Sunday, January 22, 2017

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.

Friday, January 20, 2017

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!

Monday, January 16, 2017

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!

Friday, January 6, 2017

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 

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.