Off Topic: What The Women's March Meant To Me

The internet has been ablaze with arguments for and against Saturday's Women's March. Many people were for it, stating that it shows solidarity amongst women, and others said that participants need to get over it and deal with the fact that Trump is president. While I do lean to one side of the spectrum on this, I think there is some perspective that needs to be addressed.

I did not see the Women's March as a solely anti-Trump march.

Sure, some people marched in protest of Donald Trump and his policies. Many did. But others marched to protect special interests (education, gun control, women's rights, etc.). Everyone had their reasons, whether they were broad or narrow, angry or peaceful. What's important is that people showed that they care what is happening in America and the world, and that the people cannot be ignored.

I do not think people marched hoping for a miracle. I would say that most people are reasonable enough to understand that one march will not magically change history and make Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders the president. But showing that the people are engaged in politics sends a bold statement to all current and future political leaders: We are watching. We have rights. Our voices matter. You can't ignore the people; we have the ability to step up and share our thoughts and opinions. As an elected official, whether or not you agree with us, you are going to be aware of our existence.

Part of America's success is that we have differing opinions and we're allowed to share them. That's why there are checks and balances in government. We are a democracy. We are not always going to agree, but we have the opportunity to be heard. Let's be proud of that and exercise our right to stand up for what we believe in, even if it's not included in the final outcome.

Something to think about: while discussing Planned Parenthood, a friend who supports it made a valid point. She's a strong supporter but she's never had to use it. Why? Because many women who need it don't have the time or resources to fight for it. They may have been working on Saturday or busy watching their kids because they couldn't find childcare. My friend utilized the walk to walk for those who could not, because America isn't just about those with a voice - it's about those who can't speak for themselves as well. And if we can help those people, we absolutely should.

Scripted TV Talk: The Good Place Season Finale

The Good Place wrapped up its premier season last night, and wow, it caught me by surprise.

Okay, well, there were certain clues that made sense now that the season wrapped, which I'll outline below, but overall, I was shocked with the outcome of season one, and I look forward to how the show plans to handle season two.

There are spoilers below, so if you haven't finished the first season of The Good Place, stop right here.

It turns out that Eleanor, Jason, Tahani and Chidi are actually in The Bad Place. Michael, a Bad Place architect, set up an experiment to see if he could make The Bad Place more fun for him and his team, rather than existing Bad Places, which they designed and left behind. His plan was to make the group think they're in The Good Place, then create a series of events designed to make the participants go nuts. While Tahani and Chidi seemed to believe they should actually be there, Eleanor and Jason knew better, which put Chidi and Tahani in compromising positions once they knew.

Long story short, Eleanor and Jason ran away with Janet to The Medium Place to be safe from going to The Bad Place (before they realized they were already there) but returned once they thought their friends would be in danger. Right before being forced to decide who would go to The Bad Place, Eleanor figured out that they were in The Bad Place and Michael is actually evil. In retaliation, Michael erased all of their memories and started the experiment from the start, but kept the four participants separate, because Eleanor noted that their interactions are what made them stronger. Before their memories could be erased, Eleanor gave Janet a note advising her to find Chidi, which Janet gave to Eleanor as she awoke in The Good Place for the second time.

So, was I shocked with the ending of season one? I was. I definitely was. The only clues I caught previously were as follows:

- Tahani showed signs of jealousy throughout the season, and a lot of her intentions were less than noble, which is noted in the season finale. She spent her life trying to outdo her sister, meaning that her life achievements, while noble, did not come with the right intentions.

- Chidi's indecisiveness caused major problems for those in his life, which we saw in flashbacks and things. His morality and indecisiveness was so extreme that he screwed up people's lives, like when he was supposed to host his friend's wedding festivities but failed.

That being said, there was foreshadowing that could have been picked up on, but I didn't notice it. For example:

- Michael went out of his way to entertain those from The Bad Place when they came to claim the original Eleanor. Sure, he was trying to save fake Eleanor (allegedly) but he allowed Tahani's home to be trashed along the way.

- Michael allowed Tahani to see that her goodness score was low, and although it was supposedly an accident, it wasn't at all. I just chalked it up to Michael making careless mistakes, which is how I assumed Eleanor and Jason got in in the first place.

Now that we know the ending, was the first season of The Good Place worth watching?

Absolutely. I loved - and was shocked at - the surprise ending. I expected to see Eleanor, Jason and Janet stay at the medium place and maybe start a new life there, and I certainly didn't see the season ending and almost starting again with season two. I can't imagine how the show will go on without getting repetitive, but I look forward to seeing if Eleanor regains the morality she gained in season one as she starts over again. And I'm looking forward to seeing if Chidi and Tahani again believe that they belong in The Good Place. They never seemed to question it once - will that be different going forward?

I am so excited for season two of this show - it's so different than today's typical sitcoms and I want to see more!

Meet The Putmans: Recap & Review

TLC is bringing us another giant family, this time on a reality TV special. This special is called Meet the Putmans - it features 10 adults and 15 kids, all living in one home. They've got one set of rules, one bank account and only two bathrooms.

Bill and Barb Putman have been married 33 years. Instead of their kids growing up and fleeing the nest, Billy, Brandon, Blake and Blair stayed home, got married and had kids...but stayed in the home with their parents.

Apparently, the family is always together - work, play, etc.

The kids' spouses are as follows:

Billy & Jen
Brandon & Kacie
Blake & Megan
Blair & Jamie

The philosophy is that life is more enjoyable with other people, so why not live with them? And besides, they've got built in babysitters. They strongly refute that they're a cult, so I guess they're just...strange!

Billy, the oldest son, is married to the household matriarch in training, Jen. They have twins Isabella and Abigail, 9, Addison, 8 and Gabriella, 6. They met because Jen worked for Bill's business, and Bill suggested she date his son. If I understand correctly, Jen was 26 and Billy was 20 at the time. Apparently it worked, despite the age difference. The pair stayed in the family home after their marriage, and got pregnant after two months, so moving out wasn't an option.

Brandon's the second son and he's married to Kacie. They've got kids named Emma, Bella, Maya, Nova and Gia. They met at a wrestling match at which Brandon was participating. Kacie said Brandon's the one who defends the family when necessary. Kacie keeps the family organized and make sure needs are met.

The third kid is Blake, who's married to Megan. They have kids Mercy (or maybe Marcy, I couldn't tell), Noah, Lulu and Alina. Megan had an adjustment moving into the big household, but she said her strong relationships with the family made it make sense.

At first there was drama between Jen and Barb, which Bill likened to chickens pecking each other. There is still drama - a lot of it centers around who gets time in the bathroom.

The family is planning to build their dream house with 15 bedrooms and 19 bathrooms. It'll include a theater and racquetball court.

Two people work outside the home, and that's Blake and Jamie. Both are doctors. Jamie changed his last name to Putman because he and Blair it would be easiest if all the kids in the household have the same last name.

The family planned a Super Tuesday, which is a family meeting in which the family members can air their dirty laundry.

Blair told us that she was spoiled, and I hate to say it, but that's kind of evident from her current demeanor. Fortunately, she does it with a smile so it seems kind of endearing, but it seems like it might be a source of contention.

Jamie pulled Blair aside, and he told the confessional that he's working long hours and driving 1.5 hours to work at a hospital. Following that, we saw his conversation with Blair again, in which he told her it was time to tell her dad that they're thinking of moving out.

The family travels in a bus. In what I'm sure was staged for the cameras, the whole family went together to the grocery store. (Because really, who would do this voluntarily?) The women made the guys pick out pads and tampons.

They said that if anyone needs anything outside of the ordinary, they have to vote because they share expenses. That makes sense because their weekly grocery bill was $1,178.56 - that's nuts!

Four kids were sick so they were quarantined in one room.

Blair complained that her brothers expect her to act like them because she grew up in a household of guys. Blair said sometimes she needs a minute to herself and the guys won't understand.

Blair pulled her dad aside and asked him to pray about her and Jamie getting their own place, closer to the hospital, while Jamie finishes his residency. Jamie defended his need for safety, but Bill was still floored by the request. Blair questioned what she should do, because if the family didn't approve, would she go against them?

After that, we found out the truth of why the family's so attached. Bill's mom died when he was 8 and his family fell apart. He landed in foster care, and seemingly spent the rest of his life trying to make up for the love he didn't get as a child.

Super Tuesday happened and people argued about bathrooms in the new house. This, like anything else, had to go to a vote, and majority rules. After the bathroom debate, Blair and Jamie had to talk about how they wanted to move out. The room went silent, and people actually voted no. NO! THEY VOTED NO. WHAT? How is that even an option? It's about Jamie's personal safety! Barb said it would be hard on Blair because she's never been alone, but that seems like the wrong reason to be opposed to it. Bill reluctantly gave his blessing, as long as Jamie comes home when the residency ends. The family voted in favor, but the level of attachment seemed really unhealthy - it seemed like Jamie and Blair were not allowed to make adult decisions for themselves.

The family did a groundbreaking for their new home while chanting their last name. And that's where we left off, theoretically in case TLC decides to turn this special into a show.

My Review of Meet the Putmans

This was interesting but I don't think it's interesting enough for a series, which is probably why it's just a special at this time. By the time the show was halfway over, I was starting to tune out. Overall, this family seems interesting, but not enough to make me want to watch more of them.

Plus, they really lost me when Blair and Jamie had to consult the family before deciding to move out - I get that many decisions are communal, but this was a personal safety issue - this isn't up to anyone else. I did not feel good about that.

Oh yeah, we learned at the end of the episode that Blair's pregnant again - maybe because she and her husband finally have some privacy!

Some Twisted Logic From Donald Trump Re: The Celebrity Apprentice

I am not watching The Celebrity Apprentice this season.

Not because I don't like Arnold Schwarzenegger. I don't really have an opinion on him in any direction.

I didn't watch because I feel like Donald Trump is involved with the show more than he's letting on, and as our president-elect, he's got other things to focus on. And I never did watch it for Donald Trump, I watched it because I liked the show.

No big deal, aside from when I was so tempted to flip over the channel during the season premiere.

Whether you're pro-Trump or anti-Trump, he is retaining executive producer credit on the reality show, and while I logically understand he can do this with literally no involvement, it still bugs me. So I chose not to watch. Unfortunately, Trump mistook the lack of viewership for support of himself and a statement against Mr. Schwarzenegger.

Per the DailyMail.co.uk 

Trump couldn't resist taking a dig at his successor on The Celebrity Apprentice days after the latest Nielsen ratings showed that Schwarzenegger's New Celebrity Apprentice reboot failed to attract the same number of viewers as The Donald's version.
The Terminator star's debut as host this past Monday on NBC was watched by 4.9million viewers compared to Trump's 6.5million viewers who tuned in to the season premiere in 2015.
'Wow, the ratings are in and Arnold Schwarzenegger got 'swamped' (or destroyed) by comparison to the ratings machine, DJT,' Trump tweeted, using the initials of his full name to drive home the point.
Trump went on to say that the failure was because Arnold Schwarzenegger supported other candidates in the presidential election. Fortunately, The Terminator star kept it classy and told Donald that he hopes the former reality star will work hard for the American people, like he did for his ratings.

It's going to be an interesting four years! On Twitter, at least, where Trump does a bulk of his communication.

Valerie Fairman's Mother Blames 16 and Pregnant for Her Downfall

Valerie Fairman, who appeared on MTV's 16 and Pregnant, passed away recently. Her adoptive mom Janice blames the show for her life ending.

Per DailyMail.co.uk:

'She was a gorgeous girl and it all went to her head,' Fairman said in an exclusive interview with DailyMail.com as she and her husband Gary spoke outside the four-bedroom home in Oxford, Pennsylvania, where they have lived for more than 40 years.
'She thought she could pretty much do whatever she liked after the show. She was determined to get everything she wanted.'

The twenty-three year old teen mom died from a drug overdose.

Per the article, the show tore the family apart because Valerie's parents didn't want her to participate, leading to Valerie leaving home. However, Valerie's appearance on the show showed a girl who was already acting out, in part to get attention because her adoptive parents had so many foster children in the home.

Did the show contribute to Valerie's eventual downfall? Probably. But is it fair to blame the show? I would say no. Valerie was clearly troubled before the show, and there's no way to say how her path would have turned out if not for the show.

In any case, we hope that Valerie's family finds peace and her daughter grows up to have a wonderful, fulfilling life with fond memories of her mother.

A&E Cancels KKK Reality Show, Cites Money As Reason....Not Logic

A&E was all set to air a docu-series about the KKK, then cancelled it, citing the fact that a nominal payment was made, which was against their documentary policy. It's more likely that on the heels of Leah Remini's Scientology show, the network thought this series was a good idea, but then realized they were so, so wrong.

Granted, the show was created with anti-hate groups and was meant to show the negativity of hate groups in America, but it was a risky move. Per the article linked above:

The series, produced in association with multiple civil rights groups and scheduled to debut Jan. 10, generated substantial criticism upon its announcement last week, included even calls to boycott the show.

The article also cites the fact that producers made payments to the show's participants and the network learned this through a third party. This sounds like tricky language to me - like the producers are not network employees and a third party was an intermediary (like a lawyer) who normally communicates between the two parties anyway. So, while it sounds like a crazy discovery later, it's probably status quo.

Here's my thing - networks have to take risks, especially in today's day and age, to gain and retain viewers. I get that. But this, even as an anti-KKK show, may be more than we're ready for right now. Plus, even with that being the message, from the minimal things I paid attention to, it didn't come across that way at first sight. And people make pretty quick snap judgments at first sight, which could easily create the kind of outrage that we've seen.

Would the show have had a positive, anti-hate related message? Maybe. But was the world ready for it? I think we are not. The better option is to skip this show and not give any attention to an organization that promotes negativity.

Should The Rockettes Be Required to Perform at Trump's Inauguration?

If you've been following the presidential news lately, you may have read that the Radio City Rockettes will be performing as President Elect Trump is sworn into office. Not all Rockettes were thrilled about this, and one was very vocal that she shouldn't be forced to perform for someone she doesn't support. While news has come out that the women will not be forced to perform, this caused quite a controversy before that happened.

So, should the Rockettes be required to perform for President Elect Donald Trump? I thought about this today, and I really don't have a definitive opinion. Here's where I stand on both sides of the issue.

Yes, They Should be Required (The Pro Stance)

Back in high school, my class was asked this question: would you work for a company who you don't support? As idealistic teenagers, many of us said yes. I imagined myself working for a cigarette company or something, where even though I don't smoke, I'd be able to fulfill my responsibilities. No problem. But as I've become an adult, I realize it's not that simple. I could never work for a company that treated women unfairly or said negative things about groups that don't deserve them. For example, I believe that women should have access to birth control - I would not be able to work for a company that refused to provide it to employees. With something like this, though, it's a one-time issue, and many of us disagree with some things that our employers choose to do. Especially in a unionized environment, people have to do things that may not line up with their values, but have to as part of their contract.

Whether or not someone supports Trump, he was elected, and we need to accept the outcome. If the hiring organization for The Rockettes agreed to perform at Trump's inauguration, the Rockettes need to go.

I can see the reasons why some Rockettes would not want to perform, but then the question becomes, where do we draw the line? Can a Rockette refuse a Sunday performance for religious reasons, even though she signed on to perform on Sundays? Where do the needs of the employer and employee's personal boundaries meet, without sacrificing the values of either?

No, They Should Not Be Required (The Con Stance)

Donald Trump is as polarizing as they come, and if performing at his inauguration makes someone extremely uncomfortable, they should not be subjected to such a thing. If it would negatively impact someone's mental health or long term job satisfaction, it's their manager's responsibility to work out a solution with them. Nobody should be forced to work in an uncomfortable work environment.

Whether you support Mr. Trump or not, he did make misogynistic comments, and today's modern woman should not be forced to stand for, or support that, if she chooses not to. Rockettes are role models for today's youth, and part of that means standing up for what they believe in. While they are part of a group, they are individuals, and they're entitled to their opinions on this polarizing subject.

There are plenty of Rockettes - it's likely many are willing to perform, and there's no need to force those who do not want to.

A Final Thought

Part of the reason this is so tricky for me is a tweet that went out in response to this controversy. Someone commented that a Rockette shouldn't have to dance for Trump, the same way a baker shouldn't have to make a cake for a gay wedding. Before I read that, I was pro-Rockette - you shouldn't have to perform if you're completely against it. But then I saw that tweet, and I don't think it's fair for a baker to deny a cake for a gay couple. So, that's how I ended up torn on this subject. Sometimes the issue is bigger than we are, and this is one of those cases. I don't think I can truly choose a side without being at least somewhat hypocritical.

What do you think about this?

Scipted TV Talk: The Last Man On Earth

While I normally focus on reality TV, The Last Man On Earth left me with so many questions last night that I thought it was worth discussing. If you haven't watched it, this post may contain spoilers.

The Last Man on Earth had a few key elements for last night's (12/11/16) season finale - or maybe it was mid-season finale - but either way, it's over until spring.

- Nobody was concerned about Gail being missing, in part due to their focus on Melissa's mental illness. At the end of the episode, Gail, who's still stuck in an elevator and hurt from her own accidental gunshot wound, loads her gun and shoots. We don't know if this is one final cry for help or the fatal blow, but we think it was her ending her life out of desperation. What are your thoughts on this? The show likes to keep things open ended so I think we may not have an answer for quite some time.

- Melissa, after disappearing, reappearing and standing menacingly on the edge of a roof, was locked in a room where she could be observed. While this may have been the best option, solitary confinement isn't known as the best treatment for those with mental illnesses, is it? It looks like she'll blame Todd next season for the lockup, even though he was one of the most hesitant to do that.

- Why isn't Carol looking pregnant yet? I am not good at understanding the passage of time in this show, but I feel like it's time for her to start looking the part, at least a little. Is this an indication that maybe the pregnancy isn't as viable as she thought? Is it meant to leave us questioning things? Is it just that time is moving super slowly and she wouldn't be showing yet? And what's going to happen when Erica has her baby, for that matter?

- Earlier in the season, we were left to infer that Tandy's brother Mike died and that Pat, the crazy yacht guy who tried to kill Mike, is still out there somewhere. Are we going to get any closure on these items? I think the answer may be no. This show doesn't seem to like to close open items, probably in an effort to keep us hooked. I mean, there's only so much that can be done with a show without adding extra characters, and that's more difficult in a post-apocalyptic world.

What are your thoughts? What do you think will happen when the show returns?

90 Day Fiance Season Finale - 11/20/16

Tonight is the 90 Day Fiance season finale, and we will finally find out what happens with Matt and Alla, Nicole and Azan and the rest of the group. Here we go!

Jorge and Anfisa kicked off the episode and they're getting married. THEY ARE GETTING MARRIED. WHAT THE (BLEEP)??? Seriously? After Anfisa's ridiculous abuse of Jorge, his decision does not seem wise, and reports I've read online make it sound like they spend a lot of time fighting. Anyway, Anfisa couldn't possibly be any less excited about the wedding, and when Jorge gleefully declared his love, she just glared. She made it clear that this is just a courthouse wedding - she wants her dream wedding later. She did say that she feels ready, which is probably the most positive thought we've heard from Anfisa all season long.

Jorge had some work stuff in the car on the way to the wedding, and of course Anfisa had a problem with that. And when Jorge said she could stay indefinitely now that they'd be married, she asked what if she didn't want to stay. Lovely.

Anfisa asked Jorge if he was 100% sure about the marriage, and he said yes, but he paused. And Anfisa found fault in the pause. Again, lovely, Anfisa. She also made it clear she expects bags and shoes, and won't take Jorge's phone off of "Find my iPhone" so she could keep pinging him.

Anfisa shed a tear at the wedding - was that actual emotion? Is there something more than what we're seeing? And wow, their kiss looked real! Did we underestimate Anfisa? Oh, never mind - she just said she doesn't care as long as Jorge makes money. Back to normal.

Matt geared up for his fourth wedding, this time to Alla. Matt fretted about whether his friend Patrick would object to the marriage. Alla's sister Iryna and her friend Julie helped her prepare. Alla was secure in this marriage despite her previous marriage and Matt's, and she said she could feel how Matt feels about her.

When asked if anyone objected to the marriage, Patrick stayed quiet. He later told the confessional that he saw emotion in Alla at the wedding, and that gave him faith that they could make the relationship work. My question is - why did they take the chance of asking for objections in the first place? Whatever, their choice! I guess it makes for good TV, in any case.

Lowo and Narkyia were up third, and Narkyia was reeling because she'd found out Lowo was chatting up his ex during the beginning of their relationship. Lowo regretted his lies (as he should) and Narkyia told us she didn't know if she could continue the relationship. In a smart move on Narkyia's end, she told Lowo she couldn't trust him and she walked away. He wanted her back, but it wasn't happening.

Narkyia sat down with her twelve year old son, Malcolm. They talked about some trivial stuff, like a place called Chicken Street, which was comprised of places to eat chicken. The topic of Lowo came up, and Narkyia said she doesn't know when he's coming. She explained that he'd lied but refused to explain it to her son. She then said she wasn't sure if he'd come at all. Her son was disappointed because he wanted someone to play sports with, etc. - he wanted a father figure. Malcolm still wanted Lowo to come, saying that some people lie to not hurt people, and Narkyia had to explain that lying is not okay. Malcolm was clearly upset, but he sweetly said that he supports his mom's decisions.

Narkyia felt stuck - she still loved Lowo, but she knew his lies were not okay.

Azan and Nicole followed. Nicole had to admit that her trip to see Azan wasn't as perfect as she'd envision it would be. Nicole hadn't told Azan that she'd need a co-sponsor to bring him to the states, so she decided to get a feel for if he was serious about the relationship. While Nicole beamed with every statement from Azan, he seemed about as interested as a child would be in steamed broccoli. (Hint: not excited.) Nicole broke the news to Azan that she didn't make enough money for his visa to be accepted. She said she'd have to get a job, show income, etc., for this to work, and it could take two years. Azan said he'd be interested in waiting the two years to be Nicole's husband. (What?) Nicole said she'd continue her quest for a co-sponsor. She was thrilled when Azan said he loved her, seemingly forgetting all of the madness of Morocco.

And that was it! The end of this season of 90 Day Fiance.

It's Getting Even Harder to Watch Jorge and Anfisa

Is anyone else having trouble while watching Jorge and Anfisa on 90 Day Fiance?

I mean, Nicole and Azan are frustrating (she should really be done with that relationship) but Jorge and Anfisa are infuriating. Yes, Jorge allows Anfisa to walk all over him, but she's complaining that she needs money, yet also complains that Jorge has to work. And the pinging the iPhone thing? Ridiculous. I get that Jorge wants his relationship to work, but he's not a bad guy - it might be worth finding someone who treats him at least a little bit less like garbage. (Or a lot, but let's start our standards low, here!)

I don't really know where they end up (reports have conflicted) but I hope Jorge is able to truly be happy with his decision, and if they do stay together, Anfisa gets herself together to be less awful to Jorge all the time.

Thoughts?

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