiot for breaking things off with Barry, but he breaks things off with her instead.

It.  Was.  Hilarious.  I don’t think the show intended to be hilarious, but it was so stupid, and Iris had been such a pain the whole episode that when Barry was like, nope, I don’t think so, it was hugely funny.

However, the very next episode is the musical episode with Barry and Kara Danvers aka Supergirl.  The musical episode was awesome and fun.  I love it when television shows realize that they have a huge amount of talent in their stars and just want to show it off and this episode did it wonderfully.  Grant Gustin can sing so well I honestly think he could have a career out of it, if he weren’t so busy being awesome as the Flash.

The musical episode has the Music Meister giving both Barry and Kara the whammy, and they wake up in a musical together.  The people they know are there, too, as musical versions of themselves.  Honestly, the relationship between Kara and Barry is one of my absolute favorite things about the Arrowverse.  Much like with Oliver, scenes with Barry and Kara light up the episode.  They have such great chemistry together, but it isn’t the type of chemistry that makes you think they are attracted to each other.  They have great friend chemistry.  Basically, I think its awesome that Barry and Kara just like each other and have each other’s backs without there being hint of romance.  Nice to see a platonic friendship on screen like that.

I’m Your Superfriend

Also, Melissa Benoist who plays Kara Danvers/Supergirl has as beautiful a voice as Grant Gustin does.  Their duet, “I’m Your Superfriend” is a fun, tapdancing number that shows the nature of their friendship.  Rachel Bloom, from “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” fame, wrote the song, which I discovered after I’d seen it a few times, and knowing that she wrote it, I can totally see her humor in the lines of the song.

I actually saw a YouTube review of season 3 talking about how the musical was the worst episode ever and that Rachel Bloom was the worst thing to ever happen to music.  Clearly, I disagree vehemently with both of those ideas.  I actually forgive the stupidity of Iris and Barry breaking up because it was the set-up to the musical.  Both Barry and Kara have suffered break-ups and the musical heals the relationship problems by giving them perspective they didn’t have before.  So while I totally believe the Barry/Iris break-up was stupid and for no reason, it did give us the musical episode so I’ll forgive it.

Seasons 1 and 2 were both very solid, good seasons for me, but season 3 is where I tend to fast forward a lot when re-watching it.  Wally being obnoxious, Cisco being cruel to team Flash, Caitlin lying and betraying everyone at every turn, and Julian are a lot to take this season.  Lots and lots of unpleasantness there.

I’m not even going to go into Savitar too much, but I do wonder if the writers room ever stopped to think for even a second that 3 speedsters in a row as a big bad might be a bit much?  Or that having a big bad for the entire season that Barry is too inept to deal with really makes things drag?  Like, how about a villain of the day?  The stand alone episodes are usually better than the fight the big bad episodes, so why not do more of them?  This one big bad for the whole season bullshit gets even worse in season 4, but at least he’s not a speedster.

Savitar is my least favorite of the bad guys mainly because he makes the least amount of sense.  The show either needs to explains time remnants in way that makes sense or they should stop fucking trying.  Savitar isn’t interesting because as a bad guy his existence, even when explained, makes no sense.

One of the things I liked best about the season is that Barry and Iris are finally together, with the exception of 3 episodes.  Barry and Iris have one of the best relationships on television, now that they are together.  I am also really happy that they had them get together, and then they got married (like normal people do) and they are still doing well.  They tell each other everything, Barry listens her advice, and even when Barry is asking her not to do something dangerous, he still knows her well enough to know she’s probably going to do it anyway.  There are lots of little times between the two of them that are just sweet and kind and nice.

Grant Gustin “Running Home to You”

I think because drama revolves around conflict there aren’t many healthy couples on television, but I’ve always hated it.  Characters you otherwise like and admire doing stupid things to wreck their love life has always irritated me, so I’m happy that Barry and Iris as a couple are awesome and excellent rolemodels.  Part of what is wonderful about their relationship is that Barry allows Iris to be as awesome as she wants to be.  Her strength doesn’t intimidate him, he loves her for it.

Another great relationship that forms, that is equally as healthy as Barry and Iris’ is that of Joe West and DA Cecil Horton.  She’s a fun character and watching Joe care about someone other than his kids has been wonderful growth to see.  I really hope she becomes a regular on the show as her character is incredibly fun and likable.

Season 3 is good and still very rewatchable if you fast forward the crappy parts.  I give this season a C because of the above reasons.

While I’ve mostly bitched about the season, I will say that I still love the show.  The special effects alone make this show worth watching because they are consistently really awesome.  I love the fight scenes that are mostly CGI because they tend to look like the pages of a comic book, which is apt.  I know I’ve raved about the special effects in the past two reviews of the show, but they really are part of what makes this show so great and so watchable even when the plotlines or characters tend to piss me off.

While I really can’t stand Savitar as a villain the fight scenes with him are amazingly well done by the special effects team.  The final fight with Savitar against three speedsters is especially epic and awesome, and I continue to be impressed beyond all reason with the special effects, so kudos!

For those of you with anxiety, like me, season 3 of the Flash is the same as the previous two seasons.  The pacing sometimes left me breathless, literally.  I started watching episodes and cutting them off before the ending, because the ending was always a mild cliffhanger of some sort.  Alternatively, I’d watch the next episode for the first few minutes just to put my mind at ease and the cliffhanger would be resolved.  On repeat watching the anxiety factor is WAY down because the rhythm of the show is known as are the plotlines.  My anxiety makes me nuts for spoilers.   In that vein, Iris lives.  

 

 

Posted in Reviews

Kim’s Convenience Season 1 & 2

Normally, I review seasons of shows, but for the wonderful show that is Kim’s Convenience we watched every episode Netflix had in one huge gulp.  Then we watched it again.  And then, again.  When I don’t know what I want to watch, this is the show I put on because it will always make me smile, no matter how many times I watch it.

Mild spoilers follow, but nothing major.

My husband stumbled upon Kim’s Convenience scrolling through what was new on Netflix.  Because I’m always willing to give a comedy a shot, we watched the first episode.  This episode focuses on Mr. Kim or Appa – played by the gloriously hilarious Paul Sun-Hyung Lee – giving a “gay discount” during Pride Week after he refuses to hang a poster he deems an ugly mess in his store.  Part of the joy of the series is watching Mr. Kim interact with the convenience store regulars, and this episode is especially good at showing Mr. Kim’s place in the community as a community hub of sorts.

Based off the play of the same name, the show is about a Korean family that runs a convenience store.  The oldest son, Jung (played by Simu Liu,) had a misspent youth and is estranged from his father, although his sister, Janet (played by Andrea Bang,) and Umma, Mrs. Kim, (played by the wonderful Jean Yoon,) keep in surreptitious contact with Jung.

One of my favorite moments in the series is Jung coming by to help Janet with a problem at the store.  Appa comes home early and Jung gets trapped in the house.  At the end of the episode, Appa and Umma are in bed and start singing “I Got You, Babe.”  Then it shows Janet in her room – you think she is alone, and then from the floor on the opposite side of the bed, Jung pops up and asks Janet if she thinks they are going to do the whole song.  He then proceeds to sneak out while they are singing.

What I love about this scene is that even though Jung is estranged from his father, the love between family members is very much present and shown.  It doesn’t surprise the two of them that their parents are singing a song in bed together.  Their parents love for each other is something they know and take for granted as reality.

The show is full of really sweet and funny moments like this, and I always hate to call something heartwarming because that term is used way too often for very sad things, while this show is heartwarming in an uplifting, joyous manner.  And it is so funny!  I’ve had to pause and rewind the show more than a few times because I was laughing so hard I missed what happened next.

While Jung has more than a few moments with his family, his main presence is at his workplace, a car rental business, with his childhood friend Kimchee, played by the hilariously lovable Andrew Phung.  Jung’s boss, Shannon (played by Nicole Power,) mildly sexually harasses Jung in the first few episodes, but as the season goes on her awkwardness becomes lovable to both the viewers and to Jung. At one point, Shannon thinks she’s alone in the business, so she sings over the intercom as she shuts down the place.  Jung walks in and sees her and is both amused and taken by her being her unself-conscious self.  Also, the song she sings about putting away a staple and crushing it was pretty fun – I found myself singing it a few days later while I was doing dishes and crushing it.

It’s a show that can’t be characterized as a family comedy, or a workplace comedy, or even a church comedy, because it blends all three together pretty wonderfully.  Mrs. Kim’s adventures at church with her nemesis, Mrs. Park, played by the gorgeous and funny Uni Park, are so relatable for anyone who has ever dealt with a one upper.  Mrs. Park is very wealthy and doesn’t mind flaunting it.  At one point, Mrs. Park is talking about her Mercedes, and Umma says that she didn’t know Mrs. Park had a Mercedes as she never mentions it.  Mrs. Park, who mentions her Mercedes constantly, says, “I don’t?  Oh,” and then gives a beautiful, huge smile and says with pride, “I have a Mercedes!”  It’s weird that her insecurities and layers of unpleasantness are stripped away by her happy announcement – she has such delight in making the announcement.  Just a wonderful, funny moment.

For those of you who have anxiety, like I do, television can be tricky when it’s something new.  This show had me anxious a couple of times in the beginning.  However, after two or three episodes, I became comfortable because Kim’s Convenience is a kind show.  It’s people doing their best in the world – sometimes making mistakes, but always trying to be their best selves.  There are moments that are sad or hard, but they are few and far between – these moments also do a good job of showing how the family comes together when one of their members needs them.

I give this show an A+ for being entertaining, completely rewatchable, funny, kind, and just all around lovely.  You don’t need to be Korean to enjoy it, but if you are a nerd like my husband and I, you will find yourself looking things up.  Korea has a pretty interesting history, btw.  We paused a few times to read interesting things about Korea or what “yeobo” means (according to online sources it is like honey or sweetie, but only for your spouse, not a girlfriend or boyfriend.)  Now you’ve learned something new!

Netflix has the first two seasons available for anyone who is interested and the show, which is made and airs in Canada, has been given two more seasons for sure – that alone should convey how great of a show it is.

Unqualified recommendation – there is something for everyone in this show and I guarantee you will love it!

 

Posted in Reviews

The Flash, Season 2 Review

As per usual – spoilers ahead.  If you haven’t seen season 2 or 1, stop reading now if you don’t want spoilers.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you!  😉

Season 2 starts out 6 months after the finale of season 1.  Barry Allen (the amazing Grant Gustin), The Flash, has forced everyone off of Team Flash due to his survivor’s guilt, so the first episode deals with getting the band back together.  Thanks to Iris (the always wonderful Candice Patton) the team does get back together, because she simply stops giving Barry the option of pushing everyone away.  In many ways, giving them a family history – having Iris know Barry better than anyone – really helps push some of these storylines.  Family often will step in whether you want them to or not, because they want to help.

Season 2 is a good season with an excellent bad guy, although two big bad speedsters in a row is a bit tiresome (more on that in the season 3 review) but Zoom is appropriately terrifying.  There are quite a few good stand alone episodes in season 2, something The Flash should do more often.  Sometimes having a bad guy of the week is more fun than the tedious, overarching bad guy that looms over the entire season.

To that end, “Family of Rogues” sees the return of Snart and his sister.  This is a great episode that I would give an A++ to except that during the episode, Snart uses the cold gun to freeze lasers during a heist.  He then walks through the lasers as they break.

He freezes LASERS.

We had to pause the television set as my husband lost his mind to a rant about how you cannot freeze lasers and are they kidding with this?

I’m a big fan of Rachel Bloom’s series, “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” and there is a song in the first season where they sing, “Don’t think about it too hard, too too hard” and season 2 is when the physics, such as freezing lasers, caused me to sing this quite a lot.  This song refrain got quite a lot more use in season 3, too.

Here’s the song if you care to hear it

However, other than the simple insanity of FREEZING LASERS the episode is one of the better ones, especially for fans of Captain Cold, aka Snart played by the wonderful Wentworth Miller.

Season two is a lot of fun, and has a lot of really great episodes.  We get a new Harrison Wells from Earth 2 and the Arrowverse is expanded into a multiverse, which is pretty cool because it explains away any continuity problems found in other iterations of DC including Kara Danvers and Superman existing on a different world altogether.  It also gives unlimited story telling options, as the multiverse itself is infinite.

The beginning of the season gives us a new love interest for Barry, one we all know is doomed due to his feelings for Iris, but fun to watch nonetheless.  Patty Spivot, a new police officer who falls for Barry, is played by Shantel VanSanten.  Patty is charming and fun and it’s nice to see Barry interested in someone who is free and clear to be with him.  Of course, because this is a CW show and you have to have the stupid romantic angst, (why not have people get together and stay together? why is it hard to write a decent relationship on tv?) things don’t work out well between them and she leaves.  However, she was a fun character addition while she lasted.

Season 2 has a lot of good things – the new Wells being kind of a dick, Cisco learning about his metahuman powers – although him whining about them and wanting to keep them secret felt out of character by a lot – and the addition of the multiverse creates a really fun season.  Also, by the end of the season, Iris’ confesses her feelings to Barry, which is good as she spends most of the year grieving for her lost fiancé.

Having Iris actively working with Team Flash makes the show better all around and helps grow her character.  In season 1 she was the love interest and often bait and not much else, although Patton did a good job with the material she was given, but in this season she stands on her own more.  She even shoots a bad guy at one point.  One of the better scenes is when the cops arrive, Iris’ friend says that Iris is a great shot and Barry basically says, yeah she really is.  The lack of surprise for Iris’ talents coupled with his casual pride in her was fun.  Gustin and Patton do such a great job with Barry and Iris, and the writers give them a lot of great material to work with.

While I warned about spoilers, there are really so many huge spoilers that I’m omitting because finding out about them as you go is way more fun.  The whole season is fun, but much of the physics of the universe is insane, so this season gets a B-.  I don’t mind cartoon physics, but you have to make the laws of your world a) consistent b) sane c) you can’t freeze lasers.  Also, I knocked off some points simply because two speedsters in a row in two seasons focused on one Big Bad is tiresome at best.

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Open Letter to Louis CK

Dear Louis,

I was a huge fan of yours.  My husband and I watched your stand-up and your television show.  I thought of you as somewhat of a feminist ally, simply because you seemed to recognize power inequities in your act and would make fun of them.

Then the rumors about you masturbating in front of female comics started making the rounds.  I didn’t want to believe it, but from your stand-up alone it was clear that you had some issues with sex.  Eventually, after YEARS of rumors, the #me,too movement caught up with you.

You apologized and I thought, “Louis gets it.  He’s taken responsibility for his actions and he will make this right.  He’ll show Hollywood how to do it.”  Then I actually read your apology, and it was lackluster, man.  Just some passive aggressive attempt to apologize without taking responsibility.  I was disappointed in you but still had some hope for your redemption.  “If anyone can do it, Louis can,” I erroneously thought.

Then I heard about your recent stand-up where you bitch about having to say “they” to accommodate trans people, complaining about having to call them what they would prefer.  Fuck you, Louis.  I bet you didn’t know that trans people have one of the highest suicide rates in the country.  I bet you also didn’t know that calling trans people by their name – the one they say is their name – and their preferred pronouns reduces the risk of them committing suicide.

But then I realized, you don’t really care, do you Louis?  You are so busy feeling sorry for yourself and the fact that you lost millions in the space of the hour (boo-fucking-hoo, man, most of us never see the kind of cash you are sitting on in our lifetime and the women whose careers you destroyed certainly don’t have the luxury of weeping over $30+ million lost), that you haven’t really taken a look at real ways to make a comeback.  You know what would be a good start?  Helping the people your manager blacklisted and threatened.  You still have the power to open doors, to help them with their careers.  You stole their opportunities from them so you could creepily get off and you haven’t done shit to fix that.

Why haven’t you done anything to fix it?

If you’d gone out of your way to not only apologize but make legitimate amends to them, you’d be surprised how well received you would be the next time you go up on stage.  Instead of doing the right thing, instead of being an example to other Hollywood people in similar circumstances, instead of being who we thought you were, you’ve done nothing but feel sorry for yourself and then trash trans people like a bigoted asshole.

It’s not only sad for the women you victimized and silenced, but it’s sad for you and your fans.  You could have made this a moment where you actually made amends.  Where instead of giving lip service to taking responsibility, you actually did it.  You could have restored our faith in you, a flawed, but good man.  Instead, you sulked for a few months and then came to the stage with anti-trans bullshit.  That’s not what good men do.  It’s what opportunistic assholes do.

I’m done thinking that you will eventually make amends to those you’ve harmed.  Your self pitying bullshit shows that you don’t actually care about those you victimized.

Fuck you, Louis.  And while we’re at it – fuck you, too, Janeane Garofalo, you apologist bitch.

Sincerely,

Jennifer

 

Posted in Anxiety, Reviews

The Flash – Season 1

Spoilers for season 1 – although light, are present in this review.

Back in the 1990’s, anti-heroes were a somewhat new craze and could be interesting.  In 2019, I’m heartily sick of anti-heroes, which is part of the reason I love the Flash so much.

Barry Allen is a hero, an altruistic one, and it is so much fun to watch.  As The Flash/Barry Allen, Grant Gustin is amazingly likable.  Barry Allen’s mother was murdered when he was a kid and his father wrongfully went to jail for the crime.  Barry works as a CSI for the police department with his foster father Joe West, and he does it out of a desire to help the world.  Much of season 1 explores him trying to clear his father’s name and figure out who murdered his mother.

One of the things The Flash does well is it establishes an ensemble cast right off the bat.  Barry gets superpowers and he goes to the scientists at Star Labs for help.  These people become Team Flash and having an established ensemble cast makes the show fun immediately.  Unlike the slow build of season one of The Arrow, the support staff for The Flash is present almost from day one.

Cisco, an amazing Carlos Valdes, is one of the most likable characters in season one because of his sheer enthusiasm.  Cisco and Barry are both really excited and happy about Barry’s abilities, and they tend to nerd out together in adorable ways.  Cisco is also a techno-mage, although the show says he’s a genius.  However, the things he creates are pretty impossible (a gold gun that turns everything into gold??  Really?) and so I justify this bit of outlandishness by just assuming he has superpowers, too, and those superpowers allow him to make things like a gun that can turn anything to absolute zero.  So, he is a genius, but they really mean techno-mage.

After so many shows where the main character wants to be normal (I’m looking at you, Buffy.  What’s wrong with you?) I’ve found myself enjoying the heroes who embrace it and really enjoy it.  The Flash loves being the Flash.  He loves his speed.  At one point a mugger attempts to mug him and he just starts laughing, “Oh, you’re going to kick yourself,” he tells the mugger before stealing the mugger’s weapons and clothes and then stealing a cop to put right in front of the man.

It’s hilarious and awesome.

The one problem with season one is Iris West, played by the delightful and charismatic Candice Patton.  They don’t seem to know what to do with Iris in season one, so for the first several episodes, she is the damsel in distress, although she does show her badassery by punching bad guys a few times, and even shooting another that tried to take her hostage.  Mostly, though, season one is just every single character in the show lying to Iris and gaslighting the fuck out of her to keep Barry’s identity as the Flash a secret.  Her father, Joe West, played by the always watchable Jesse Martin (loved you since Ally McBeal!) tells Barry and the rest of Team Flash to keep Iris in the dark “for her safety.”

When Iris finds out she tells him, “Did you ever think that telling me what was going on would keep me safe?”  Excellent point, Iris.  Knowing IS half the battle.

I know television shows can’t just have a couple that is together and happy.  I don’t know why – other than maybe television show writers have miserable relationships so they don’t know how to write that kind of thing – but much of season 1 is simply Barry pining for Iris unbeknownst to her.  Or hiding his fun superhero life from her.

When you make a character the killer of fun, fans are going to hate that character, and I’ve seen a ton of Iris-hate online.  As I am a watcher of fan videos and fan theories on YouTube, I’ve seen more than a few that call Iris a “cunt” for what I think is basically no reason.

In season one, she finds out her best friend is in love with her about the same time her boyfriend asks her to move in with him.  She is lied to by every main character multiple times.  She knows something is up – this is her best friend and foster brother who she knows better than anyone, but when even though she knows something is going on, they all just gaslight, gaslight, gaslight.  How Iris didn’t murder them all at the end of the season when she found out is mystifying to me.

I actually feels bad for Iris sometimes.  Iris wanted to be a cop, too, but her father stopped speaking to her until she withdrew her application.  This is a woman who longs to be a hero herself, but she is put in a safety box by the men in her life, even though she proves consistently that she can take care of herself.

Anyway, her character is certainly problematic, but Candice Patton is so likable, so charming, and in a cast of gorgeous people she is the stand out beauty in the bunch – all of these things help to offset the fact that the writers make her the assassin of fun in most of the first season.  Luckily, once Iris knows about Barry, she’s incredibly likable, fun, and good addition to Team Flash – within 24 hours of finding out she saves Caitlin Snow’s life by hitting a bad guy over the head with a fire extinguisher.  If kept in the loop, Iris is a badass and a hell of a team player, which she illustrates in later seasons.

Dr. Harry Wells is played by a long time favorite actor of mine, Tom Cavanaugh.  Dr. Wells is an enigmatic figure in season one and Cavanaugh portrays him – his good side and his bad side – with humor and aplomb.  As a mentor and hero to Barry Allen, he helps Barry with his speed and becoming a superhero.  I don’t want to say too much about his character, but he is a fun addition to the show.  I think if you made a drinking game of when he tells Barry to run, you’d die of alcohol poisoning, but it’s always very fun.

Season 1 solves the mystery of who killed Barry’s mom, establishes him as a superhero, and introduces a lot of other characters that will be important in the Arrowverse.  It’s a really enjoyable season, with the gaslighting of Iris West being the only exception.  It seems like a small thing, but it’s bad enough there are times you almost hate the main characters for doing it to her.  Even her boyfriend Eddie says, “So literally everyone but Iris knows,” when he finds out Felicity knew about Barry being the Flash.

Grant Gustin does a great job of making the Flash come to life – much like Joel Grey, Gustin has a dancing background so his physicality as the Flash is fluid and believable.  Other people have played speedsters on the show, but Gustin has a comfort and physicality that comes off more natural than a lot of the others.

The special effects are also just amazing.  With the Flash moving too fast for people to see, most of the time when he’s running it is a red streak of electricity and it’s fantastic.  In almost every episode there are special effects that look like panels from a comic book.  With a character that moves as fast as the Flash fighting giant telepathic gorillas (Grodd), special effects are important, and this show would be enjoyable simply on a “ooh, shiny” level alone.  When the plot isn’t my cup of tea, I can be content watching how amazingly cool the visuals are.

Overall, I’d give The Flash season 1 an A.  It’s not only watchable, but rewatchable.  Likable characters, altruistic heroes, and old school comic book mentality about being a superhero.  Some of the best fun is when Oliver Queen shows up and you get to see happy Barry dealing with anti-hero and grump, the Arrow.  The banter in the beginning of the below clip never fails to crack me up – Barry is quick witted and while he has some hero worship for Oliver, he also has no problem gently making fun of Oliver, either.  Huntress and Deathstroke are characters on The Arrow, btw.

The above scene is one of my favorites and anytime Oliver Queen and Barry Allen are on screen together is gold.  That’s part of why I love the yearly crossover episodes.

Overall, this is a good show, one that I highly recommend.

 

**For those, like me, who can find their anxiety going through the roof during certain shows, this one is anxiety producing, but mainly because the pace is somewhat breathless.  First time viewing for me I had to pause after -3 episodes and do something calming.  Now that I’ve already seen it once, the anxiety is less, but even the music for the show is fast and almost frantic.  Watch with some chamomile tea or something else that soothes you if shows cause you anxiety.