Cozy “Winter”: Reviewing the 1st Gilmore Girls Revival Episode

Best of 2016, Television, TV

It’s no small secret that I have been eagerly awaiting the Gilmore Girls revival since it was announced earlier this year. In fact, to complete my due diligence in respecting this incredible tv show, I’ve watched the ENTIRE SEASON. That’s right – from beginning to end. Not one episode missed, not even during that dreadful Season 7.

With the release of “A Year in the Life” I’ve decided to take my time and not binge on these scarce number of episodes. Instead, I’m watching one episode every couple of days, letting it marinate, and then posting my online review. Let’s see if I can stay true to my goal.

So, let’s get to that first episode, shall we? Spoilers aplenty, obviously.

The decision to start with the Winter season is just perfect. It’s the perfect opportunity to catch up with some of TV’s favorite characters during a time in which good cheer prevails, alongside copious amounts of food eating and sometimes garish decorations adorning the homes of the inhabitants of Stars’ Hollow (see Lorelai’s house).

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Strange Questions about “Stranger Things”

Best of 2016, Nostalgia, Television

Now that most of the internet chatter discussing theories and motifs and other such complexities about Netflix’s “Stranger Things” has died down, it’s my time to throw my hat into the ring about the show’s clearly constructed mythology.

While most forays into the alluring cinematic power of “Stranger Things” focus on its obvious homage to the 80’s, there have only been a few true articles on the show’s deliberate narrative vagueness.  This is what I find most interesting and innovative about the series – unlike its counterparts, it doesn’t neatly tie up every plot point into a nice package that the reader is bound to understand. While there are some semblances of closure to the show’s main narratives, there are still boundless, tangential questions that linger. This is what I would like to focus on. I’ve got a few questions, too, and it’s the speculation as to their potential answers that I think  is most fascinating.

The Christmas Lights

For those reading this, I’m trusting you’ve watched the show in its entirety. If you haven’t, then there are major spoilers, obviously. The show’s main focus is on finding Will Byers, the child who goes missing right in Episode 1. Until, and after, his alleged body is found a few episodes in, the boy communicates with his manic mother Joyce (played by a sensationally emotionally crazed Winona Ryder) via the flashing of christmas lights that Joyce has hung all around her home.

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This  ‘communication’ via the blues, reds and whites of the lights is conversational while silent. Even when her son’s alleged body is found, Joyce refuses to believe that her son is dead and so continues to communicate with him with these flashing lights. So, to this I raise my first question. What do the lights mean? Why is it via this strange channel does Will attempt to communicate with his mother from the parallel universe that he is stuck within?

Judging by the meticulous plotting of the entire series, I doubt that the decision of communicating through lights was an arbitrary decision by the shows creators. Yes, the lights and its colors clearly reside within the 80’s era that the show embraces, but I think there’s more to it than that.

The Toy

In some of the show’s particularly moving scenes near the end of the season, we learn how Chief Jim Hopper’s daughter had died of cancer some years ago. Whilst attempting to help Joyce find Will in the ‘Upside Down’ parallel universe in episode 8, Jim finds a toy that his daughter was clutching when she passed away. Not only was this scene extremely emotional, it also upended the tone of episode. Why was this toy in the ‘upside down’? Is this where his daughter now lives? Is his daughter Eleven (El)?

Karen Wheeler

I found Karen Wheeler, Nancy and Mike’s mom, to be a very mysterious character. She’s given more screen time than the other supporting roles, implying that her role carries more weight than it appears to be. She’s shown reaching out, trying to communicate with her children several times throughout the series, her attempts shut down by her children’s lies when they say they’re ‘ok’. We all know they aren’t.

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A Mother’s Knowing Expression

So I ask why is Karen so seemingly prevalent in the show? Is she just a representation of a concerned parent in a small town, or is she somehow more closely entwined with some of the show’s larger narrative constructs, most notably, the mysterious El? For a character who runs a tight household, it seems odd that she didn’t discover a girl living in her basement. Don’t you?

Just a few of my thoughts. Weigh in with your opinions – I’d love to hear them. And if you haven’t seen the show, please do yourself a favor and check it out. It’s pretty awesome.

There Have Been Stranger Things…

Best of 2016, Television

As I curl up on any flat surface that my home affords me and watch the new Netflix series “Stranger Things”, I am so massively impressed at what I am seeing. I will document my observations and comments at length once I make my way through all 8 episodes, but until then, I leave you with a succinct trailer of the show. It’s everything that an 80’s reared, cartoon watching, ET loving, corduroy wearing, bike-riding kid loves.

A Bright “Greenleaf”

Best of 2016, Television

If “Six Feet Under” and “Gilmore Girls” had a baby, it would be something like OWN’s new tv series “Greenleaf”. Finally a show with an all black cast, Greenleaf simmers with tension and betrayal, making it a television viewing event. What sets it apart from other shows on television today is that race is NOT  at the forefront of the Greenleaf family, or at least not in the first three episodes that I caught. It’s ripe with familial drama and salacious regrets, and a narrative that keeps the viewer on edge.

The entire cast is strong, particularly the prodigal daughter Gigi (Merle Dandridge), and each scene drips with ferocity and implication of there are many things simmering below the surface, waiting for their first chance to pack another punch to the Greenleaf family and their religion-based organization.

I can’t wait to watch more.

More and More Gilmore Girls

It Makes Me Feel Better, Television, Things to Look Forward To

In preparation of the upcoming Netflix revival of Gilmore Girls, I’ve undertaken the daunting task of watching the entire series from beginning to end. Unlike so many of my friends who watched the show when it first aired back in the early 2000’s, I stayed away from it. It wasn’t necessarily that I didn’t enjoy the immensely talented Lauren Graham or doe-eyed Alexis Bledel, it was just more of a “didn’t have the time to see it” type deal. So when I heard of the stand-alone 4-episode revival last year, I thought now was the perfect time to see for myself what all the buzz was about.Gilmore-Girls-gilmore-girls-336905_1024_768

Now I haven’t seen the entire series yet, in fact, I’m just finishing up Season 2. There are 153 episodes, so with the right scheduling and  strategic decline of certain social engagement, I just might be all caught up when the redux premieres this fall. Here’s hoping.