"So completely are we carried away by the excitement of this midwinter festival that we are apt to forget that its romantic appeal is the least significant thing about it. ...It does seem strange that so many persons become excited about Christmas and so few stop to inquire into its meaning; but I suppose this odd phenomenon is quite in harmony with our unfortunate human habit of magnifying trivialities and ignoring matters of greatest import.” - A.W. Tozer
There’s an expectation that surrounds Christmas of how we are supposed to feel. The lights, the music, the smells—it’s supposed to be magical. Our hearts should feel light and we should be filled with childlike wonder and excitement. For me, sometimes, I fight to get there. If I don’t feel whimsical and filled with joy when I hear “All I Want For Christmas Is You” or see a Christmas tree lit up, I feel like I am missing something.
There’s nothing wrong with feeling that childlike wonder. It’s a fun part of the holiday. But what if that’s not what Christmas is? What if it’s not so much about how we feel but about the magnitude of what happened that night so long ago.
Our pastor read portions of A.W. Tozer’s thoughts on Christmas this past Sunday, including the lines above. It made me pause.
Christmas’ romantic appeal—the lights, the music, the smells—is not Christmas itself. It’s a subtle difference, but it changes everything for me.
Not only do I not have the pressure of “what if I don’t feel Christmas this year,” but I can also clear it away a bit and really look hard at what God incarnate really means for humanity and for me.
Lloyd, our pastor, talked about the theology of Christmas. About how God incarnate is a more amazing miracle than water into wine, than the resurrection, than even creation.
The creator of the universe, the author of time, the reason we live—crammed in to one single tiny human body. Jesus is a miracle. A pure miracle.
I’d never thought about the mere fact of Jesus’ existence as a miracle. But he is. Because Jesus IS God himself. Not just an expression of God. Not just a part of God. That’s amazing to me. God was walking around on this earth.
Why? Solely because he so loves us. God—THE God--embodied human flesh, walked with us, taught us, then let us nail him to a cross. He was born to die. For us.
The miracle of Jesus in light of the whole of God’s story—our story—is even more beautiful. The entirety of creation for hundreds of hundreds of years longing for a savior. God hinting at Him along the way in Isaiah and even Genesis.
Then—finally—he has come! He is HERE. The one we’ve been waiting for. This is it. Come and behold him!
Acknowledging the miracle of God incarnate has subtly yet profoundly changed my understanding of Christmas this year and brought me a sense of peace and joy and wonder I don’t think I’ve felt before. May the hope and peace of Jesus fill your heart this Christmas!
I don’t know if you’ve heard (I hadn’t), but there are some traumatic things happening in the world of our royals. Well, okay, not our royals. We basically gave them the finger and said “deuces” about 200 years ago. But the royals about whom we decided, out of the goodness of our hearts and propensity for making a big deal out of stuff, to put the painful past of the tyrant King George behind us and adopt as our own.
Are you ready for this? Okay. Kate Middleton is having hairdresser drama.
I know. I KNOW. What did she do to deserve this?
According to this article, her hairdresser, after leaving his salon in 2011 to be her hairdresser and freelance (leaving some bad blood behind, I might add), is now working part-time at Josh Wood Atelier, which I assume is some wannabe salon where washed up royal hairdressers go to finish out their dying careers and lament their social suicide.
He has “not been able to retain his most famous client.”
The article suggests that it might trace back to the “infamous” BANGS that he styled her with. First of all, let’s just calm down a bit. Infamous? Alright. Second of all, they’re probably right. I mean, Kate, you are no Michelle Obama. And it rains in England a lot, right? You are the mother of the 3rd in line for the throne of the 2nd best country in the world,* dang it. You didn’t speak up when he said “Catherine, let’s try some BANGS. Bangs are so hot right now. Michelle Obama got bangs.” That’s on you.
SIDEBAR: I just found out via the internet that Kate is in no way in line for the throne. Y’ALL. Can we just talk about how Prince Harry got bumped to number 4 because of baby George, and THIS girl is number 6 in line (who was born the same year as me)? Let’s hope it never comes to that. (article here)
UH NO. No ma’am.
Now the question is, who is going to be Kate’s hairdresser? Who’s on the short list for that? Can we have a reality show about it? England’s next top hairdresser? Will Princess Crazy Eyes be there in the audience hoping that somehow the first five in line for the throne drive off a cliff one day? I’m getting off track.
Can we just crowdsource Kate’s hairstyles? I know this is not America we’re talking about, but the people should have a choice in what their in-no-way-potential-ruler looks like when representing them to the world. If they do take votes, can Americans participate as a former colony for old times’ sake? That would totally make up for the whole taxation-without-representation thing right? I’m just saying, think about it, Kate.
But whatever you do, no matter how independent or rebellious or confident you feel, no matter how much you hate getting spit up in your hair (who am I kidding, you have someone to do that for you), do not get a pixie cut. They’re so 2013.
What do you think would be Princess “Crazy Eyes” Beatrice’s first act as queen? I think requiring everyone’s cell phone cases to be bedazzled would probably be pretty high up on the priority list.
*According to Ron Swanson, capitalism and free market is what makes the U.S. the best, England okay and France terrible.
By now you’ve probably seen the video introducing the Amazon.com “drones” which they plan on eventually having deliver packages to you if you select the “Amazon Prime air” option, which guarantees delivery in an hour.
The little machines pick up the package at the warehouse, then literally FLY to your house and drop it on your doorstep. [here’s the video if you haven’t seen it]
WHAT THE WHAT.
Other than the obvious fear that this is one step closer to being ruled by the machines we created, this is a pretty amazing innovation.
It got me thinking. If Amazon drones can do this, what other kinds of things could these be used for?
Could they carry my groceries to me? It would take a larger one to support the weight of the bags, but I think it could be done. I place an order online, the grocery people fill up the bags and attach it to the drone. The drone delivers them to me. Bam. Grocery shopping—aka one of my least favorite tasks in the world—eliminated.
Could they return movies to redbox for me? Could they pick up my prescriptions?
Can it be like my very own Harry Potter owl that I can give a name and will do my bidding? Like, “aw man, sorry girl, I totally forgot to come by and drop off that sweater I borrowed when I was out. OH WAIT let me just have Hedwig (my drone) bring it to you.” DONE AND DONE.
Are they trainable? If so this opens up a whole new realm of possibility. Can I get it to stand upright and learn how to vacuum our house? Can it feed our cat when we’re not home? Can it change the channel for me when I can’t find the remote? Can it go get me water from the kitchen when I’m all the way in the living room on the couch? Can I use spells as commands?
I might never have to leave my bed again, you guys.
I mean sure, personal servant drones will probably be expensive when they first come out, but maybe Oprah will see the need for them and just start passing them out. “YOU get a drone! and YOU get a drone!” It could happen. I mean we have DRONES delivering our packages in less than an hour, and Auburn returned a field goal kick with one second left to win against Alabama, so ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN.
Until then I guess I will keep getting my OWN groceries, like a common peasant. But I will be holding out for Hedwig, my future servant drone. Dreams are important to have, guys.
What would you get your servant drone to do for you?
When it's dark, it's hard to find thankfulness. It's hard to see outside whatever is immediately in front of your eyes. It's hard to take a step back, have perspective and see the complete picture of your life as it stands. The last week and a half has been pretty dark for me. I don't want to get too heavy on you. I know you're not used to that from me around here. But it’s where I am. And nothing Justin Bieber does surprises me enough to write about it anymore.
Anyway, it feels near impossible to see past the darkness when you're nose-to-nose with it. Its eyes are somehow locked on yours and you can’t seem to break away. Sometimes, though, by the never-ending grace of the King of the Universe, you can push it aside just enough to see hope.
Most of my hope the past week has come through one of the things I am most thankful for this Thanksgiving--community.
I have been consistently shocked and humbled and moved by the amount of love and grace my community has shown me the past few days. Prayers--not just the one time, but again and again. Encouraging messages, even thoughtful gifts. It's hard to believe, honestly. That it wasn't just a passing "ok I'll pray for you," but a genuine concern and walking-with.
To have that type of community requires vulnerability. I had to tell them what I was going through. I had to admit I felt weak and powerless. But they carried me. They still are. They are those friends lowering me through the ceiling to see Jesus. They are using their hands and their words to hold me up—to help me stand. They are giving me the strength to not cower, but keep fighting, even though it can be exhausting.
I am thankful for this, more than I could ever say. Being genuine and vulnerable with others is difficult. And you have to choose the right people to do it with. But if you're struggling (aren't we all?), I encourage you to step out and share it with others. Don't be ashamed. We're all broken. You'll be surprised how people will come beside you. No one should have to do this life alone.
God has shown up for me this week through my community. Thankfulness can be hard to find in the darkness. But if you fight for it, you might just find hope.
What are you thankful for today?
I get it, I guess. I mean, to understand something, it helps to put a label on it. To confine it. To put it in a box or constrain it in some way. To make it bow to your will. Perhaps the old wordsmiths just don't have a category for words like "selfie" and "hashtag." Perhaps putting them in dictionaries and calling them the word of the year helps them cope with the fact that, even after hiring a 25-year-old to write the definition for them (and not paying them because of the experience and exposure they will get), they still don't fully understand what they mean.
Perhaps just embracing the totally incorrect definition of "literally," which is LITERALLY the opposite of what "literally" actually means, puts them back in their happy place in their minds where 14-year-olds aren't yammering on about how they are literally going to die when they see Harry Styles. Perhaps it just helps keep the crazy away so their brains don't explode from overexposure to a culture overrun with Buzzfeed "listicles" (a word I just learned) and meme-ified Ben Franklins.
But I'm here to tell you, oh wordsmiths of old, that we do not have to succumb to this. We are better than this. YOU are better than this. You can be strong, sirs and madams. You can resist. I know it's exhausting. The Internet is an exhausting place. But we, the sane few of the generation I REFUSE to call millenials, will stand by you and help you.
Because slang does not have to be legitimized. That's why it's slang. We can say "selfie" and "because science" all day long, and it doesn't mean you have to rush to your typewriters (I assume in this situation you are clinging to yours) and document it for all time. Plus it sucks the fun out of everything. It's no longer ironic to say "meteor is hurling towards the earth but it's going to be okay because science" (which I did find amusing), if you officially include this instance in the regular usage of the word "because."
Maybe you’re just trying to keep with the times and be hip to the lingo. But that’s not what we need. We need structure and rules and definitions that actually make sense. Without them, where would we even get slang? If you adopt slang into normal word usage, people will just create slang from that, and no one wants second-hand slang. It gets ugly.
I know this is a total grammar nerd cry, but let's just let slang be slang, okay? It's more fun that way. And no one gets hurt. Or called a "millenial."
Do you think slang should be added to the dictionary? What's your least favorite OR newest slang (internet?) term you know?
A real picture I actually took at a protest I went to.
Everyone should probably take a sociology class at some point. You will end up hating America, but that's okay. For a little while, at least. You shouldn't go on hating America for the rest of your life or anything. Because it really is the best country, and all countries have flaws. You won't realize that during your sociology class, though. You will be blinded by indignant rage.
I know this because I took one my junior year of college. A tiny woman who graduated from Vanderbilt and wore pearls and cable-knit sweaters waved her fist around, giving impassioned lectures about minimum wage as sunlight glinted off the walnut-sized diamond on her finger. She didn't believe in pink toys or kitchen play sets because they encouraged gender stereotypes. She said things like, make no mistake: it is illegal to be homeless in Nashville, Tennessee.
We watched a movie by the same guys who made Supersize Me about living on minimum wage for a month. She yelled at us for not reading 10 pages of homework and wasting the education our daddies were paying for because we weren't applying ourselves or something.
Oh yeah. She was the real deal, y'all.
This class led me to start doing things like reading Shane Claiborne and arguing with my then-boyfriend-now-husband about gender roles and my right to work (which, as far as I can remember, no one was even arguing against). I even attended my first and only protest that year.
It was a protest to save Tent City, which was a well-known area where a lot of homeless people set up camp and was being threatened to be kicked off the property.
My friend and I went to the capitol building downtown and, after nearly getting trapped inside a very seedy version of Narnia otherwise known as a parking garage stairwell, we stood outside in the cold for a while wondering what we were supposed to do. Were we supposed to bring signs? Was there a chant? Isn't there always a chant? I saw my sociology teacher and hoped she would notice me and commend my commitment to justice for the oppressed. She didn't.
After a few minutes, we noticed something was happening, so we fell in a line marching into the capitol to Mayor Dean's desk, which, we gathered, was to give him a giant card a bunch of people had signed. I assume we were successful in that. I wouldn't know. My friend and I were in the back of the line, and I got stopped at security because I had a pointy nail file in my purse. People were filing back out of the building before I had even been cleared as a security threat. According to my memory (which is often unreliable), the card was actually a thank-you card, not a petition of any kind, because the mayor had already decided to save Tent City. So essentially our protest was all for naught. But no matter, I had done my duty that day. FOR JUSTICE.
Don't we look like warriors of justice?
After a the semester passed and I realized I was never going to read "Jesus for President" no matter how good "Irresistible Revolution" was, my passion began to wane to normal-person status. I still think social justice is important, and women should be able to work and all that, but I'm not going to go around, arms crossed, and instigate fights with people about it. I'd rather agree with you on how great Kerry Washington is. (I KNOW RIGHT?) But I think it was good for me to experience.
Everyone should probably take a sociology class at some point in their lives. If nothing else, you get to watch movies.
Have you ever taken a sociology class? Did it make you hate your country and want to protest things?
P.S. I love America. Really. [Just had to be clear on that in light of the title of this post, since this is the Internet, after all.]
This is a post about a legacy—the legacy of one Mumford and his many Sons. While Marcus and his bandmates may have laid down their banjos and moseyed off into the metaphorical sunset, they live on—in the hearts of white guys with guitars everywhere. Maybe even Mumford realized that perhaps there was just one too many Mumfords hanging around the airwaves, and maybe he should bow out. Maybe his work here was done. Maybe they were just SO delightful, and America was churning out so many copies of their style, that listening to them play was like staring into the sun. Maybe they shone too brightly. The world may never know.
But I’m not here to talk about why there’s a sad upright bass sitting in a storage unit in the UK collecting dust, I’m here to talk about the aforementioned legacy.
Mumford and Sons brought a new style into the American mainstream consciousness, and the music industry has latched on for dear life. New American Idol winner need a style? Mumford. Done. Next. Worship team need a “color” weekend to shake up the arrangements a bit? Mumford-style. Easy. Next.
One Direction need to be a little more relevant? GUESS WHAT.
They went there. Please enjoy the next four minutes of Mumford-inspired boy-band pop goodness called "Story of my Life":
The worst part is I see what they’re doing. I see that some executive was like, we need a Mumford-y song (because this is now a distinct term in the music industry that everyone understands). And some other guy was like hey I have this song someone wrote and it can have a bluegrass beat and finger picking and four on the floor kick drum and it will be PERFECT.
I KNOW what you’re doing to me, industry. I KNOW you are manipulating me with mandolins and acoustic guitars. But I STILL LIKE IT.
I’m such a sucker for anything Mumford-y. I can’t even act like I’m not. Granted, I like just about every One Direction song that comes out on the radio, but Mumford PLUS One Direction? I mean I’m done. Like there was any doubt I would enjoy this.
The clearly-not-a-music-critic DJ on the Top 40 station even described this by saying “it starts out a little like Mumford but turns into their style.” (LOLOL One Direction has a style. That’s adorable. Style=catchy. End of style.)
And that is why One Direction and Phillip Phillips and worship teams everywhere have Mumford to thank for opening the floodgates and handing you a success formula that no one will ever argue with. Because everyone knows banjo music is delightful, and everyone loves a gang vocal.
So thanks, Mumford! Love, White Guys With Guitars Everywhere.
How do you feel about the One Direction song? Are you still mourning the loss of Mumford? Why do you think Phillip Phillips’ parents would name him that? Were they on drugs at the time?
Do you have a pirate problem? Are you tired of taking your boat out to sea only to be driven away or invaded by swashbuckling seafarers? Wish you had a way you could just make them leave instantly?
Have I got a solution for you: Britney.
Yes, THE Britney.
According to this article, ol’ Brit’s chart toppers are just so offensive to Somali pirates, that all they have to do is blare “Baby One More Time” or “Oops I Did It Again” and the pirates literally turn around and go away.
Isn’t that just the greatest visual you have ever pictured?
How do you think they do it? Does John Cusack like come out and hold a boom box in the air above his head for three minutes? Do they play it over a bullhorn? Do they bring out special musical guests now and again for variety but make them cover one of Britney’s mega hits? Was it ever Mumford and Sons? I hope it was Mumford and Sons. (Y’know, up until recently. Ahem……….)
I also want to know how this was first discovered. I hope someone was sitting in the boat legitimately listening to “Oops I Did It Again” because it was his turn to pick the music that day and he was trying to explain to them that it was a classic in the American canon. He turned it up really loud at the bridge (which is really just the chorus, varied slightly melodically, like many pop songs in the late 90’s), and just as he did, they saw the pirate flag in the distance.
The crew raced around the ship trying to make preparations while the music picker just stood by the stereo staring into the distance while the music blared (“oops I, did it again to your heaaaarrrrt…”), thinking these might be his last moments—nay—his last time to ever hear this song. He stood there, soaking it all in, and decided to turn it up even louder, despite the chaos, since this might very well be the last song he ever hears.
Everyone else is yelling at him to turn it off because they need to talk about their game plan for dealing with Somali pirates, but music picker just watches the pirates come closer and closer, until something strange happens. The ship starts turning away. Music picker grabs his telescope and looks at the pirates—they’re covering their ears and writhing on the ground! The captain is yelling and turning the ship around. They’d done it!
He looked at the stereo as Britney finishes her last line, pats it on the top and says, “well done, ol’ girl. well done.”
And that’s how I hope it happened.
The article says they just hate all things Western culture so Britney is a perfect example of that. I like that they hate it so much they literally just give up and go away. Just amazing.
The story also goes on to say that Britney's are not the only American pop songs that have been used to torture people in the past. “Slim Shady” was once played on a loop for 20 days in a prison and some people actually went crazy. (WHO WOULDN’T? 20 DAYS OF SLIM SHADY EVERY MINUTE EVERY HOUR? No thanks.) Metallica’s music and even Barney’s “I Love You” song have been used similarly.
So there you have it. Though to be fair, I feel like if you play ANY song on a loop for 20 days, people will lose it.
What song would make you lose your mind if you had to listen to it on a loop for 20 days?
P.S. Happy Halloween! (This post was totally Halloween-themed because pirates.)
I have a confession: sometimes I think I'm better than you.
I know, I know. It's bad. I know it's bad.
It doesn't come out in a conscious, "you suck and I'm awesome" way. But it comes out when I am angered by the concept of grace.
Grace for you, of course.
Because I don't need any.
I'm the "good girl." I follow all the rules. To borrow a phrase from Derek Webb, even a few I made up. Even a few I made up and put on you and then expect you to follow. Because I'm following them. And why shouldn't you have to follow the same rules I do?
Why should you get to miss three weeks in a row of a weekly commitment we both signed up for, when I was there every week? I could have been watching Doctor Who on Netflix for the hundredth time, for crying out loud. But I wasn't. Because I do what I say I'm going to do.
Why should you get a free pass? Why should anyone? If you follow all the rules, you won't have a problem.
But sometimes even I don't live up to my own standards. When that happens, I am filled with regret and anxiety and must make it up to myself later. Or to whomever I assume is placing these expectations on me (usually it's just myself again). Or just justify it and move on.
Grace is nowhere to be found. Not toward you. Not toward myself.
Yeah, God has grace for me and whatever but really I don't need it because I deserve God's favor.
What? Yep, I said it.
I've never said that out loud, but that's what I say with my thoughts and actions.
I mean, overall my track record has more "good" (or at least just "not bad") things than "bad" things, and I've apologized for those few "bad" things, so I'm still in the clear, here, right?
We are studying Jonah at my church right now, and it is quickly becoming one of my favorite books. It is not just a story of a man getting swallowed by a fish because he disobeyed.
It is a story of God's relentless pursuit of those whom he loves and his even more relentless grace.
This week our pastor quoted a man who said "The only man who is offended by grace is the one who thinks he deserves God's favor." (my paraphrase)
Jonah was one of those people. He had a problem with the doctrine of grace. Often I am one of those people.
The Ninevites didn't deserve grace. They were living egregiously. But God gave it anyway. Jonah hated it. He hated it because he thought he deserved God's favor and they didn't. It wasn't fair. He literally would rather die than endure such injustice.
I can so see myself in that picture. I can also see myself as the brother in the story of the prodigal son.
Him? He gets the fattened calf? I've literally been here the whole time. I didn't break the rules. I didn't insult you by asking for my inheritance early, then desert my family and go squander it like it meant nothing to me. I've been faithfully following the rules and doing everything I was supposed to. Where's my party?
That would be me, on the inside.
So I'm trying to learn grace.
If nothing else, I am learning through marriage that I am absolutely not flawless. In particular, I am blatantly selfish. I am uninterruptible. I often get caught up in the trap that it's all about me.
I clearly need grace. I need it from the Lord. I need it from others, and I need it from myself. Even if I don't live up to my own standards, it's okay. I am human and I am broken, but I am loved, not just in spite of, but including all my flaws.
I am also trying to have more grace for others. To not hold them to this invisible set of standards only I can see. To understand that life is messy and people are messy and not everything can fit in a perfect little box. Not everyone has the same priorities as me, and it doesn't make theirs wrong.
God's grace is limitless. It is beautifully shown in his patient pursuit of Jonah's heart, particularly when, in response to Jonah's indignant wailing (twice), he asks:
"Do you do well to be angry?"
Doesn't your whole body just melt in response to that question? My hardened heart begins to defrost immediately. It's such a simple, kind and gentle rebuking of Jonah's spirit. So patient, like a father kneeling down to speak at eye-level with a child who is still huffing and puffing after an angry outburst, arms crossed, reluctant tears still trickling down his flushed face.
That's me. At least some of the time.
So grace is the theme of my life at the moment. Learning to have it for others. Learning to have it for myself. Learning I need it from the Lord.
Because grace frees us. We are no longer bound by the rules and regulations and standards we or other people set on us. We are no longer bound by our own sin, even. Grace allows us to be who we were meant to be without being paralyzed by the fear of failing or messing up or getting in trouble. Grace gives us life--the kind that makes your heart swell. And I want you and I to have that.
Do you ever have a problem admitting you need grace? Do you struggle to have it for yourself or for others, or to accept it from God?
The day had finally come.
I rushed to my local record store five minutes before it opened, drooling against the glass as they stocked the last one on the shelf.
When ol' Mr. Crenshaw—he’d owned the place as long as I could remember--finally opened the door, the bell jingled as I tore inside, going straight to the “P”s.
There she was, airbrushed makeup glowing amid pastel pink glory: Katy Perry - PRISM. I paid for it in paper money and change, walked out of the store and put it in my car stereo. It has cycled through about 80 times since I bought it.
Okay, that was all a lie. That was what would happen if this was 1998 and people bought CDs anymore. Real life is a lot less exciting. I had actually pre-ordered this album and just clicked “download” on Tuesday morning. The end.
Wasn't my first story so much better? I want to hear more about what it was like only being able to listen to one album without doing physical labor and having to carry around all your music in a glorified binder that weighed as much as you did.
Anyway, the fact that it was six-thousand times more easily accessible than the story above did not diminish my excitement for Katy Perry's new album to finally be released. I had already had the privilege of downloading "Roar," then "Walking on Air" and "Dark Horse," all of which I loved, so I didn't expect to be disappointed. I wasn't.
But I do have a lot of specific thoughts on the songs. (Please pick your jaw up off the floor. Oh wait, you're not shocked at all? Never mind.) So I thought I would share them with you, song by song.
To keep it brief, I have decided to limit myself to ONE SENTENCE per song. One. It may be a run-on sentence, but dang it, I will keep it to one. Because if I had my way we'd be here for days. Actually, just I would, because you would have stopped reading after minute five.
So without further ado I present to you the Laura McClellan 16-Sentence Amateur Review of Katy Perry's PRISM.
UPDATE: Stream the album while you read my descriptions here.
SONG NUMBER ONE: "Roar"* Easily one of the world's most satisfying pop songs, "Roar” makes you wonder where it has been your whole life but then realize you never could’ve pictured your life without it. Rating: A+++++
SONG NUMBER TWO: "Legendary Lovers" Despite the squirminess of the phrase “I feel my lotus bloom," which I find to be an entirely too-descriptive metaphor, this song is an enjoyable hip-hop-y, somehow march-like mid-tempo song which, like many others you will find on this album, is basically just about sex. Rating: B+
SONG NUMBER THREE: “Birthday” “Birthday” is a disco-y dance song with a perfect hook rounding out the chorus, to which you will probably find me dancing in the car, but not singing very loudly because several of the lyrics make me embarrassed. Rating: A
SONG NUMBER FOUR: “Walking on Air” Similar to the one preceding it, the super-catchy “Walking on Air” is a disco-y song about sex, adding to the list of songs I feel uncomfortable singing out loud, but it is infused with a little more hip-hop. Rating: A-
SONG NUMBER FIVE: “Unconditionally” Really all I can think about during this supposed-power-ballad is how it bothers me that she puts the emPHAsis on the wrong sylLABle on “Unconditional” about 800 times (she says un-con-di-TION-alllll”…no…if it doesn’t fit, rewrite the chorus). Rating: B
SONG NUMBER SIX: “Dark Horse” Admittedly very hip-hop for Katy Perry, “Dark Horse” is probably my favorite right now due to its building, unpredictable, belty chorus and, let’s be honest, super crunk beat (did I use that right?). Rating: A+
SONG NUMBER SEVEN: “This Is How We Do” Despite the fact that I can’t relate to anything this song is talking about (Breakfast in last night’s dress? Uh I’m still in my PJs I got for Christmas. Car still at the club valet on Tuesday? I won’t even pay for a valet at Chuy’s unless absolutely necessary), nor is it profound in any way, but I CAN’T HELP IT THIS SONG IS SO CATCHY AND IT WILL NEVER LEAVE MY BRAIN. Rating: A+
SONG NUMBER EIGHT: “International Smile” A delightful, repetitive electronic song, this track rhymes “Artist” with “star dust” which I appreciate, and features a vocoder more than once and I am not mad about it. Rating: A
SONG NUMBER NINE: “Ghost” If you ignore the fact that the first line of this song is “you sent a text” (NO KATY JUST NO), this song is an okay supposed-to-be-sentimental ballad, but it’s not the next “My Heart Will Go On” or anything. Rating: B-
SONG NUMBER TEN: “Love Me” Another slightly slower-paced quasi-ballad, this song has a lot more depth (love yourself in spite of insecurities and all that) and is a lot more compelling musically and lyrically than the others I’ve heard on the album so far, so people will probably identify with it. Rating: A-
SONG NUMBER ELEVEN: “This Moment” This one sounds a little bit like Devo did the production at first, and I’m pretty sure she actually wrote this cliche-filled quasi-ballad for Kelly Clarkson to sing, but hey, people like Kelly Clarkson, so you’ll probably still be on board. Rating: B+
SONG NUMBER TWELVE: “Double Rainbow” (OMG SHE WENT THERE) Another ballad, which is really hard to take seriously at first considering the name of the song, but it’s actually pretty great once you get over that, especially the melody in the pre-chorus and the Phil Collins drums. Rating: A
SONG NUMBER THIRTEEN: “By the Grace of God” I first heard (and loved) this song on her iTunes festival performance, and it is a fantastic, compelling, honest ballad with a perfect melody all the way through. (PLUS GOSPEL-Y BGVS YOU GUYS) Rating: A+
SONG NUMBER FOURTEEN: “Spiritual” (On the deluxe version) Super 80’s-fabulous, this is another disco-y song about sex (sensing a theme?), but I kind of think it’s got a weird vibe and it’s probably one of my least favorite songs on the album, mostly because I don’t think the chorus pays off at all. Rating: C+
SONG NUMBER FIFTEEN: “It Takes Two” (On the deluxe version) Katy is no slouch at writing a melody, you guys, and this one grabs you from the first line, keeping you with her throughout the rest of the song with its gospel influences and just plain catchiness. Rating: A
SONG NUMBER SIXTEEN: “Choose Your Battles” (On the deluxe version) This one doesn’t necessarily grab me in any particular way; it just kind of plays enjoyably in the background while you do something else. Rating: B-
Overall I obviously enjoy the album and you should go get it, but I’m going to stop talking now.**
What’s your favorite song so far? Alternatively, if you aren’t a fan, what’s your favorite album you’ve bought lately?
*Let it be known that I failed at this IMMEDIATELY. My first thoughts were: "How do I love thee? Let me count the ways." Which is ALREADY two sentences and I hadn't even said anything yet.
**Also I was not in any way compensated for this post or affiliated with Katy Perry, though it’s adorable that someone might even think that.
I really thought that after the whole Rebecca Black thing came and went, there would be nothing else to say.
The teenage girl's annoying, she's singing about a day of the week, it's extremely low budget, blah blah blah.
But apparently the Ark Music Factory's mantra is "if it ain't broke, don't fix it," because Lord help us, THERE IS ANOTHER ONE.
And even though I'm sure you will be tired of hearing about it soon, perhaps before I even hit "publish" on this post, dang it if I just can't help commenting on it.
So without further ado I introduce to you (unless you have already seen it in the 18 hours between when I am writing this and the time it goes live, which is entirely likely) Alison Gold's future chart-bottoming hit, "Chinese Food." [ video below ]
It's like this entire operation is just the result of a never-ending game of Whose Line Is It Anyway in which Wayne Brady has to make up songs about mundane things shouted from the audience while Laura Hall and Linda Taylor accompany them on a saxophone and keyboard. (I have no good explanation as to why I remember their names so specifically without looking it up but just BE COOL okay it's my journey.)
At least Rebecca's song had some semblance of chronology. She wakes up, has cereal, goes out with her friends. That at least counts as a story if you pretend you are five years old and have been raised by wolves and never heard sentences before. But compared to "Chinese Food," the storyline of "Friday" is like the autotuned version of The Odyssey or something.
First of all, I'm almost certain this video is racist. It kind of feels like that sketch on SNL with Taran Killam and Vanessa Bayer where they're trying to pay homage to Japanese culture but really are trivializing it and mocking it and we're like the disgruntled teacher behind the camera trying to explain to them that this is NOT OKAY.
Second of all, why the bears? Why all of a sudden ALL the bears, you guys? First Miley, then this. Men dressed up in bear costumes are not like a hip thing people are doing now. Let's just leave the bears out of it. What did they ever do to you?
Third, if nothing else, the entire premise is just a farce. NO ONE likes Chinese food THIS much. I mean yes, I love Pei Wei as much as the next white girl who's never been to China, but COME ON. If some terrible dictator comes up to you one day and gives you the opportunity to eat free Chinese food any time you want for the rest of your life, on the condition that you also give up pizza forever, NO ONE WOULD TAKE THAT DEAL. Because pizza is one of the single most delicious foods on the face of the planet.
If this song was about pizza, I would change my tune entirely and probably just slow clap at the end as a single tear ran down my cheek. Even despite the bears.
In conclusion, this video was unbelievably insane and would improve a million fold if it was about pizza instead.
What was your favorite part? Mine was probably watching a middle-aged African American man try to imitate a Chinese accent while rapping about egg rolls dressed like half a panda bear. But that's just me.
The Brits have set a precedent. Their culture is filled with propriety and tea and King Charles Spaniels and Benedict Cumberbatch and we have come to know and love it. We will never be as classy as them, and we have come to accept that because we have Beyonce and Friday Night Lights.
But to be fair, they have the trump card: the accent. I mean I like my country and everything, but it's a proven fact that British accents are 800% more charming than American ones.
They are delightful. A British accent can make anything sound pleasant: cuss words, politics, traveling through time and space...even advertising. I had the joyful surprise of hearing a British voice on the end of my phone call to place an ad order for work the other day (he even called it an "advert" you guys), and I swear I felt the tension leave my shoulders. Could British accents have healing powers? That's a topic for another day.
There are varying brands of British accents, just like there are in the states (Southern, Midwestern, Northern). I don't know what the categories are in England, besides "Russell Brand style" and "everyone else," but I know British people can tell a difference.
In light of this, I have long championed Emma Watson's accent as the quintessential, perfect British accent. It's soothing, proper and delightful. Everything you want in an accent.
One sad day, after Harry Potter had come and gone (don't let me think about that too long), Emma decided to do a movie entitled Perks of Being a Wallflower.
Now, this movie was actually a pretty good movie, I do have to say. But the absolute worst part of it was that Emma Watson ABANDONED her perfect accent in lieu of an American one.
It is a travesty. A TRAVESTY, I tell you.
She did the same thing in the Bling Ring and I can't even watch the movie because the trailer made me so depressed. She talks like Paris Hilton and I can't. EVEN.
Yesterday I discovered online the pilot that CBS didn't pick up for Rupert Grint's TV show, Super Clyde. Did you know he was making an American show for network television? I sure didn't. But I was intrigued.
So I clicked on the link to CBS's website to watch the pilot. I knew there was a distinct possibility he could have made the same mistake as young Emma, but I prayed it wasn't true. Maybe he was a British foreign exchange student. Maybe it was set in England. Maybe his family just moved to the U.S. All viable options.
But no. HE ABANDONED HIS ACCENT TOO. The show actually wasn't terrible (from what I saw--I haven't finished it yet) and I probably would've watched it at least for a season just to support him, but it literally does not even sound like him. Neither did Emma's characters.
How is it possible that British voices immediately become unrecognizable upon speaking with an American accent? Is that true with all accents?
Rupert's wasn't even a great American accent, to be honest. I'm kind of AWARE he's pretending to be American. Like there's a word here or there that's just TOO Boston-y in a sea of generic American words or something. Like it's a hodgepodge of American accents that doesn't occur in nature. That's probably what they think when we do British accents.
But that's beside the point.
The point is THIS: Why on God's green earth would you CHOOSE to have an American accent instead of your perfectly charming British one? I mean sure it distances yourself from your Harry Potter past but, to quote Ann Perkins, God, at what cost?!
Are you not aware of the complete infatuation we have with your TV shows? If BBC gave Rupert Grint a TV show and he kept his accent and it was even a half-decent show, WE WOULD WATCH IT.
Emma. Rupert. What are you doing? You don't have to become someone you're not just to continue your success. Especially not become an American. We already have too many of those, anyway. We like you just the way you are.
I have also read recently that David Tennant is on board for an AMERICAN VERSION OF BROADCHURCH. Now, I have already gushed about that show extensively on Xtra Bacon and on Twitter, so you know how I feel about that show, and I can't tell you how appalled I am. They are already signed on for a second season of the British version, so this makes even less sense.
But the real cherry on top of this poop sundae of awfulness is that David is going to use an American accent. It was hard enough having to accept his real Scottish accent after watching him do a British one in Doctor Who, but at least he was staying true to his roots. Now I have to watch him be a less-charming AMERICAN?
Who is in charge of this?
British People: KEEP YOUR ACCENTS. We like it better and you will make more money. No need to stoop to our level with our working-class accents. Just be you. You're taking over everything anyway, you might as well do it while tricking us into thinking we're getting something out of it. Say anything with that accent and we will just nod and drool.
And if Benedict Cumberbatch stars in a new ABC drama with an American accent, SO HELP ME.
Who do you think has the perfect British accent? Are you ok with Brits doing American accents?
In this new age of watching TV online, networks and advertisers have tried many approaches to keep making money. Anything to keep us from watching TV for free. I mean, I understand. Gotta make that paper. Part of this comes in the form of them requiring a paid subscription to access additional content. Recently it apparently means having to wait 8 days to watch an episode on Hulu for free which forces you to go to the network website and THEN login with your cable provider information to watch it. But whatever, I'm not mad about it.
Generally, though, as you know, money is made by advertisements being played during our shows and videos. They come in all shapes and sizes, but typically you're seeing the same Audi ad 6 times in 15-second increments. Some of the network players even make you watch about ten of them in between segments. Which, whatever, I'm not mad about that either. Even though you can't set a precedent of allowing the world to watch an episode for free the day after it airs or only showing two 15-second ads during breaks, and then change it for the worse. No take-backs, networks and Hulu! Ugh. Again, I'm not mad about it.
The most infuriating part of all of this, though, is when the program asks me to CHOOSE an ad. Choose one.
I cannot tell you how angry this makes me. It's so patronizing.
It's like, "hey tiny child, I'm a bully and I'm going to punch you in the face, ok? That's going to happen. I'm going to punch you in the face. BUT don't even worry about it because you get to CHOOSE which side of your face I punch--left or right. You get to be a part of the process of deciding how you get punched in the face! Isn't that great?! Okay, I'm going to stand here and stare at you until you choose."
No. No, TV people. It is NOT great.
When my show pauses and you say "which ad experience would you prefer?" (by the way, adorable that you call it an "experience.") or "please choose a video" or something to that effect, I am filled with indignant rage.
Don't act like you're doing me some great favor by allowing me to choose my mode of torture, okay? Just play one and get it over with.
Because otherwise I WILL just sit there as the clock counts down until you proceed with one for me. I refuse to negotiate with terrorists, okay? I will not be party to your silly game.
I'm pretty sure Google already owns my identity anyway so just use that information for your dumb demographics and let me get back to The Mindy Project, which I am now watching on FOX's pathetic excuse for a video player after having spent about 5 minutes going from Hulu to Fox to The Mindy Project to the login page back to The Mindy Project. But whatever, I'm not mad.
And no, I will never have enough money to buy an Audi. So you can just take that information and show me android phone ads (again, adorable) and laundry detergent commercials. I literally could not care less, because I'm checking Tweetbot while you're talking.
Do you choose your ad or give Hulu ad feedback? Have you endured this nonsense of having to watch shows on the network's site using cable login info?
I used to be defiant against pop music. I know--me? Defiant? But I was. Y'all, I'm not proud of it, but there was a time in my life in which I wore a choker with a guitar pick on it. I listened to Good Charlotte and Simple Plan. I didn't dress in all black, but I did refuse to listen to anything that was on top 40 radio. Except Avril Lavigne, because in my head she was this cool rocker chick, even though she actually was a pop star, and therefore played on the radio. Let's just be honest. There is nothing rock and roll about "Complicated," okay?
Anyway, all this to say even though I rocked out pretty hard to some pop-punk that could hardly be considered edgy, I refused to acknowledge that songs like "Toxic" were catchy. But in my defense, according to the internet, top songs in 2004 also included things like "Milkshake," Hilary Duff and Ashlee Simpson. So y'know. I didn't have a lot to work with.
My last year of high school and into college I learned to accept that some songs, however popular, are just darn catchy. Sometimes you find yourself belting "Just Dance" in your car. Whatevs. No judgement.
Even though nowadays I am fairly "come one, come all" with pop music, I still often find myself in a state of defiance against certain songs. You've been there, right? Either they're just not good quality, or they're packed with sleezy lyrics, or you have a thing against the artist…you just don't like the song and decidedly never will.
I'm here to tell you that you will eventually like that song.If you never hear it again, that's one thing. But if it's as widespread as all of the other junk that's out there on the radio, you WILL hear it again whether you like it or not. In a store at the mall. On a commercial. On an audition for The Voice.
It will come back. And you will succumb to it.
Let me map out for you the stages of how it will happen:
- First listen - you hear the song for the first time. You wrinkle your nose. "Ugh, I hate this," you declare, and you either change the channel or finish it out to give it a fair shot and close out of YouTube.
- It starts popping up everywhere. On the radio. In your Twitter Feed. On TV. Where is it coming from? You groan every time it comes on. "I hate this song!" you exclaim. Everyone thinks you're dramatic, but you don't care. This song is the worst and we shouldn't be subjected to it.
- You catch yourself humming along to the song subconsciously while driving. You didn't notice it had come on while you were trying to figure out how to get to that restaurant for your friend's birthday, but now it's two minutes in and you're...SINGING IT? You realize this, then quickly gasp and let out an "ugh!" dripping with shame and anger before turning the channel.
- You've begun thinking twice before turning the channel when it comes on. You reach for the presets out of instinct, but you decide against it. You might bob your head a little bit. Sing along to parts of the chorus. You start hating yourself a little bit inside for giving way.
- You suddenly realize you know all the words to the first verse and the chorus. What is happening to you? The song comes on and your heart flutters a bit. You haven't heard it in a few days and you refuse to download it out of principle, so you throw caution to the wind and belt it out in your car. No one is there to see your utter betrayal of convictions anyway.
- You see that you must now make a choice. You either like this song enough to admit it--even download it, or you go back to refusing to listening to it. If you truly don't like it, that is. Which you don't. Right? But you can't just never listen to it again. You would miss it. Why? That's right, because you, dear one, LIKE. THIS. SONG. Now hang your head in shame and walk to your computer, pull up iTunes and hit "purchase," because you have just been seduced by a pop song.
This has happened to me on several occasions. And since I have historically been unwilling to swallow my pride when it comes to these things, I typically just go on acting like I still don't like it when really my heart is changing. This continues until I can no longer deny it and I either have to cave and download it or just shrug and sing along in the car, because at this point, I know all the lyrics.
[True story: my husband once gifted me a song on iTunes so I wouldn't have to abandon my principles and download it myself. I'm not saying I'm proud of it. But I am saying my husband humors my insanity, which makes him the greatest.]
Has this ever happened to you? If so, what song? I'll go first: this has happened so many times, but "Super Bass" by Nicki Minaj is the first one that comes to mind. I can now rap the entire thing. And I love it.
Miley at age 20 Me at age 20 (there is nothing even remotely alcoholic in that cup)
There are a lot of ways in which I am different from Miley Cyrus. I'm not a child star. My name is generally considered an actual name. I tend to wear clothes in public. Just to name a few.
Perhaps one of the greatest of these, though is my fundamental natural regard for rule-following and the observation of societal norms. From birth, I have perfected the art of being the goodie two-shoes I was created to be, conscience annoyingly ever-present in every situation, whether I liked it or not.
Everyone else blatantly cheating on a super hard pop quiz? Nope, not me. I'll just take a B minus while everyone else gets 100. But hey at least I got the feeling of a job well done, right? (I should have taken the 100.) Playing tricks on a girl at a sleepover? I'll watch from over here, thanks. If the light's been red for five minutes and there's no one around and it's like 11:30 p.m., I still wait. I once cried because a teacher accused me of skipping class when really we were allowed to go home after our AP test.
Due to this I would even dare to call myself the anti-miley in pretty much every way. If someone had given me a global stage and told me to write a song reflecting my worldview and general approach to life, it would have been very different.
It's our party, but I gotta be home by midnight because of my 8am class I took because I needed to have some time open to work my minimum wage on-campus job. La da de da de, I respect authority. I dance conservatively and only occasionally at best. I do take things from somebody and will probably remember it later and cry about it. I will stop. If you ask me to. I, in fact, try to minimize the haters and would really rather people not judge me. Especially God. His standards are not low, you know.
I don't know how kids lost this fear of doing wrong. Since when is "I do wut I wawnt" an acceptable approach to anything past age 3? I blame society for lack of consequences. I'm aware that I sound about 100 years old right now but those darn kids and their rock and roll music!
I'm just saying caring what other people think is not always a bad thing, you know? I mean yes, I could stand to let go of some of it, but you know what? I've never used a foam finger or a sledge hammer for anything other than their intended purposes. I usually keep my tongue in my mouth. I've never slapped a stranger's butt while millions of people watched.
Sometimes fear protects you from things, like speeding trains and US Weekly features. And I for one am glad that my intrinsic rule-following and fear of judgement is actually paying off.
Do you feel like you care too much about what other people think? Where has this paid off or not paid off for you?
Alternatively, Miley's new one is kind of good if you keep your eyes closed when the video is playing, right?
Some pop icons are known for their style. Lauren Conrad. Emma Watson. For some reason, Kim Kardashian. People look at them and think, man, I'd love to have a reasonably-priced version of that outfit. Which is why two of the three of those people have fashion lines at Kohl's. (I mean buy me anything Lauren Conrad and I'm good to go. Seriously.) As well they should.
Someone who should not? Adam Levine. But he does now.
Look. I love Adam Levine as much as the next warm-blooded American with two ears and a heart, but a fashion line? At K-Mart?
First of all isn't his style just white v-necks and skinny jeans? Don't they already sell those? A reasonably priced version of a white v-neck is called the Hanes tagless tee. Done and done.
Second of all, let's just be real here for a second. Does anyone still shop at K-Mart? They do a LOT of advertising for a store that every time I see their storefront, the inside is empty and the K is like hanging off and there are rust marks where the m-a-r-t used to be in a strip mall that also housed things like a payday loan service and a recycling center in the parking lot. I'm asking.
Is K-Mart just the low-hanging fruit of the fashion industry? Do they have a screening process at all?
I just did some research, and here are some OTHER people who currently have K-Mart lines:
Nicki Minaj (WHAT) Sofia Vergara (I love her but she is not the everywoman.) Jaclyn Smith, a former Charlie's Angel Selena Gomez
I'm just saying this seems a little bit like a motley crew. And now we're adding Adam Levine?
PICK A MARKET, KMART. Do the people who shop at K-Mart really want to dress like Nicki Minaj or Adam Levine? Are we even playing to our strengths here? Again, I'm asking.
The article goes on to say that Adam Levine's fashion line will consist of cargo jackets, button down shirts and baseball caps. AKA the most generic things ever. Which is what Adam Levine wears. If he even wears a shirt at all.
He looks like Adam Levine because of his hair and his tattoos and his torso that seems to ever end. Not because of what he wears, which does not have a style.
I don't know who is behind this but maybe they just needed a guy for their collection of celebrities and Adam was the only one fame-hungry enough to do it. He has a perfume line too, you know. Which apparently is NOT selling out, you guys, even though he tweeted that celebrity fragrances should be punishable by death two years ago [see article here for more info on that trainwreck].
So Adam Levine, you just keep doing you and making money and we'll just keep not shopping at K-mart.
Who do you think K-mart should enlist next? Better yet, what do you think Adam Levine should endorse next? I vote temporary tattoos.
As we near ever closer to the long-awaited last season of How I Met Your Mother, we all have mixed feelings. Hope, that our dedication to the show even in the slow years will pay off. Anxiety that it won't. Exhaustion, ready to get it over with and take the show off our season pass list once and for all. And a nostalgic happiness, excited to see these characters again that we've known for so long. EW editors must be feeling the same way, because the cast was on the cover of Entertainment Weekly recently. During the photoshoot they played a rousing game of "Finish that Line," in which the cast tries to finish lines that have been said on the show.
Click the photo below to view Cobie Smulders and Neil Patrick Harris play, then Allison Hannigan and Jason Segel.
BONUS SUPER LIGHTING VIDEO:
The new mother, Cristin Milioti plays, too.
Are you excited for HIMYM to come back or just ready to be done with it?
I've started to hate being called a Millenial. I don't know if I even fit the category, having been born in 1988 (holla), but it usually has a negative connotation. Like all we do is text emojis and complain. And it's like, I only do that SOME of the time, okay? I contribute to society. I have a job. I don't expect people to just give me stuff. Usually.
I prefer the term 90's Kid.
And 90's Kids ARE contributing to society. 90's Kids are finally old enough to start grabbing some higher-level jobs. They're moving up in their companies or finding fame on the Internet and we are taking over.
Do you know how I know this?
Destiny's Child reunion.
Buzzfeed "articles" with pictures of discontinued cereals.
Girl Meets World.
These things are happening, you guys. And you know why? Because 90's kids made it happen. 90's kid corporate guys got together and were like, "You know what would be totally awesome? If we pulled in the rest of *Nsync to sing with Justin on the VMA's. Let's get on a call about that and circle back and create synergy and [insert other buzzwords here]. See you at Ultimate in Central Park later."
AND THEN THEY DID.
Things that we never thought possible are happening all around us, all for the sake of nostalgia for other 90's kids.
Middle aged dads? Thirty-something moms? Teenagers? Who cares? Their target market is finally their own peers, who now have some expendable income and are ignoring Dave Ramsey when he tells them to invest it in Roth IRAs whatever that means and are instead using it to buy Doctor Who collectibles online so MARKET TO THEM.
It's totally working. The VMAs (probably) had more viewership than ever. And let's be honest, we came for the *Nsync. But I won't talk about the VMAs because it would bring up another individual whom I have sworn not to write about this week (her name rhymes with Biley Fyrus.)
Yes, 90's kids are ruling the world. And I, for one, am going to enjoy it before Buzzfeed crumbles and 2000's kids start creeping in and talking about like…I don't know…when Justin Bieber wore real pants and American Idol was still good? The Wiggles? I don't know what 2000's kids like.
What do you miss most about the 90's?
Warning: This post contains spoilers, but only from the pilot episode. So basically you're safe unless you just don't want to know what the show is about in any capacity.
In case you haven't yet figured it out, I'm a tiny bit obsessed with Doctor Who. There is a three-inch vinyl TARDIS sitting on my desk at home, and I definitely own a T-shirt that says "Bowties Are Cool." So, I guess I'm that person now.
And Doctor Who is a gateway British show.
Soon enough I'm testing the waters with Sherlock, which (spoiler alert) was also amazing in a totally different way (another show you should be putting on your Netflix queue immediately). I'm not sure really what to do now since new episodes don't reach us from across the pond until next year, even though they are totally putting them out in the UK in the fall. Totally unfair, if you ask me. AMERICANS ARE PEOPLE TOO, OKAY, BBC?
Then I find out that David Tennant is starring in a new TV show, and Arthur Darvill, who played Rory in Doctor Who, is also in it. WHAT. (A lot of Doctor Who actors show up in Sherlock, or even minor characters show up as major characters later. BBC is clearly not concerned with audience confusion on that. I'm not complaining.)
SIDEBAR: I just found out this show on ITV, which is NOT the same as BBC. Are not all UK shows on BBC? This is probably why they withhold things from us.
The show is called Broadchurch, and it's a crime drama featuring David Tennant as Detective Inspector Alec Hardy. The pilot starts us off with a mysterious death of a child in a town called Broadchurch, in which they found his body on a beach early in the morning.
DI Hardy comes in as the new guy with some possibly-questionable background (the "Sandbrook case" was mentioned subtly a few times), and definitely some issues of his own I'm sure will unfold as the show goes on.
DI Hardy rocks the 5 o'clock shadow, shaggy hair, I've-been-up-all-night-so-don't-mess-with-me vibe, which is a fun departure from Doctor Who for David Tennant. Plus he uses his regular, more Scottish accent, which helps take him away from the character I know and love and into this new one. He's brooding, serious. Straight to the point. It's easy to tell he's seen some things in his lifetime.
Second to him we have detective Ellie Miller, who used to have Hardy's job. We find out very quickly that her son was very good friends with the boy who died, Danny. Her reaction to the death is heart-wrenching and true-to-life. It seems that she will be Number 2 in this show, and I think she will great to watch.
Additionally in the cast we have Danny's parents, grandmother, and sister, who were fantastic as well, particularly Danny's mother, Beth. Her reactions were even more heart-wrenching than Ellie's.
On top of the community's dealing with Danny's strange and suspicious death, we have the media. The constant tension between respecting the family's privacy and breaking news in a town where nothing typically happens is a huge player in the pilot, keeping you locked in the whole time. A young reporter, Olly Stevens, chooses to share the name of the victim to the world via Twitter and single-handedly ruins the trust between the investigative team and the family as well as introduces the family to the world. Sure, the whole mentioning-Twitter-on-TV thing is always a bit weird for me, almost like breaking the 4th wall, but it was true to life, and I thought they did it well without over-emphasizing it. I was literally yelling at the TV. YOU CAN DO BETTER THAN THIS, OLLY. DON'T DO IT. UGH. YOU DID IT? YOU ARE THE WORST EVER OF ALL TIME.
Overall I thought the storyline was intriguing without being graphic, which I appreciate, and definitely compelling. The show very subtly opened up so many possible routes for suspects--it could literally be anyone in such a close-knit town--and gave very strategic but minimal details on what might have happened to Danny, so I am absolutely going to keep watching to figure it out. The best thing about this show so far, to me, is how true-to-life it seems. That's what makes it so heart-wrenching and fascinating. Nothing is black and white, and nothing is overdone or heavy-handed. The acting seems genuine. It all feels like this could really happen. Which is why my heart was beating about 40 percent faster after the episode ended.
I prescribe an episode of Parks and Rec in between watching this show and sleeping. At least for those of you who, like me, watch very few dramas.
David Tennant is fantastic in his new role. He's definitely not The Doctor, but he's perfect as DI Hardy. Though I would probably watch that guy play any role. Even a mini-series about Barty Crouch, Jr. Maybe.
Other fun casting choices in this episode included seeing Filch (of Harry Potter fame) as the man in charge of Danny's paper route and seeing Arthur Darvill play a priest of some sort.
All available episodes are on iTunes, and the first one is FREE, y'all. So go try it out and report back.
Have you tried Broadchurch yet? What did you think? If not, will you?