Showing posts tagged jh

What To Think About Going Into Season 2 of Girls


I always forget that Girls airs on HBO, allowing it much more freedom than we’re used to seeing on any other major network. We cringe along with the characters as we watch their awkward sexual encounters. Conversations actually sound real because of the cursing allowed. No topic is left unturned. We’ve seen Lena Dunham naked enough times that just it doesn’t phase us anymore. During her appearance on Chelsea Lately, Dunham jokes that the staff and camera crew are no longer fascinated by a pair of “live breasts” in the room. Not much is left to the imagination, and I believe that’s half the reason everyone has been in such a tizzy over Girls. Other than the unapologetic nature of the show, here are some of the things i’m thinking about while heading into season 2:

Can we please stop comparing Girls to Sex and the City? I definitely did this when I first saw the pilot, a lot of people did, and its an easy comparison to make. The show is fully aware of this, Shoshanna even talks about SATC in the pilot, no doubt as a nod to a previous HBO show that also depicted the lives of four women living in New York City. But the comparison needs to stop there because that is literally the only thing these two shows have in common. Carrie, Charlotte and Miranda are in their mid-thirties when SATC starts, Samantha is 40! They have fabulous apartments, they go on dates regularly and they have well established careers (Although I know for a fact that IRL Carrie would not have been able to afford that many designer labels let alone that apartment working as a writer in Manhattan, do they like, even pay people for writing anymore?). Hannah, Marnie, Shoshanna and Jessa are in their early to mid-twenties and are just trying to keep their heads above water and not die. Remember the whole “living the dream, one mistake at a time” tagline? In the first episode of SATC, Carrie accidentally drops the contents of the inside of her purse on the street, revealing condoms and all. This is portrayed as glamorous and oh just as a bonus she happens to bump into the ultimate love of her life, how cute! (I’m sorry if that’s a spoiler for you but its not 2004 so you should know these things). In the first episode of Girls Hannah is broke and accidentally gets high on opium pod tea, not exactly cute. Let’s just stop while we’re ahead.

Hannah Horvath is the most accurate portrayal of someone who calls themselves a “writer” from my generation that i’ve seen in a looong time. Hannah works as a relatable character because she’s faking it till she makes it (they all are, really). Hannah is barely a writer. When she goes back home for the weekend and goes on a date with a local pharmacist, he gets confused when Hannah says that her job is a writer, but she has no money. Lena Dunham taps into this mini internal crisis we’re all having. Our problem is that we’ve been exposed to all of these great artists and writers through the media and the internet for as long as we can remember, and we feel inadequate if we don’t have a novel out by 25. We want validation, we want to feel smart, and witty, and culturally relevant. We feel the need to create something right now, but still have no life experience to base it on. It’s something like a strange combination of confidence in our abilities, but complete lack of knowledge of how to go about getting what we want.


Its not all about relating directly to the experiences these girls are having, its about relating to some of the feelings brought on by their actions and by being a 20-something. Dunham said in a recent interview with i-D magazine “I think Girls is realistic but not close to reality”. As long as we are able to relate to something one of the characters feels or says at some point, Dunham has done her job.

Based on this interview, the ladies of The View are equally depressed and horrified by how 20-somethings are living through the lens of Lena Dunham.

We all just need to calm down and remember that Lena Dunham has done something pretty darn amazing considering she is only 26. She was kind of nominated for an Emmy. She’s not going to solve all of our problems related to body image or age, and she doesn’t hold the answer as to why minorities are underrepresented on television. BUT she has made a boatload of progress in representing women on television in a new and refreshing way.

Catch season 2 on HBO January 13th at 9PM EST. 

-Joanna Harkins, Editor-in-Chief

The Ultimate Christmas Movie Breakdown


Gather round ye olde television set little children, and enjoy one of the many movies the holiday season provides us with…

The Classics:

It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)

A Christmas Story (1983)

White Christmas (1954)

Miracle on 34th Street (1947 and 1994)

The Animated/Stop Motion Ones:

How The Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966)


A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)

Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)

Frosty The Snowman (1969)

The Polar Express (2004)


Love Actually (2003)

The Holiday (2006)


Serendipity (2001)

Bridget Jones Diary (2001)

The Someone-Saves-The-Day-And-Restores-The-Christmas-Spirit Ones:

The Santa Clause (1996)

Jingle All The Way (1996)

Elf (2003)

The Comedies That Involve Lots of Breaking Things:

Home Alone (1990)

Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

Scrooge In His Various Incarnations:


Scrooged (1988)

Mister Magoo’s Christmas Carol (1962)

The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

Scrooge (1970)

A Christmas Carol (1938, 1951 and 1984)

-Joanna Harkins, Editor-in-Chief

Thanksgiving Leftovers vs Our Favorite Fictional Characters

Turkey: Louie (Louie)/Ron Swanson (Parks and Recreation) Meat. N’uff said. 

Stuffing: Ryan Atwood (The OC) Perfect combination of traditional, comforting Americana with hundreds of flavoring options for a little bit of extra excitement, just like Chino when he’s on his best behavior. 

Mashed Potatoes: Liz Lemon (30 Rock) Undoubtedly the queen of making Thanksgiving leftover sandwiches. 

Cranberry Sauce: Don and Betty Draper (Mad Men) Something about straight-out-of-the-can cranberry sauce screams 1950’s Americana to me.

Pecan Pie: Agent Dale Cooper (Twin Peaks) Perhaps the most notorious pie connoisseur in television history.

Enjoy your food comas. 

-Joanna Harkins, Editor-in-Chief

'Fake It Till You Make It': The Collective Wisdom of Elle Woods and Anna Stern

Both Elle Woods and Anna Stern share knowledge of the wisdom I like to call the ‘fake it till you make it’ mentality. The concept is simple: faking it till you make it means pretending you totally know what you’re doing and acting confident about it, even though you have no idea what you’re doing.

Who said there was something wrong with false confidence? Besides, the whole second half of faking it till you make it is to then go learn whatever skill you lack confidence in. The point is not to just pretend to be something you’re not all the time, that would be lying. The point is to pretend to be confident while you actually work on being confident.

The phrase can be traced back to Aristotle, and is often associated with Alcoholics Anonymous or a therapy technique for fighting depression. But faking it till you make it isn’t an excuse for just pretending to be happy when you’re not. Use this wisdom for good, not to cover up emotions. It’s almost a whole new angle on the ‘glass half full’ outlook on life. The whole feigning confidence part serves as a cover for self-improvement. 

Why do you think “Confidence, Cohen” has become one of the more popular quotes from The OC? Cause Anna Stern knows whats up! Elle Woods uses the same idea to get herself into Harvard Law. Elle has a degree in Fashion Merchandising, no experience with law, but sends in an application that makes her look like a boss bitch, and then proceeds to study her butt off. Pretty soon she’s got real confidence, and is practicing law in a murder trail as a first year. Which leads us to this scene of cinematic genius. 

What has faking it till I make it ever gotten me? Well, this magazine for one thing. Along with several past jobs I was definitely not qualified for. Maybe a few dates. If i’ve learned anything about life it’s two things: it’s all about who you know and nobody really has any idea what they’re doing and if they say they do they’re a big fat liar (Except maybe Oprah). 

Ways to apply the ‘fake it till you make it’ mentality to your own life !

  • Your resume. Again, don’t lie. Just make sure you glean everything from your past experience possible. Play up your strengths. 
  • Breaking into a new social circle. So you don’t have anything to add to that conversation about Plato’s allegory of the cave? I bet they don’t know Liz Lemon’s life story the way you do. 
  • A new job or internship. Just smile, be nice, and work harder than everyone else. 
  • Rockin’ that new outfit you’re unsure about. Someone will compliment you if you believe you look rad. Confidence, Cohen.

-Joanna Harkins, Editor-in-Chief

Food Crushes 101

But Crush Week is supposed to be just about people, right? Wrong! My longest-standing crushes to date are on foods. Crushes on adorable plaid-wearing coffee shop boys may come and go with time, and my girl-crush on Molls may make me feel like a failure of a writer, but food will never fail me. It’s the perfect one-sided relationship. So here are some awesome foods and why you should probably eat more of them: 

  1. Greek Yogurt: So ~voluptuous~ and creamy, just the right amount of sour. You got some of that umami action going on up in there. My favorite way to enjoy it is with almonds and honey. So many options these days: Okios, Yoplait, Fage, Chobani…there’s even a Chobani store in Soho where you can munch on “handcrafted yogurt creations.” Yes, please.  
  2. Nutella: Yeah, this is the internet right? I shouldn’t have to explain this one to you. Liquid chocolate with a lil’ bit of hazelnut. Automatically makes anything delicious, kind of like RPattz or Katy Perry.    
  3. Avocados: Toast some whole wheat bread, spread some butter on it, and slice some avocado on top. BEST breakfast ever. I’m pretty sure avocados might have a little crush on me too, because they’re filled with all kinds of vitamins and the good kind of fat. Healthy while still filling. They also have nicknames like “alligator fruit” and “butter fruit”, which is pretty sweet.
  4. Terra Vegetable Chips: My newest food-crush, we just took up at the deli downstairs a few weeks ago. I saw them out of the corner of my eye, just chillin’ next to the Doritos and I felt strangely drawn to them. Usually I go for the more hardcore types like Cheetos or BBQ UTZ but there’s something comforting in the medley of root vegetable crunchiness. 
  5. Potatoes: I present you with the greatest food on the planet. Potatoes have provided humans with delicious sustenance for centuries (according to my very scientific research). Remember the potato famine? Yeah, potatoes are a BIG DEAL GUYS. My crush on potatoes can only be compared to my celeb crush on Johnny Depp: my first full-blown crush that will last a lifetime. Nothing can change my feelings, not even that whole Willy Wonka situation. Potatoes are an example of how the simplest things in life are the best. What is more comforting than mashed potatoes doctored up with some butter and milk? Just think about some of the things potatoes have given us: french fries, chips, latkes, pies, soups, tater tots, vodka, POUTINE…..I think this might be a little more than just a crush.

- Joanna Harkins, Editor-in-Chief

Review: Noah Baumbach’s Frances Ha

“I think we connected over this character in a way we didn’t necessarily communicate”, said director Noah Baumbach, referring to the title character of his most recent film, Frances Ha. Most of the questions during the Q&A portion of the film’s showing at the New York Film Festival had to do with Frances’ character. Acclaimed writer of Greenberg and The Squid and the Whale, Baumbach collaborated with Greta Gerwig (who is also the film’s star) on the script of this black and white beauty.  Here, Baumbach is revisiting that ever-popular subject of “lost 20-something” which seems to be popping up everywhere today (*ahem* HBO Girls *ahem*).

By the end of the film, you’ve forgotten that it’s in black and white. There’s much more to pay attention to than the lack of color: The very deliberate sound track, for example, adds to the playful nature of the film. We listen to composer Georges Delerue while Frances sulks around Paris, and David Bowie while she runs through Chinatown.  Baumbach explained that he made sure to choose “grand” music, “something that would support black and white”. Location is also a big factor, with many scenes framed by having the street address typed out on the screen. Baumbach decided to shoot in places he “has a feeling for” around New York, and at his alma mater of Vassar College.

A few things that jumped out at me upon my first viewing of the film:

  1. Frances’ relationship with her best friend Sophie. This is a realistic look at what happens when best friends’ lives go in different directions: the awkward phone calls, drunken conversations, all of the things we want to just ignore. This sub-plot supports the film all the way through. 
  2. The dialogue. All I can say is that some points in the movie sound like Baumbach was sitting in my bedroom spying on my conversations. He dedicates actual screen time to an entire conversation about feeling lazy and wasting the day watching tv and online shopping.
  3. Frances’ strange, almost oxymoronic self-confidence. The entire film is supposed to be about Frances attempting to find stability, but the real conflict lies in the fact that Frances won’t settle for doing things the way they “should” be done. At one point, Frances could easily take an office job to support herself, but that would, in a way, mean ending her goose-chase for whatever type of meaning she’s looking for. She pretty much doesn’t really care what everyone else thinks- but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t take her lots of time and frustration to realize it. Frances acknowledges the fact that she’s immature for her age, but she doesn’t apologize for it, she embraces it. 
  4. Frances does not once have sex with anyone, and the ending of the film has nothing to do with finding solace in a relationship. And that, my friends, is just refreshing. 

Let’s talk about #4 in more detail: There are definitely parts of the film that flirt with the idea of sex and romance. Other people in the story are having sex. Baumbach doesn’t ignore the integral part of the “20-something female” trope that there be some sort of romance, and the story ends with a kiss. He merely suggests its existence, sets up the characters with a perfect situation for it to happen, and blatantly ignores it. Which is more true to life than any happy ending I’ve seen. I love it. That kiss, or in this case that non-kiss, represents a conclusion, it represents the heroine finding what she has been looking for in another person and being satisfied.

That easy answer that is found in a relationship doesn’t see the light of day in this movie, forcing Frances to find a way to be happy with herself on her own terms. What a concept! How many 20-something protagonists out there work through a grocery list of problems, only to ultimately realize that she needs to learn to be happy with herself first. Baumbach succeeds at communicating in one movie what other people spend seasons doing.

-Joanna Harkins, Editor-in-Chief