Category Archives: Review

Review, Television

Can we talk about that last season of Scrubs? Now that it’s been four years?

I loved Scrubs. I think it was the first sit-com that I’d really liked in a long time. I remember feeling like it was really different from everything I’d ever seen before. Maybe News Radio was the closest, made up of an eclectic group of quirky people, thrown together by their place of employment. But it had been a few years and Scrubs was refreshing with its wackiness and unique style of humor.

Even so I’m really bad at any TV that I have to remember to watch at a particular time on a certain channel and at some point – I think it was somewhere in season 8 – I started to lose track of it, catching only an episode here or there. I remember really disliking the first series finale (because, if you recall, Scrubs had a love-hate relationship with ending and, in total, wound up with three different series finales. Only one of which was any good. But HOLY CRAP was it good and I may or may not have been sobbing at it while exercising on my stationary bike last week). But the final season, after the show was un-canceled one final time, was really different and most of the people I knew didn’t like it. I tend to root for things that no one else likes just on the basis that somebody has to like it dammit, so at the time I remember defending it. And I’ll say there is still a lot to like about it. But there are some things that definitely didn’t work. Here are my lists.

The Bad:
1. The lack of characters we loved, including the, you know, main character. I’m sure there were probably some real-world conflicts that got in the way, and I understand that, in terms of story, things have to evolve. But dammit I missed Carla and Jordan and the janitor and wanted more of JD and Elliot.
2. The bromace between JD and Turk just wasn’t the same. I’m not sure if there was simply a lack of time to fully develop it, but it was, I felt, far too shallow and codependent in this season, rather than being the usual mix of charm and just plain guy love without any need for “no homo”.
3. For that matter, JD’s character seemed far more childish. Without any of his usual actual maturity to balance that, it makes for a less pleasant character. I’m sure it was because this season the focus was on the newer students so that we didn’t get to see into his head, or to follow his life as much, but it weakened him as a character and made him flat.

The Good:
1. Drew and Denise. I SO SHIP THOSE TWO.
2. Drew.
3. Denise.
4. Drew and Denise.
5. Cole. Strangely enough. I know. I’m just as surprised as you are.
6. Drewnise. Is that their ship name? I don’t know. I’m gonna go start a tag on Tumblr.

What did you think about this season? What did you think about Drewnice? (Clearly you loved them. That is the only acceptable answer.) Do you even remember this show? It was about doctors and they wore scrubs and had antics. To refresh your memory. I know. Doing a review four years later is weird. You’re welcome.

Review, This is a Woman

Frozen is possibly the best princess movie ever.

(This was supposed to be some Lady Links but I uh, ran out of time. Um. Sorry about that. Go see Frozen.)


So I’m way late to the Frozen party. I don’t know why. I just assumed it was Yet Another Disney Princess Movie and I felt really meh about that. Cause we’ve seen that story and I’m over it. It wasn’t until my friend Summer took her nephew to see it and came back and told me that it had similar themes to those in Brave that I realized it was something I should spend my time and money on.


I wrote a whole review of Brave when it came out and it’s really kind of late to do that for Frozen so I’ll just say one thing about it. After a warning about spoilers. If you don’t want to be spoiled, don’t read the next paragraph!

Romantic love is definitely an important kind of love, but it’s not the only important kind of love. Unfortunately our culture devotes an unbalanced amount of time to romantic love over every other kind of love – especially in princess movies. So when this movie started going on and on about an Act of True Love, I saw forward and crossed my fingers that it would turn out to be a different kind of love. AND IT WAS. In this movie there was a romance and a choice between two men. There was love at first sight and there was the kind of love that develops by working together with a friend. But the love that saved the day – the True Love – was a sister’s love. And I jumped up, tears streaming down my face, cheering and clapping and wanting desperately to hug all the people who wrote this movie. Well. Most of that I did internally. But there may or may not have been copious amounts of tears involved.

So basically. GO SEE IT. Take every child you can find to go see it. Just grab random children on your way in* and tell their parents you’re teaching them important life lessons. I’m sure they won’t mind.

So if you’ve been wary of seeing this because Princess Movies, let it go (OH YES I DID JUST DO THAT) and go see it. You won’t be sorry.

*The views expressed by the blogger are not endorsed by the owner of this blog or your local police authorities.

Review, This is a Woman

Where I Pimp the New Prison Show

actual line from this fucking show

actual line from this fucking show

Things I love about Orange is the New Black:

1. The theme song by Regina Spektor.
Think of all the roads
Think of all their crossings
Taking steps is easy
Standing still is hard

-“You’ve Got Time”

Those lyrics are my new favorite lyrics.

2. The diversity.
The cast is made up not only of really freaking awesome actors (Natasha Lyonne! Lordy how I love her), but it’s also by far one of – if not the – most diverse casts I’ve ever seen. We’re not talking Hollywood-style diversity where the fat chick is a size 12 and/or wacky or stupid in some way. I’m talking actual damn diversity. In color, but also in size and shape and age and sexuality and gender and religion and personality. I cannot express how much I love seeing reality actually represented on television for once. Way to go, Netflix! Take note, Hollywood.

3. The humor.
Refer to the above chicken comment.

4. The heartbreak.
I mean. I don’t, like, love when my heart breaks. Or at least it’s not socially acceptable to just admit that you kinda actually love stories that make you cry like a baby. At least not using the words “heartbreak is super cool, guys!” So let’s just say that the writing makes you love the characters so much that when something heartbreaking happens you’re right there with them. Grab kleenex.

5. The character depth.
In flashbacks throughout the episodes you get to know the characters through their backstories, and you begin to see how people can come to make the terrible choices they make from time to time. It teaches sympathy, I think, for people who really are in federal prison right now. They each have their own story, too. They aren’t just faceless villains, they have stories full of heartbreak and love and humor, too.

6. The writing.
See again the chicken comment. Actually, I mostly just wanted a chance to refer to the chicken comment. I mean, really, all these other items on this list are basically talking about how awesome the writing is. This whole paragraph is redundant. But when chickens are involved I’m totally OK with that.

I really can’t recommend this show enough. Speaking for TIAW, this is exactly the kind of show I want to see more of in the future. Well-written shows filled with diverse, real-looking actors playing characters complex enough to be real. Imagine if all shows were like that. If we all saw ourselves represented in the media. I don’t doubt body image issues would begin melting away. So go watch it. And love it.

Review, This is a Woman

Brave, A Queen’s Story

In my giveaway (that ends today! go enter now!) of a signed copy of Eleanor & Park, I asked what your favorite unconventionally awesome female characters were. I am loving the answers! Some of them I am nodding along with and others I’m writing down to learn more about. Haley brought up Merida from Pixar’s Brave, and so, in honor wild red hair I thought I’d repost the review I’d wrote last summer. This was originally posted over at This is a Woman shortly after the movie was released, but not shortly enough that I actually remembered all the details. (Thank god I’m cute.)

PS. This week has been not only busy but also cumbersome with too much Oedipus Rex and multipletrips to the mechanic. I will try to get to posting some Lady Links for you, but I just can’t promise it. I’m sorry!


Last weekend I took my kids to the drive in to go see Brave. It was fabulous. If I’d been smart, I’d have taken notes. But as it turns out, it didn’t even occur to me that I should write about it here until this past weekend. So we’ll have to make due with my memory of having seen it only once over a week ago in a venue that is somewhat distracting (my kids seem to be allergic to each other and break out in the MOM, S/HE TOUCHED ME’s if they come within six inches of each other. Which. They do. When they’re sitting in the back of a small station wagon).


The movie is, as you are no doubt aware, the story of a spirited young girl with amazing hair, arguably the best accent on the planet, and amazeballs skillz in archery. She’s strong-willed in all the best ways and takes a stand against centuries-old tradition when it doesn’t suit her and what is best for her own life and personal growth.

Only. That’s not what this movie is about at all.

Well, OK. It is. But the story is more about Merida’s mother, Elinor.

It’s about a woman who grew up and had no qualms with the status quo. She was perfectly happy to grow up and be the queen she was expected to be, to live the life that was planned for her. She had zero desire to ever put her weapons on the table. In fact, she had zero desire even to own weapons of her own at all. She was not in touch with her inner Wild Woman in any sense.

And then she had a daughter who was the absolute embodiment of Wild Woman and who was physically, mentally, and spiritually incapable of being anything else. (We all need to have such people in our lives, whether not not we spring them from our loins.)

The story begins with various arguments between Elinor and Merida over what Merida should and shouldn’t be doing. After begging and begging her mother to hear her, Merida ultimately loses her shit and rides off into the night where she stumbles into a magic circle of stones, not unlike Stonehenge. Her horse refuses to enter the circle, but Merida is in her element here. On the other side of the stones, a path lit by will-o’-the-wisps appears, and she follows it. According to Wikipedia, a will-o’-the-wisp leads you from the safe paths. YES. Safety, in terms of the growth of our psyche is bullshit. Safety is what Elinor’s life has always been about. Safety is the opposite of what Merida lives for. Safety will never guide you forward spiritually or psychologically. Take the unsafe path. Follow the will-o’-the-wisps.

The will-o’-the-wisps lead Merida to a witch. I want to give props here to Pixar for making a witch who isn’t a villain. It is so easy to make witches the bad guys. After all wise women, both in folklore and in real life, have for centuries been made out to be bad witches. It’s so ingrained in us now to consider them bad, that we have largely forgotten that once they were revered. In Brave the witch is the method in which Elinor learns her biggest lesson. Merida begs for help and is granted a cake to serve her mother which will help her to change her mind about Merida’s future. Only, the witch doesn’t say exactly how that change will occur. True wisdom and growth doesn’t come from an outside source changing your mind for you. That is oppression. Elinor lives oppression. She needed something to help her to grow from the inside. And the witch knew that.

So Elinor is changed into a bear.

Merida witnesses this and is horrified at what she’s done. Because she, too, is oppressed, even if it is to a far lesser degree. On a realistic level, she just totally screwed up her mom’s life and possibly caused her death. On a spiritual level, she caused that big change, and that, too, is scary.

They run off into the woods where they try to find the witch again and ask her WTF, but she knows damn well that she has to be gone. She leaves them a cryptic message, telling them they have to fix this on their own. Because if it was simple, no one would have learned anything, and Merida would have been even further ostracized.

In the morning, they find there is no kitchen staff out in the woods to fix them breakfast so here’s where the work begins.

Step 1: Elinor must rely on Merida for her very survival. She doesn’t have the first clue about surviving in the wilderness. But Merida, like Katniss, knows her way around a bow and arrow and so has a very good advantage out in nature.
Step 2: Elinor must learn to feed herself from what nature provides. She is still hungry even after Merida’s hunted breakfast, so Merida takes her to a stream and tells her to catch some fish so she’ll be able to feed herself for a lifetime.

Because how better to find your Wild self, than by being wild?

And then there are some adventures and some mending of a tapestry-family-portrait that I forgot to tell you about earlier (Elinor had been working painstakingly for years probably on this tapestry and Merida sliced it in two, separating herself from her family CORRECTION: Apparently I remembered it wrong, it was Elinor that Merida separated from the family in the tapestry) and some more adventures and time is almost up for Elinor. If she and Merida don’t fix this, like, NOW, she’ll be a bear forever. The whole town is out to get Bear-Elinor, and her own husband is at the forefront. Merida keeps shouting the truth, but no one listens. Suddenly, the actual bad-guy-bear comes in and pins Merida and Mama Bear Elinor takes over and KICKS HIS ASS. It is symbolic of love, of motherhood, of her final test in becoming who she is meant to be. And things are mended and she is herself again. Naked.* Isn’t that exactly what such an amazing growth experience does to us – leaves us totally naked, right in front of everyone? At least in front of the important people.

The story was more about Elinor than Merida. About her transformation, about her growth, about her journey to find her psyche. The story was about Merida, too. She grew in her own way in this movie; she stepped into her role as Wise Woman for the first time.

I hope there are countless more movies like this for our daughters (and sons!) to grow up with. And also for us to learn from.

*Naked in a Pixar/Disney way. She was totally covered. That doesn’t make it less important. Just less porny.