Saturday, September 22, 2012

You Got It, Dude: A Love Letter to Full House

Via Andrea Barber's Twitter 09/22/12
Twenty-five years ago today, a sitcom with a bizarre, fairly homoerotic concept premiered. It was a show about three men raising three girls.

This show, aptly titled "Full House," explains why I am the way that I am. Seriously. Literally everything that's wrong with me can be traced back to Full House. The way I dress (like Stephanie Tanner), the way I socialize (like Kimmy Gibbler) and the way I speak (like I'm always determined to find a good one-liner) and even the way I hug (like every Tanner) can all be blamed on the fact that I was raised on Full House.

It wasn't like I had a terrible family or anything and I was forced to turn the Tanners to obtain my daily dose of familial love. My parents tried to control my addiction. If I got in trouble, I was punished by being banned from watching Full House. They thought I would grow out of it. When I was 12, I distinctly remember my mom saying, "Aren't you a little old to be watching that?"

Fast forward to 10 years later. I'm a 22-year-old grad student and I'm spending my Saturday night laughing hysterically as I watch Jesse Katsopolis do the Jess Man. ("Whassup!") Yes, the show is cheesy, but it does everything my ideal family sitcom should do: 1) make me laugh (Say what you will, but Stamos has excellent comedic timing.) and 2) remind me that I'm not dead inside (Remember when Stephanie lost Mr. Bear?!)

Full House is also the reason I want to be a television writer. That could say a lot about my writing abilities (especially my joke-writing abilities), but I am totally unapologetic about this fact. Maybe Full House isn't "cool," but it's a sometimes-ridiculous, sometimes-hilarious nostalgia trip. Some of the jokes, believe it or not, still hold up. A few lines that still make me laugh:

Becky: "Why are you dying your hair?"
Jesse: "'Cause I'm worth it."

Sylvio: "Mr. Tanner, your daughter is the most beautiful woman in the world."
Danny: "She's okay."

Michelle: "Daddy's a girl."
Stephanie: "No, he's a woman."
Kimmy: "An ugly woman."

Gia: "Hi, little Michelle. Are you ready for your first day of third grade?"
Michelle: "Are you ready for your third year of seventh grade?"

Michelle: "Got a smoke?"
Claire: "Oh, no. I'm sorry, I quit."
Michelle: "Too bad. I'm trying to start."

And now for three of my favorite scenes. Because this is my blog.


2) This one is a tearjerker. Seriously!

3) Look at the guy's ponytail!

That's enough. Happy Full House Day!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Well, This Has Been Sufficiently Awkward

I know, I know. Isn't that Mean Girls quote already the name of this entire blog? Yes. Yes it is. I suppose if this blog were a compact disc, this post would be the title track.

You see, I have a problem with the way awkward people are portrayed on television. I know what you're thinking. TV isn't an accurate reflection of reality?! Shut up! But this is more upsetting than 30-year-olds playing high school students, or the fact that there are only 12 desks in a classroom on Pretty Little Liars. This is about a travesty that's been inflicted on MY OWN PEOPLE.

I recently read in either Glamour or GL (Lucy Hale was on the cover!) that awkward TV characters are super hot right now thanks to shows like HBO's Girls and, of course, MTV's Awkward. Several people have told me that I need to watch Girls because it's about young, awkward, broke twenty somethings, so I'm obviously their target audience. But I want to know how on earth they think their target audience could afford HBO. So, I haven't seen the show, but from the (free) clips I've watched, those girls seem like the hippest of hipsters and would probably shun the crap out of me. On Awkward, the main character, Jenna, has spent the series having two guys fight over her. That's not something awkward types typically experience, based on all of the real-life awkward people I know.

Even looking back at past TV shows, awkward people have never been portrayed correctly. On The O.C., we had another case of the Horrendously Unrealistic Love Triangle when the allegedly socially awkward Seth Cohen had two girls fighting over him - despite the fact that he spent his free time playing with a plastic horse named Captain Oats. Then on '90s sitcoms, you either had to be a Screech or a Zack; there was nothing in between. Those who weren't nerdy enough to be a nerd and not cool enough to be cool didn't really have a place.

Maybe these inaccurate depictions of awkward people are intended to give real awkward people hope; they, too, can be ΓΌber hip or constantly in the middle of a love triangle (although neither of these sound very fun to me). If Jenna can get two boys to fall in love with her, so can you, awkward 16-year-old! If Chuck (from the underwatched show Chuck) can accidentally become a spy, you can, too, nerdy twenty-something retail slave! If Harry Potter get the point.

All of this probably just proves that I'm jealous of these fictional characters' exciting lives. Or I'm just sad about the fact that it's adorable when a TV character plays with a plastic horse, but it would be frowned upon in the real world. I've seen the frowns! I know it's true! And that explains why most of my formerly awkward friends have moved on to cooler pastures (like clubs, I think). For them, awkwardness was not a lifestyle, but merely a phase.

Okay, I'm sick of talking about awkwardness. "Awkward" is really only a word people throw around to justify their crappy social skills. "Oh my god, I am sooooo awkward." Let's just avoid shows about awkward people altogether! Actually, lately I've preferred shows about fabulous people with problems (most recently watched shows on Netflix: Pretty Little Liars and Laguna Beach). At least the characters on these shows are supposed to be socially superior, so I don't feel the need to constantly compare myself to them. I can just admire their pretty clothes.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

In Honor of the Exclamation Point!

Now that I'm in the "real world" and being forced to interact with "real adults" on a "daily basis" (sorry, got carried away), I'm becoming severely depressed. Why? Because adults are depressing to talk to. Why?

Because they don't use freaking exclamation points in their emails!

Despite what my (awesome) high school journalism teacher said about them, I believe that exclamation points are the solution to the inevitably dry and toneless nature of emails and text messages. So yes, if you send me a message that is void of exclamation points, I will assume that you hate me. Is this ridiculous and immature? Of course! But exclamation points have a way of making messages sound more postive and remind me that you're actually human. Why would you want the people you're interacting with to think they're talking to a robot?

This is an example of a (vague) email without any exclamation points.

Dear Shawn,

Topanga said she's coming with us Friday. She's bringing everything we need. See you Friday.

I obviously hate you,

See how cold that email sounds? I mean, hello, Cory is talking to his best friend here! He sounds like he despises him! He doesn't sound the least bit excited for this vague event (not a funeral) happening on Friday. Even if you're not communicating with your best friend, an exclamation point or two can lighten up the tone just the right amount. Yes, even with coworkers, classmates, fellow club members, etc. I mean, let's be real here. If the subject of your email is not a life or death situation, it's really not that serious; exclamation points simply give off the impression that you have a personality, and since when is that a bad thing?

Check out the email again with exclamation points:

Dear Shawn,

Topanga said she's coming with us Friday! She's bringing everything we need. See you Friday!

Your best friend,

See what a difference those two little exclamation points made? If I were Shawn, I would think, "How nice that Cory is so excited for this! That makes me excited, too, and I also know that he isn't a robot!" Honestly, unless the email only contains information (like driving directions - can you imagine? Turn right on Cahuenga! Then right on Sunset! It's on the left!*) or if you're attempting to achieve a deadpan sense of humor (i.e. "This is the greatest season of Glee of all time."), exclamation points aren't necessary. But those are rare exceptions.

So if you're over the age of 25 and sending an email to someone under the age of 25, remember that your audience is somebody who's been able to use a computer since he/she knew how to write, and may be keen on regular exclamation point usage. Oh, and emoticons, especially :), :D, -_-, etc. It doesn't mean that I'm a pathetic pansy (though I am); it just means that it's easy to sound underwhelmed and apathetic without them. And who wants that?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!**

Also, don't listen to what F. Scott Fitzgerald said about exclamation points. He was always drunk, anyway.
*Now you know how to get to Staples.
**Don't use that many.

Monday, April 16, 2012

List-making Time! Favorite Movies Edition

I've been getting several complaints lately (and by several I mean one) about not updating my blog often enough, so I'm trying to get back in the swing of things the only way I know how: by making Top Five lists. Not particularly unique ones, either, just your basic top five favorite movies, shows, Pokemon, blah blah blah. It is my lazy way of contributing to the blogosphere (even though I'm not in any blogosphere). Also, I love lists. Putting things in order is comforting to me.

We begin with my top five favorite movies! Please keep in mind that I don't care about what society considers to be the greatest movies of all time. These are the movies I feel connected with and make think, "Why didn't I write this?!"

5) Romy and Michele's High School Reunion
See! I already warned you that I don't care what society considers to be the best. This one is the ultimate Bad Day Movie. Whenever I've had a few too many awkward interactions or have gotten mauled by a bear or whatever, I watch Romy and Michele to cheer myself up. Watching them is like watching slightly (just slightly) dumber versions of myself. They, too, love fashion. They, too, went to high school in Arizona, then moved to Los Angeles. And they, too, believe that being happy and poor is much more satisfying than being comfortable but miserable. I also admire the ability to write such a smart movie with ditzy (albeit very likable) protagonists.
Best line: "Would you excuse me? I cut my foot before and my shoe is filling up with blood. " - Romy
Best character: It's impossible to choose. I love both them bitches.

4) Heathers
I've been pushing this movie on my friends like Ms. Norbury pushes drugs. If you call yourself a fan of Mean Girls, I absolutely implore you to see Heathers, because Mean Girls wouldn't exist without it. Heathers is like Mean Girls if all of the Plastics were killed. The humor is dark and twisty, but the ending is satisfying enough so that you don't walk away feeling all suicidal. Also, Winona Ryder and Christian Slater are freaking awesome.
Best line: "If you were happy every day of your life you wouldn't be a human being. You'd be a game-show host." - Heather Chandler
Best character: Veronica Sawyer. She's a badass.

3) When Harry Met Sally
What's surprising about this list is how few romantic comedies it includes. I think that's because for me, I need build-up and tension to be emotionally invested in fictional romantic relationships, and that's why I usually favor TV couples over movie couples. Harry and Sally are different, though. Their (spoiler alert!) eventual togetherness is so satisfying because we got to see them go from hating each other, to not remembering each other, to being friends, and then - tear - falling in love. :')
Best character: Harry and Sally are both clever and lovable bastards.
Best line: "When I buy a new book, I read the last page first. That way, in case I die before I finish, I know how it ends. That, my friend, is a dark side." - Harry

2) Clueless
I find no movie protagonist more inspiring than Cher Horowitz, my own personal hero and mentor (other than my mom if she's reading this!), played flawlessly by Alicia Silverstone. Sure, she may be a little selfish, but Cher has high standards (which explains why the guy she initially falls for turns out to be gay), she tries to make everyone around her happy and most importantly, she dresses differently than all of those other flannel and baggy pants-adorned '90s kids. All of the apathetic hoodie-wearers who currently roam high school hallways could take a page from her book.
Best line: "Why should I listen to you, anyway? You're a virgin who can't drive." - Tai
Best character: Cher Horowitz. Duh.

1) Mean Girls
Where do I begin? I'm pretty sure Mean Girls is the most quoted movie of my generation, at least among females and gay males. With so many SNL greats in charge, it better be hilarious, but the way the humor is delivered is what makes MG so unique. We have the "animal world" scenes, the cutaway gags ("Don't have sex. Because you will get pregnant, and die.") the clever, totally irrelevant lines Tina Fey is famous for ("Oh my god, Danny DeVito, I love your work!", "My nana takes her wig off when she's drunk.") and seriously astute acting. Say what you want about Lindsay Lohan and her penchant for alcohol/loser guys/shoplifting, but that girl can act.
Best line(s): "So if you're from Africa, why are you white?" "Oh my god, Karen, you can't just ask people why they're white."
Best character: Regina George. "She's fabulous, but she's evil."

Runners-up: Little Miss Sunshine, Tangled, Juno, Up in the Air, Grease

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Being a Lame-o in Los Angeles

I apologize in advance for the fact that this blog is slowly transforming into a journal (of a seemingly 13-year-old girl) detailing my "wacky adventures" as a "struggling writer" in Los Angeles. That clearly wasn't my original intent, not that I ever actually had any intent when I hit some buttons on my computer and made this blog.

Let's just say that now that I've emerged from the darkest corner of the California Lutheran University library and into the "real world," I can say that it is not pretty out there, folks. (Well, technically it is, especially if you take the 101 through Agoura Hills.) What The O.C.'s Sandy Cohen said about LA is 100% accurate: "The town will steal your soul." I had to turn to my current best friend, Wikipedia, to tell me that a soul is "the incorporeal essence of a person, living thing or object." I'm not a big believer in incorporeal essences, but LA does have a way of manipulating your view of yourself and the world around you. Why? Because everyone here is hipper than you. YES, EVEN YOU.

Once one realizes that everyone else is hipper than oneself, the result is crazy, awkward, erratic behavior in a pathetic attempt to assimilate into the hipper-than-thou culture. For example, the other day MY FRIEND met some girl (whom MY FRIEND will probably associate with again in the future) and when the girl went to shake MY FRIEND's hand during the goodbyes, MY FRIEND insisted on giving her an Obama-style fist bump. What the eff, friend?! Giving someone a fist bump instead of a handshake does not make anyone awesome! It just comes off as a) lame, b) weird or c) a sad effort to come off as "quirky" like that crazy Jess chick on New Girl. How do I know this? Because this move was not well-received. In fact, I saw it on the news later that night: "STRANGE GIRL IN DRESS INTENDED FOR 1950s HOUSEWIVES ATTEMPTS TO SOCIALIZE." (As a retired journalist, I'd say that's a pretty crappy headline btw.)

So how does one navigate this strange world filled with people who are smarter, funnier and prettier than oneself? I suppose one could pretend to be smarter, funnier and prettier than all them other folks ("fake it till you make it," they say), but that requires nonexistent acting skills. Another option is to just embrace one's weirdness. No one's ever actually been killed by awkwardness, right? I mean, Michael Cera somehow managed to get famous. Maybe using weirdness to one's advantage is the secret to success. I have a dream that one day everyone will bump fists when parting ways. Down with the handshakes! (They spread too many germs, anyway.)

And if all else fails, there's nothing wrong with giving yourself a pep talk a la Jack Donaghy:

Just do it! Is it in you?! I'm lovin' it!

Gotta go! I have a soul waiting to get stolen!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

What I Learned in College

So that's all, folks. I'm done. Over. No more staying up until three in the morning alternating between writing papers and watching a montage of romantic airport scenes. Now I can stay up until three in the morning watching a montage of romantic airport scenes and calling it "research" for my pending TV-writing career, when I should be applying for "real" jobs" whilst going to comedy clubs to "network" with strangers.

In the meantime, I don't think there's anything wrong with looking back at my (admittedly weird) college experience and figuring out what the heck I learned in the past three-and-a-half years, at two different schools.

1) If you want the "full college experience," why not go to both a small private Lutheran school and a large public university?
It's the best of both worlds! I got to frolic around CLU's precious little campus and experience dorm life in Thousand Oaks AND enjoy the modern beauty that is the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and experience downtown Phoenix. I also have two very different sets of friends from both schools. It's like having divorced parents! In all seriousness, I don't regret going from CLU to ASU and back to CLU, because I met such fabulous people along the way and I finally accepted what I wanted to do with my life. I must warn you, though, that this one might be slightly annoying to your parents.

2) If you want to make friends, scope out the bitches.
You know those obnoxious girls who spend half the class snickering and making sarcastic comments? I am those girls. All of them. I quickly assess the sense of humor of those around me and decide with whom I will exchange (what we believe to be) witty banter with for the semester and will help me draw beautiful portraits of the professor. Sadly, these friends can't be found in every class, meaning the snarky comments often need to be kept where they actually belong - in your head.

3) Sometimes the best classes have nothing to do with your major.
I always found it a bit disconcerting that some of my favorite classes were gen eds. Even more pleasantly surprising is that, despite my evil atheism, two of my favorite classes at CLU happened to be their required religion courses. (It helps being taught by a heavily caffeinated gay Catholic). I also enjoyed my close-knit summer biology class and my Political Science class at ASU, proving that no, gen eds aren't just useless fillers; sometimes they're even better than the crap they require for your major.

4) And sometimes they do.
I complained like crazy about the suicide-inducing lit classes I had to take as an English major, but I also got to take Creative Writing classes, including one in which all we did was stand up in front of the class and read the stories we'd written. For someone as attention-starved as I am, this was obviously my dream come true. What better way to earn an 'A' than to spend every class period making your peers laugh with/at something you've written? (And listening to their stories, too, of course). Those were the days, I tell you.

5) In college, you can cuss like a f*eaking pirate!
In my screenwriting class last semester, my lovely professor talked about how "back in the day," he would never use the word "fuck" in front of the class, but now it is accepted as the norm. This may reveal how secretly un-classy I am, but I love this new development. My professors' dropping of F- bombs and use of words like "bullshit" makes me feel like they're more genuine people. It also makes me feel more comfortable when I feel the need to yell, "You asshole!" across the classroom. Which sometimes just happens.

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Label Maker

We were always told in elementary school that "labeling" people and putting them into categories is bad and wrong and will get you sent to detention. "Labeling" people reflects the tendency for human beings to put things into categories in order to make the scary, chaotic world easier to understand.

Now that we've gotten that out of the way, let's label people! But in a fun way! Here is a list of friends everybody should have, based on a fictional character:

The Drama Queen

These people are useful because if you're having any "personal problems," check them at the door because these folks will engulf you in their own melodramatic issues. Rachel Berry is the perfect example of this the drama queen, as her own obsession with achieving her goals outweighs all other problems persisting in the world, including global warming and flip flops. The best part about the dramatic types? Because they think they're the protagonists in their own MTV reality shows, they provide writer types (like myself) with ample material for their sitcom!
Requirements: self-absorbed, but endearingly determined

The Comic Relief

"Oh, I get it. I'm just here for the comic relief." - Seth Cohen
Chandler Bing and Seth Cohen are the perfect examples of people who are perhaps not the best sources of wisdom, but certainly the best sources of comic relief. They're self-deprecating, self-aware and always capable of providing the voice of reason in a way that's funny but not the least bit preachy or annoying. They can often be found mumbling indiscernible comments under their breath, so ask them to speak up if you want to hear the funny. In the words of Chandler Bing, "I'm not great with the advice. Can I interest you in a sarcastic comment?... Cheese?"
Requirements: quick-witted, not afraid to be honest, able to poke fun at oneself

The Scapegoat

Need to blame something on someone? Need to tell somebody bad news but don't want to do it yourself? Need to vent without fear of judgment? Then break out your handy dandy scapegoat! This person is entertaining because he/she/it is a bit slow, but also quite useful! Patrick Star is the perfect example of a scapegoat, because even though Spongebob's not a genius, he has Patrick by his side to make him appear smarter in comparison. Plus, when Spongebob is having a problem, he can tell Patrick without feeling self-conscious.
Requirements: mental capacity of a four-year-old, obedience , a chronic deer-in-the-headlights expression

The Pretentious Hipster

Everybody needs one of these in their circle to make errbody else feel shallow and inferior. This person typically likes Arcade Fire, hates Twilight and can often be confused for a homeless person. Judy Funnie of Doug is the perfect example of such a specimen. She like poetry, interpretive dance and wearing sunglasses/berets at all times. So why would you want to surround yourself with chumps like Judy Funnie? The pretentious hipsters always know where to eat (despite their typically scrawny frames), where to get a good latte and which books to read/movies to see. Real-life examples include every Journalism student at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and my boyfriend.
Requirements: has a blog, shops at thrift stores, says things like, "Goodwill never has anything."

The Awkward Weirdo

Feeling a little lame there, sunshine? Spend a few minutes with that awkward weirdo friend of yours. His/her general lack of social skills and failure to adhere to a basic hygiene regimen will be sure to make you feel cooler than ever in comparison. The ultimate awkward weirdo, Samuel "Screech" Powers may be more intelligent than Zack and Slater, but his obnoxious personality and creepy obsession with Lisa ultimately determined his lower-than-low social status. Because losers like Screech are usually smart, they're great advice-givers, and always entertaining to watch when they're attempting to interact with other humans.
Requirements: awkward demeanor, inability to form coherent sentences, unkempt appearance

Collect all five!