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Hot Takes: Bridgerton

Skip the Gossip Girl reboot and just watch this instead.

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1. Sometimes I watch something and say “Oh wow this is very excellent work, but I don’t love it.”

Sometimes I watch something and say “Oh wow I love this and everybody should watch it because it’s amazing.”

Sometimes I watch something and say “Oh my god this is awful but I’m obsessed with it and I want more.”

I honestly do not know if Bridgerton is a good show or not but I could not stop watching it and I can’t wait for the next season, so I’ma just tell you how I feel and you can decide whether to watch it or not based on what y’all already know I like.

2. I will watch a Shonda Rhimes anything. I’ve spent almost half of my life watching Grey’s Anatomy as this point and I have no plans to stop. I watched Bridgerton because it was Shonda Rhimes’s company and, in true Shonda Rhimes fashion, it is soapy, the dialogue is excellent, the casting is inspired, and there’s a dysfunctional interracial relationship at the center of it.

3. I’ve heard whispers from people on social media that they want Rege-Jean Page to be the next James Bond and I am just here to amplify those wishes. This man is beautiful.

4. Of all the Black casting choices in the show, I like the wink nudge of Queen Charlotte the best because of the rumors of her Black heritage through the years. Was she a Black woman? No. Did she have a sizeable portion of Black ancestry? Also probably No. Do I like that they keep saying she might have because her nose was round and she was a little bit tan? Yeah kind of. So let’s make her Black! Her marriage being the “reason” why there are Black people in the London gentry is a bit of a stretch, but that’s okay. It’s Shonda Rhimes. She had a President start a war with a foreign country because they took his mistress hostage. I’m okay suspending a bit of belief for Shonda.

5. The way Eloise (the second-oldest Bridgerton) is a 40-year-old chainsmoker is my absolute favorite thing.

6. The way the Bridgerton Mom has her tits pushed all the way up to her eyebrows in every scene is my second-favorite thing.

7. Daphne and the Duke’s relationship is…interesting. Without spoiling it, there’s a big monologue that Daphne gives the Duke about accepting his flaws that I usually only see a male character give a female character — the switchup was refreshing! They have chemistry, but some of the petulance on both parts is annoying and could be avoided if they’d just talk to each other more. But I’m here for it.

8. I want them to give My Good Bitch Cressida more to do next season because her stankface is unrivaled and I want her to to just come out and drag these hoes by the corset.

9. There should be no corsets. Corsets are for fashions that have cinched waists — why would you put on a corset and then a loose dress over it? More of the undergarments shown should be stays that just push your boobs up, not corsets that make a tiny waist. And a lot of these dresses look CHEAP! Who did that!

10. Queen Charlotte’s wigs deserve their own show though. The way they incorporated natural Black Folks Hair Textures into these elaborate wigs was a joy to see, even the ones that missed the mark a bit. Love that for us!

11. If they don’t also give my girl Marina more to do next season, I might not be so generous in my assessment of the show. The actress who plays Marina is really the only one who showed up to work and understood that she is on a Shonda Rhimes Soap Opera and should act accordingly. She chewed up every scene she was in with a mixture of excellent technique and just the right amount of melodramatic overacting and she needs more meat in this role.

12. The soundtrack is cute when you catch the string arrangements. “Girls Like You” was my favorite.

13. ABC really fumbled the bag with Shonda over a Disney pass. IDK if y’all know the story (read her interview with The Hollywood Reporter), but Shonda left ABC for Netflix because ABC made a big fuss about giving Shonda an extra family pass for Disneyland. Can she afford it herself? Yes. But her shows have made over $2 billion for the company and if she asks for an extra Disney pass that costs less than $200, give her the pass. They made her feel small and undervalued and she left. Now Bridgerton is the most-watched series on Netflix because Shonda can be Shonda anywhere and will will soak it up. Good for you, Ms. Rhimes. A lesson to know your worth and never accept less, no matter how small the slight.

14. The revelation over who Gossip Girl is was kind of meh. We figured it out in a couple of episodes, but a very nice misdirect later in the series did have us doubting! I’ll save you the disappointment though: it is in fact not Julie Andrews. 🙁

Score: 8.5/10

 

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On Television

Sexy Beasts is another “blind dating” show full of hot people.

And that’s okay! I don’t need to see ugly people get rejected on TV.

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We’ll save the debate over whether your Netflix subscription is worth it anymore for another day. For now, let’s just focus on this trailer for Sexy Beasts and the obvious criticism of it.

Rightfully so, responses have largely been about the fact that it isn’t really a blind dating show when you can see someone’s body type, and we can see that production has picked conventionally attractive people anyway.

The same was said about Love is Blind which, to this day, featured my absolute favorite dating show couple of all time — Lauren and Cameron.

On Love is Blind, the contestants are sequestered by gender with the men in one camp and the women in another. They have dates with each other through a screen, and their connection is built through personality alone. It is actually a blind dating show because they can’t see anything about each other until they decide they want to be together. We the audience however know the stakes are low because we can see them: they’re all conventionally attractive, able bodied, slim to fit young people. Still, one woman who made a “connection” with two men behind the screens preferred the other guy once she saw them all together, because the one she ultimately picked was short.

Mark and Matt are two attractive guys.

Yet, she still regretted picking the guy on the left, Mark, once she saw the guy on the right, Matt.

Switch gears to another kind of blind dating show — Married at First Sight. I’ve only seen one season of this show so I’m not sure if the couples usually work out or usually crash and burn in tremendous fashion the way Paige and Chris did.

Paige is an accomplished, successful, nurturing, God-fearing woman, and exactly what Chris requested on paper. What he didn’t add was that he needed her to be a light-skinned music video type of girl. His face dropped when she walked down the aisle, he told her friends at the wedding that she wasn’t the type of woman he would physically be attracted to, and by the end of the experiment, he was explaining to one of the marriage counselors that it just didn’t work out because he wasn’t attracted to her face. Paige spent three months with a man she just got married to who was saying to her, verbally and through his actions, that she wasn’t attractive enough for him. When she watched it back, she had to sit through +15 episodes of a man calling her unattractive.

Imagine if she was overweight. Or had terrible acne. Or her nose was too big for her face. Or any number of ways a potential romantic partner decides someone is “average” as opposed to attractive. Do people really want to watch that dating show? I’ve never been more uncomfortable watching an episode of television as I was when Paige was sitting on the reunion couch watching playback of Chris telling the counselor that it didn’t work because he wasn’t attracted to her face, and that he was upset with production for picking Paige as opposed to all of the white queens and Latina queens and (he finally threw in) Black queens around Atlanta that were more to his standards.

Mark is a conventionally attractive guy with an athletic body. Paige is a conventionally attractive woman with an athletic body. They both ended up with people who said they couldn’t develop chemistry because the attraction wasn’t there, and it was uncomfortable to watch. Still, these are attractive people who are more likely to come with Attractive People Self Esteem. Mark has no shortage of women who find him hot. Paige can walk into any bar and walk out with a man. Yeah, it stings to be told on national television that someone doesn’t find you attractive, but that opinion of one person can quickly be forgotten after a lap around the club. I never want to see that kind of criticism and rejection happen to a less conventionally attractive person who likely has less confidence. I don’t need to see ugly people get rejected (or rejecting each other!) for drama. I don’t watch brainless dating shows to be stressed out. This should be mindless entertainment to have on in the background while I cook or fold hand towels. This is social media fodder to sent tweets about, not dramatic human interest material to delve into the psyche of man.

Television, and entertainment in general, needs a wider range of representation. Not everyone is 28 and pretty with a gym membership. I would like to see more average looking people in a wider variety of roles, but not on dating shows. Not on reality shows. Not thrown into environments where the unknown variable is whether or not someone will be mean to them. The world does that enough already. Why would we want to watch it happen to some nice person who just wanted to find love?

 

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Hot Takes: The Housewife & The Hustler

This is a good True Crime Documentary for anybody, not just Housewives fans.

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1. Imagine sitting at home with a bowl of popcorn watching a documentary about how your co-worker funds her hobby with money her husband stole from burn victims and families of plane crash victims? What is it like being on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills right now?!

2. You don’t need to like, watch, or even be remotely familiar with The Real Housewives (of Beverly Hills or anywhere else) to enjoy this quick little documentary. If you like true crime and/or you enjoy that feeling of outrage you get watching grifters grift, this is just another documentary about rich people stealing money.

3. For backstory: Erika Girardi was a young, struggling actress who married a mega-wealthy lawyer 40ish years her senior, Tom Girardi (of Erin Brockovich fame). She then decided she wanted to become a popstar and Tom funded her career, spending millions of dollars to turn her into a bonafide artist (she had nine consecutive number one hits on the Billboard Dance/Club chart, before she was ever on Real Housewives. Only Katy Perry, JLo, and Madonna have longer unbroken strings of hits.) Now she’s divorcing him because he’s a grifter and she’s pretending she didn’t know about it.

4. The fact that the first person we see in this documentary is Danielle ProstitutionWhore Staub absolutely sent me to the moon.

5. I’m ready to fight when somebody owes me $50. If I gave you money, but then I see you on Instagram at the club, I’m ready to fight, because you are drinking the money you should be giving back to me. I cannot imagine the amount of rage in my spirit if I knew you owed me millions and millions of dollars and I see your wife on TV spending my money on hair and makeup and clothes. I would be in jail right now.

6. The fact that Erika is still filming the show is beyond my powers of comprehension. Your husband, who stole money from his clients to fund your career and your image because you wanted to be a celebrity and you wanted to be on a reality TV show, is giving depositions about being broke….and you are still letting the cameras follow you and your $2,000 a day glam squad? Are you joking?

7. She absolutely knew. I think Tom was a grifter long before Erika came into the picture and she genuinely had no knowledge of his business when they got married. I think she was young and saw a meal ticket, which isn’t a judgement of her character. Tom saw youth, beauty, vitality. Erika saw money and stability. And they both like each other. Great partnership. But you cannot convince me that she didn’t put the pieces together over the years and she was just sitting in the dark about everything her husband was doing.

8. And she divorced him so she could shelter his ill-gotten assets under her own corporation.

9. Tom Girardi is going to jail. I don’t know what would make a crook want to go on national television and risk being exposed, but we saw the same thing with Russell Armstrong (and he eventually committed suicide because of the light shown on his shady business due to his wife’s visibility on this same franchise.)

10. This is so dark. I just be trynna watch Housewives for petty arguments and fashions. It feels so dirty watching Erika walk around in Chanel now…

Score: 8/10

 

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Vanity Fair: A Different World: Cast Members and Crew Tell the Oral History

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In 1987, one of television’s most influential shows was born. The stars, writers, and producers look back on their years at Hillman College.

(cont.)

This is faaaannnnntastic!

Random things I did not know:

Meg Ryan was almost cast as Marisa Tomei’s character.

Dawnn Lewis wrote the theme song for A Different World — is that common knowledge?? Am I late?

Jasmine Guy got the role of Whitley and 20 minutes later was sitting at a table read.

A Different World was the #2 show, between Cosby and Cheers. I didn’t realize it had been so big.

Yvette Lee Bowser fought for a job on that show. It was her first one and she was a glorified intern for awhile. And look at her now!

This wasn’t in the article but I just looked it up: A Different World still holds the record for the highest rated premiere pilot.

 

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