Tag Archives: comedy

Schitt’s Creek and Happy Endings

Over three weeks ago, the series finale of Schitt’s Creek aired on CBC. If you had told me three months ago that I would eagerly watch it and bawl my eyes out throughout the episode and the subsequent documentary about the show, I wouldn’t have believed you. It’s crazy that in such a short amount of time this show has come to mean so much to me. I have a deep connection to this show, and I expect that I always will.

I started watching Schitt’s Creek during a very turbulent time in my life. I was less than two months away from finishing my degree, and my long-term relationship had just ended. Things were changing in my life, and it was a sad, scary, and lonely time. I was looking for some hope and joy, and that’s when I discovered Schitt’s Creek.

I had heard of the show, of course. It was a rarity – a Canadian show that successfully broke into the U.S. market. I had seen video clips from the show in my Facebook news feed, and though I sometimes gave them a try, I didn’t usually find them funny. More recently, I had read a lot of good reviews about it on reddit, and as someone who tends to trust the opinions of random people on the internet for some reason, I decided I would have to give it a try sometime. Well, I found myself single and alone with no idea how to spend my newfound free time, so I figured it was the perfect time to start watching it.

Now, for those of you who haven’t seen the show, here is a quick synopsis, as you’re typically supposed to include those. Schitt’s Creek follows the filthy rich Rose family as they lose everything and are forced to move to a small town they bought as a joke many years ago, appropriately called (you guessed it!) Schitt’s Creek. There they are humbled and learn to become better people and what not. The show is kind of like Arrested Development but with way more heart (not sure Arrested Development has any heart to be honest, but I still love it).

And that’s why I fell in love with it. The heart. This show is oozing with positivity and love, and it was exactly what I needed at the time. It’s not mean-spirited in its humour, and the drama isn’t so serious that it makes you feel stressed just watching it. It is incredibly easy to fall in love with the characters in this show – both those in the Rose family, who are endearingly selfish but massively entertaining, and those in the town itself, who are all unique and interesting characters that feel like real people.

My favourite thing about this show is the love. It’s ultimately about love – familial, platonic, and romantic. It is incredibly refreshing to watch, especially when you’re going through a hard time. I felt the love between the characters, and it felt like I was the one receiving it. Every kind of love on the show warmed my heart, and made me appreciative of my friends and family, and hopeful that I can find a romantic love like those displayed in the show.

Watching the finale air live was extremely bittersweet for me. The show had come to mean so much to me in a short amount of time. Few TV shows have made me cry as much as this one has – it’s a special one. It helped me get through a tough time, and reminded me that happy endings do exist (and that every person’s happy ending is different), and for that I will forever be grateful.

The post Schitt’s Creek and Happy Endings appeared first on Tessa's Thoughts.

I, Tonya: An Artistic Look at a Controversial Story (95%)

I, Tonya deserves an Olympic gold medal for its successful combination of comedy and drama. The film is based on the life of US figure skater Tonya Harding and the attack on her competitor, Nancy Kerrigan, prior to the 1994 Olympics. Writer Steven Rogers and director Craig Gillespie took an artistic and entertaining approach in telling Harding’s story. The movie constantly flips back and forth from a chronological telling of Harding’s youth leading up to the attack to (acted) interviews with characters in the present day. This mode of storytelling also allows Tonya to break the fourth wall and correct any information she disagrees with from her ex-husband Jeff Gillooly’s interviews. The interviews and breaking the fourth wall are genius on their own because they capture the difficulty of one person trying to tell their story while close friends, family, the media, and entire nations overpower them and attempt to tell the story from their own contradicting perspectives.

While the movie touches on how the media may have abused and manipulated Harding’s story, there is a greater focus on Harding’s difficult home life, as well as exposing the unfair judgment she received in skating competitions strictly because she was not the idealized image of the American woman. Harding’s home life and marriage is often shocking and devastating, yet the blend of comedy amidst the drama made this movie feel more realistic. The witty lines bring the personalities of various characters to life.

The costumes and casting were also incredible for this film. The skating outfits were based on Harding’s actual outfits from her competitions. Beyond Margot Robbie’s amazing performance as Tonya, Paul Hauser’s performance as Shawn Eckhardt, Tonya’s bodyguard, was very accurate (stay and watch the real interviews in the credits and judge for yourself).

I also recommend this movie for anyone who enjoys great camera work. There is a wonderful long shot that moves from room to room in Jeff’s house and shows him moping in each place.  On the whole, this movie is both visually pleasing and masterfully written. Even if you’re someone who remains convinced Harding was more involved with the attack on Kerrigan than she claims, this movie can still entertain you and make you sympathize with the injustices Harding faced.

*This article was originally written for SFU’s student newspaper, The Peak.

Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

This book’s title gives a nod to female confidence, and is the subject of its penultimate chapter. Kaling’s insights on the complications of being a confident woman come from lived experience; she routinely has to answer men when they ask her where she gets her confidence, as if she doesn’t look like someone who should possess confidence and therefore has to explain herself. However, Kaling relays the story of being asked where she gets her confidence by a young Indian girl, who, with candor, foregrounded her own struggle with insecurity. This last chapter is an essay replying to that question, an answer she wishes she could have given at the time. “Confidence is just entitlement… and entitlement is simply the belief that you deserve something”, she writes (452). Hard work certainly contributes to that belief, as well as courage. But, Kaling calls attention to the ways in which this severe emphasis on the confidence of young girls likely complicates their accessibility to confidence.

I remember as a teenager trying to convince my mom that she should give me money for good grades, because all of my friends got money from their parents for getting A’s. She laughed in my face. “Why would I give you money for something that you are capable of doing? That would just mean that I don’t believe you can do it without some sort of reward”. At least it was something along those lines; it was a long time ago. Kaling closes with this:

“So, if that girl from the panel is reading this, I would like to say to her: Hi, it’s Mindy Kaling. I’m sorry I let you down. The thing is, I’m in my mid-thirties and I was wearing my Spanx for fourteen hours straight. You’ll understand when you’re older. Here’s how I think you can get your confidence back, kid: Work hard, know your shit, show your shit, and then feel entitled. Listen to no one except the two smartest and kindest adults you know, and that doesn’t always mean your parents. If you do that, you will be fine. Now, excuse me, I need to lie down and watch Sheldon” (464).

I should have warned against spoilers. I just gave the whole book away.

Like I said in my last review, Kaling’s life experiences are couched in friendships that bring meaning to these experiences: female friendships, colleague friendships, and relationships that are not easily defined and present more like a best friend-life mate hybrid like the one she shares with B.J. Novak. Consequently, reading Kaling – forgive me for being cliche – is a lot like listening to your funniest friend talk about quintessential LA life, including the time she offended an entire room of white anti-vaxxer moms. Kaling calls attention to the ways in which friendships are more similar to romantic relationships than we think. We have flings, we feel the spark of connection. She has a language for something that remains largely language-less: friendship breakups. Maybe this can be attributed to a societal framework that reveres romantic relationships as the most important relationships one can have. The passion, fizzling out or explosive end of a friendship goes largely unprocessed in our romance obsessed culture.

While most of Kaling’s material is light-hearted and witty, her essays have a strong politicized thread running through them. She discusses the ways in which the media treat her body like a public text that can be read and written about – what it’s like to be a woman in the public eye. She speaks candidly and honestly about the marginalization she experiences however much she might love her life.

Work hard, know your shit, show your shit, and then feel entitled.

Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch (2018): Just Another Useless Remake (40%)

The 2018 reboot of The Grinch felt like nothing more than another thoughtless Hollywood remake created with the intentions of capitalizing on an already popular story. The original adaptation, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, was an animated TV special released in 1966. Since it was a TV special, the runtime was approximately 20 minutes and the film was basically just an animated version of the book. It’s a great 20minute episode (my family still watches it almost every year). The live-action version starring Jim Carrey was released in 2000, and it has got to be one of the best Christmas movies to this day! The jokes are hysterical, the costumes are amazing, and the sets and props are surreal! I was super excited about the new film because I love both of the other adaptations, but it was incredibly disappointing.

Unfortunately, the new animated adaptation of The Grinch had very little to offer. It felt like they simply took the extended storyline of the live-action version and stripped out most of the jokes. One of the slight alterations made to the plot was that Cindy Lou wanted to deliver a letter to Santa asking for help for her mother. Her mother is depicted as an overworked and exhausted single parent trying to take care of three children while also working night shifts. In the end, the mother’s struggles feel unresolved and the focus remains on the Grinch and his feeling of belonging.

The new movie had several well-known actors, yet the voice actors didn’t add anything special to the film. Benedict Cumberbatch plays the Grinch, but the film may have been more entertaining if they had cast a comedian for the role. Steve Carell, for example, would’ve been a great pick. Carell actually alters his voice dramatically to make exciting characters (example: Gru from Despicable Me).

There were a couple of laughs throughout the movie, but on the whole there just wasn’t anything special or new. Children might enjoy The Grinch, but I don’t think it’s worth the admission rate. Save your money for better holiday movies coming soon to theatres.

“Hate, hate, hate. Hate, hate, hate. Double hate. LOATHE ENTIRELY!” -How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)