Survivor: Exiled

survivor tribeWow, that was harsh.

This season of Survivor has been a bit lackluster, but at least we’re starting to see the alliances shift and players are beginning to make big moves. None of these people have the amount of strategic intelligence that Boston Rob has in his pinky finger, but it’s better than nothing.

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The Problems With This Week’s ‘Parenthood’

NBC is currently airing the final season of Parenthood, a show I love. It’s the sixth season, and will be thirteen episodes long. So, we’re in the home stretch.

Jason Katims has made great final seasons before. I adore the final season of Friday Night Lights. But we’re in the home stretch now (this week’s “Aaron Brownstein Must Be Stopped” was episode eight) and I have some concerns.

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Survivor: Full of Hot Air

merged tribeWow. The players on this season of Survivor are full of sh–, literally. Pre-merge, this season was already one of the weakest we’ve seen in a while. I blame that entirely on the cast. There were too many poor players to allow for good strategy. I think players like Jeremy, Josh and Reed could be great if they were playing against equal competitors. I liked my pick for the season, Kelley, and wish she’d gotten to play more. Even Natalie is surprising me.

But then there’s Rocker and Julie and Wed and Alec and Drew and Baylor and Missy and probably a few other total morons who are dragging this season down. I mean, when the most interesting part of an episode is an awkward conversation centered entirely around bodily functions, you know things are bad.

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‘Happy Endings’ Alumni: Where are they now?

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When The Mindy Project added former Happy Endings cast member Adam Pally to their show, I was thrilled. I want to see each and every person from that show working. (Except for maybe the guy who played Dave, because… he was such a Dave.)

Pally has blended in well with the new show, and has been the centre of a few of my favorite episodes.

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I was also happy to see Damon Wayans Jr. rejoin the cast of New Girl has Coach (he had been in the pilot), though that transition wasn’t as smooth. New Girl already as a large cast, and I don’t think they’ve quite figured out how to best use Wayans. His character Brad on Happy Endings was much more fully-formed, and funnier, than Coach. New Girl was struggling when they made the addition, and though the show has been stronger this season than last, I don’t think it has fully recovered. I’ve adored The Mindy Project this season, but I only continue to watch New Girl out of habit and the hope that it will get better.

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This fall, two new shows popped up featuring more Happy Endings cast members. Marry Me is a show I was looking forward to ever since I read about it. I was hoping to love this show, because it’s the work of so many people I like. It stars Casey Wilson (Penny on Happy Endings) and Ken Marino (of Veronica Mars and Party Down semi-fame), and was created by David Caspe. Caspe created Happy Endings and is now married to Casey Wilson.

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Unfortunately, this show has been almost unbearable for me to watch. Wilson is playing a character so similar to Penny, that the show might as well be a spin-off of Happy Endings. (In fact, it does take place in the same world. It’s shot on the same fake Chicago set, and included a crossover character in one episode.) Her chemistry with Marino is decent, but we’re only a few episodes in and I already think these recently engaged characters fight too much. The plots are too inane, the humor is too broad, and the supporting cast is too one-dimensional. I’ll keep watching, because I think sitcoms often take a while to find their groove. But I’ve severely lowered my expectations.

Then there’s Benched. It’s a little show on the cable network USA starring Eliza Coupe, who played Jane on Happy Endings. She plays an ambitious attorney who has a nervous breakdown and becomes a public defender.

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The show is basically a vehicle to show off what a great comedian Coupe is, but I already think the supporting cast is more interesting than that of Marry Me. It’s only two episodes in, but I’m already intrigued enough to keep watching.

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Ruth Reichl memoirs, ‘Yes Please’, Lena Dunham and more

I’ve been trying to read more this year. I’m using a notebook that I bought at City Lights Books in San Francisco to list every book I read this year. Counting my friend Joel Kelly‘s short eBook “No Greater Love Than This” (and count it I do – you should, too!) I’m currently at fourteen. I’d say my usual average for the year is around ten, so this is awesome for me.

amy-poehler-yes-pleaseThe last book I read was Yes Please by Amy Poehler. I loved it, and I need to go back and read it again RIGHT NOW with a notebook and pen so I can write down all the great advice she gives. Only I can’t, because I’ve already jumped into Lena Dunham’s book Not That Kind of Girl. Gah! How am I supposed to keep up with all these smart, witty women and their stupid amazing books?

I felt like Amy and I share a few qualities. A certain spunk and passion that, maybe sometimes, can turn into self-righteousness, defensiveness, and a tendency to anger quickly. She’s older than me, so I felt like she had some good tips on how to handle this personality. (Tina Fey’s book reminded me more of my smart, sensitive sister Allison. Together we will take over the world! Though realistically, we probably both related most to Mindy Kaling. She is younger, childless, and I believe more of a writer than a performer at heart.)

I think you already know whether you’ll like Amy Poehler’s book. If you like her, you’ll love it. If you’ll be bored by stories about what a woman in her forties has learned so far, the ins and outs of sketch comedy, SNL and Parks and Recreation, and how very tired Amy Poehler is then, you know, give it a pass.

I spent three weeks in Italy back in September, and during that trip I read a lot. On planes, on trains, and in bed trying to wind down from the day’s adventures. I read all three memoirs by New York Times restaurant critic Ruth Reichl. These books were fascinating, and perfect to read while abroad. Experiencing food is one of my favorite parts of traveling, and she really made me think about flavors and presentation and cuisine in general a lot more. She is also an incredibly interesting woman with a colorful, strange life. The books are called Tender at the Bone, Comfort Me With Apples, and Garlic and Sapphires.

ruth reichl memoirsI also read Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay. It’s a collection of essays on topics ranging from racism, to feminism, to pop culture, to competitive Scrabble playing. It was a fast, interesting read that riled me up and made me think.

not that kind of girlI’d love to read at two or three more books this year. I’ve barely cracked the cover of Dunham’s, but what should I read next?

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Survivor: Off Her Rocker

Usually, the merging of tribes makes for a lively episode of Survivor. Not this week. In my book, that’s two duds in a row – I hope this season of Survivor picks up soon! I see players with the potential to be good strategists, but so little has happened so far.

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If you’ve seen the most recent episode, click on through..

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Dear Internet: Do we have a feminist version of “mansplaining”?

Like many other Canadian feminists and news junkies, I have spent the past week or so reading approximately six lengthy articles per day about Jian Ghomeshi.

If you’re unfamiliar with this topic, Ghomeshi is a very popular radio host here in Canada. News recently broke that he hurts women. Here are links to three pieces that really stuck with me:

This story is developing so quickly, those stories will probably be irrelevant by the time I post this. Sorry, I tried my best! Google it or something!

I’ve spent so much of my time recently reading about this story, discussing this story, arguing about this story and explaining this story. I’ve been trying to answer questions like these:

Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty? Jian could be innocent, we don’t know all the facts.

We’ll never “know” all the “facts”. Assuming Jian’s innocence is assuming the guilt of his accusers. It was saying that eight (or nine or ten or fifty…) women are liars.

Why didn’t the women tell anyone? Why didn’t they go to the police?

“Why didn’t they go to the police” is a question only white men have the privilege – the luxury – of asking. They did not go because they knew it would likely go nowhere. They wouldn’t be believed, or they’d be believed but there’d be no evidence. They did not go because of a staggering power imbalance.

Why didn’t they tell this guy to scram when he seemed weird? Why did she go to his house/get in his car/spend any time alone with him/etc.?

The only question we should be asking is “Why does this man hurt women?” End of story.

These are just a few examples. I am happy to be surrounded by people who are open to having intelligent conversations about this, who are happy to learn. Men who understand that a woman’s perspective on being a woman is more relevant than his own.

The Internet has coined the term “mansplain”, which Urban Dictionary defines as “to delight in condescending, inaccurate explanations delivered with rock solid confidence of rightness and that slimy certainty that of course he is right, because he is the man in this conversation.”

I’d like to suggest we have a term for feminist explanations, defined as “to patiently and repeatedly deliver thoughtful explanations regarding sexism, patriarchy, misogyny, feminism and one’s own world view as a woman, delivered with rock solid confidence and certainty that she is worth listening to because she is the woman in this conversation.”

What should we call it, friends? “Femsplaining”? “Fem-ducation”? “Feminterpret”? I do not like any of these.

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