Thursday, August 27, 2015

Parenthood Season 2--SPOILERS included

I'm just sharing my random thoughts per episode going forward for these blog posts. Hope this will allow anyone who has already seen the series to enjoy it vicariously. I contribute my thoughts after watching each episode, so it's basically like you're watching it with me. This post took over a month to write, as a result.

For information on episodes, here's a guide.

Spoilers ahead, but this won't make sense unless you've watched the whole season anyway.

Ep 1:
I would never want to teach my kids to drive. I'd probably act just like Kristina, which scares me.
I felt bad for Max when he learned that his sleepover was cancelled. It was nice that Haddie spent the night in his room.
It's nice that Adam and Kristina have Gabi to help with Max. Not that many families who have kids with autism have someone like this. Gabi is really amazing. However, I worry that Crosby is going to eventually give up on Jasmine and pursue her. She's pretty and it seems like he's taking an interest in her.
I love that Joel put his foot down with Zeke and that Zeke respects him for it. Hey, it got the job done!

Ep 2:
I'm glad Crosby is putting his foot down with Jasmine over where Jabbar should stay while she's in Europe. Her mom irks me and is being so judgmental.
Side note: I like that Jabbar is included in the opening credits instead of just a guest role.
Adam's boss seems kind of creepy. I worry for Sarah.
Interesting that Julia is entertaining the idea of having another child. The whole play date politics thing is so crazy, and yet that stuff happens, i'm sure.

Ep 3:
I actually got teary eyed when Crosby stood up for himself to Jasmine's mom. It's nice that they all watched a baseball game together in the end. So maybe he won't stray from Jasmine after all. That would be good. I still like them together, even with all the distance.
I felt bad for Adam about not being able to have conversations with Max. It's just dawning on him that this is a reality. It's something we take for granted though. I know we considered that kind of issue with our kids having hearing loss, but thankfully there was an easy solution. That's not always the case with autism though. I'm glad Max came around a bit in the end.
While Kristina was being a bit of a helicopter mom, Haddie was being so rude to her.
The new guy that got Sarah and the girls into the concert is cute. I wonder what will come of that.

Ep 4:
Glad that Adam tried to arrange things so that he could still have a date with Kristina. Annoyed that he didn't just say he didn't want to sit with Sarah and Mike. Good that they had some time for themselves later though.
Was frustrated for Crosby when the grandma sent Jasmine's brother to get Jabbar and the fight that ensued.  I agreed with the grandma about never being off the clock though. Glad Jasmine is back for good now.

Ep 5:
I'm glad Adam finally joined Kristina at the support group. The trigger for him was so interesting.
Is the divorcing couple back together? They seemed fine together at the group.
It's interesting that Jasmine went along with the marriage idea after all for getting Jabbar into the school. I love the way Crosby found an "in" by using his career to benefit the school. I wonder if he will propose to Jasmine soon.
Sydney was too funny with the bedtime stuff. I know that situation all too well. I liked Julia's way of explaining things to her, although it sounded like they were trying to shove Sydney out of their "bubble." Also, the way Julia and Joel talked about parenting perspectives was interesting.
I still don't like Gordon with Sarah. I felt bad for Mike when things were awkward between Sarah and him while Gordon was around. I liked how Sarah was networking for the business though.
The ballroom dancing part was funny with Zeke and his new dance partner. I'm glad that he and Camille came to a new understanding though.

Ep 6:
Pretty wild that Crosby proposed to Jasmine, even with a spider ring. Her reaction was interesting given that she seemed to want a commitment from him.
Julia was getting annoying over Sydney's costume. She needs to let some issues go. I loved her Amelia Earhart costume though.
I'm surprised Max hasn't caught on that there's something different about him, given how Kristina was acting in regards to Halloween.
I love the little speech Adam gave Kristina at the end before presenting the Reese's mini-pb cup.
Amber's friend was being annoying. Is it bad that I'm glad Howard was with some other girl? I felt like she needed this rude awakening.
I'm glad Gordon is starting to act better toward Sarah. I still don't know that I like them together, but it was nice how he helped her out and it was cute that he kept buying drinks until she heard him out.

Ep 7:
I'm glad Crosby is committed to marrying Jasmine. I was worried that he was going to change his mind.
I could relate to the work-life balance issues that Julia and Joel were having. And they have just one kid. I've just been through the "whose work is more important" discussions before.
That has to be awful to be in Adam's position with having to fire a bunch of employees.
It seems like Amber quickly got over not being able to hang out with Kelsey anymore. I do wish that Sarah had defended Amber to Kelsey's mom though.
I like the dynamic between Haddie and Alex. I also like that Haddie is acting more down-to-earth instead of so full of herself.

Ep 8:
I love, love, love that Adam punched the guy at the store. I don't normally condone doing such a thing, but calling Max the "R" word was just awful and wrong.
I also love how open Adam is about his anger issues and need to be in control. I hope he can take anger management classes or get help for that. I'm glad he finally told Kristina what happened and that she was supportive of him.
I felt bad for Crosby having to sell the boat, but I also saw it as a realistic need in order to move on to this next chapter in his life. I'm glad he told his siblings how he felt about the situation though.
I like Alex a lot. I think he has a lot of integrity. It would be nice for him and Haddie to get together, but I'm also glad he's not taking advantage of knowing that she likes him and that he was honest with her about why.
Sarah is an adult, so it seems a bit annoying for everyone to treat her like a kid. She's my age! Also, she's allowed to have a life. Her kids are teenagers and they live with Zeke and Camille, so it's not like there weren't any adults around.

Ep 9:
This episode felt a bit slower moving than usual, but still had some good parts.
I felt bad for Joel being undermined by the principal like that, but his script was pretty boring and it seemed like the kids really did like the music Crosby was putting into it.
I was annoyed with Kristina. I get that she wants to advocate for Max, but she can't always protect him. I'm glad some good came of it in the end, but she was being really pushy. I was actually appalled that she talked to Emily to try to get to the bottom of things. She should have talked with the teacher, at least, if she had concerns.
The whole situation with Zeke and Camille seems one-sided. He's allowed to cheat on her but she can't cheat on him in return. Not saying it's right for either of them to do it, but the balance is off since Camille can't really go confronting whomever Zeke was with.
I'm glad Adam gave Amber some confidence to talk with Carly. It was also nice what Gordon said to Sarah about her parenting skills.

Ep 10:
I could definitely relate to Julia in this episode. Especially with Sydney asking for snacks and then Camille giving her looks when she said "no." Also with the need to be the baker in the family.
Crosby was being annoying with making demands on Zeke in order to impress Jasmine's mom. The prayer Zeke did was partially funny. I do hope that he and Camille reach an understanding soon.
I didn't like that Gordon showed up to the dinner after the awkwardness with Adam from that morning. It seemed like there was a line being crossed in the boss/employee balance. I'm glad that Sarah has finally seen the light though. I really wasn't shipping them.
Interesting that Alex kissed Haddie even after he told her recently that he wasn't ready for a relationship. Does this mean he's ready or is he going to string her along for a while?
The football game made me think of a Thanksgiving episode of Friends.
I like how Amber was taking more responsibility around the house and also that she was appreciative of Camille.
The dance moves at the end were just embarrassing. It's funny though. Also makes me think of Friends with how Monica and Ross had these weird dances choreographed together.

Ep 11:
The whole situation with Crosby and Jabbar reminded me of my younger son. Especially the final scene between them. I can totally relate to what Jasmine said about not wanting to always be the "bad cop."
Why is it that teenagers need to drink? I never saw the appeal when I was a teenager.
I feel bad for Haddie in regards to her parents not letting her see Alex anymore. I can relate to her from when I was in her position once, but I also get where Adam and Kristina are coming from. This makes me even more excited for my kids to start dating someday. (Pardon the sarcasm.)
I liked that Alex was nice to Max and treated him like a normal kid.
Interesting to learn more about why Sarah ended things with Seth. I don't blame her for worrying that addiction could be passed along to her kids.
I like how Julia handled teaching Sydney about death. My older son had a similar reaction when my grandma died, but he already understood about death on some level. Sadly, his reaction makes me not want to tell him about someone passing away in the future. I wonder what Joel's issue was with talking about Heaven. I feel like it has to be more than just his mom dying a few years ago.

Ep 12:
Haddie's sneaking around is going to catch up to her soon, I'm sure. The date Alex planned for her was sweet though.
Amber has a beautiful and soulful voice. I'm glad she decided to do the open mic night after all. I like that she's also trying to be a voice of reason to Haddie in regards to dating someone who has a history of alcoholism.
I really don't like Adam's new boss. I'd be nervous about the company's future too. He reminds me of a young Jeremy Sisto, like from when he was Elton in Clueless.
It was funny how Joel was messing with Crosby. I'm glad he came back to direct the play. The kids obviously love him. I felt bad for Crosby when he had to deal with the pants-wetting kid though.

Ep 13:
I'm glad Haddie got caught sneaking around. Her reaction seems so extreme though. Especially since Alex is probably going to hold off from seeing her so that he doesn't fall off the wagon. I felt bad for him getting dragged into her web of lies and I'm glad he stood up for himself to Adam.
How did we somehow skip Christmas and New Years? It was just Thanksgiving a minute ago. I hope I don't have to deal with all those fundraisers. Selling wrapping paper is the biggest annoyance. While I get that Sarah wants Drew to actually do the work, I got emotional when she realized that Zeke bought the wrapping paper. It won points back for Zeke since he was being annoying with Crosby at the beginning of the episode.
Speaking of Crosby, I'm glad he's standing up for himself more. Jasmine can't keep calling all the shots. It was cute how Jabbar got over his stage fright. I got emotional at that part too. The play was so adorable!
I'm nervous about the tension between Kristina and Camille in regards to Haddie. I'm sure it's going to be even worse now that Haddie has moved out of the house.

Ep 14:
For part of the episode, I thought Kristina was being unreasonable about Haddie. For the other part, I understood how she felt. There really is no right answer. And it helped that she explained about her parents at the end. And now I think Haddie is being unreasonable, despite her apologizing.
It was funny to see Adam when he was high, but I'm really annoyed with how irresponsible and manipulative his boss is.
It was ballsy of Sarah to go to Adam's boss for a raise but I'm glad she figured out what she wants for herself as a result. Now Adam just needs to leave that sinking ship of a job.
I was glad that Max threw a tantrum on the camping trip because Zeke was ignoring Adam and Kristina's instructions and acting like he knew what he was doing. It was nice what Zeke said to Adam after the trip.
It seems weird that Jasmine was modeling lingerie that Crosby's family got for her. And why was Crosby eating an edible at the end. I don't think it was one of Jabbar's lollipops, at least.
Julia is definitely uptight about her party throwing efforts. Wasn't dinner over by the time the guys came by? Why would it be such an issue if Adam was eating some of the food?
Camille should have girl bonding activities with the granddaughters.

Ep 15:
It was interesting that Jasmine was wearing a Hamsa necklace. I didn't know people who weren't Jewish wore those. In any case, I felt like she really was de-masculating Crosby and I'm glad he finally stood up for himself. Her reaction was really extreme though. She really has to always be right. I thought Crosby sold his boat, but I'm guessing nothing has happened with that yet.
I'm glad Haddie came home, but I worry that Adam and Kristina caved too much. At least they're setting boundaries and that they do realize what a good guy Alex is.
The whole situation with Seth is interesting, and I can see why Sarah is so bent out of shape over Drew seeing him when he was in town. I don't know how Amber would remember so much about Seth from when she was little, but maybe she was exaggerating ages. If Drew was a baby at the time, then she would have only been two years old. I don't think John Corbett played Seth in season one, right?

Ep 16:
I had a feeling Crosby and Gabi were going to hook up. I'm not surprised. I'm annoyed that he's already sleeping with someone else (I wonder if he'll use the "we were on a break" excuse) already, but I can see why it happened.
The birthday party was insane and the other kids' parents weren't too helpful. Makes me glad I haven't hosted any birthday parties in a while. I'm glad the bug guy situation worked itself out and that the kids liked him. It was interesting how he threw Adam's question back at him in the end.
I'm surprised Max still got to have a birthday party after how he acted toward Gabi. Did she even tell Adam and Kristina about it?
I don't know who should be more mortified about the bathroom scene, Julia or Kristina. Still, it was hilarious! Also, if couples who observe the Jewish family purity rituals can go almost two weeks without physical contact, Joel should be able to go two DAYS. One might think...
I'm glad Seth is trying to be more of a dad to Drew, but I can see things going downhill soon. I don't know what to think of the whole fight scene between Drew and the guy who was picking on him. That's a tough call since it is good for Drew to stand up for himself, but that also could have gone way worse. The tension between Zeke and Seth is interesting. I'm surprised Drew wasn't more upset about Zeke pushing his dad.

Ep 17:
Lots of drama in this episode. Crosby sure has a way of messing things up a lot. I feel bad for Gabi though. She even admitted she likes him. I'm not sure if Jasmine's reaction to Crosby's confession was overly extreme or not. I also understand Adam's reaction. It's hard to feel bad for Crosby right now since he brought this on himself. Even though I get why things led to this point.
It was an interesting way for Max to find out he has Asperger's by listening in on his parents' fight with Crosby. I wonder if he'll use that as a crutch for his behavior or if he'll become more withdrawn because he's self conscious about it.
I don't like how Zeke was acting with Sydney. While I understand setting boundaries between parents and children and not letting children call all the shots, I would have been pissed off if my parents did that to any of my kids. I was surprised that Camille stood up for Zeke though. Didn't see that coming. I don't know that I necessarily needed to see them making out. Maybe it's just me, but it made me think of seeing my parents do that. I'm happy for them to be in a better place, relationship wise, but they probably could have closed the door as soon as they started kissing.
I do wonder how long Sydney will commit to being vegetarian.
I like that Sarah and Amber both stood up to Seth in their own ways. I'm surprised Drew isn't more upset about Seth leaving so abruptly. And I feel bad that Amber thinks she pushed him away. It seems like he inspired Sarah to write songs again, if that was what she was doing at the end.
Not sure if I like Amber's bangs so short.

Ep 18:
I love that Mark is back and that he's supportive of Sarah's writing. Now I want to see what she wrote.
I agree with Adam about the parents protecting and enabling Crosby so much. Maybe Zeke should have let Crosby sit in jail for a night just to think about things. It does seem like he's hit rock bottom and it will be interesting to see him try to climb out of this situation.
I felt bad for Jasmine when Julia and Joel came by and they were all ready to go on a date. I love what Joel said to Julia at the end. (I guess his e-mail address didn't end up on the Ashley Madison site...)
I can't even imagine how hard it must be to explain Asperger's to a child who has it. It definitely seems stressful. The kid who plays Max is an incredible actor.

Ep 19:
I felt bad for Amber with not getting into either school, but I found it annoying that she turned to drugs instead of talking to Sarah about it. Also, how is she able to be an intern when she's still in high school. I wasn't too impressed with Gary either.
I also felt bad for Julia, even though she already has a kid and so many women haven't come close to even having one child yet. However, I can relate about wanting to have more than one child and can't imagine having that dream crushed.
Having said that, when Joel called Julia at work while Amber was in her office, I was cracking up. Super mortifying. And then Julia not able to do phone sex. Classic! I love how she said "good luck" and hung up the phone.
I don't know how to feel for Crosby. I'm glad he tried to reconcile with Jasmine, but apparently that's not enough to win back her trust. I wonder where things will go from here.
The decision over Max's schooling is tough. I could relate to Kristina's fear over the social impact of mainstreaming. I was surprised Gabi was able to help her change her mind so quickly.
I don't like Zeke's producer friend and am wondering about the cryptic remark he made and also why he hasn't produced anything since the 90s. I wish Sarah would have just told him to forget about producing her play when he kept ripping it apart like that.

Ep 20:
I'm even more annoyed at the producer guy than I was last week. I'm glad Sarah got annoyed with him too.
I still feel bad for Amber. I don't get why the schools wouldn't accept her if she was doing better in school and getting her act together. I don't see things going well for her from here on out, but I'm still holding out hope.
I'm glad Sarah gave Adam a good talking to about Crosby and that he's starting to come around. The grudge felt like too much after a while. I got misty-eyed when Adam showed up in the end and offered to help fix up the house.
I am glad I don't ice skate because I could never deal with having a broken arm like Julia did. I'm sure it will take her longer than a few episodes to come to terms with her inability to conceive.
My prediction: Alex got (or will soon get) Haddie pregnant and she'll give the baby to Julia to adopt as her own. Maybe it's just my jaded side from reading too many books that have similar ideas. I can just see the show going in that direction.
Crosby needs to shave his facial hair.
In what world do 17 year-olds wear candy necklaces?

Ep 21:
Any way to stop time so that my kids don't become teenagers? Between the awkward moments with Haddie and Amber's atrocious behavior, I hope that's not a preview of what's to come. Is it bad that I'm glad Amber got into a car accident? Like maybe she'll sober up now? I was appalled when she pushed Sarah. And the unintentional phone call at the beginning where Adam and Kristina got TMI was just super uncomfortable to even fathom.
I'm glad Kraft is giving Sarah a chance with her play, even though the producer guy apparently tried to ruin his career at one point.
I feel bad for Crosby and I also don't. Even if he believes that Jasmine could come around, he's taking such a huge risk with this house renovation project. Julia can only talk so much sense into him.
Adam's boss is such a whack job! I really hope Adam gets a better job before the company goes under.

Ep 22:
I'm glad Amber finally gets the repercussions of how she's been acting. It's good that she was okay after the accident, all things considered, but it seems like Zeke finally got through to her.
While it's good that the Bravermans are such a tight knit family, it would have made more sense for just the immediate family to be with Sarah after Amber's accident. Why drag little kids to the hospital in the middle of the night?
It also seemed strange for Jasmine to show up, regardless of where things stand with her and Crosby. At least she didn't bring Jabbar. Having said that, it's nice that Jasmine is starting to come around. I wish Crosby had thought to tell her he wasn't going to pursue her before spending all that money on such a fixer-upper, but it sounds like there are more possibilities in store.
There were a lot of tense moments between Adam and Max, but I'm glad Adam is trying to instill some important social behaviors. I just hope Max doesn't think he can use having Asperger's to get away with everything. He's high functioning enough that he can take accountability for his behavior to an extent. Especially if he's supposedly ready for mainstreaming in school.
Sarah just learned how to write a play and suddenly it's ready for stage? I know it was more of a read-through with a few props, but still. I'm annoyed that the producer guy made up such a horrible lie to get the actors to be nicer to Sarah. She should have told him off about that. I'm glad the play went over well, at least. It seemed like Zeke enjoyed being on stage.
I'm with Kristina in being glad that Adam was fired. He was miserable there and his boss was so unpredictable. I'm hoping he will get a new job quickly.
Kristina's pregnancy is definitely a game changer in the series. I did not see that coming. I thought my prediction about Haddie would be right, but apparently it wasn't. At least my prediction about Julia wanting to adopt was partially correct, as it wouldn't be from someone in her family. I'm glad Joel is supportive of this decision. I'm really liking him a lot more.

Season two was quite a ride. I can't wait to see what's in store for season three!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Book Review: Stir

Ever since I started blogging for The Jewish Food Experience, I've become more in tune with books about food and Judaism. So when I saw an ad for Stir pop up in Goodreads, I immediately flocked to it. I knew it would be about food, but then after doing some research, I found out that Jessica Fechtor is Jewish. Voila! Since I got the opportunity to interview her for the JFE blog, I prioritized Stir so that I could talk about it when I work on her post. Little did I know that I'd be presented with such a rich, honest, and beautifully written memoir. (Well, I had some idea it would be great, given her engaging blog posts over at Sweet Amandine.)

At 28, Jessica Fechtor was happily immersed in graduate school and her young marriage, and thinking about starting a family. Then one day, she went for a run and an aneurysm burst in her brain. She nearly died. She lost her sense of smell, the sight in her left eye, and was forced to the sidelines of the life she loved.

Jessica’s journey to recovery began in the kitchen as soon as she was able to stand at the stovetop and stir. There, she drew strength from the restorative power of cooking and baking. Written with intelligence, humor, and warmth, Stir is a heartfelt examination of what it means to nourish and be nourished."

Woven throughout the narrative are 27 recipes for dishes that comfort and delight. For readers of M.F.K.Fisher, Molly Wizenberg, and Tamar Adler, as well as Oliver Sacks, Jill Bolte Taylor, and Susannah Cahalan,
Stir is sure to inspire, and send you straight to the kitchen. (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads.)

The best way I can describe Jessica's writing is to say that it was like sitting across from her at a café and chatting as if we were lifelong friends. She takes readers through her journey from the time she fell off a treadmill to over a year post-recovery. Between chapters talking about her aneurysm and the fall-out that came afterward, she also reflects upon how she first met her husband. There are chapters where she just talks about her food experiences while traveling. At the end of most chapters, she shares a recipe that she mentioned somewhere in that chapter. Most are baking-oriented, but there are some soup recipes, as well. I just felt like I really knew her while reading this memoir. She talks so lovingly about her husband, family, and friends. I can tell that she had an amazing support system as she was finding her way back to herself. Jessica really drew me into her world, inviting me into her home in that sense.

My only "complaint" (very minor) is with the recipes in that there's a lot of time involvement for most of them. They're not all just simple "throw ingredients together and put it in the oven" recipes. Some involve a day or two in the refrigerator and extra attention in the meantime. If you're an expert in the kitchen, you'll appreciate these recipes. For someone who doesn't spend a lot of time in the kitchen or likes to keep things simple, they feel a bit overwhelming. However, I keep thinking that if Jessica could master these recipes with vision in only one eye and depleted energy, then I should at least give some of them a whirl. Especially since they sound really good! (Side note: Do not read this book on an empty stomach.)

Overall, I loved Stir and I've been recommending it to everyone I know, whether or not they are Jewish and/or a foodie. I think everyone can take away some message from the book and apply it to their own life.

Thanks to Avery for the book in exchange for an honest review.

Disclosure of Material Connection:
Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Monday, August 17, 2015

Revisiting my bucket list

I occasionally am inspired to share my bucket list on my blog. The first time I posted my bucket list was in early 2011. Since that time, I have taken my kids to Disney World and I've lost interest in meeting Adam Lambert. (He's cute and a good singer, but I'm well over my crush.) The one thing I do want to keep from that list is my first item, "write a novel." I sometimes write about vacations I want to take, what I'd do with a lot of money or if I thought I wouldn't fail, risks I want to take now that 40 is around the corner, etc.

Today's inspiration comes from author Karma Brown, in the form of a contest!

Some of these items might be from previous lists, but it obviously means that I still want to do these things.

1. Go to Hawaii. I think it would be something really cool to do for my 40th birthday, but I'd probably need a miracle to pull off that kind of trip.
2. Write a novel. I need to get myself back into creative writing in general first. I'm still full of ideas I can't seem to get down on "screen."
3. Take my kids to NYC. The last time they were there, my oldest child was younger than my youngest child is now. That was six years ago. I've been there by myself a couple of times since then, but it would be fun to give them a real New York experience, which would obviously include a Broadway show.
4. Learn how to drive the van. Yes, it has been four and a half years and yes, I'm still afraid.
5. Change my hair color. I'm still leaning toward blonde, like I was when I was a kid, but not sure how it would look on me now. Maybe I'll start with highlights?
6. Put my photos into an album (or two...or three). I have so many on Facebook or on my hard drive and I want my kids to be able to have printed photos to look back upon.
7. See Billy Joel in concert. My friend manages to go to every concert he's done on the east coast and I have yet to see him once.
8. Learn how to decorate a cake. I can bake it just fine, but I can't make it look as pretty as my friend's cakes do. I was telling her recently that my decorations are stick figures made with those icing tubes from the grocery store.
9. Stay in a luxurious hotel. I love the experience of staying at a hotel, but would really enjoy having all the perks that go with it.
10. Have a better organization system. I've lamented many times on how disorganized I am.

This blog post is a contest entry for Harlequin’s Come Away with Me Bucket List Contest located at

Friday, August 14, 2015

S'mores, anyone?

Paul Rudd. Amy Poehler. Chris Pine. Elizabeth Banks. Bradley Cooper. Michael Cera. John Slattery. Molly Shannon. Jon Hamm. Jason Schwartzman. Kristen Wiig. Josh Charles. David Hyde Pierce. Janeane Garofalo. Christopher Meloni. Weird Al.

What do all these celebrities have in common? They were all part of one entertaining miniseries called Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp. This series was developed 14 years after the movie came out, which actually took place on the last day of camp. It became a cult classic after a while, which is why Michael Showalter and David Wain decided to write this miniseries. Even though the original movie came out in 2001, the same actors returned in their same roles in 2015. I had to keep checking to make sure it was actually filmed this year because everyone managed to look the same as they did back then. Not sure how that was possible, but I'm guessing good make-up helped.

If you haven't seen the movie yet, watch it first and then come back for this series. Both are really funny, but you have to be a fan of satire with a side of raunchiness. (Think Airplane! here.)

Movie trailer:

Miniseries trailer:

My thoughts--including SPOILERS:

*Is Abby a counselor or a camper? She was a camper in the miniseries, but the movie shows her as a counselor. It was funny how she was this immature kid who hated boys and then after she got her first period, she became a boy-crazy teenager.

*I HATE Drew. Hate, hate, hate, HATE him! I'm a grown woman and am somehow letting a 12 year old bully get under my skin. That's how awful he is. I feel so bad for Kevin for having to deal with him, and it's just the first day. If my kids ever have to deal with a little sh-t like Drew, I will not be held responsible for my own actions. Even though he was being a bit nicer the next day, I still don't trust him.

*Kevin is adorable with the curls and I hope Amy changes her mind about him throughout the summer. They'd be so cute together.

*Apparently, Coop lost a lot of weight over one summer. I also wonder when he developed an interest in Katie. (Although he was glancing at her at the end of the final episode.) I generally find Coop annoying, even with the nice guy act going on, but I did appreciate that he stood up for himself when Donna was pushing things too far. However, I was shipping Donna and Yaron and wondering when Coop would take the hint.

*Speaking of Donna, Lake Bell did an awesome job in this role. She just owned the part. I love when Donna gives shofars to everyone at camp and tells them all the same thing about the shofar's meaning.

(Side note: Three actors from this miniseries, including Lake Bell, were in this movie called In A World, which is about a voice-over competition.)

*I loved the chemistry between McKinley and Ben.

*It's funny how we learn where the talking can of vegetables came from.

*I love the whole story line about Jonas being Gene and then Jeff interrupting Gene and Gail's wedding.

*It was funny how no one seemed to notice that Arty was in the radio cabin all day and night. Not sure why someone else needed to be his voice though. Why didn't they just give Samm Levine the part all the way? If 40 year-olds can play 16 year-olds, then someone in their 30s could play a 13 year-old.

*The scene where Victor is buying protection and then is embarrassed over a price check on a key chain was hilarious. It was a fun twist that Victor was a virgin when he was trying to be such a ladies' man. I also love when Victor is outsmarting Gene.

*Josh Charles did not age well. He was so cute in the 90s (like in Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead).

*It was nice to see Janeane Garofalo again. I haven't seen her in anything in a long time. She's been in a lot of TV shows and movies, just nothing I've watched. She's aged nicely though.

*I love how Electro City turned into this big Broadway production in just a few hours. Even so, it made me think of something Christopher Guest would put together in a mockumentary.

*The scene with Neil putting aftershave on his nether region was super uncomfortable to watch. I also did not need to see the diaphragm exchange between Lindsay and the nurse.

*I loved the fight scene between Gene and the Falcon. Also funny that they ended up actually being friends to begin with and that the Falcon couldn't explain why he was a bad guy.

*Elizabeth Banks was great as Lindsay. It was funny that she was trying to make herself look 16 when everyone else was pretty much adults trying to look like teenagers again.

*The finale was hilarious. However, since it's obviously the first day or so of camp and the movie takes place on the last day, it would be fun to see what happens during the time between.

Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp was an addictive show and I hope there will be another miniseries as a follow up in the near future. And now I want to see the movie again.

If you've watched this show (if you got to this point, you probably have, unless you like spoilers), please comment with your thoughts....favorite characters, scenes, what was funniest to you, what didn't work so well, etc.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Joining the "Odd" Squad

My summer guilty pleasure TV show has been Odd Mom Out. Unfortunately, there are only 10 episodes. There needs to be more! I just finished the season finale and really hope it will be back next year. It gave me something fun to look forward to every week, after I tucked the kids in bed. If you don't know what I'm talking about, here is a trailer:

You can catch the episodes on Bravo's website for a short time if you have a cable provider, but I hope they'll all be on DVD soon so that you can start from the beginning. Full episodes are also on YouTube, but who knows how long that will last? (The screen resolution on YouTube is weird, but it's doable.)

In any case, Odd Mom Out is a fun and entertaining series, with a lot of hilarity throughout. Jill Kargman moves seamlessly from women's fiction author to comedic actress. She's so full of life and energy. Her character on the show reminds me of a female version of Larry David's character on Curb Your Enthusiasm. She manages to put her foot in her mouth or do some things that everyone else considers rude or inappropriate. And I just love her for it! I can definitely relate to that "odd mom out" feeling sometimes and Jill makes me feel better about it. Jill's friend Vanessa (K.K. Glick) is enjoyable to watch as she's so down-to-earth and different from everyone else on the show. I also love that she gets her own story line. Jill's friendship with Vanessa reminds me of my friendship with my BFF in some ways.

Favorite episodes:
"Omakase" (episode 4): Friend date gone horribly wrong! I just love what they consider to be food at this restaurant.
"Brooklandia" (episode 5): I love how Jill thinks she'll fit in so much better in Brooklyn and then realizes what she'd be getting herself into. The level of sanctimony between all the moms would drive me to react the way Jill did.
"Midwife Crisis" (episode 6): Everything about this episode was hilarious.
"Staffing Up" (episode 8): I love the older housekeeper who swears about everything. Plus there were some great lines, like the one about not attending two Bar Mitzvah parties with one tuchus. (Oh...did I mention how much I love all the Jewish references on the show. Well, except for the Orthodox lady who specialized in helping women tighten up "down there." That just seemed like a weird role for that woman.)
"Wheels Down" (episode 10): A satisfying season finale. And it pays homage to the 80s. I even heard strains of "If You Leave" by OMD at one point.

Character I love to hate: Candace (Joanna Cassidy) and Lex (Sean Kleier). It's a tie between mother and son. I don't envy Jill and Brooke for having such a pretentious and difficult mother-in-law. And Lex is just a "female hygiene product" to put it nicely.
Character I hate to love: Brooke! Abby Elliot is so perfect as this perfectionist mom snob and makes her comical and endearing, but still someone you wouldn't want to look at the wrong way, lest she turn all her friends against you.

Fun fact: Aside from Jill Kargman being sister-in-laws with Drew Barrymore...Jill appeared at Chick Lit Central a few years ago when promoting one of her books. She's really nice and as funny in real life as she is on the show. Visit Jill at her website, Facebook, and Twitter.

I hope you'll give Odd Mom Out a chance, There's more substance to the show than just sex and money. It's a hidden gem and I am just starting to find more people who will also admit to it being their guilty pleasure. If you already watch and enjoy it as much as I do, don't be shy!

Monday, August 3, 2015

8 Photos of Happiness Tag

I recently became acquainted with Military Wife and Pug Life. I enjoy reading the posts over there and started e-mailing with the woman behind this blog who is funny, down-to-earth, and has a few things in common with me. However, she's a complete mystery. I don't know her name or where she lives. Since I value and respect her privacy, it's going to stay that way. I still enjoy connecting with her though. Just recently, she tagged me in a post challenging me to share eight photos that make me happy or evoke happy memories. So many to choose from, right?!? Here goes...

The Rent cake my friend made me for my birthday last year.
So thoughtful, and it was delicious too! We eventually got to see Rent together, as well. :)

Speaking of Rent...getting to meet Adam Pascal (Roger from the Original Broadway Cast) when I went to NYC
with my mom and sister in 2001. We practically ran over to the stage door for Aida (the show he was in at the time).
After that, we were on Cloud 9 the rest of the day!

When my BFF came to visit last fall. We had a great time hanging out and capped off the
weekend with our soda (even though she calls it "pop") can photo. :)

This speaks for itself. Eleven years ago this past March!

Getting to meet a new friend with whom I connected over books.
She's so kind and genuine! I wish we lived closer so we could hang out more often.

My first Disney World trip with my husband and kids. Hope it won't be the last!
I'm still going through withdrawal and it's been over two years!

This past spring at Book Expo America. This pic represents all the fun I had connecting with authors and bloggers.
When else can you have an indoor picnic with Pam Jenoff and two lovely book bloggers, right?
Legen...wait for it...dary!
(Side note: Pam's latest novel, The Last Summer at Chelsea Beach, came out yesterday!)

Getting to see "Will" after SIX long years. Such fun memories from that evening from
getting delicious ice cream to singing show tunes all night long at Marie's Crisis Café

Now I have to nominate some people to do this tag. Here are the rules:
1) Thank the person that nominated you: Thanks for the challenge, Military Wife!
2) Link the original creator: Ariel's Little Corner of the Internet  (just copy this name and link)
3) Post 8 Photographs of YOUR Happiness: the photos can be anything from a memory, object, place, loved one, friends, pet - anything that makes you happy.
4) Put a brief description of why the photo makes you happy.
5) Spread the happiness and tag up to 10 other bloggers.

I would like to see 8 Photographs of Happiness from:
*Airing My Dirty Laundry
*Heck of a Bunch
*Says Me, Says Mom
*Not in Jersey 
*Janine's Cool Cats and Reviews
*Steph the Bookworm
*Luha Thoughts

Friday, July 24, 2015

Parenthood Season One--SPOILERS included

I recently started getting into Parenthood, after many recommendations from friends, and also after reading Eight Hundred Grapes by Laura Dave. I don't know why I waited so long. It's so addictive! I want to share my thoughts here, season by season, so that everyone who has seen it can enjoy it again vicariously. If you haven't seen it yet, please don't read any further than the trailer, as this post contains spoilers. All I will tell you is that you definitely should get on board. It's such a great show. Even if you don't have kids, there's still a lot to like. I know people who are not parents who have told me they love it too. (However, if I started watching this series before I had kids, I probably would have held off a lot longer. And that's just after watching the first season!)

Check out the season one trailer:

My thoughts...with SPOILERS

*Why do all the adult children have common names except for Crosby? I've been told that the reason behind his name never gets revealed.

*Speaking of Crosby, this is my first time seeing Dax Shepard in a serious role. He's grown on me a lot this season. He also has a great smile. Crosby's story line seems like the only thing similar to the movie Parenthood. (Remember Tom Hulce's character and his son named Cool?) I'm also really liking Crosby and Jasmine together. I'm glad she finally told her family the truth about him and that she's letting him into Jabbar's world some more. I also appreciate that Crosby is making it clear that he's not cool with her not telling him in the first place. Especially because of all he's missed so far.

*I could relate to Kristina's "excitement" over Sydney possibly having Asperger's because I've felt that way whenever someone told me they thought their kid might have hearing loss. Not out of schadenfraude, but mainly because we'd have a mutual understanding of what it's like. In general, I like Kristina a lot and feel like we're similar in some other ways. I felt bad for her when she had this chance to start up her career again and Adam was pulling this guilt trip on her.

*I feel like I am similar to Julia in some ways, as well. I can relate to her working mother guilt and trying to compensate when I am with my kids. We're similar on the "bad cop" scale. (Same reason I'm most like Claire on Modern Family.) Anyway, Erika Christensen reminds me of Julia Stiles, so it's funny that her name is Julia on this show. I don't like Raquel at all and can relate to Julia's annoyance with her. I'm glad that Julia was able to keep that separate of letting their kids be friends. I worry about Julia's relationship with Joel. It seems like they're always finding something to fight about, even though when they do get along they seem like the perfect couple.

*I'm not sure what to think of Sarah yet. She seems like this adult child at times, but I also enjoy watching her. I am sad that she ended things too soon with Mark (Amber's teacher). I really liked them together. I never watched Gilmore Girls, but I feel like Lauren Graham is taking on a similar role to Lorelai. I could be wrong though.

*Then there's Adam. Peter Krause still looks as great as he did on Six Feet Under. Maybe even better. What I love about Adam is that he's not perfect, even though he tries to be like the model older son. He's a good support system for his siblings. He's a great father and uncle, as well. Or at least he tries to be. I loved his "no time for myself" meltdown. It goes to show that finding balance isn't just for women. However, he needs to take dance lessons from Danny Castellano (from The Mindy Project). Anyway, I have to wonder if my husband will be like him when our daughter becomes a teenager. I could see that happening... The one thing that puzzles me is that he seems like a successful businessman, so why can't he help his parents out at all? Maybe I'm missing something here? Or would Zeek not accept money from him anyway (even though he wanted him to take the property off his hands)?

*The mother (Camille), played by Bonnie Bedelia, is gorgeous. I can only wish to look that great when I'm her age. However, I did not like her hairstyle on the night she went to the art gallery. Just leave it all curly!

*I'm still getting used to the dad (Zeek). He seems a bit too over-involved in everyone's life when he can't even seem to get his own life together. However, I'm glad he's starting to stand up for himself more and I have to admit that I love how he serenaded Camille.

*As for the younger generation of Bravermans....
--I really like Amber and Drew a lot. I thought Amber was going to be all rebellious, but she really has a good heart. I hope she dedicates herself more to school, especially since Sarah defended her to the principal about which grade she should be in. I felt bad for her when Haddie's friends were bullying her after she confessed to Haddie about Steve. Drew just seems like a typical teenage boy. I like that he is nice to Max and that he looks out for his sister, even though she's older than him. It was also cute how he was all self-conscious about going to the school dance. I also like the connection he has with Adam since his dad is not much of a father figure.

--Sydney reminds me of my own daughter in some ways. She's more intense than my daughter though.

--Max is a cute kid and it's interesting to see how the actor who plays him works with being a character who has Asperger's. He is very convincing though.

--Jabbar is really cute too. I like how he and Crosby are bonding.

--Haddie is the most complex. I just hope my daughter isn't like her when she gets older. I'd just be scared. I did like that she told her friends to back off of Amber and that she finally forgave Amber, as well. I don't know if her new hair color works for her though.

*The season finale felt anti-climactic to me. There was no cliffhanger. Some of the stories just tied up into a neat little bow. However, I do plan to keep watching, as I've been told the best is yet to come...

Stay tuned for my thoughts on season two. Season one was short, so it might be a while, unless I post on each half of the season.