Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Baby, it's cold outside

Wow, tomorrow is December. I know this because I’ve switched to a long-sleeve sleep shirt and can no longer wear flip flops while running out to the grocery store (hey, it’s California, after all). Now, certain things about December always bum me out. The fact that it’s pitch black by 5:30 p.m. The fact that I’m assaulted by cloying holiday muzak everywhere I go. The fact that it’s the last month for me to cram in all the resolutions I failed to accomplish during the year. But other things about December always make me smile. The fact that I can finally drink hot cocoa (Hey, it’s California, it’s too damn hot here most of the time). The fact that cuddling on the sofa under a blanket it considered a perfectly acceptable recreational activity. The fact that I can watch all my favorite winter movies. Now, these aren’t just holiday movies. I mean, I watch “It’s a Wonderful Life,” every year like everyone else. But these are those seasonal treats that only seem right when there’s a chill in the air. So pour some hot cocoa, grab a fluffy blanket and come cuddle on the couch. It’s movie time.

Love ActuallyNecessary actually. In fact, with all due respect to Frank Capra, this is my favorite holiday movie, period. Every time Snape makes Ms. Trelawney cry, I start bawling. Though I’m glad to see the poor lovelorn best friend has finally moved on from pining for Keira Knightley and is now happily fighting zombies.

FargoAs soon as Marge Gunderson said “So, you were havin’ sex with the little fellow, then,” I knew I’d love Frances McDormand forever. Admit it, nothing says happy holidays like a foot sticking out of the wood chipper.

Doctor ZhivagoJulie Christie! Omar Sharif! Snow! Romance! Fur hats! (Normally, I’m really against fur. But it was the dead of winter during the Russian Revolution. So I’ll cut them some slack.)

The Cutting EdgeToe pick! This is my 100 percent, No. 1, favorite, if-it’s-on-I-must-watch, guilt pleasure winter movie of all time. I can’t tell you how many incredibly mediocre 90s movies I sat through because of my subsequent love of Moira Kelly.

So, let’s have it. Share your favorite winter movies. Though if you say “The Shining,” I’m going to have to seriously reassess sharing my blanket with you. And, for those of you preparing nativity scenes this season, remember that there was, indeed, more than one lobster present at the birth of Jesus. Merry December, everyone.

Monday, November 29, 2010

SGALGG: Co-Worker Edition

It’s that time of year again for office potlucks and parties. That means hours of awkward socialization with your coworkers and watching your boss get sauced while hit on the receptionist. For the love of God, someone spike the eggnog so we can make it through the holiday season. But informal interactions with your colleagues doesn’t have to be an uncomfortable exercise in stilted small talk. In fact, it could be downright enjoyable. Of course, the level of enjoyability is greatly dependent on who your co-workers are. I mean, these co-workers certainly seem friendly. And when I say “friendly,” I mean like Straight Gals Acting Like Gay Gals. Let Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn, circa “She-Devil” “Death Becomes Her” (mixed up my late 80s-early 90s wacky Meryl Streep comedies) show you the way to workplace bliss. She ain’t heavy, she’s my co-worker.

Alison Brie & Gillian Jacobs, “Community”Alison tweeted that this was her preferred reading position. “Reading,” so that’s what the kids are calling it today.

Maggie Q & Lyndsy Fonseca, “Nikita”Lyndsy looks like she is blushing from Maggie whispering a passage from some particularly explicit Nikita/Alex fanfic she found online. What? I can’t be the only one who ships this, right? I mean, have you seen how many tank tops they wear?

Lena Headey & Summer Glau, “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles”Speaking of tank tops, this show was none too shabby about getting its stars in them whenever possible.

Emily Blunt & Amy Adams, “Sunshine Cleaning”Sure, they played sisters. But that body language isn’t sisterly. Just sayin’.

Blake Lively & Leighton Meester, “Gossip Girl”It’s the old “let’s compare hand sizes”-move. Nice.

Feist & Emily Haines, Broken Social SceneIndie Rock Goddess Powers activate.

Audra McDonald & Anne Hathaway, “Twelfth Night”So much Shakespearean swoon is happening in this picture, it almost needs footnotes.

Chloe Sevigny & Ginnifer Goodwin, “Big Love”Bill Paxton who?

Jill Biden & Michelle ObamaThey make a very nice couple. No, really, I mean that. That look Michelle is giving Jill says maybe she does, too.

Naya Rivera & Dianna Agron, “Glee”Quintana, is that a thing?

Dianna Agron & Lea Michele, “Glee”Now I know Faberry/Achele is a thing. And by “thing” I mean what I replace all Quinn/Sam or Rachel/Finn scenes with in my head.

Friday, November 26, 2010

My Weekend Crush

I can say when I’m wrong. I’m a big girl. I make mistakes. I misjudge. I prejudge. I can have judgey issues. But when I’m wrong, I’m wrong and I’ll happily call myself on it. And I was wrong about Jessica Capshaw on “Grey’s Anatomy.” Not that I was against her as a person, per se, but I was against the idea of her as a replacement for the dearly departed into The Parking Lot of No Return Brooke Smith. That sort of inconsistent, out-of-nowhere narrative always drives me nuts. At the time it felt like the all-too familiar upgrade to a younger, hotter model. But time has a way of doing its thing with wounds. And Jessica, well, she has been impossible to dislike on “Grey’s.”

I still don’t really watch “Grey’s.” I’ve cut medical dramas (yes, you too, “House) out of my repertoire this year and so I only keep track in occasional late-night YouTube Calzona binges. But I know that they’re good together, and I know that’s a credit to Jessica. What came across as youthful eagerness in her role as poor T&A Nadia on “The L Word” has evolved into mature confidence as Arizona on “Grey’s.” Her Arizona is tough yet tender, secure yet sexy. While I normally loathe to use the word perky, she is a charming perky. She and Callie fit, they make sense (unlike their crazy airport breakup, but that’s a whole other story). So whenever that big smile breaks out over Jessica’s heart-shaped face, well, I’ve never felt better about being wrong about something in my life. She is a good man in a storm, that one. Happy weekend, all.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

“I have just met you and I love you”

I knew I loved Pixar for a reason. On Monday the fine folks at Pixar released an It Gets Better Video. Two things about the video. 1) You will probably cry. 2) You might want to also get the phone numbers of all of the cute lesbians who work there. Seriously, that place is just brimming with gay ladies. Now, I’ve watched a lot of these videos. They’re all wonderful and touching in their own way. But I think the Pixar one is especially so because these are the people who make some of my favorite movies. The movies I turn to when I need instant perking up. The movies I carry around with me on my iPhone. “Finding Nemo,” “WALL-E” and “Imagine Me & You” as the three movies I always have with me in my pocket everywhere I go. So that connection, coupled with that kind of honesty and empathy from the people behind the pictures, well that’s going to put a lump in my throat every single time. But in the best possible way, you know, like a Pixar movies. Here are a few of my favorite Pixar moments, which make me smile and feel better, no matter what.

“Just keep swimming.”


“I was hiding under the porch because I love you.”

Finally, my guaranteed mood lifter. Why, yes, I do speak whale.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

In Joss we trust

No. Wrong. Madness. Horror. Abomination. END TIMES.

Right, so, possibly an overreaction but, if you really think about it, not really. News of the Joss Whedon-less “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” reboot made The Internets mad yesterday. Really, really, really mad. It made me mad, too. Like really, really, really mad. But also, kind of sad.

Why disrespect the man who created, tended to and lovingly developed a much-adored, much-respected, much-idolized series like this? Why put the screenplay in the hands of an inexperienced young screenwriter with no films to her credit? Why insult a loyal fan base who sustained a small series and turned it into an iconic cultural touchstone? Why, in short, be such utter dickheads?

There’s no good reason (really, I can’t think of a single one one) to go ahead with a “Buffy” movie without Joss Whedon or, at the very and most ridiculously bare of minimums, his blessing. But this has neither. So this is just a transparent attempt at money grubbing because someone with the legal rights realized, “Hey, this teenage vampire thing has really taken off. Wait, we own a teenage vampire thing. CHA-CHING.”

Well, you’ve vastly misjudged us Buffy fans. We were never in it for the fad. We were never in it for the sparkly vampires. We were in it for Joss’s vision. We trusted his vision. We believed in his heart. He has earned that.

I’m still so sad he isn’t writing the “Wonder Woman” movie, too.

p.s. Find a much more exhaustive, slightly less emotional take on this Buffy reboot stake to the heart over at AfterEllen later today.

p.p.s. This post is really just a very elaborate way for me to show off one of my most prized possessions. Yes, that’s a signed script of “The Body” by all the Buffy writers. Yes, it’s awesome.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Girls do make passes at girls who wear glasses

So, I still can’t stop thinking about those smart girls. If there is one accessory that almost automatically adds points to a woman’s IQ, it’s a nice pair of glasses. Give a gal with glasses a book (particularly a book about kissing, like Mia Kirshner above) and be still my big nerdy heart. Now, as some of you might remember, I’m a glasses wearer. I wear contacts most of the time, but I’ve always got my specs on in the evening to write and watch TV and hang about the house. As a kid, I wore glasses full-time – big clunky things that for some incomprehensible reason covered more of my cheeks than my actual eyes. Seriously, were we trying to look through some heretofore unknown fourth eye with those enormous hubcap lenses in the 80s? Back then they used to say “Guys don’t make passes at girls who wear glasses.” But that was before the whole sexy librarian thing really took off. And now, well, I still can’t speak for the guys, but this gal sure likes making passes at girls who wear glasses. In particular, these gals. No need to take your glasses off and shake out your hair, ladies. I mean, feel free to shake out your hair, but definitely keep the glasses on while you do it. Here’s looking at you, four eyes.

Mary-Louise ParkerBig brown eyes behind big brown frames make my knees weak, instantly.

Cate BlanchettBlue eyes behind blue frames ain’t half bad either.

Shirley MansonOf course, gingers can wear whatever color frames they want.

Angelina JolieAnd then sometimes you don’t need any color at all, just the world’s most expertly arched eyebrow.

Anna TorvEverything in this picture works for me. Glasses. V-neck. Ponytail. Laptop. Books. Heck, I even like the lamp.

Padma LakshmiEverything in this picture works for me, too. Plus, I know Padma could cook me an amazing dinner afterwards. And then we’d talk shit about Tom Colicchio.

Sarah ShahiNow that’s what I call a nice pair – of glasses.

Helena Bonham CarterThis whole ensemble is crazy. But crazy good, not crazy Bellatrix Lestrange.

Rachel MaddowOh, to have her look over her Clark Kent glasses and talk dirty, dirty politics to me.

Tina FeyOh, please, like I wasn’t going to include her.

Marlee Matlin & Jennifer BealsThis is them, the insane hubcap-sized glasses we used to wear in the 80s. Of course, they look fine on Marlee and Jennifer. Whatever, I’m not jealous. Though, we probably shouldn’t talk about the hair.

Oh, and one other sexy thing about glasses? When things get steamy, so do they.

Friday, November 19, 2010

My Weekend Crush

How I love a smart girl. As a child, I was never one for princesses. Well, I take that back, I was all for Princess Leia. But it wasn’t the Disney princesses with their flowing gowns and petite waists I daydreamed over. Caring about whether my prince would come was, obviously, not high on my list. But what was high on my list was smarts. So when other girls wanted to be Cinderella dancing at the ball, I wanted to be Anne Shirley acing her exams. The girl heroines I have always loved are far from the damsel in distress and always do their own rescuing – and then some.

So my inner little nerdy girl swells with pride each time I see Hermione Granger on the big screen. The smart girl, the plucky girl, the girl who does her own rescuing – and then some. Now there is someone amazing for girls, young and old, to aspire to be like. Intelligent, brave, loyal, a little bossy, a lot resourceful. She follows in a long line of great smart girl characters from literature (and subsequently film): Elizabeth Bennet, Jo March, Anne Shirley, Scout Finch. That’s mighty fine company and mighty important company, too. While it’s probably impossible to accurately measure their impact on generations of young women, they have given us a desperately needed alternative to the Barbieification of womanhood. Hermione makes girls, and women, everywhere want to be smart and strong and wield a wand like a fucking bad ass. Now that is what I call hearing us roar. Happy weekend, all.

p.s. HARRY POTTER SPOILER ALERT: When you go see “Deathly Hallows,” watch for when those sly Potter kids slip in a sneaky “Twilight” joke. Cheeky little monkeys.

p.p.s HARRY POTTER SPOILER ALERT II: OK, since you asked, here was the sly little joke.

In the movie when Harry, Ron and Hermione arrive at Mr. Lovegood’s house, he mentions “The Tale of the Three Brothers.” Hermione begins to read it from Dumbledore’s copy of “The Tales of the Beedle Bard” and the story begins: “There were once three brothers who were traveling along a lonely, winding road at twilight.” Ron stops her and says “Midnight, mum always said midnight.”

Now, that’s all in the book, but then in the book Ron says, “Sorry, I just think it’s a bit spookier if it’s midnight!” and Harry retorts “Yeah, because we really need a bit more fear in our lives.”

But in the movie Hermione shoots him a glare and then Ron sheepishly says, “Twilight is fine, better actually.”

That cannot be a coincidence. And that is also very cheeky. Nicely done, Potter kids.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Gender Fuck Thursday

Dude, I have been all serious issues are serious with my posts this week. I blame the switch to Daylight Savings Time. Dark skies, dark thoughts. So, I think it’s time again for a little unapologetic (yet respectful and, um, empowering) objectification. And you know my absolute favorite thing to objectify after Tina Fey and women in tank tops? Yep, ladies in suits. Those sharp tailored lines against those gentle swooping curves is just too delicious to ignore for too long. In fact, I feel terribly remiss for not having posted a GFT since, gasp, September. And here we are entering into the winter months and everything. So grab a nice warm jacket, preferably with a lady still inside it, and let’s wrap ourselves in some happy. P.S. If she has a kick-ass wristcuff like Isabelle Huppert above, all the better.

Evan Rachel WoodNormally I would always recommend wearing pants with your jacket, but not today.

Aubrey Plaza“Parks & Recreation” finally returns to NBC at 9:30pm Jan. 20, followed by “30 Rock” at 10pm. Amy & Tina are together again, plus more April, more Ron and more Pawnee! Whee!

Winona RyderIf you had a crush on Winona in the 90s and you know it, clap your hands.

Janelle MonaeIf I looked this good in a tux, I’d wear one every day, too.

Jennifer Jason LeighHey, Leighton and Minka, you’ve got nothing on this Single White Female (even though I don’t think she is actually single, but that ruins the joke).

Tilda SwintonObligatory.

Katharine HepburnEven more obligatory.

Wool suit season, welcome back.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The cruelest cut

I talk about my love for Tina Fey endlessly a lot here. I make no apologies for my unabashed Feyminism. But every now and then, it doesn’t hurt to have a reminder of exactly, precisely, without-a-doubt why I love her. And today that reminder is in the segment PBS cut from her Mark Twain Prize acceptance speech.
“And, you know, politics aside, the success of Sarah Palin and women like her is good for all women — except, of course, those who will end up, you know, like, paying for their own rape kit ‘n’ stuff. But for everybody else, it’s a win-win. Unless you’re a gay woman who wants to marry your partner of 20 years. Whatever. But for most women, the success of conservative women is good for all of us. Unless you believe in evolution. You know, actually, I take it back. The whole thing’s a disaster.”

See it for yourself here:

[Sorry the right side is cut off, stupid parameters.
Tina nails it at 12 minutes and 30 seconds mark.

Boom. I love the smell of roasted Mama Grizzlies in the morning, it smells like victory over hypocrisy. Also, s’mores. Well, it would have if PBS had actually aired the bit in question. According to The Washington Post, PBS executives say the quote was trimmed for length. The show ran 19 minutes over and every presenter apparently had his/her segment snipped.

PBS also trimmed Tina’s individual shout-outs and thanks to presenters and friends, which she herself acknowledged “we’re probably going to cut this part for the broadcast.” But to then snip such an obviously political and pointed part of her speech seems, well, off. I mean, about 20 minutes of the 90-minute show were clips from her past work anyway. You can’t cut clips?

What the hell, PBS? You are PBS. Everyone knows you are liberal elite lunatics already. Go with it. You’re not fooling anyone. And, speaking of not fooling anyone, give it up with the Bert and Ernie are “just roommates” stuff. Yeah, for 40 years.

The best humor cuts through the clutter and lays bare simple truths. It doesn’t have to be political, often it’s about the mundane. But we relate, if sometimes through nervous laughter, because of its core truth. And whether PBS cut the Sarah Palin slam out of misplaced anxiety or overactive politeness or wussy fear of the new Republican Congress cutting its funding, it was the wrong call. Boo, PBS, no reusable canvas tote bag for you.

To extrapolate wildly from this one incident and make broad generalizations (What? It’s my blog and I can extrapolate wildly if I want to.), this timidity is sadly endemic in our media – political or otherwise – these days. We like to push this canard that there are two equal sides to every story. Sometimes, believe me, there just aren’t. Not all opinions are created equal. Some are based on fear and ignorance and flat-out lies. That doesn’t mean you don’’ have the right to that opinion – you absolutely do. Believe, think, say whatever you want. But I don’t have to give it as much weight as an opinion based in fact.

Fact are not political, or at least they shouldn’t be. So when someone like Christine O’Donnell, who doesn’t even know that the separation between church and state is built into the First Amendment, gets thisclose to going to Congress, we’ve failed as a media on a very basic level. When Sen. John McCain’s constant flip-flopping on his reasons for opposing the DADT repeal isn’t called out when he moves the goalpost yet again, we’ve failed as a media on a very basic level. (And don’t get me started on Cindy McCain’s about-face (more like two-face)on DADT. Did old man yell at more than lawn to make you go from bold equality backer to cowardly intolerance back tracker in 2.5 days?). When the daughter of the almost vice president of the United States of America uses gay slurs on Facebook and we don’t question the mentality that allows that, we’ve failed on a very basic level.

Let’s be honest here. The Mama Grizzlies aren’t feminists. They aren’t good for all women. They’re good for people who believe a very specific, very conservative ideology. Which, if you believe those things, good for you. But let’s not buy into the lie that their victories are ours. They are not. For many of us, they’re just a disaster. Preach it Tina, preach.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

At your Service

Something strange happens while you’re watching “Lip Service.” You kind of forget the characters are gay. Well, you don’t. I mean, how could you? They’re gay. Everything about them is gay. It oozes from their pores because it’s in their pores. It’s not something that has been paint-by-numbered onto them. They just are, and so you forget. Instead it’s just a group of women living their lives and having the same (albeit hopefully somewhat heightened) drama that we all go through.

Gosh, that’s nice.

What “Lip Service” has been able to craft in just five short episodes (with only the finale left, which airs today) is to bring us into the living, breathing, functioning, non-functioning, crazy, mundane, complicated, silly lives of a group of gay women living in Glasgow. You may not see your life exactly reflected in their lives (I mean, I’ve never dated a hot cop – yet). But they feel right. Their choices feel like their own, even the bad ones.

And while I may not feel the same instant blind devotion to the characters, like I did with certain characters on “The L Word” (Alice, Dana, Bette – group hug), these women seem like women I might actually be friends with. So watching their lives is like sneaking surreptitious glances through an open window into their living rooms. Figuratively, because if it was for real I think we’d all get arrested for peeping during the naught bits.

Amazingly, the writers never felt the need to scream from the rooftops: “This show is about gay women with the gay and their gayness and their gay issues and the gay drama and more gayness. GAY!” Sure, it dealt some issues you see often in gay narratives: The girlfriend who won’t come out, the boss who doesn’t like gays, the gay lady who sometimes sleeps with not-gay-ladies, the Shane/Frankie. But they were handled without muss or blaring trumpets or Very Special Episodes.

In fact, the last episode had a scene that was almost breathtaking in its ordinariness (no, not that scene – that was breathtaking for other reasons). It was in DS Sam Murray in her car with her police partner calmly discussing her relationship. Nothing extraordinary about it except that it was extraordinary. You never see gay and straight coworkers who aren’t already established as “best friends” talk like that. Gays talk with gays, straights talk with straights. Or, if they do talk, it’s about The Gay.

Like I was saying, nice.

Is it perfect? Heavens no. I’m not nearly as intrigued as they think I should be at the Big Scary Secret from Frankie’s past. Jay needs to grow up and stop taking out his Peter Pan impulses on my eyeballs. And for God’s sake, will someone unforrow poor Cat’s brow? Continually perplexed is not a good way to go through life. But those are just nits compared to the greater good.

So, what do I hope for from the finale today? More of the same. I want the big messy. Life is complicated, our choices are complicated. Should Cat go with the steady, dependable, super hot cop Sam or should she go with the damaged, mercurial, super bad decision maker Frankie? Call me crazy, but I’m actually kind of torn. And that’s good, too. Sometimes you can’t script it all out. Sometimes you have to let things happen and hope for the best.

p.s. Once more, with extra gay feelings, my friends over at Feromoon would be more than happy to help you watch. Enjoy.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Funniest Fey

Tina Fey was on TV winning a major award last night and you thought I wasn’t going to write about it today? It’s like you don’t even know me at all. My Fake TV Wife was on PBS last night picking up her Mark Twain Prize for American Humor at the Kennedy Center. You know, it’s just the highest American honor for comedy. No big whoop. And Tina is just the third woman and youngest recipient to ever receive the honor. Ain’t no thing. Also, she looked gorgeous and was hilarious and made me want to hug her with my legs in friendship, except more than friendship since we’re fake married and all and – wait, is this getting weird? Just in case, watch this.

Also, because my internet went out for several hours last night, I spent my time waiting for it to come back up making screencaps. So if you want to write an angry letter of complaint about the following picspam, please address it to Comcast.

[Click any to embiggen]

Adorable TinaOh, that slightly crooked smile.

Unimpressed TinaMostly by her own hype, in true Liz Lemon style.

How You Doin’ TinaThat would totally work on me, but then you already all knew that.

Scoldy TinaThat would also totally work on me, and now you’re probably all weirded out that you know that.

Muffin Top, LIVE!I would go see an entire musical review of “30 Rock” numbers. Seriously.

Congratulations, honey. Now, as far as letters in the acronym go, you are half way to an EGOTMTP.

UPDATE: This was cut from Tina's acceptance speech by PBS. I have to say, bad call Public Television. This gives her speech bite. And, of course, MAKES ME LOVE HER MORE.

"And, you know, politics aside, the success of Sarah Palin and women like her is good for all women — except, of course, those who will end up, you know, like, paying for their own rape kit ‘n’ stuff. But for everybody else, it’s a win-win. Unless you’re a gay woman who wants to marry your partner of 20 years. Whatever. But for most women, the success of conservative women is good for all of us. Unless you believe in evolution. You know, actually, I take it back. The whole thing’s a disaster."

- via The Washington Post