2020 is once again kicking us while we’re down! Netflix announced yesterday that GLOW is canceled. As many of you may know, the show had begun filming its fourth season when shooting shutdown due to the pandemic. And it appears that the pandemic has now ended the shows run for good. I don’t even production teams (especially those with larger casts) for struggling to navigate this unprecedented landscape. My first instinct, of course, is to wallow in sorrow forever. But I’ve decided to share a list of coping strategies instead:
3. Re-Design their fabulous costumes with the fan-made coloring book. If you’ve ever wanted the opportunity to lend your artistic-hand to some of GLOW’s most famous spandex attire, now’s your chance with this super cute coloring book from Department of Awesome on Etsy.
4. Organize your friends to send a can of Summer’s Eve to Netflix, demanding they fund a special series finale when this is all over. When promoting the shows first season a few years ago, Betty Gilpin mentioned that a can of Summer’s Eve appeared on set as a joke until they all realized how intimate the wrestling scenes were and people started actually using it. I’m not endorsing this product — that’s between you and your gyno — but it definitely seems like a way to get Netflix’s attention! Here’s a list of other fan campaigns for inspiration. If you have a better idea, let me know in the comments!
Hello, hi. It’s me again! I know it’s been a while. In fact, I haven’t even been watching that much television lately because I’ve been busy devouring Bad Blood (the book about Theranos) and listening to “The Drop Out” (the podcast about Theranos). Should my next blog be about grifters?
Anywa, I’m here today to appeal to you about “One Day at a Time,” a.k.a. the only good reboot of the recent reboot trend (and I will die on this hill!) I reviewed the first episode of the first season way back when it was first released.
But I’m bringing it up again now because the show has just returned for its third season and word on the street is that renewal is not exactly a lock. And that would be so, so terrible.
This is the best possible reincarnation of the classic sitcom I like to write about on this blog. The new One Day at a Time is tackling “very special” issues in a way that is neither silly nor trite. In fact, I can hardly write about it because it is a vast improvement on the old school shows I grew up with. But I’m writing today to make a simple plea that you give it a watch. It’s the kind of show I would want to watch with my kids, if I had them, and that I would have loved to have the opportunity to watch when I was growing up.
Friends, lovers, countrymen (oh that’s not how that goes?), it has been a minute. I hope you’re all enjoying the beginning of summer. Here are some things I have been up to since we last spoke:
-I started dating again! Highlights include: a man who told me he lost all of his friends in his last relationship 45-minutes into our first and only date!
-I struggled through a hangover at my new job and was very successful at fooling everyone into thinking I was fine to “jump on that call” and didn’t feel like curling up in the fetal position under my desk. (Sadly, I don’t think I can add this to the “skills” section of my resume.) This was only the 2nd time I have ever been hungover at work: the first time being when I went out with a group a couple of years ago and elbowed the CEO in the eye on the dance floor! It’s okay. We’re on good terms. We still talk!
-I binge-watched all of the new Netflix series “Glow.” And that’s what brings me here today. I enjoyed every minute of this series, but I knew it would indelibly change the pop culture landscape of my mind when SPOILER ALERT: Pat Benatar’s “Invincible” was featured in the final match of the season. (Oh, that’s not something most people consider a spoiler? Well, excuse me for trying not to ruin the magic for those who are also big, big fans of The Legend of Billie Jean.)
Glow is a semi-biographical look at the 1980’s women’s wrestling show. (But I can say that having watched now the series AND the documentary–I am SERIOUSLY into Glow, guys–Netflix seems to have taken a lot of poetic license with this. The stars are Alison Brie and that woman who played the lady doctor in Nurse Jackie, but if you look at the image below, just over that dude’s shoulder…
Yes, that woman biting her thumb is none other than the incomparable Kate Nash, songstress of my late teen years. Actually, I didn’t even recognize her, but I was singing “Pumpkin Soup” in the shower this morning, so is my subconscious that strong? Or maybe it’s the first bullet point on the list of things I’ve been up to?
Anyway, thanks to a former coworker (who may actually be my pop culture soul mate?) I have some really sweet videos from the real Glow to share with you.
If I had to give an elevator speech for Glow (the real series, not the Netflix series) I would say, “It’s kind of like The Warriors but if all of the gangs fought in a pink wrestling ring and also they did some MadTV-type sketches–oh and also some “rapping” in the style of Deborah Harry.” Go ahead, see for yourself:
Also, Jackie Stallone is legit Sylvester’s mom. HOW GREAT IS THIS? I cannot believe this beautiful, beautiful piece of camp existed and I didn’t even know about it. Did any of you watch this in the 80’s?? Please tell me all about it in the comments!
I have been seeing a lot of buzz around my social media accounts about how awesome One Day At A Time is on Netflix. I have only seen the original once (back when I did “The Runaways” episode for the A to Z Challenge). Since I don’t have a strong attachment to the original, I was perhaps more open to giving the modern version a chance. But I think it’s more likely that Netflix’s One Day At A Time earned this positive press in its own right.
Most people I’m friends with on Facebook are also Millennials and for reasons totally lost on me, most of them do not also worship at the house of canceled sitcoms. Suffice it to say, I think this is one Netflix reboot (more like “revamp” honestly) that will survive on scripts, not fan service. This ain’t Fuller House.
So what I’m going to do now is talk about all of the fluffy aesthetic things that I noticed on a totally nerd level. Then I’m going to talk about why I’m geeking out on this show on a sociocultural level in the next paragraph. Basically, if puff pieces aren’t your thing (How did you even find this blog? How have you read this far??) skip to then next paragraph. Oh great, you’re still here! So having only seen the original One Day At A Time once, I can tell you that the first thing I noticed was that the main set of the apartment is remarkably similar, if not identical. But as a casual viewer, I will leave that to a bigger fan than I to investigate. The similarity of set intrigued me in two ways. One, it made me feel cozy and familiar both in that I had seen it before on television and in that the layout feels very late 70’s (so I had more or less seen similar styles as a kid at Grandma’s). But ultimately, it’s just a great layout for a wide angle lense with lots of areas for staging without looking, well, “staged.” Similarly to the original, mom and grandma are raising two kids alone (a boy and a girl this time instead of two girls) and their landlord is very involved in their lives (in a non-creepy way, unless you count cracking corny jokes as creepy). They also kept the original theme song and revamped it in a wonderful way that kind of makes me want to play it on repeat. But you know I love theme songs. I also love Gloria Estefan.
In another difference from the original, the family is Cuban-American. The matriarch is glorious EGOT Rita Moreno from West Side Story and The Electric Company. Her daughter is played by Justina Machado (who I’ve seen as a guest on many shows but never as a lead). Justina Machado is the X-factor here and why you should be watching. You can tell this script is important to her. She’s really connecting with it and she’s having fun with it. And that’s exactly what she should be doing not only because it’s literally her job as an actor, but also because this script is both important in content and fun in delivery.
In the pilot episode, which shares a title with the theme song “This is It,” we learn that Rita Moreno has moved in with daughter, Justina Machado, to help raise her kids–a feminist teen girl and a materialistic preteen son–while her husband works abroad in a private security firm. We learn that both parents are army vets, but by the end of the episode it’s clear that Justina’s character is not on-board with the separation. Basically, she’s a single parent so her husband can have the job he wants instead of one closer to his family.
She’s also struggling with anxiety and depression. Much of the first episode deals with whether or not she will take an anti-depressant medication. As a nurse, she’s okay with it. But as an individual, she feels weird about it. She seems to have internalized some of the stigma around mental health, even as a medical professional. It’s interesting to see her grapple with this and I truly hope it’s an ongoing theme. This in an important conversation.
But that is not to say that One Day At A Time is a downer. It’s anything but. The show is COZY, which makes it more comfortable to have these conversations. The issues are modern but this reminds me more of Growing Pains than Modern Family. It’s a traditional sitcom format. You won’t be laughing at one-two punchlines and little quirks or awkward slapstick situations. But the issues are real, both the kids and parents are legitimately funny, and everyone seems like a human. And yes, maybe the anti-depressant issue is resolved a little too neatly in 30 minutes (though it’s definitely not “very special”). But this is a sitcom after all. As much as I malign them, at best they’re 30 minute conversation starters. I hope the conversation doesn’t end here.
I watched the first episode of Fuller House‘s second season. It was pretty good. The writing has definitely improved, but I’m still not sold on the original show’s supporting characters ability to legitimately carry a show on their own. But I will say that if you need some pop culture comfort food, you might enjoy “Welcome Back.” It’s completely inoffensive and mildly funny both of which disqualify it from having any place on this blog.
So moving on to the moment we’ve all been waiting for, the aptly titled “Girl Talk.” The episode is number 7 of 13, squarely in the middle of the season like they wanted to make me watch a lot of crap before I got there. But this it the age of instant gratification and I’ve already waited 21 years for this freaking episode! Suffice it to say, I skipped right ahead to episode 7.
The band gets back together in a rather low-key way. Stephanie has written a song and she wants to play it with a full band. Being the successful musician that she is, she decides not to go with any of her connections in the music world, but rather to go with Kimmy Gibbler’s idea of letting Girl Talk take a crack at it. Since their original drummer is now playing in Beyonce’s backing band, they decide to let DJ join. (Apparently, she’s taught herself how to play drums from playing Rockband). Also, Gia IS back and like for some reason I mistook her for Kimmy’s daughter in the preview, so sorry about that. DISCLAIMER: This is not a fake news site, so let this post serve as a retraction from that section of the previous post on Fuller House’s Girl Talk.
Anyway, DJ can only play the drums when she color codes them like in Rockband. She also has to say all of the colors as she plays. All of the members of the band probably suck too, but no one else can really think enough to play over DJ’s racket. Thus, we don’t really get to find out whether or not Girl Talk still has it. (But they never actually did have “it” so yeah).
Meanwhile, some stupid middle school boy is cyberbullying Kimmy’s daughter. (To be the parent of a child with a smartphone and apps has got to be one of the scariest things ever for a middle class white person.)
Gia and DJ talk about how they never liked each other. DJ thought Gia was a bad influence on Steph (she was) and Gia thought DJ was a dweeb (she so was not!). Also, I don’t remember there being THAT much tension between them. I feel like Gia didn’t care about DJ and DJ just thought of her as an unreliable friend for Steph but wasn’t like moralistically against her. I mean they were all kids. It’s not like DJ was a mom character in 1995 like they’re making her out to be.
But Gia is a soccer mom now who walks for nine different charities! They actually get along until DJ won’t let Gia use her vape pen in the finished basement/rehearsal space. This causes the whole group to devolve into arguing, so Steph disbands them. Aw, kind of anticlimactic. We did get to hear them play their only song, a cover of Ace of Base’s “The Sign,” and it actually sounded pretty good this time. Even DJ finally figured out how to play her instrument without shouting out colors.
Back to the cyberbullying, Kimmy’s daughter has largely recovered from the attack all by herself while the adults in her life played in a band. I usually don’t focus a lot on B-plots in these reviews but with the heavy weight of this subject matter and the “lessons” focus of this show, I’m surprised this wasn’t A and Girl Talk wasn’t B. (Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy for the return of Girl Talk as an A plot, but in that case the cyberbullying plot was best saved for another episode).
The original attack occurred after Ramona turned down a boy in her class. She told him she wasn’t interested in him and he released a video making fun of her, which went viral beacuse people are shit-heads. She mistakenly thought DJ’s oldest son, Jackson, posted it (for reasons which don’t make any sense other than to provide drama in the show) and only learned the truth after the original video poster showed up to confront her.
Confront her about what, you may ask? Well, it turns out that the this boy has also been the victim of cyberbullying. He’s a friend of Jackson’s and it turns out the Jackson decided to cyberbully his friend in order to teach him a lesson about why cyberbullying is wrong…
Hm…okay. Well, there’s a whole lot of mess going on here.
Ramona does have a good line here directed at the OCB (Original Cyber-Bullier), “Just because someone says no to you, it doesn’t give you the right to be a bully.
He says, “Okay, I’m sorry. I just said I’m sorry. I must really like you.” (Uh okay, jackass. I mean you couldn’t possibly be sorry just because you were wrong, could you?)
She says, “Well you have a funny way of showing it.”
Then Jackson’s crush kind of starts liking him because he “stood up” for Ramona by bullying another student to teach him a lesson about bullying Ramona.
THE END. The freaking end.
That 5 minute B plot exchange at the end of this episode feels horribly light for what actually happened in this episode. I mean here we have a boy who bullied a girl because she said no to him and then a kid who retaliated against bullying with MORE bullying. HOW ARE WE NOT TALKING ABOUT THIS???
What happened to both Ramona AND the OCB is horrible. And it unfortunately seems to be happening to kids more and more these days. I guess now I’m seeing what happens when something I feel SHOULD be a very special episode isn’t. I mean I make fun of Very Special Episodes but like hm….I guess it should come as no surprise that I would prefer a Very Special Episode on bullying to bulling-as-a-punchline. (Unless, we’re talking about everything Carla does on Cheers. Then it’s okay.)
On another note, I did only watch 2 episodes, but there were ZERO references to Stephanie being a DJ…so basically I’m taking this as further evidence that the Netflix Fuller House production team probably reads this blog and takes all of my advice.
I can only hope we haven’t seen the very last of Girl Talk, but I won’t hold my breath on another revival any time soon. In the meantime, stay tuned for some Very Special Holiday episodes starting on December 15th!
Ugh, okay America. Somehow you loved Fuller House enough to warrant a Season 2. Apparently, I missed the memo. Somehow, this show was a hit. While I pride myself on an in-depth knowledge of nostalgia, even I will never understand this. But I do have some notes. I’m sure Season 2 is in the can (it premieres December 10th if you’re so inclined), but here’s what I’m thinking would help:
Let Jodi Sweetin dance. Just Jodi Sweetin. Not you other people who can’t really dance but somehow decided that appropriating Indian culture was a great way to give it a shot. Like PLEASE drop the stupid DJ storyline and just let her be a dancer.
Bring back “Feedback”. You made us listen to “Jesse and the Rippers” saccharine single “Forever.” But I’d actually rather hear “Shout” any day of the week. Also, you can totally skip bringing back Scott Baio. Just recast him like you did Nelson.
Leave the Olsen Twins alone. Those awkward jokes about their absences were some of the most painful moments in an already painful show.
Get rid of Steve because you turned him into a creepy obsessive person. Also, the new guy is way cuter.
Involve the original cast of older actors as much as possible even though they are probably busy with other projects. Seriously, if this means a lot of Dave Coulier, I’m actually okay with that. The older actors are the biggest talents on that show. It’s not that the younger actors are bad, but I don’t feel like they are doing a good job of carrying this on their own. They do also have horrible, horrible scripts to work with even by Full House standards, so who knows.
Make Kimmy Gibbler the lead and give her all of the plotlines. Like I seriously do not care who DJ Tanner-Fuller is dating. I’m so bored. I’d rather just watch the lady who is cool enough to own a bacon and eggs scarf. Also, this is a great opportunity to bring back “Girl Talk,” which OBVIOUSLY would be more interesting than anything they produced last season.
But clearly we’ve established that I’m in the minority of thinking this show is crap. You do you, America. I just don’t get it.
Don’t watch this. I know I said that I would review al of the episodes, but I can’t. I played it in the background while I did other things. Doing my dishes and catching up on data entry for work were far, far more interesting than paying full-attention to this show.
But there were a few bright spots and I’ll list them all below. You can just read this list and it will be like you actually watched the show because, outside of this list, nothing happened:
DJ became a Mexican Wrestling Champion
Stephanie gave Danny a sports coat that matched the couch’s upholstery because he is weirdly obsessed with the couch.
Stephanie can’t have kids. This was a weirdly dramatic moment in a show that is otherwise full of corny jokes. Jodie Sweetin and Candace Cameron Bure did a fine job with the scene, but it felt so out of place with the tone of the rest of the series.
DJ got a cute new boyfriend. He’s another veterinarian at her practice.
Harry Takayama guest starred and Stephanie wanted to date him, but then he turned out to be engaged.
Stephanie dated Hunter Pence from the SF Giants. But she was a jinx. He couldn’t get a hit until she broke up with him (under duress) as the crowd boo-ed her as she attempted to sing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” during the 7th-inning stretch.
DJ made out with Steve while dating the cute new guy (which makes no sense because Steve is now a creep and cute new guy is cool). But then Steve was at the Giants game (the same one where the crowd boo-ed Stephanie) and saw DJ kiss the cute new guy on the kiss cam. He freaked out. Cute guy was similarly not pleased.
There is a cute moment with Steve, Cute Guy, DJ, Kimmy, and Stephanie comenting on a flash back of Steve and DJ at the prom. But it’s like they’re all imagining the flashback as Steve tells the story. I thought that was kinda cute. I love when storytelling mediums mix!
Steve and the cute new guy kiss. It’s really dumb and an accident but the studio audience loved it. Like there was some serious cheering over the laugh track.
Everyone does a perfectly choreographed Bollywood dance.
Steve and DJ dress up like their 90’s selves and pretend that they’re Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore in Ghost, except they’re making hamburger patties instead of pottery…it’s every bit as weird as it sounds.
Joey officiates Becky and Jesse’s vow renewal on inline skates, wearing a hockey jersey, and a holding a hockey stick.
Jesse hit Mr. Woodchuck over the head with a hockey stick.
DJ didn’t chose between Scott or cute new guy. And they both seemed okay with it.
I feel like there will probably not be a season two of Fuller House…but if there is and they FINALLY revive “Girl Talk,” I will cover it. Otherwise, I will most like steer clear.
It’s been 29 years and 90 seconds into this show and I still want to punch Joey in the face. He’s wearing a onesy and already doing some kind of weird voice that is somewhat reminiscent of the wood chuck. Or is the wood chuck? I don’t know.
We see all of the original adults first before we meet the “new adults” (a.k.a. the “old kids”). Here’s what they are up to:
-Joey is doing absolutely nothing (okay actually he’s doing comedy at the Venetian and “kicking Carrot Top’s butt.” Great. Now, I hate Joey even more because Carrot Top is one of my biggest fears, we’re talking actual NIGHTMARES that this dude has haunted in my life. And Joey has just reminded me all over again!)
-Rebecca and Danny are about to start hosting a nationally syndicated morning talk show in LA
-Jesse is going to be in charge of music for General Hospital (hah John Stamos on General Hospital hahaha so clever. Gag me with a spoon.)
Then DJ and Stephanie start taking over the show and want to know where Michelle is. Their dad says she’s too busy running her fashion empire and then everyone stares down the camera. Talk about an incredibly weird way to break the fourth-wall. It’s so awkward.
So here’s what the new adults are up to:
-DJ Tanner is a veterinarian
-Stephanie is a musician (called it). Actually, she’s a dj called “DJ Tanner.” Uh, okay.
-Kimmy is really weird and I’m not really sure what her job is but she’s like talking about not having ever dropped acid but having once taken an antacid…what? I don’t know but she’s actually for once less annoying than Stephanie who will NOT stop doing a really terrible fake British accent for what, I believe, is meant to be comedy.
Then Kimmy Gibbler puts her feet on the table and Steph says, “How rude!” I’d like to give her props for very naturally making a catch phrase happen again after 20 years, but mostly I’m just realized that this has “snapped” her out of her British accent. (So apparently it wasn’t “fake” and she was stuck in it because of all her her time spent in England…omg…)
The best part of this show is the credits. Carly Rae Jepsen is amazing AS ALWAYS! And the opening credits for the new leads are super adorable. The opening credits for the old leads are split screen shots of them doing exactly what they did 20 years ago in the opening credits, next to the original opening credits from 20 years ago. So basically you get to see how much Lori Loughlin and John Stamos have not aged at all–Bob Saget and Dave Coulier…well they look a bit different…
Anyway, everyone goes to the party that DJ Tanner (Stephanie) is dj-ing it, except for Joey. He needs to prove his usefulness, so he stays home with infant Tommy.
OMG IT’S THAT DAMN WOODCHUCK. He stayed home so he could play with that damn woodchuck! Also, is that a wedding band on Joey’s finger? Someone married that dude? Hm…
Tommy is now sobbing because the woodchuck is terrifying. I mean, your instincts are dead on, kid. I too think this is horrible, and even more so if I was an infant with a 55 year old man I barely knew crouched by my crib with a GIANT puppet and using a creepy-voice-from-hell to make the woodchuck “talk.”
Oh wait…the party is in the living room? So yeah, everyone gets to go to the party. Once Joey is done terrifying the baby, even he goes to the party. Kimmy’s ex-husband stops by to drop of their child (Ramona). He’s pretty hot and still really into Kimmy and no one can understand why. Apparently, she’s really good in bed. Well, good for her. It’s high time that Kimmy Gibbler found her niche.
Steph plays New Kids on the Block and all of the girls get excited before they even know what song it is. Luckily, it’s “The Right Stuff”–the only New Kids song worth getting excited about. But then they stop it after 30 seconds, so I guess this show couldn’t afford the full royalties and had to settle for the public use sample.
DJ’s ex boyfriend shows up and tells THE RECENT WIDOW that he’s ready to start dating again whenever she’s ready??????? He says it nicely but this is so madly inappropriate. But he does explain how they get their new puppy. Apparently, he’s the owner of a pregnant Comet Jr, jr.
I know I called this too, but I didn’t think it would happen quite so soon.
Jesse and Becky’s kids are kind of cute now. And they’re not trying to force them in front of the camera now that they’re adults, so I don’t really hate them anymore.
Then they all make Jesse sing “Forever” and the entire party sings backup in perfect harmony. But then Bob Saget takes over and sings “Wild Thing,” which is actually the funniest thing to happen on Fuller House to date. (I should mention that it’s not that funny, but luckily this is only the first episode).
When DJ is giving Steve all of the leftover food from the party, he takes this as another opportunity to mention that they should be together. He even (badly) sings “Forever” to her and says he should have asked her to marry him at the prom.
Anyway, in case you are still at all interested, Steve is a divorced podiatrist. And we also learn that Kimmy has apparently been spying on a naked Danny from her 2nd story window for years. I could have done without knowing that.
So then Comet Jr, jr. has her puppies and DJ has to help birth them. The biggest difference in the setup of the original show vs. the new show is that DJ refuses to ask for help. Danny knew he was overwhelmed and called in a favor from his friends/family. But DJ feels that she’s responsible and has to do everything herself–ah, the struggles of being a woman.
But the family overhears her crying and talking to Tommy on the baby monitor, so Danny decides to give up his talk show and stay and help. Actually, all the adults agree to help. And Joey is wayyyy to ready to move back in. But Jesse still wants to live in LA hah. Steph and Kimmy decide to stay and help out even though DJ says she’s fine. Steph tells the original adults that it’s the younger adults’ responsibility now and they should live their own LA lives. And thus, there is Fuller House!
This acting is a bit stilted. The original leads are strong as ever, but they’ve been acting ever since the first show ended. Jodi Sweetin is probably the strongest of the new leads, but Candace Cameron Bure is most comfortable when directly relating to the kids on the show. Since she’s a mom in real life, I’m guessing this is the more natural acting for her. But she might fall back into it. Andrea Barber is still funny, but she admitted that she hasn’t acted in a while and felt a bit rusty…I mean you can kind of tell but we’ll see how it goes.
Also, DJ’s middle son (who is basically a mini Danny Tanner) is the only kid who I find entertaining at this point. There’s some kind of mild flirtation happening between Ramona and Dj’s oldest son, whatever his name is. But otherwise, I feel like they don’t have characters yet.
Oh well, I enjoyed this more than Girl Meets World.