TV Shows History Pop Culture

I love history, but I can’t stand historical TV shows

I’m a big history nerd. I’m not only a history major, but someone who collects and wears historical clothes, who owns figurines of historical figures, who collects books on my favorite parts of history, and who played history games throughout my entire childhood. Studying history has always been a huge part of my identity, and one I’m still happy to include in my life today. But it’s probably time to admit it: I hate historical TV shows. As a history geek, I should love them, but it’s hard for me to stomach a single one.

These shows forget that people in the past did, in fact, have fun.

I have one main reason, and it’s that these shows are straight-up boring. The lighting is too dark, the costumes too beige and ugly, and every word of dialogue is spoken in a raspy whisper. Everything is so bleak it’s almost impossible to follow. Try watching The Medici or The Tudors. I have difficulty figuring out anything that’s going on. And don’t get me started on the lighting in The Crown. 

A disheveled white man with a beard and a loose top.
[Image Description: A dark-haired white man in a dark shirt] via BBC. This is how Da Vinci’s Demons dresses its protagonists — in dull, disheveled, and downright ugly clothing.
And trust me, I won’t hear the excuse that real life was just as bleak back then. As a keen student of historical costuming, I know that a lot of historical clothing was bright, extravagant, and sometimes just ridiculous. I admit it’s not the biggest issue, but it still rubs me the wrong way. I feel like these shows forget that people in the past did, in fact, have fun occasionally. You rarely see any entertainment or festivities in these shows, unless they’re doomed to go horribly wrong. You almost never see any characters genuinely laugh in these shows. Sure, living in the past was terrible in a lot of ways, but people still retained a sense of humor.

I’ll give you an example. I once made the horrible mistake of attempting to watch Da Vinci’s Demons, which loosely follows the life of Leonardo da Vinci, and encapsulates everything I hate about historical television. The show portrays Leonardo as a tortured, edgy womanizer, despite the fact that he was almost certainly gay and, by all accounts, a very pleasant person. Throughout the show, he almost exclusively wears dark, tattered shirts and dusty trousers, whereas the historical Leonardo wore brightly-colored tunics and tights. It might sound ridiculous to the modern viewer, but personally, I think we should acknowledge the absurdity of history. And let’s be honest, sometimes it’s easier to relate to people who don’t take themselves too seriously.

A brightly colored Renaissance painting of a wealthy, finely dressed family.
[Image Description: a Renassaince painting showing a group of people dressed in beautiful costumes.]This is how people in the Renaissance actually dressed! Short tunics, leggings, bright colors…it may not be as sexy, but it’s way more fun!
There’s also a lot of unnecessary drama in historical TV shows. I’ll admit, this trend strikes me as odd because there’s already so much drama in real history. Shows like The Tudors, The Borgias, The Last Kingdom, and The Medici like to make a big deal out of political battles and sex scandals, and rarely imbue these plot lines with any humor or humanity. Drama is important for entertainment’s sake, but we can still try and make the drama seem somewhat human. Most relationships aren’t built on stolen glances and steamy affairs. Why not portray these love stories with affection, awkwardness, and a tiny bit of down-to-earth humanity?

History isn’t all epic battles and heaving bosoms, a lot of it is everyday life.

Even the grand, epic battles are a little too dramatic for my sake. They ignore the disease, the squalor, and the sheer tedium of real-life battles. It might not be fun to acknowledge the unglamorous parts of history, but it makes for better television. If we’re going to relate to these historical figures, we need to at least see them as human.


Most historical TV shows seem totally unwilling to have any fun with history. They refuse to acknowledge that along with the drama and sadness of history, there’s also comedy and absurdity and awkwardness. Historical people were real human beings. Sometimes they wore ridiculous outfits, joked around with each other, and made awkward mistakes. History isn’t all epic battles and heaving bosoms, a lot of it is everyday life. I certainly don’t think these shows are evil, but they do make history feel so much more distant and detached than it really is.

We should remember that history has plenty of dimensions, some good and some bad, some funny and some serious, some totally normal and some downright weird. It doesn’t help to glamorize or romanticize history, but it doesn’t help to dull it down either. Historical figures were people too, and our television should at least recognize them as such. Besides, it’s more fun that way anyway.

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Celebrities Movies Pop Culture

Here’s everything you missed from the Oscars 2021 gala

Did you miss this year’s Oscars? Nothing to fear! We have summed up all the best moments.

 The Academy Awards are usually held in the Dolby Theatre and seat almost 3400 attendees. The event is filled with a jam-packed program that includes star-studded skits and sketches, epic montages, and elaborate in-person musical performances – all with a comedian serving as host. This year’s affair, held on Sunday 25 April 2021 was noticeably more intimate.

For the 2021 gala, all of the theatrics were swapped out for a more subdued evening. Held at the Union Station, the 170 attendees were seated around tables, in the vein of the first few Oscar ceremonies. Musical performances were recorded and aired before the telecast. Skits were paired down to Lil Rel Howery quizzing Andra Day, Daniel Kaluuya, and Glenn Close, who showed off her music knowledge and dance skills. There was no host for the third time in a row, but celebrity presenters galore with Oscar-winning actress and director Regina King kicking off the evening that proved just as historic as the times it was held in.

Here is a list of our breakthroughs and firsts of the night:

1. Daniel Kaluuya makes Britain and Uganda Proud

Oscar winner, Daniel Kaluuya
[Image Description: Daniel Kaluuya poses backstage after his historic Oscar win.] Via The Academy.
As an awards season favorite winning Golden Globe, SAG, and BAFTA awards, it was no surprise when Daniel Kaluuya took home the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor at this year’s Academy Awards. His performance as Fred Hampton, deputy chairman of the Black Panther Party was a standout and his acceptance speech proved to be just as memorable.

In an embarrassing yet hilarious moment, he excitedly expressed his appreciation for life and commented, “My mum and my dad… they had sex and now I’m here!” Before that, he made sure to thank “family, friends and everyone I love from Londontown to Kampala” as he became the first Black British actor and the first actor of Ugandan descent to win an Oscar.

2. Best Actor category was the last award presented

This year's Best Actor nominees
[Image Description: The nominees in the Best Actor category at this year’s Academy Awards. From left to right: Riz Ahmed, Steven Yeun, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Gary Oldman and Chadwick Boseman.] Via Variety.
The Best Picture category is often the pièce de résistance of the night and the last award presented. In a rare turn of events and for the first time, the Best Actor category was the last award presented of the evening.

This definitely fueled rumors that the Academy was going to posthumously honor Chadwick Boseman for his final performance in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Unfortunately, it was not meant to be for the actor, with the honor of going to Sir Anthony Hopkins for his role in The Father.

3. Honoring the elders

Oscar-winning costume designer, Ann Roth, at work on the set of Ma Rainey's Black Bottom
[Image Description: Oscar-winning costume designer Ann Roth, adjusting actress Taylour Paige on the set of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom] Via IMDB.
As previously mentioned Sir Anthon Hopkins won the Best Actor statue and became the oldest person to win in the Best Actor category at 83 years old. Proving age is just a number, Ann Roth tied in becoming the oldest woman to win an Oscar at the age of 89 for her costume design work in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.

4. South Africa’s first documentary win

The poster to My Octopus Teacher available on Netflix
[Image Description: Poster of My Octopus Teacher.] Via Netflix.
After winning a slew of awards during award season, My Octopus Teacher was able to wrap its tentacles around the Best Documentary Feature Oscar at the 93rd Academy Awards. In doing so, My Octopus Teacher became the first South African nature documentary to become a Netflix Original and to win an Oscar.

5. South Korea makes history again

Best Supporting Actress winner Yuh-Jung Youn
[Image Description: Yuh-Jung Youn speaking as she accepted her Oscar for Best Supporting Actress..] Via E!
Continuing South Korea’s winning streak after Parasite, Youn Yuh-Jung became the first Korean actor to win an Oscar for her portrayal as the matriarch in one of the 2020s most talked about films, Minari. Youn Yuh-Jung won in the Best Supporting Actress category.

6. First woman of color to win Best Director

Chloe Zhao is the first woman of color to win for Best Director
[Image Description: Director Chloe Zhao accepting the Best Director Oscar for her work on Nomadland.] Via the Academy.
Chloe Zhao graciously accepted the award for Best Director for Nomadland and became the second woman to win the award after Katheryn Bigelow in 2009. She also became the first woman of color and the first Asian, specifically, Chinese woman to win in that category.

7. First time is H.E.R. lucky charm

Best Original Song winner H.E.R.
[Image Description: H.E.R.’s holding her Oscar.] Via Variety.
R&B singer H.E.R. is used to receiving music awards and parlayed that into film when she was not only nominated but won for Best Original Song on the first try. She won for the anthem, Fight for You, featured in the film, Judas and The Black Messiah. This victory also made her first black woman win in this category since Irene Cara in 1983.

8. Black women finally honored in makeup and hair

The first black women to win an Oscar for Best Hair and Makeup
[Image Description: Mia Neal (left), Jamika Wilson (center), and Sergio Lopez-Riviera (right) celebrating their historic win.] Via Variety.
Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson made history on Sunday night after becoming the first black women to receive a nomination and subsequent win in the Best Hair and Makeup category. Their amazing work alongside Sergio Lopez Riviera can be seen in Viola Davis’ transformation in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.

9. First animated film to feature a Black character in the lead.

The offical poster for Pixar's laestest animated film, Soul
[Image Description: Poster for Pixar’s ‘Soul’.] Via IMDB.
“It’s been way too long, and I don’t know that we really have a good answer. We’re always looking to reflect as much of the world out there as we can, and we’re happy that it’s finally happened — that we are representing a part of the population that just hasn’t had as much voice in our films up to now.” director Pete Docter said of the why it took so long for Pixar to have a film with a black lead character.

The film is Soul and it follows the journey of Joe Gardner (voiced by Jamie Foxx), a music teacher who after an accident reverts back to his soul state. Proving that representation is necessary, the film went on to win Best Animated Feature.

10. All that glitters is not gold but Emerald

Director, writer, actress and producer Emerald Fennell wins at the Oscars
[Image Description: Triple Oscar nominee, Emerald Fennell celebrating her first Oscar win for Best Orignal Screenplay.] Via The Academy.

Having appeared on Call The Midwife and the latest season of The Crown, it is Emerald Fennell’s behind-the-scenes work that has garnered all the Academy’s attention.

Fennell’s feature film debut, Promising Young Woman, showcased Fennell’s talent as she wrote, produced, directed, and even made a cameo in the film. She was nominated in three categories, Best Picture (as a producer), Best Director (becoming the first British woman to receive the recognition), and Best Original Screenplay, which she won. She became the first woman to win in that category since 2008.

While a lot of firsts occurred at the 93rd Academy Awards, these firsts will continue to be seen as groundbreaking until the under-represented are provided equity, in front of and behind the cameras. There is still more ground to be broken in terms of diversity and inclusivity, not only in film but within the academy. Let’s hope that the Academy can continue this upward trajectory in years to come!

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TV Shows Movies Pop Culture

Why are plus size women always relegated to the comic relief sidekick?

We all know the trope. The main character is skinny, white, pretty. She can be goofy, but rarely at her own expense. Her love stories are the focus of the plot. She always has a funny sidekick, often a woman of color, and most commonly a plus-size woman. She’s there to provide emotional support and a witty one-liner or two. Think of Sookie in Gilmore Girls, who plays second fiddle to thin and quirky Lorelai Gilmore. Or think of Etta Candy in every incarnation of Wonder Woman. Even children’s shows, like Total Drama Island, Good Luck Charlie, and Austin and Ally repeat these tropes. Don’t fat women deserve better?

It’s nice to see fat women in the media, for once, but why do they always have to be funny? Almost every larger woman in TV or the movies is basically a walking joke. Sure, it’s gotten more diverse, but the representation itself has barely improved. Fat women are still relegated to comic relief or goofy sidekick. You might say we’re a long way from the Fat Monica gags on Friends, but that’s not true. Think about Insatiable, featuring Debby Ryan, which treats its main character as a joke until she loses weight. That’s the same formula, isn’t it?

Let’s consider some of the most popular plus-size actresses around now. Melissa McCarthy and Rebel Wilson both broke into the mainstream years ago, and their popularity has rarely floundered. They’ve both been in dozens of TV shows and movies, usually playing comedic roles, which they do brilliantly. Rebel Wilson just recently had her first starring role in a romantic comedy, for which she garnered critical praise. Melissa McCarthy won an Academy Award for her dramatic lead role in Can You Ever Forgive Me? However, if you ask most people, they primarily think of them as comedic actors or side characters. Why is that? They’ve both shown that they have range, and both immense comedic and dramatic talent. They’ve both played lead roles. So why do we relegate them to comedic side characters when they’ve proven that they’re capable of so much more?

These two women are success stories, however. Most plus-size actresses never get the chance to expand into dramatic acting. Skinny comedic actresses have plenty of opportunities to break into dramatic acting, even if they’re not particularly talented actors. Skinny comedic actors also get totally different treatment. Actresses like Jennifer Aniston and Anna Kendrick are in plenty of rom-coms, but when they’re funny, it’s quirky and cute. They’re rarely the butt of a rude joke. Furthermore, these skinny comedic actors are able to break into dramatic roles with ease. Plus size actresses have to prove over and over again that they’re worthy of serious roles, whereas skinny actresses can easily transition from comedy to drama and vice versa. 

The problem I see with this is that plus size women constantly have to prove their worth to others time and time over to be taken even remotely seriously. They need to be funny and willing to make jokes at their own expense in return for our consideration. We require humor and self-deprecation from fat women, in return for the common human decency we all return. Fat women don’t need to put on a performance to earn their keep. They are capable of the same range of emotions and humanity as the rest of us.

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We deserve more fat women on television, and not just as comedic sidekicks.

I want fat women in periodic dramas, with pretty dresses and dramatic love triangles. I want to see fat women in rom-coms, having meet-cutes and falling for handsome heartthrobs. Let’s see some fat girls in coming-of-have fantasy stories, as the chosen one, as the hero.

Plus size girls and women have every right to just as beautiful, dramatic, and tragic as their skinny counterparts. For once, I’d like to see a version of Gilmore Girls where a plus size mother and daughter are the protagonists, and get to be cute and quirky and fun. I’d like to see a fat Wonder Woman too.

A woman’s value should never be dictated by her size, and that’s true in television as well as in real life. Let the big girls be the heroes for once. They deserve it.

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TV Shows Life

I would rather rewatch old shows than start a new one and here’s why

Warning: this article contains The Good Place spoilers.

“Are you still watching?”, the words on the screen ask, almost in an accusatory way. Yes, I am, and I have been for some time… the past few years even. For a while now, I’ve been stuck in a loop. I rewatch the same films and TV shows as well as reread the same books

When else do I have the luxury of knowing exactly how things will play out?  

After a long day of putting out fires at work and riding the unpredictable wave of managing relationships online, all I want to do is sit down and rewatch How I Met Your Mother. Retreating from the day, I want to watch Ted hold up that blue french horn in front of Robin’s apartment for the 765th time because I know she’ll smile and start to tear up. I find solace in this certainty. It’s almost like I share a secret with the story and its writers. As I watch Ted fumble with romance, I know where his life will inevitably take him. When else do I have the luxury of knowing exactly how things will play out?  

I enjoy the predictability of it. I’ve given Dead to Me multiple tries, but I can’t seem to get past the second episode because I didn’t enjoy the feeling of being left out. Not knowing what comes next, I struggled to become invested in the characters.

Often, when my life is a flurry of activity and I’m working on multiple things at once, I feel the least inclined to put my faith in a new show. I need to be completely sure that I will enjoy it, and how can I do that when I have no clue what’s in store? 

More than that, I like how I sometimes respond differently to the shows when I encounter them again at another point in my life. The Good Place, half a year after I initially watched it, hit me differently. After parting with college friends I had grown close to, not knowing when and if we would see one another again, I grew to understand Eleanor’s reaction to Chidi wanting to leave the ‘Good Place’. Her denial seems less like selfishness and more like wanting to hang onto someone who she cares about.

It’s almost like I share a secret with the story and its writers.

I can understand her now. I welcome that as proof that I am changing. The woman that watched the finale of The Good Place during her winter break may look similar, but she is a far cry from the one that rewatched it following her college graduation. I hope the same will be true when I eventually revisit it by the end of this year.

Another comfort I draw from partaking in this rewatching loop is that I catch the little things that I had missed before. I suppose it’s normal not to want to miss anything in your life. Every moment, once it’s over, cannot return. Given that I’m an extremely detail-oriented person, I often feel overwrought with anxiety when I feel that I’ve missed out on something; missing out often leads to a misunderstanding somewhere down the line.

With the way that we watch movies and TV shows, there are endless opportunities to go back to a moment and relive it. My roommates can attest to the crazy number of times I’ve rewatched a scene in Shutter Island, in which a patient picks up an invisible glass which reappears in her hand in the next scene. I called them all to the living room, crying out about Scorsese’s mind-blowing attention to detail more times than necessary. 

Catching things like that make me feel like I am sharing an inside joke with the director and the characters. They also quell my worries that I am overlooking details of my own life by being distracted by other things. There is also low commitment involved in rewatching, as I can pick up and start whenever I like, given that I know the sequence of events. 

At the end of the day, I want to turn to the things I can expect. I know how I will feel when I watch Elanor walk through the exit, finally content with the life she’s led. When I click ‘play’ on the final episode, that bittersweet joy is how I want to feel at that moment. Rewatching can transport you back to old feelings.

At the end of the day, I want to turn to the things I can expect.

In a day and age when there is so much content to stream that the choices feel endless, and there is a pressure to stay on top of every new release, I see that re-experiencing familiar stories can actually be incredibly comforting. So am I still watching? Yes, Netflix. Yes, I am. 

Editor's Picks Poetry Pop Culture

Here’s why that Rumi quote you’re posting is actually fake

How many books have you read where the protagonist tells the story from their own eyes?

Where the narrator has opinions that end up defining and shaping the rest of the characters, and it’s up to us viewers to catch the slivers of objectivity and piece together the whole story?

We rely on the narrator’s lens to show us the whole picture.

But, what if… we don’t know the narrator at all? 

It was with these thoughts that I came across a Twitter thread by Persian Poetics that explained the removal of Islam from the famous poet, Jalaluddin Rumi’s writing.

via Twitter
Twitter / via @PersianPoetics 

Born in the early 13th century, Rumi grew up in what is now Afghanistan and eventually settled with his family in Konya, today’s Turkey.

Rumi is known for his life-changing, mystical, enlightened-esque poetry, but hardly known as what he truly was: a scholar of Islam, and a practicing Muslim.

The thread goes on to draw a massive distinction between Rumi’s original writing that was ingrained with the teachings of the Quran, and Rumi’s spiritual and religious knowledge. His original poems, written in Persian, were a vivid reflection of Rumi’s Muslim identity and spiritual beliefs. In the hands of colonialist ‘translators’, Rumi’s poetry was distorted, stripped of the culture it steeped in, and converted to a diluted version of his true poetry.

The interpreter responsible for most prominently separating Rumi from his Muslim identity and who made a career out of his ‘translations’, was Coleman Barks. He may have had a degree in Literature, but Barks had never studied Islam or Sufism academically.

Yet, somehow, this man who could not understand a word of Persian decided to ‘translate’ the work of Rumi, a poet who wrote fifty-thousand lines of mostly Persian, some Arabic poetry, and often used Islamic anecdotes in one of his final works: a six-book monumental poem titled ‘Masnavi’.

In a brilliant article for the New Yorker, Rozina Ali writes, that Jawid Mojaddedi, a scholar of early Sufism at Rutgers, told her that, “the Rumi that people love is very beautiful in English, and the price you pay is to cut the culture and religion.”

So, when I heard that Brad Pitt had one of Rumi’s more famously translated poems tattooed on his arm, I immediately began wondering how he’d feel when he found out what Rumi was actually saying.

On the right is Barks’ ‘translation’ and what Pitt has tattooed.

On the left is a true translation by Persian Poetics.

 A post comparing the translation of one of Rumi's poems between Coleman Barks and Persian Poetics on Twitter
[Image description: A post comparing the translation of one of Rumi’s poems between Coleman Barks and Persian Poetics on Twitter. The Coleman Banks version says: Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there. Persian Poetics translation states: Beyond kufr and Islam there is a desert plain, in that middle space our passions reign. When the gnostic arrives there he’ll prostrate himself, not kufr not Islam nor is there any space in that domain.] Via Persian Poetics on Twitter.

In the hands of colonialist ‘translators’, Rumi’s poetry was stripped of the culture it’s steeped in.

See what I mean?

A tweet from Persian Poetics that shows an image of Brad Pitt with a tattoo of Coleman Bark's weak translation of one of Rumi's poems.
[Image description: A tweet from Persian Poetics that shows an image of Brad Pitt with a tattoo of Coleman Bark’s weak translation of one of Rumi’s poems.] Via Persian Poetics on Twitter
Ivanka Trump tweeted Coleman Barks translation of Rumi's poem : “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I’ll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about. Persian Poetics tweeted a picture of her tweet with the caption : Ivanka Trump, the daughter of the most Islamophobic president in US history, tweeted it out after her dad failed to make peace in Afghanistan. If Rumi were alive today, her dad wouldn't even allow him in the country. The irony
[Image description: Ivanka Trump tweeted Coleman Barks translation of Rumi’s poem: “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I’ll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about.
Persian Poetics tweeted a picture of her tweet with the caption: Ivanka Trump, the daughter of the most Islamophobic president in US history, tweeted it out after her dad failed to make peace in Afghanistan. If Rumi were alive today, her dad wouldn’t even allow him in the country. The irony.] Via Twitter
In the words of Persian Poetics: my heart aches for those who only know Rumi via this orientalist garbage masquerading as a translation.

Let’s pull this back and examine the role of a reliable narrator.

Even as a translator, Coleman Barks wasn’t reliable. He tried to westernize centuries-old poetry that represented a religious scholar’s life work, in order for it to seem more approachable and easier to face by an audience that it probably was never even meant for.

It makes you seriously question: how much do we just not know? How much of the history and culture of the past has been deliberately mistranslated, before it was even misinterpreted? 

Culture seems to scare people.

A narrator’s job is to be reliable and tell the truth. A narrator should merely translate the scenes playing out; it’s up to us to interpret them.

The truth is that an unreliable translator can change the story instantly.

That’s how you preserve all of history – not just a single dimension of it. The truth is that an unreliable translator can change the story instantly.

It can trick you into mixing up the good and evil, the black and white.

But, most dangerously, an unreliable narrator can take all the shades of grey and distort them into one giant blob, making it unable to ever understand the story and risk losing its true essence forever.

You’ll never trust the story.

If nothing else, the weak, one-sides translations of Rumi’s powerful work are proof of that.

TV Shows BRB Gone Viral Pop Culture

Why are ‘The Bachelor’ and ‘The Bachelorette’ still so white?

I love reality television, particularly The Bachelor. 

The roses, the crying women in limos, the wine I drink while watching it… I love every bit of it and its experience. What started as something that I simply wanted to try out has now become a beloved show that I tune into every Monday night it is on. 

The Bachelor premiered in 2002 as a simple dating show and soon became one of the most popular shows on network television. It has several spin-off shows – The Bachelorette, Bachelor Winter Games, Bachelor Pad, and Bachelor in Paradise – yet, like many reality tv shows, this show still has its very present flaws. 

For it is still lacking one very important thing, diversity, particularly when it comes to the show’s leads. 

There have been 23 seasons of The Bachelor and 15 seasons of The Bachelorette to date, but only two leads of color have been featured: Juan Pablo who is Venezualan and Rachel Lindsay who is African-American.

Every other lead has been white. Let that sink in. 

There have been 23 seasons of The Bachelor and 15 seasons of The Bachelorette to date, but only two leads of color have been featured.

Now, this has not been for lack of trying from the viewers’ end. This year, in particular, many viewers rallied together in support of contestant Mike Johnson in hopes of him becoming the first black bachelor. Throughout The Bachelorette season he was a contestant on, Johnson was charming, classy, and very well-received by many of the show’s viewers.

As per usual, though, the franchise decided to go with another white lead, Peter Weber, from the upcoming season of The Bachelor. While I am a fan of our guy Pilot Pete, I would be lying if I wasn’t a bit disappointed when I found out the news. 

So, why have The Bachelor and its franchise shows been so white throughout all of these years? 

It isn’t because of a lack of contestants of color. Throughout the years, the franchise has featured many contestants that have come from a wide variety of backgrounds but these contestants typically get much less screen time, with many sent home at an early point of the season, and so are much less likely to be chosen at the end of their season.

More than 23 seasons and this show is still basically Barbie meeting Ken and vice versa, over and over again. 

The bias that the franchise has towards its white contestants can be seen through social media as well. Typically, contestants of color have a much smaller amount of followers in comparison to their white counterparts. 

For example, black bachelorette Rachel Lindsay has 872,000 followers on Instagram, while Jojo Fletcher, a white bachelorette, has around 2.2 million followers. So, while Lindsay is not disliked by the fanbase or franchise, she does have a much smaller following online, compared to the other white bachelorettes. 

The ratings of Lindsay’s season were also lower than in previous seasons. The first five episodes of her season had around 5.7 million viewers instead of the typical 6.7 million. This occurred despite Lindsay being extremely camera-friendly and charismatic. 

Lindsay even criticized the franchise for how her season was made. She said, “I was denied my on-camera happy ending and labeled an angry black female.”

“Bachelor Nation just doesn’t care about people of color.” – Rachel Lindsay 

With all this being said and taken into consideration, one could say that it will probably be a while until we get our first black bachelor, if at all, because of the franchise’s attitude towards its contestants of color. For, as Lindsay said herself on the Bachelor Party Podcast, “Bachelor Nation just doesn’t care about people of color.” 

Look, as someone who is definitely in the minority of the show’s viewership, I know that these facts are disappointing. Is this the best they can do? More than 23 seasons and this show is still basically Barbie meeting Ken and vice versa, over and over again. 

This franchise can, and should, do better. Hopefully, if fans keep pushing for change, more diversity will come to this cheesy yet entertaining show. 

TV Shows LGBTQIA+ Pop Culture

15 LGBTQIA+ tropes that need to be retired yesterday

Queer representation is having a good year (Valkyrie “needs to find her queen”! David (ew) and Patrick! Robin Buckley!). However, we’re still backsliding. There are still too many LGBTQIA+ tropes and trends in television that reinforce negative stereotypes and perpetuate a complete lack of awareness when it comes to the queer community. Negative characters and oblivious portrayals are as disheartening as they are harmful.

And yet, Emmy season after Emmy season, we pat incremental change and mediocrity on the back, calling it progress. That needs to stop. No more trophies until it actually gets better. So, Hollywood, here’s a list of what could be, should be, has to be improved because you clearly need help:

Beware of spoilers!

1. My body is your body

The cast of <em>Queer Eye</em>, five men of similar build dressed in suits.
[Image description: The cast of Queer Eye, five men of similar build dressed in suits.] Via Getty
There are bears and otters and butches and femmes everything in between, but they’re rarely seen on screen. The Queer Eye hosts pretty much have the same body type. Darren Criss or Ben Whishaw could dead dropped into the majority of LGBTQIA+ roles and no one would notice. There is little to no deviation and that’s not representation. 

2. Language 

A brown-haired, white boy responds to someone off-screen, saying: "I'm not gay."
[Image description: A brown-haired, white boy responds to someone off-screen, saying: “I’m not gay.”] Via Derry Girls on Netflix
Somehow “gay” is still slung like it’s damaging to one’s masculinity. In Netflix’s Derry Girls, James is repeatedly called “gay” for no reason other than perhaps getting a rise out of him. The series is set in the 1990s, but this detail doesn’t get excused as world building. It doesn’t add anything and it doesn’t help. 

3. This is going to take ALL episode

A shirtless, white man is drenched and seated on a stage. Behind him is a woman lying down.
[Image description: A shirtless, white man is drenched and seated on a stage. Behind him is a woman lying down.] VIa It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia on YouTube
Coming out storylines are still important; however, they don’t always have to take the entire season to come to fruition. Let that character do something else with their story arch. Not everyone needs a Puppy Episode

4. One dimensional queers

A brown-haired white man in a blue button-down and red bowtie says: "Uh, my friend Eric and then my ex John, and then Eric again."
[Image description: A brown-haired white man in a blue button-down and red bowtie says: “Uh, my friend Eric and then my ex John, and then Eric again.”] Via Grace and Frankie on Netflix
The Damiens and other gay-best-friends are being swapped out for those with more depth, like Sex Education‘s Eric. Queer characters deserve development beyond being gay, give them hobbies and all the trivial bits that are written into other characters.

5. Acceptance = Flawless Allyship

A white man in a cap and brown shirt looks stoically at his son.
[Image description: A white man in a cap and brown shirt looks stoically at his son.] Via Glee on YouTube
The super chill attitude of parents/siblings/partners is refreshingly positive, but it leads to a the assumption that Love Is Love and the conversation doesn’t need to go any further when in reality there’s a lot more to be done for gay rights. 

6. Heteronormativity with all the trimmings

Two white women - one blonde, the other black-haired - in prison are having a conversation while seated on the floor. The blonde one says to the other: "You're really telling me you didn't miss me at all?"
[Image description: Two white women – one blonde, the other black-haired – in prison are having a conversation while seated on the floor. The blonde one says to the other: “You’re really telling me you didn’t miss me at all?”] Via Orange Is The New Black on Netflix
Queerness often appears as a straight relationship simply rewritten so that both partners are of the same gender. Not everyone can or wants to assimilate to that norm. There isn’t a boyfriend and a girlfriend when there are two girlfriends.

7. She wears a hat and you know what that means

A woman in a blue striped shirt, suspenders, and a newboy cap is seated in a dark restaurant.
[Image description: A woman in a blue striped shirt, suspenders, and a newboy cap is seated in a dark restaurant.] Via The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on YouTube
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel‘s Susie is the example of presentation standing in for conversation. Her character feels too much like a benchwarmer for when the show decides to get political. 

8. One lone queer character amid masses of straights 

Two dark-haired white men - one in a suit, the other in a red bellhop uniform - are staring each other down.
[Image description: Two dark-haired white men – one in a suit, the other in a red bellhop uniform – are staring each other down.] Via Mad Men on Netflix
There’s never an abundance unless it’s the L Word or Loking. There are partners and exes, but rarely just everyday other queer people. 

9. Queer-baiting

A blonde girl and a black-haired girl kiss. They're dressed in a yellow-and-white cheerleading uniform.
[Image description: A blonde girl and a black-haired girl kiss. They’re dressed in a yellow-and-white cheerleading uniform.] Via Riverdale on The CW
A potentially queer character or couple is usually hinted at or teased. Too often the scene seems to have been written just to draw in a potential audience. The entirety of BBC’s Sherlock, anyone?

10. “I’ve never done this before.”

Two women are lying in bed looking at each intensely. One has her arm outstretched, cupping the face of the other.
[Image description: Two women are lying in bed looking at each intensely. One has her arm outstretched, cupping the face of the other.] Via Killing Eve on YouTube
The fluidity of sexuality deserves screen time, but currently the bed’s a little crowded with “straight” people. This I-normally-wouldn’t-but image feeds into the whole queers are here to steal your wife stereotype. 

11. Strategic camera pan

Two white men in suits are on the dance floor, their foreheads touching as they gaze lovingly into each other's eyes.
[Image description: Two white men in suits are on the dance floor, their foreheads touching as they gaze lovingly into each other’s eyes.] Via Modern Family on ABC
The camera tends to look away during even remotely intimate moments between queer characters. Or deny by omission that they even have sex. Equal screen time or bust. The Shadowhunters fandom erupted when Malec was denied a sex scene in season 2. The writers tried to make up for it in season 3.

12. Lesbian sex involves a lot of clothing

Two women in bed cuddle after sex. The one on the left side-hugs the one on the right who says: "Hello."
[Image description: Two women in bed cuddle after sex. The one on the left side-hugs the one on the right who says: “Hello.”] Via In The Dark on Netflix
This costume quirk is obviously an attempt to keep it PG, but come on. Straight couples have had strategically draped sheets for decades. Will no cameraperson attempt to hide the nudity of two women on screen? 

13. Repression & Hate = Closeted Gay

Two high school football players - one black, the other white - mock two other students dressed up in costumes.
[Image description: Two high school football players – one black, the other white – mock two other students dressed up in costumes.] Via Glee on YouTube
Characters like Sex Education‘s Adam illustrate the tired trend of tortured high school bullies being the result of their own self-hatred. Scripts need to stop assuming the best of hate and homophobes. 

14. Bury your gays

A dark-haired, brown woman stared coyly at her blonde friend.
[Image description: A dark-haired, brown woman stared coyly at her blonde friend.] Via You on Netflix
If your script includes the death of a LGBTQIA+ character, go back to the writing room. Remember what happened in The 100‘s fandom after Lexa was killed?

15. Queerness is overwhelmingly white

Two white women in tank tops are drinking in a low-lit dining booth.
[Image description: Two white women in tank tops are drinking in a low-lit dining booth.] Via Gypsy on Netflix
Thankfully shows like Pose, Queer Sugar, Dear White People, Black Lightning, and The Bold Type are changing the game.

In general, television has come a long way since shows like Will & Grace, Queer as Folk, and Ellen. LGBTQIA+ representation no longer finds itself confined to the first two letters of the acronym. Of course, there’s still lot’s to learn, but in the meantime, support the series that get it right and show the world what it needs to see. 

TV Shows Pop Culture

How “Schitt’s Creek” crafted reality without redeeming the rich

Schitt’s Creek has a pretty unpitiable premise.

Wealthy couple, Johnny and Moira Rose, find themselves broke after Mr. Rose’s business manager makes off with their fortune. The Roses and their two thirty-something children, David and Alexis, are then forced to relocate to the nowhere town of Schitt’s Creek, given it’s the only property the IRS left them. The pilot episode finds the family moving into the Schitt’s Creek motel and attempting to acclimate to the pace of this presumably backwater town.

Initially, I was hesitant to tune in. I don’t find watching the uber rich struggle to do mundane tasks funny. You can only hear so many versions of the how-much-could-a-banana-cost line before it hits you that Jeff Bezos definitely has no idea how much a banana costs. Financial illiteracy in this age just isn’t cute. I’m not sure it ever was (particularly in Trump’s America) and the disconnected rich person act is just too close to reality to be real fodder for comedy. 

While Schitt’s Creek does have an element of schadenfreude, the comedy of the show goes beyond the low hanging fruit of watching the wealthy sleep in a bed of their own making. The strength of the show is it’s ability write beyond that first joke.

A dark-haired, brown man confusedly says, "I don't even know what tailgate means."
[Image description: A dark-haired man confusedly says, “I don’t even know what tailgate means.”] Via Schitt’s Creek on Netflix
The Roses spend a few beats bumbling around, not knowing what to do without business centers or oil baron boyfriends but they quickly find footholds. It’s evident that they’re made of sterner stuff. Viewers learn that before Schitt’s Creek, Alexis escaped from a Thai drug lord’s trunk, Moira fixed a wobbly table, and Johnny built a video empire. The Roses have talents; they’re not Trumps. This foundation gives them something of a fighting chance. It also makes them more likeable.

The Roses are, additionally, not set up to be villains. They’re the victims of white collar crime, not the perpetrators of it. If any, their crimes are spending $850 on a pair of pants and owning too much cashmere. Moira and Johnny quickly realize in the harsh light of Schitt’s Creek that they haven’t prepared their children for life. This self-awareness makes them worthy of at least some sympathy.

A white, blonde woman proudly says, "My sister and I baked bread from scratch."
[Image description: A white, blonde woman proudly says, “My sister and I baked bread from scratch.”] Via Schitt’s Creek on Netflix
The Roses also appear to be cognizant of how much their identity was their wealth. In an early episode, David struggles to separate out clothes to sell to the thrift store. He admits to motel clerk Stevie, “These are my things. I hand-selected each of these things. They mean a lot to me.”

In that moment, the viewer is reminded that the Roses only have what they were allowed to keep. Everyone, regardless of their tax bracket, would be a little lost without their things.

“I am having a very hard time right now dealing with the idea that people think that my things are worthless or funky or fake,” David continues later, after trying to hock his clothes online.  This is something universal, in that it touches upon the insecurities and struggles to define the self.

Overall, Schitt’s Creek does a tremendous job humanizing all its characters, not just the Roses. Everyone in the town is allowed to be more than just a punchline about the rich or poor. With its rural setting, Schitt’s Creek could’ve used small town as shorthand for simpleton. However, while the residents may be portrayed as less cosmopolitan, there is no sense that they’re worse off.

There are a few charmingly clueless townsfolk but none of them are reduced to mere a joke. The town’s major, Roland Schitt, has a wispy mullet and a penchant for eating with his fingers but he’s also a loving husband and giving friend. Stevie, with her Target jeans and flawless sarcasm, matches David gibe for gibe. 

The Roses quickly earn the viewer’s favor with proof of their own depth. The germaphobic, possible-megalomaniac Moira neglects to care for her flu-stricken daughter, but eventually rallies to her aid. In subbing in at the front desk, Johnny proves both his business savvy as well as his stupidity. There’s a lot of character growth and depth in Schitt’s Creek but not in a way that makes the show about redemption.

Part of the genius of Eugene and Dan Levy’s writing is their ability to add layers beneath their character’s couture and well-moisturized surfaces. They do this without coming across as cliche by balancing the good behavior with the bad.

The Roses also don’t emerge utterly changed after each season. They maintain the elements of their personality that make them Roses. Similarly, the people of the town may learn a thing or two but they maintain their own identities. No one is steamrolled for the sake of plot. Everyone is deserving of dimension and written in a way that resembles real life and that is the success of the series

TV Shows Pop Culture

Seeing yourself as a songbird: how “Tuca & Bertie” on Netflix gave women a mirror

The world of Netflix’s now-cancelled series Tuca & Bertie (2019) is ridiculous from the title sequence.

If you’re unfamiliar with creator Lisa Hanawalt‘s work (eg, Bojack Horseman) and her undefined line between human, animal, and hybrid, it may take a few frames for your brain to calibrate.

The world of T&B is an anthropomorphized menagerie. The buildings have breasts, the neighbor is a houseplant with legs, an ultrasound machine makes a getaway with his wife. There are birds in the sky, but that bird is in short shorts? In the way that Goofy and Pluto are both dogs, but only one lives in the house, T&B creates a universe where you’re never quite sure which animals are animals, which are people, or who’s going to start talking next.

Ultimately, it asks the question: in an animated world, is anything inanimate?

Still from title sequence featuring anthropomorphized building and building with billboard for "A Tornante Production". Via Netflix.
Still from title sequence featuring anthropomorphized building and building with billboard for “A Tornante Production”. Via Netflix.

Seconds into the pilot, my first thought was, “I wouldn’t suggest this to my parents.”

It’s not inappropriate per se, but niche enough to startle anyone who doesn’t actively seek out this kind of genre-bending content. But then I immediately found myself asking, “why not?” The series is not just relatable to Millennials, but also speaks to the emotionality of an age that existed for all generations. Whether Boomers want to admit it or not, they went through the same wobbling stability and unsureness that Tuca and Bertie are going through. Same panic, different phone size. 

In broad strokes, T&B is about two young friends trying to make something of themselves in a big city. It is in that way not all that dissimilar from How I Met Your Mother, It’s Always Sunny, New Girl or all the other look-at-my-life shows that built on the idea that everyone’s life is the same yet completely different. The plotlines aren’t unfamiliar. In one episode Bertie moves in with her boyfriend. In other Tuca is smitten with her deli guy. It wouldn’t be too hard to transpose an episode of T&B into another televised universe. The One Where Bertie and Speckle Try Kinky Sex or The Gang Goes To Yeast Week. 

Still featuring songbird Bertie leaning back in office chair, singing about spicy chips while holding a bag. Via Netflix.
Still featuring songbird Bertie leaning back in office chair, singing about spicy chips while holding a bag. Via Netflix.

The one major difference is that T&B is uncompromisingly female.

Tuca and Bertie’s medicine cabinets are overflowing, they freak out over break-ups, they struggle to pee in rompers, they aspire to become pastry chefs, they perform all the things that in a gendered world are feminine, only without the polish. It is this last bit that sets T&B apart from the women that came before them. Tuca and Bertie’s accomplishments come with cracks in them. Bertie lands a new position, but is immediately disheartened by the hours. Tuca stands up to her Auntie, but realizes she still needs her charity.

The world of these birds isn’t cruel or unfair, it’s just more realistic. More realistic at times than most live action. Perhaps because Tuca and Bertie can’t spend an hour in hair and makeup, they come across as about as ready for life as anyone else at any given moment. Something about how their feathers fall gives the impression that they’re capable of making the same mistakes as the viewer. 

This imperfection is not the imperfection of HBO’s Girls that gives the viewer anxiety-by-proxy. Nor is it the faux imperfection of Friends. T&B is not messy as in #GodBlessThisMess, but messy in the honest, tangled, take-your-ass-to-a-therapist kind of way. Women are rarely allowed to languor in this state without being self-deprecating, charactertured, or satirical. It is a space between being the overly-sexualized high-schooler and the mother.

Not a girl, not yet a Good Wife. Tuca and Bertie aren’t high-powered career women or perpetual girlfriends. They’re defined by their characteristics, not their jobs or relationships. Ally McBeal was a lawyer, Meredith Grey was a surgeon, Samantha wrote about her dating life. Tuca and Bertie… are Tuca and Bertie. The plot is driven by the facts of life– by Bertie’s fight with her boyfriend or Tuca’s attempt at a new job– but that’s not the first or the fifteenth thing that comes to mind when you think about the show. It is a show about two women figuring out their 30s. 

Still featuring anthropomorphized houseplant neighbor Draca smoking in her apartment while surrounded by turtles. Via Netflix.
Still featuring anthropomorphized houseplant neighbor Draca smoking in her apartment while surrounded by turtles. Via Netflix.

By cutting T&B, Netflix is deprioritizing this kind of storytelling. It’s saying more detectives with dead wives, more dramas about the same predominantly white period in English history, more glorification of serial killers. Not more women with anxiety attacks in posh grocery stories, women with pain-inducing reproductive systems, women with STDs and uncertain futures. No more pet jaguars. Without it, women on television can largely be described “pleasant.”

Self-identified people-pleaser Bertie would probably fight me on this one, but the women of T&B aren’t pleasant. They’re not ladies or any of those other annoying terms for women that diminish their very humanity. They’re just Tuca and Bertie.

It’s unfair that they only got one season. Still, I encourage you to savor those 10 episodes to see yourself in these songbirds. Here’s to hoping they find a new nest. 


TV Shows Pop Culture

These are the real causes and effects of binge-watching, says science

Binge-watching is all the rage, these days, thanks to streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime.

Peruse any social media app and you’ll find users joking about having to pull themselves away from their computers or TVs because they just have to finish the latest season of Stranger Things. Some go as far as contemplating calling in sick or pushing back their homework so that they can spend more time online. Hopefully, they are actually joking. Spending too much time on such a sedentary activity can come with unwanted health risks (as well as retaliation from one’s employer if they neglect their responsibility).

Health and professional risks aside, have you ever wondered how binge-watching, defined by Merriam Dictionary as watching many or all episodes (of a TV series) in rapid succession, affects your viewing experience as a consumer? That’s the topic I spoke about with Matt Johnson, a researcher at Hult International Business School, who holds a Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology and Neuroscience from Princeton University.

Keep reading for three possible side effects of binge-watching, as well as a little bit about why we feel compelled to binge in the first place.

You Might Not Remember All That You Binged

Think of a show you binged, and one that you watched traditionally. Chances are, you can recall the show watched over weeks better than the one you binged.

Sure, you might be able to remember major plot points, but that one-liner that people are raving over? The shocking reveal from that B-character? You probably have no recollection of it. This happens because binging doesn’t allow enough time to actually process the information we’re digesting, according to Johnson.

“There is a lot of evidence that your memory for events in long streams like this is not as strong as it would be if the information was broken down into larger chunks.” The reason, Johnson continued, “is that memory needs to time for consolidation – the process by which the brain (via the hippocampus and nearby regions) takes experiences and lays them down into long-term memory,” so watching a show that originally aired over three years in three weeks, probably isn’t enough time.

You Might Not Enjoy What You Do Remember

Ever experience what I call post-episode(s) depression? It’s that period when the high you achieved from being inundated with a constant stream of something you enjoyed wears off, and you end up feeling kind of, well, bummed. Johnson says this may be due to “short term enjoyment at the expense of longer-term satisfaction.” He reasoned that we can “enjoy these experiences as they’re happening, but there’s evidence to suggest that we actually regret them in retrospect. Watching in smaller chunks, spread out over a longer period of time requires more deliberate choice and effort” Johnson continued, “and these types of decisions usually incorporate a better understanding for our longer-term sense of well-being/satisfaction,” so we regret them less.

You Might Grow Emotionally Dependent On The Fictional Worlds

Though there’s no formal research available to support this, it’s possible that there may be a link between the blues you experience after completing a binge and an increased emotional dependency to the fiction world you’ve spent hours and hours immersing yourself in. “We may feel compelled to binge-watch because of this emotional connection, or the emotional connection might be the result of binge-watching.  It’s unclear which way the causality goes.”

As for as the reason we binge-watch at all, it’s possibly influenced by Netflix’s post-play feature (which causes one episode to play after another) according to Johnson. “This really compels us to binge more than we otherwise would, because it takes individual episodes and makes them feel, psychologically, like one large seamless experience. This compels us to continue via the Ziegnarik Effect – we have a difficult time stopping something when we feel like we’re in the middle of it.”

Well, that explains it.

TV Shows Life Stories Pop Culture

When I miss my mother, watching this television show makes me feel less alone

I was browsing through Netflix looking for something lighthearted to binge-watch, and I came across NBC’s Great News. I had heard that it was predictable and kind of silly, but I started watching it because it’s a show about a mother and daughter so close that they end up working at the same news station. 

I typically shy away from shows whose protagonists are successful, business-minded white women because, well, their lives are so dissimilar to mine. But even though Katie has perfect skin and hair, a steady career in journalism, and very few worries other than struggling to assert herself at work and managing her overbearing mother, I found myself liking her. She fumbles a lot and requires a great deal of support, and that’s a quality I can relate to.

I’ve always been drawn to mother-daughter narratives because I never had a positive relationship with my own mother. My aunt, who filled in when my mother was no longer capable of caring for me, did her best to give me the love and affection that I needed, but my depth of need soon exceeded what she could provide.

To some, Katie’s mother is campy and overbearing. But to me, she is the real hero of the show: a mother that would stop at nothing to help her child and had the presence of mind to know when she had overstepped her bounds. Each episode wraps up neatly with Carol realizing that she has embarrassed her daughter in some horrendous way, apologizing, and hugging it out.

Carol struggles with boundaries, and while it is a constant source of frustration for the child, it was refreshing for me to see a mother so genuine and doggedly dedicated to helping and protecting her child. Katie even complains constantly, albeit validly, that her mother is so involved in her life that she feels smothered.

I understand that feeling. My aunt was a helicopter parent too. But, unlike Katie, I realized early on that this involvement was doing more harm than good, and my efforts to address the problem with my aunt drove a wedge between us so deep that I learned to fear her. Eventually, I assumed that she hated me, and I began directing that hate back at her. There was never that outpouring of support and affection that is common on Great News, and it wasn’t until I started watching this over-emotive show that I realized how much I had craved it growing up, and how much I still need it.

I think, if I am being honest with myself, that the altogether inappropriate protectiveness that Carol exhibits towards her daughter was so appealing to me because I associate that sort of attention with maternal love.

I have to admit that I was an emotionally needy child that carried that same neediness into adulthood. My aunt tried really hard to fix me up with the bent and rusty toolbox that she had from her own traumatized childhood, but her feelings about having to continue to carry a stunted adult child surfaced one night after I had asked her yet again for the validation that I still can’t seem to give myself.

“Jessica, you are exhausting. You are just exhausting! It’s never enough for you!” she snarled at me, frustrated that I was asking for something she didn’t think she should have to provide a 24-year-old.

But she was right. Mentally ill children are exhausting. Mentally ill adults that keep pleading for exaltations of love and acceptance from tired parents are annoying. I am an emotional burden that my aunt has been trying to shed since she realized that she couldn’t give me the type of love that I wanted, but I kept pushing, I kept asking and begging and antagonizing and now she is tired, and she is disappointed, and she is done.

On the show, Carol never gets tired, and she is never finished with smothering her daughter with affection. She goes to extraordinary lengths to make sure Katie has as many wins as she needs to feel successful. But then, Carol’s toolbox is neat and shiny, filled with sugars and spices and the desperate desire to feel needed. She literally lives for Katie. That isn’t healthy or right, but I still watch Great News and think, “That woman loves her daughter.”

Carol is entirely fictional. I know that. I tell myself that when I find myself comparing my relationship with my aunt to Carol’s scripted TV relationship with her daughter. There is a lot about how she shows her love that is problematic. But she does show it sincerely and unabashedly, and that is the part of their relationship that I love to watch and that I yearn for.

My aunt and I barely speak, but maybe we can sit down together one day and watch an episode or two of Great News and laugh like we used to.