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Television

30 Rock, Season 6 and Season 7

Okay, I’m fudging here because I finished it this morning, but I’m not writing out an episode thing for everything. It’s been such a fun and funny ride and I’ve really enjoyed it. Now, to the thinkpieces about race in 30 Rock and onto Parks and Recreation!

Sailor Moon, “Crazy for Celebrities! Mimete in Doubt”

I do really like that Minako didn’t win the contest at all.

Sailor Moon, “Shadow of Silence: The Pale Glimmer of a Firefly”

Oh my God, Setsuna, don’t you have another outfit?

Saturday Night Live, “Madeline Kahn/Taj Mahal”

Very on point this week—save for a stupendously cruel sketch about a blind black man getting screwed out of an affirmative action scholarship to law school because I guess Mike O’Donoghue thought affirmative action was dumb. (What a fascinatingly and repulsively cruel man.) Aykroyd’s glorious, frosty weirdness is on full display, and especially sharp in the presence of Jane Curtin, who is a Secret Weird.

Project Progress
30 Rock: 100% (7/7)
Sailor Moon: 15.4% (2/13)
Saturday Night Live: 20% (8/40)
Star Trek: 32.5% (13/40)

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Television

30 Rock, “The Natural Order”

Colleen is a treasure every time she shows up to ruin people’s lives: here we find her finally affirming Jack while also basically revealing that his father is not who he thinks it is.

30 Rock, “Mamma Mia”

Liz nerding out over getting to Mamma Mia Jack is amazing.

30 Rock, “Kidney Now!”

A solid finale.

30 Rock, Season 4

How did I watch an entire season of 30 Rock in a week? I’m entering it into this log as one thing, because I don’t want to do episode by episode for 22 episodes. But it’s really found its groove, as people warned me. There’s such a great balance between Liz and Jack, the nominal cool heads (who are still bonkers), and everybody else. Pete gets more to do this season about how tragic his life is. Tracy gets a good arc in his desire to have a daughter. I can’t break it down, because marathoning it means that it all blurs softly into a wall of solid jokes, endearing characters, and sometimes absurdist comedy. (“Oh, Pete, that’s later. Maybe we’ll be dead by then.”) And Cheyenne Jackson is so great as the new cast member! I love you, 30 Rock. (Although you have very clear representational issues.)

30 Rock, “The Fabian Strategy”

I kind of really love how much Jack adores Avery, because she’s just like him and the show plays that to the hilt. And I adore Jenna as an actually great producer. It’s nice to see her be good at something.

Sailor Moon, “Who is the True Messiah? Chaos of Light and Darkness”

Sailor Moon, A House Filled With Evil Presence: The Beautiful Hotaru’s Secret”

Saturday Night Live, “Eric Idle/Neil Innes”

“Plain Talk” with Idle and Ackroyd? So great. You can so see why Idle really likes Ackroyd. Also, that Queen impersonator? Is Jeanette Charles, who did it professionally before she retired.

Saturday Night Live, “Shelley Duvall/Joan Armatrading”

Um, Duvall is a such a cutie. And as sexualized as the Video Vixens bit is, I do really love seeing the girls perform a boast song. (Plus, Newman performing? ALWAYS GREAT.)

Project Progress

30 Rock: 57.14% (4/7)
Sailor Moon: 15.4% (2/13)
Saturday Night Live: 17.5% (7/40)
Star Trek: 32.5% (13/40)

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Film

Spy (2015)

Ugh. We could have had it all, but Spy mostly only parodies what it should be satirizing. Still, we do get to see a woman of size kicking considerable ass, and Jason Statham’s utterly bonkers Agent Rick Ford is a magnificent comedic creation.

Television

30 Rock, “Goodbye, my Friend”

Have I mentioned I love Liz being a terrible person and then trying not to be a terrible person? Because I do.

30 Rock, “The Funcooker”

Liz strikes fear into the heart of her workers.

30 Rock, “The Bubble”

I really love that the Dr. Baird storyline ends with him being so sheltered by his looks that he can’t function. (Although I have never found John Hamm that attractive? He’s deeply charismatic and certainly objectively symmetrical, but he doesn’t do it for me. Different strokes, etc.)

30 Rock, “Apollo, Apollo”

Jack getting so excited he throws up? Awwww, Jack. I do really love that, beneath his dapper and shark-like persona, he can get back in touch with his inner child.

30 Rock, “Cutbacks”

Every joke about Kenneth being secretly crazy old? Great. GREAT.

30 Rock, “Jackie Jormp-Jomp”

“Liz accidentally joins a Sex and the City Fight Club” is a great premise for an episode, even if we didn’t have Jenna faking and then not-faking her own death.

30 Rock, “The Ones”

This is such a great conclusion to the Elisa arc; we have to get rid of her, because Hayek has films to do, but Elisa and Jack have crazy chemistry! Also includes the infamous “Night Cheese” joke.

Sailor Moon, “The Death of Uranus and Neptune: The Talisman Appears”

Haruka and Michiru doing coupley stuff: always great. Haruka and Michiru owning a helicopter? YOU ARE SEVENTEEN CALM DOWN YOU’RE PRACTICALLY MAKING SAPPHISM A SUPERPOWER AT THIS POINT. But yeah, this episode is really heartwrenching, because it shows that they can’t sacrifice each other for the talismans; even Michiru, the one who has always been willing to take a life to save the world, can’t let Haruka die.

Sailor Moon, “The Holly Grail's Mystical Power: Moon’s Double Transformation”

Haruka and Michiru are restored to life—THANK GOD—by the arrival of Setsuna, while Usagi gets her third evolution.

Also, THE PROFESSOR IS HOTARU’S DAD? THIS IS SO WRONG THIS IS SO MESSED UP

Saturday Night Live, “Julian Bond/Tom Waits/Brick”

The show shows its hand in race, from managing to conclude a Black Perspectives sketch that starts off with interrogating racist IQ tests with pure colorism to just having Murray, Belushi, and Akyroyd playing black men. The only positive thing that can be said about that is that it’s not blackface, but also Brick was performing and could have subbed in?

Saturday Night Live, “Elliott Gould/The McGarrigle Sisters”

Gould is so good at hosting and more vaudevillian comedy. Whatta guy.

Project Progress

30 Rock: 28.8% (2/7)
Sailor Moon: 15.4% (2/13)
Saturday Night Live: 17.5% (7/40)
Star Trek: 32.5% (13/40)

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Television

30 Rock, “The Succession”

The joy of Liz being her worst self while going corporate.

30 Rock, “Sandwich Day”

YES INTERNAL NBC MYTHOS. I find this so fascinating and mildly weird, the way this show concocts a strange alternate mythology to NBC in a way that the company let them do.

30 Rock, “Cooter”

Oh, hey, Matthew Broderick!

30 Rock, “Do-Over”

AND MEGAN MULLALLY, WHO IS THE GREATEST. I do really love that the show is now committing to Liz’s chaotic neutral stance.

30 Rock, “Believe in the Stars”

NO. NO. Blackface is never okay, even when you think you’re parodying it. I had hoped that they would never show it, just the reaction to Jenna, but oh boy. Oh boy. NOT COOL, GUYS.

30 Rock, “The One with the Cast of Night Court

This is an episode of 30 Rock Kyle Mooney has definitely seen.

30 Rock, “Gavin Volure”

Several good turns in this one, and so nice to see Steve Martin play bonkers.

30 Rock, “Reunion”

Liz remembering high school differently—amazing. Jack pretending to be someone she went to high school with and abandoning it immediately—AMAZING.

30 Rock, “Christmas Special

Jack and Colleen—ugh. So great and so messed up. I love that the stinger is just them playing a Christmas song.

30 Rock, “Señor Macho Solo”

I really, really like Jack and Elisa. We see this more later, but they’re a fun couple and we see why they like each other. And Elisa gets to be funny in a way that never invalidates who she is.

30 Rock, “Flu Shot”

Liz is a terrible person and I love that. (I could say this about most episodes.)

30 Rock, “Retreat to Move Forward”

Oh my God, Liz playing camper’s mom to Jack? And taking one for the team? We see Jack do a lot for Liz, but rarely vice versa, and it’s so great to see.

30 Rock, “Generalissimo”

Jack deciding the way to get into the good graces of Elisa’s grandmother is to completely rewrite her favorite soap opera? Fantastic grand gesture. I’m not thrilled about Alec Baldwin playing a Latino actor (this show and race, yeesh).

30 Rock, “St. Valentine’s Day”

THE WORST DATE EVER. The way it escalated was amazing. And seeing Jack destroy a priest with his sins? Fantastic. Plus, McFlurries and Elisa being angry that Jack is being such a dick that she won’t even get to show off her fancy underwear because there’s no way she’s sleeping with him tonight—great.

Mr. Robot, “Hello, My Friend”

Rami Malek is fantastic in an otherwise sloppy show.

Sailor Moon, “The Stolen Pure Heart: Usagi’s Crisis”

Holy crap, “Ai no Senshi” is a great song.

Sailor Moon, “The Arrival of a Small Pretty Guardian”

I do adore that, seeing Rei at a diner with a girl, everybody assumes that it’s a date. This is something I really like about Sailor Moon—Haruka and Michiru’s plotlines aren’t about them being queer without ever erasing that fact, and we do see what a pack of slightly sheltered teenage straight girls might think now that they actually know lesbians. They’re learning!

Sailor Moon, “Making New Friends: Chibi Moon’s Adventure”

This is where the professor starts getting just bonkers, which I really appreciate.

Sailor Moon, “I Want Power: Mako Lost in Doubt”

Mako doing anything = my favorite.

Sailor Moon, “The Bond of Destiny: Uranus’s Distant Past”

SO. GREAT. More on how Michiru and Haruka met (Michiru’s opening line: would you model for me? SMOOTH), more on how it’s actually Michiru who is convinced that people will need to be sacrificed to save the world, and more on how in love with Haruka Michiru is. I think Haruka pulls a lot of focus as Sailor Moon’s major queer character because she’s a soft butch goddess, but, like, Michiru’s gay too, y’all!

Sailor Moon, “Art Is an Explosion of Love: Chibi-Usa’s First Love”

For a second there, I thought Michiru was teaching their art class, because Haruka and Michiru are suddenly everywhere in the girls’ lives. Also, Chibi-Usa bites a grown woman because she is Usagi’s daughter.

Sailor Moon, “Usagi Dancing to the Waltz”

Usagi pukes and rallies and everybody wants to dance with Haruka.

Sailor Moon, “The Shocking Moment: Everyone’s Identities Revealed”

Saturday Night Live, “Broderick Crawford/The RCO Allstars”

A middling show, notable for Crawford rarely getting up from his armchair and Bill Murray appealing to the audience for support, thus sealing the eternal goodwill pact that has kept him in America’s heart these many decades.

Saturday Night Live, “Jack Burns/Santana”

Burns is… basically Timmy’s dad from The Fairly Odd-Parents, while seventies Santana plays the living hell out of his guitar in a fantastic all-white ensemble.

Project Progress

30 Rock: 28.8% (2/7)
Sailor Moon: 15.4% (2/13)
Saturday Night Live: 17.5% (7/40)
Star Trek: 32.5% (13/40)

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Books

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

“Does this thing spark joy?” And now my closet has been reduced by half.

Film

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

A FEMINIST ACTION 80S EXPLOITATION PUNCH TO THE NOGGIN THAT WILL MAKE YOU NEED TO GO SCREAM UNDER A DOCK FOR THREE HOURS JUST TO PROCESS HOW AMAZING IT WAS.

Television

30 Rock, “MILF Island”

Imitating a tasteless reality show’s format for an episode? Ugh, I love this show.

30 Rock, “Subway Hero”

Oh, Dennis. I do really love seeing Liz struggle with how easy being with Dennis is (see the cutaway to a white-clad Liz freezing to death peacefully) and how awful of a eprson it makes her. YOU GOT THIS, LIZ.

Sailor Moon, “I Want to Quit Being a Sailor Guardian: Minako’s Dilemma”

Minako used to be a star volleyball player? Love it.

Sailor Moon, “Usagi in Tears: a Glass Slipper for My Birthday”

Tuxedo Mask is surprisingly more effective this episode.

Saturday Night Live, “Louis C.K./Rihanna”

And we click off the lights for the summer with a solid episode.

Project Progress

30 Rock: 14.3% (1/7)
Sailor Moon: 15.4% (2/13)
Saturday Night Live: 17.5% (7/40)
Star Trek: 32.5% (13/40)

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Television

30 Rock, “The Collection”

I’m having emotions over Jack giving up his absurd cookie jar collection? Goodness, this show is getting to me.

30 Rock, “Rosemary’s Baby”

Carrie Fisher cameo-ing on 30 Rock? GENIUS. 30 Rock (perhaps unintentionally?) touching on the problems of white feminism? Great.

Sailor Moon, “Let Moon Help With Your Love Problems”

I remember this episode from the English dub! I remember, specifically, the game, which Haruka naturally wins, because the show is as gaga for Haruka as I am.

Sailor Moon, “Coldhearted Uranus: Makoto in Danger”

Case in point: Makoto, like every girl on the show (even the ones who tell Makoto that she shouldn’t give up on boys), develops a massive crush on Haruka. But I really like that it’s ultimately because Makoto feels like, despite her best efforts, that she fails at femininity, and Haruka, being the soft butch goddess that she is, is a model for a different, more inclusive kind of gender presentation that still affirms Haruka’s identity as a woman. (I’m told that Haruka is bigender in the manga? I will investigate.) Aww.

Sailor Moon, “The Labyrinth of Water: Ami Targeted”

Ami wears great outfits and Michiru wears what appears to be a clown-inspired swim suit. Also, is it a rule now that everybody has to go for a motorcycle ride with Haruka? Is this why they’re all warm and fuzzy about Haruka?

Sailor Moon, “To Save Our Friends: Moon and Uranus Join Forces”

We get more background on Haruka and Michiru’s mission—the reason they stay away from the Guardians is that they’re convinced sacrifices will have to be made and they don’t want that decision muddled or put on the shoulders of young girls—and see Haruka being amazing. Also, Usagi turning into goo when Haruka holds her to keep her quiet from enemies and that being how she discovers that Uranus is probably Haruka? Genius.

Sailor Moon, “A Man’s Kindness: Yuichiro Heartbroken by Rei”

Haruka, so amazing that Yuichiro immediately thinks she and Rei are dating. (To be fair, Rei, for someone who was the first to tell Makoto not to give up on dudes, you are flirting with Haruka WAY HARD. SHE HAS A GIRLFRIEND, REI!) It’s always great to see Rei’s non-Sailor Guardian supernatural powers used.

Saturday Night Live, “Sissy Spacek/Richard Baskins”

You know, I had no idea she was Southern.

Saturday Night Live, “Reese Witherspoon/Florence + the Machine”

An admirable job, with the cutest Mother Day’s tribute monologue possible. (Kenan’s childhood clip being from a movie, because he’s never not been in show business? Actual lil baby Aidy spoofing “Genie in a Bottle?” Learning that the scarecrow we call Kyle Mooney used to be a husky kid? ADORABLE.)

Project Progress

30 Rock: 14.3% (1/7)
Sailor Moon: 15.4% (2/13)
Saturday Night Live: 17.5% (7/40)
Star Trek: 32.5% (13/40)

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Television

Sailor Moon, “A Handsome Boy? Haruka Tenoh’s Secret”

Haruka swans into the Sailor Guardians’ lives and Usagi and Minako are immediately ENTHRALLED by her swagger. She’s basically everything I hoped for, with the added bonus of her immediately owning up to being in love with/hella committed to Michiru while also being like “well, we’re not exclusive…” to Michiru’s eye-rolling. Ughghghgh lived in couples. I am delighted.

Saturday Night Live, “Candice Bergen/Frank Zappa”

Well, Frank Zappa is a revelatory experience, from oozing televisions to Don Pardo guesting on a track to Belushi scatting on “Lagoon.” And Bergen is, as always, a graceful delight, from working elegantly with absurdity to watching in hysterics as Gilda Radner rescues a sketch she herself mucked up. Jane Curtin’s gag with her “boyfriend” is a treat and Killer Trees is fantastic. I might revisit this next Christmas and/or make my own Saturday Night Live Christmas special.

Saturday Night Live, “Dwayne Johnson/George Ezra”

Johnson is a consummate professional. Kate McKinnon and Cecily Strong knock it out of the park this week. And I’m happy to see Pete Davidson so clearly enthused about working with THE ROCK.

Project Progress

Sailor Moon: 15.4% (2/13)
Saturday Night Live: 17.5% (7/40)
Star Trek: 32.5% (13/40)

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Film

This is Us (2013)

Liam is such a dad, Zayn is perfect (godspeed, kiddo), Harry is a weirdo, Niall is a sweetie, and Louis is an eighteenth century child thief.

Television

Sailor Moon S, “Premonition of the Apocalypse: the Mysterious New Guardians Appear”

I’m really excited for this, because I have no idea what happens after Sailor Moon R beyond the existence of the outer Guardians. Our villains and MacGuffins for the season are established and we’re off to the races. And we’re introduced, briefly, to Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune.

Sailor Moon S, “The Rod of Love Is Born: Usagi's New Transformation”

Wait, Mako lives alone? Like Batman? Mako is nice Batman.

Star Trek: The Next Generation, “First Contact”

A fantastic twist on a first contact story, especially because there’s not an easy answer and because the Federation respects their decision. Also: the doctor who has always wanted to have sex with an alien is marvelous.

Project Progress

Sailor Moon: 15.4% (2/13)
Saturday Night Live: 17.5% (7/40)
Star Trek: 32.5% (13/40)

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Television

30 Rock, “The Baby Show”

Liz Lemon declaring to the world that she will figure out how to have it all? Yes. This. I keep getting excited that the show only gets better, because I like it so much.

30 Rock, “The Rural Juror”

Seeing Liz and Jenna’s friendship from both perspectives? Seeing Tracy and Jack bond over being well-traveled and wealthy? I am all delight.

30 Rock, “The Head and the Hair”

More on Kenneth, and Jack’s fondness of him and inability to comprehend him. Plus: the first non-appearance of Brian Williams. This is so fascinating to watch in the overall narrative of NBC.

Sailor Moon, “Saphir Dies! Wiseman's Trap”

Oh, man, the Spectre Sisters! Great to see them.

Sailor Moon, “Believing in Love and the Future: Usagi’s Decision”

Oh, God, Demande. I hate this subplot so much, especially because so much of Sailor Moon is about redeeming the villains, and redeeming the dude who just tried to mindrape you… uh huh. But he’s gone now. SUCK IT.

Sailor Moon, “The Final Battle Between Light and Dark: Pledge of Love for the Future”

And we conclude Sailor Moon R. Onto Sailor Moon S, of which I have no recollection!

Saturday Night Live, “Paul Simon/George Harrison”

Oh, little baby Paul Simon utterly besotted by the fact that he’s playing with AN ACTUAL BEATLE. Plus George Harrison’s bonkers music videos.

Project Progress

Sailor Moon: 15.4% (2/13)
Saturday Night Live: 17.5% (7/40)
Star Trek: 32.5% (13/40)

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Here’s a super-update to make up for the last three weeks.

Film

Wayne’s World (1992)

Warm, low-stakes, human, and honestly very sweet.

Wayne’s World 2 (1993)

And then money and a rushed script drain everything from it, although there are good character moments and lines. (“Take me now, Garth.” “Take you where? I’m low on gas and you need a jacket.”) BOO.

What We Do in the Shadows (2014)

Charmingly and unaggressively weird; I imagine this played well for me because I don’t watch many mockumentaries, so it still feels fresh.

Music

Marina and the Diamonds, Family Jewels

Simplistic but sumptuous brat pop, which I luckily love. “Shampain” is pure glory.

Television

Sailor Moon, “Rubeus the Heartless: The Tragic Sisters”

Chibi-Usa discovers that Usagi is Sailor Moon; the Spectre Sisters are finally freed. Through the power of sisterhood and friendship.

Sailor Moon, “A UFO Appears: The Sailor Guardians Abducted”

Ah, Esmeraude, my new favorite villain.

Sailor Moon, “Defeat Rubeus: The Battle in Space”

I remember hearing about those crosses getting edited out. Oh, late nineties Internet.

Sailor Moon, “The Mysterious New Guardian: Sailor Pluto Appears”

Chibi-Usa’s mom is so obviously Usagi, although people do appear to be hairblind in the world of Sailor Moon.

Sailor Moon, “Magic of Darkness: Esmeraude's Invasion”

While it’s usually played for cruel humor, I do appreciate it whenever Usagi’s appetite is brought up. She glories in it! And so does Esermaude, who is exactly the kind of petty I like in a villain. Delicious.

Saturday Night Live, “Blake Shelton”

An affable dude.

Saturday Night Live, “Elliott Gould/Leon Redbone, Harlan Collins & Joyce Everson”

“The Last Voyage of the Starship Enterprise” is one meta trip. Although I think Laraine would have given better Spock than Chevy.

Saturday Night Live, “Louise Lasser/Preservation Hall Jazz Band”

This is an incredibly uncomfortable watch.

Saturday Night Live, “Kris Kristofferson/Rita Coolidge”

“Police State” is actually a very interestingly black comedy sketch. And the fake credits are ahead of their time—I wonder how many people caught the glory of “SHEP GREMLIN”?

Saturday Night Live, “Lily Tomlin/James Taylor”

“We Asked Judith Beasley” is a lot of fun, especially anchored by one of Dan Ackroyd’s bonkers salesmen.

Saturday Night Live, “Norman Lear/Boz Scaggs”

An episode with the bare minimum of Chevy Chase? I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, where Jane Curtin is the Weekend Update anchor and nothing hurts…

Saturday Night Live, “SNL40”

Enough nostalgia and remarkably gorgeously edited montages to choke a horse, and just a little bit of that weird, strange Saturday Night Live magic. It’s best expressed through a Weekend Update segment that features Tina, Amy, and Jane (!!!) sharing the desk while funny ladies Emma Stone and Melissa McCarthy do Radner and Farley. (As well as the latest chapter in the Stefon saga, where we discover that Seth is an alcoholic and they have two kids now. IT’S THE GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING.) Or in the digital short, which gently ribs everyone for breaking but also remembers that it’s a reminder of how much they love each other. Awww.

Project Progress
Sailor Moon: 7.7% (1/13)
Saturday Night Live: 17.5% (7/40)
Star Trek: 32.5% (13/40)

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Music

Kate Bush, Director’s Cut

Notable tracks: “Deeper Understanding” and “Flower of the Mountain.”

Kate Bush, Fifty Words for Snow

The title track is literally fifty words Bush invented for snow. Genius. And with that, I’ve completed her discography. Huzzah!

Television

Sailor Moon, “For Friendship: Ami vs. Bertheir”

Bertheir is wooed to the side of good by the idea of sisters actually caring for each other in meaningful ways; she’s literally saved by Koan, who, without any of her superpowers anymore, still tries to save her and succeeds. Ughghghg friendship.

Saturday Night Live, “Desi Arnaz/Desi Arnaz, Jr”

How weird must it be to be interacting with someone playing your dead wife (or in Jr’s case, dead mother)? Gary Weis’ adorable, humanistic short films continue to be amazing. “The Bisexual Minute” is a good choice, although I do wish the humor came more from the wife’s description of how much she hated her home life and less from “queer ladies! existing!”. I am starting to be concerned about my crush on young Dan Ackroyd.

Saturday Night Live, “Jill Clayburgh/Leon Redbone, The Singing Idlers”

The more backstage meta the better, although I remain deeply unimpressed with Chevy Chase and his sloppy comedy. “Great Moments in Herstory” is incredibly underwhelming and racist. Clayburgh is sweet and game, which is all I ask from hosts. And Jane Curtin looks really, really, really cute as Betty Grable. Awww.

Saturday Night Live, “Anthony Perkins/Betty Carter”

“In some countries, it comes in like a lion and out like a different lion!” It’s the same joke every time, but I do like Belushi’s weather man.

Saturday Night Live, “Ron Nessen/Patti Smith”

It’s the seventies all over, as the Press Secretary hosts and the musical guest does punk rock. And Gerald Ford approves of Saturday Night Live, in an attempt to get ahead of it. “Super Bass-O-Matic '76” is fantastic. “Autumn Fizz” is funny because the idea of carbonated douche is hysterical. “Supreme Court Spot Check” is a fantastic, if slightly messy, sketch, because it makes its political point very cogently. (It should have ended in the awkward silence after Curtin’s character wonders why there’s no women on the Supreme Court, if they’re going to police her sex life.) Seeing a very young Bill Crystal is intriguing, although I’m not sure where his performance truly lies.

Also, spotting Mike O’Donoghue and his thousand light year stare in a sketch is a new, terrifying game I play with myself.

Saturday Night Live, “Raquel Welch/Phoebe Snow, John Sebastian”

Oh, poor Raquel Welch. It must be such an odd thing to try and negotiate your status as a sex symbol when that’s not what you set out to do. And then she turns up here and her trying to get her top off is a running gag, to the point that she makes a remark about tastelessness in her monologue. “The Decabet” is both an interesting joke and sign of the times (METRICS ARE COMING, Y’ALL!). And the running gag about the Beatles is born here, as baby Lorne offers them a tiny check to appear on their show.

Scred and Ploobis, in their penultimate episode, deal with puppet body horror (if they don’t have lower halves, Welch asks, how can they experience sexual attraction?) and lock themselves away in a trunk with the other Saturday Night Live Muppets. Dark stuff.

Saturday Night Live, “Madeline Kahn/Carly Simon”

“Wilderness Comedian”: somewhere, a young Will Forte has a dream about the Falconer. “Slumber Party” is an amazing sketch that uses its female cast perfectly; the humor is more of the slice of life variety, rather than specific jokes. And I always need Radner’s confused kiddos and Newman’s bratty girls in my life. “" Feel Pretty" is inspired silliness, as is “Final Days.” Kahn is an amazing host.

Saturday Night Live, “Dyan Cannon/Leon & Mary Russell”

Dyan Cannon was an actress in the seventies, I guess? This is why these episodes are so useful to me pop culturally. That and I definitely needed to learn about Leon Russell, MUSIC WIZARD. Although now I know what Chevy Chase looked like in his skivvies, which was NOT ANYTHING I NEEDED TO SEE.

Saturday Night Live, “Buck Henry/Gordon Lightfoot”

Laraine Newman snatching a crutch out from under Chevy Chase is beautiful. This is the beginning of the end, I think; there’s the fun tension that the show taps into, and then there’s the real tension simmering in the background. They’re coming for you, Chevy. “Talk Back” is a wonderful sketch. “Crowd Audition” goes great until the lynching joke (NOOO). Baby Lorne continues to offer the Beatles money. (And shit on Ringo. RINGO IS THE BEST YOU ASSHOLE.) Garrett Morris sings Schubert beautifully, but the scrolling text… if the joke had been the producers being amazed that one of their young, hip performers liked and performed Schubert, that’d be hilarious, but it’s racialized.

Saturday Night Live, “Kevin Hart/Sia”

Sia’s performance of “Elastic Heart” is astonishing and heartbreaking. Kate McKinnon is a comedy goddess. The “James Brown” sketch is beautifully silly.

Project Progress

Sailor Moon: 7.7% (1/13)
Saturday Night Live: 15.3% (5/39)
Star Trek: 32.5% (13/40)

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Music

Kate Bush, Aerial

Notable tracks: “King of the Mountain” and “Pi.” “King of the Mountain” is amazing.

Television

Agent Carter, “Time and Tide”

IT’S THE GREATEST SHOW ON TELEVISION! Some nicely juicy backstory on Jarvis, Peggy coming to terms with the fact that she now has to work from the shadows (you’re a spy, Peggy!), and enough Krzemenski to make me like him as the Harvey Bullock of Agent Carter, but then he bites it. Also: Angie wanting to immediately get drunk, eat pie, and throw up with Peggy. She’s got it bad. I LOVE THIS SHOW.

Sailor Moon, “Protect Chibi-Usa: Clash of the Ten Warriors”

Usagi learns a little bit more about the future, but not because Chibi-Usa tells her directly; she overhears her talking to Puu.

Sailor Moon, “Awaken the Sleeping Beauty: Mamoru’s Distress”

THIS IS SUCH A STUPID SUBPLOT. Why is Mamoru staying away from Usagi? Okay, he’s having nightmares that tell him that she’ll die if they get married. Did you forget the part where she’s a superhero and you… you kind of do nothing? I assumed they would finally get back together at the end of the episode, since Chibi-Usa explicitly compares them to the fairy tale Usagi was reading her at the beginning of the episode, but no. Ughghghghg.

Sailor Moon, “Battle of the Flames of Love! Mars vs. Koan”

Here’s what I love about Sailor Moon—the sympathy of it. Koan—and her sisters!—are being heartily manipulated by Rubeus, but Koan stays because she loves him. When Sailor Mars realizes that Koan has been lied to and manipulated and has never had a chance at being an ordinary person, she takes it upon herself to try and help her. And the Guardians do help her, because that’s what they do. They help people.

Saturday Night Live, “Dick Cavett/Jimmy Cliff”

A decent show—Cavett is game, but has no range—but there’s something really fascinating about seeing little baby Lorne Michaels tie John Belushi’s shoes together during a sketch and failing to move out of shot in time. Lorne’s presence on the show in recent years has been as frowning authority figure—refusing to join in the “Chandelier” dance, barely having any patience with the “Lasercats” sketches—so to see him young and fresh and a bit of a scamp is so odd. The past is another country.

Also, “Dance to the Nation” is a fantastic sketch and I love Jane Curtin forever.

Saturday Night Live, “Peter Boyle/Al Jarreau”

Boyle is a very warm, sweet presence, which is perfect for Valentine’s Day. “All-Pro Wrestling” pits the bees against the WASPs (Chevy Chase, of course, wears Converse with his costume, because asshole can’t commit). “Dueling Brandos” is a fantastic concept, well-executed. “Household Orgy” is so deliriously and wonderfully weird—I just love Curtin’s character frantically spouting utterly nonsense that still totally sounds like a commercial to dodge suspicion.

Project Progress

Sailor Moon: 7.7% (1/13)
Saturday Night Live: 15.3% (5/39)
Star Trek: 32.5% (13/40)

eralkfang: (Default)

Film

The Court Jester (1955)

The most adorable Technicolor medieval musical ever made. Filled with sparkling performances, good humor, and witty visual gags. I ADORE IT.

Television

Sailor Moon, “The Beach, the Island and a Vacation: The Guardian’s Break”

It’s nice to have an episode where there’s not really an antagonist. And Makoto just gets to show off that she’s great at everything. (“You can pilot a boat?” “I CAN DO ANYTHING!” Sailor Jupiter, my queen!) Although that dinosaur was a straight-up Lapras. WE ALL KNOW IT.

Star Trek: The Next Generation, “The Loss”

A solid episode for Deanna that also explores the role of the Ship’s Counselor, especially because Troi is the rare counselor who is an empath.

Star Trek: The Next Generation, “Data’s Day”

A day in the life of Data, so it’s a little wacky and mostly sweet. The best moment may be Data and Worf attempting to purchase wedding gifts for humans, with Worf wielding his knowledge of humans over Data and Data wielding his knowledge of social mores over Worf. ADORABLE.

Star Trek: The Next Generation, “The Wounded”

Next Gen deals with PTSD and the fallout of war. Very human of them.

Star Trek: The Next Generation, “Devil’s Due”

A lady devil comes to collect; Picard discovers that CHRISTIANITY IS A LIE BECAUSE SHE WAS PRETENDING TO BE SATAN. Kidding aside, this is a fantastic episode: the characterization is strong, Ardra is a great, funny, and engaging villain, and the conflict is self-contained. SOLID.

Star Trek: The Next Generation, “Clues”

Another fantastic self-contained episode! The conflict is solid and the xenophobic aliens are never presented as wrong—they have a right to be as private as they want. The build is slow and the structure is solid. Are we finding our stride, Next Gen?

You're Welcome America (2009)

I’m not sure where to slot this, because it’s a theater presentation shown on television, so television it is. It’s only five years old, but it’s such an artifact of that specific political climate. Ferrell is clearly aware of the power satire can have over politics, driving home Bush’s decisions as president at every turn. (Although the more surreal stories, such as Barbara Bush rescuing the Bush men from an abandoned mine, are delightful.) It’s an angry piece, and it’s so weird to see Ferrell at the end, being himself. It’s kind of spooky, actually.

Project Progress

Sailor Moon: 7.7% (1/13)
Saturday Night Live: 15.3% (5/39)
Star Trek: 32.5% (13/40)

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Film

Into The Woods (2014)

A decent film adaptation, although why on earth is it filmed so darkly? I could barely see anything. The musical is so tightly staged that abandoning physical juxtaposition of characters in separate stories hurts the film by forcing it to cut constantly, but, by and large, the performances are great. James Corden and Emily Blunt are perfect as the Baker and the Baker’s Wife, especially the way Blunt plays her infatuation with Cinderella’s Prince. (“Agony” is practically a comic set piece. It’s amazing.) The second act is largely defanged, however, and let’s never talk about how the film deals with Little Red by pointedly ignoring the sexual subtext of her story. Ugh.

Music

“Same Sex Symbol,” Cameron Esposito

“Shit was rough! I turned out amazing.” Esposito’s mix of confident swagger, homespun charm, and dim view of straight dudes makes this instantly my favorite comedy album of the year, not that I’ve listened to much.

Theater

Rock of Ages

So Rock of Ages is closing on Broadway on January 18th, which is tragic yet significant, as it is my favorite musical. (Did I say best? No. Did I say inclusive? I did not. I said my favorite.) So off I trotted to see it before it closed, but before the last two weeks. (Mitchell Jarvis, the original Broadway Lonny, will be playing Stacee Jaxx those two weeks. I had no idea!) The show remains the same: crude, camp, and unabashedly sweet.

Constantine Maroulis is amazing as Drew, which is probably why he scored that Tony nomination. Maroulis’s Drew is just really sweet, tender, tentative, and, shall we say, smokin’ hot when he finally does take action. Lauren Zakrin, who was playing Sherrie, made her a little dottier than some Sherries I’ve seen, but it works. Also: I am all about giant!Drews with tiny!Sherries. IT WORKS FOR ME. Frankie J. Grande was a great, impossibly energetic Franz, although fellow YouTuber Chester See was a low energy Stacee Jaxx. He’s fine.

I was a little bummed to see that Chris D'Arienzo’s bio specifically dismissed the film adaptation not for totally ignoring the show’s message, but because it made Dennis and Lonny make out. Don’t write dudes in love if you don’t want dudes in love, dude.

Television

Sailor Moon, “Dispute Over Love: Minako and Makoto’s Conflict”

I thought this was going to be a fight between Minako and Makoto over a boy, but it’s actually about their different love ideologies. And Minako coming around to JUST HOW AWESOME Makoto is. Seriously. I know I have my slash goggles glued to my head, but Makoto teasing Minako is just. Oh, Makoto, you baby lady lover. I adore you.

Sailor Moon, “Usagi’s Parental Love: the Curry Romance Triangle”

WE GET IT THEY’RE HER PARENTS. But awww, Rei feeling awkward about stepping in as Chibi-Usa’s “parent”. But the Sisters turning all the supermarket shoppers dark-skinned—that’s… that’s a racist thing, right? Like, they’re not green or diseased, they’re just brown.

Saturday Night Live, “Amy Adams/One Direction”

Not the heights of Jimmy Fallon’s Christmas episode, but endearingly sweet and straightforward. “Office Christmas Party” sees Pete Davidson and Jay Pharoah discovering their wickedly good chill chemistry, “The Singing Sisters” is pure wackiness, and “Cat Rescue Commercial” is always perfect.

Project Progress

Sailor Moon: 7.7% (1/13)
Saturday Night Live: 15.3% (5/39)
Star Trek: 32.5% (13/40)

eralkfang: (Default)

Television

Sailor Moon, “Usagi Devastated: Mamoru Declares a Break-Up”

Ugh, just when we got them together, an anime-only contrivance to keep them apart.

Sailor Moon, “A Guardian’s Friendship: Goodbye, Ami”

Here’s why I love the friendship of the Guardians: even Usagi, possibly one of the most selfish superheroines in the world, knows that it’s more important that Ami realize her dreams. Of course, responsibility dictates that Ami stay in Japan and continue being Sailor Mercury. (Interesting: after this, Ami’s devotion to her schoolwork increases to the point of a constant joke, probably because she’s decided that being a doctor and a Sailor Guardian is going to require NO SLEEP.)

Sailor Moon, “Women Must Be Strong and Beautiful: Rei’s New Special Technique”

Yurgh, Rei’s grandpa’s pervy ways being treated as harmless. But it is nice to see Usagi and Rei being real-type friends.

Sailor Moon, “In Search of the Silver Crystal: Chibi-Usa’s Secret”

But we didn’t even learn Chibi-Usa’s secret! We got hints about Puu and that Chibi-Usa is from the future.

Project Progress

Sailor Moon: 7.7% (1/13)
Saturday Night Live: 15.3% (5/39)
Star Trek: 32.5% (13/40)

eralkfang: (Default)

Television

Sailor Moon, “True Love Awakens: The Makai Tree’s Secret”

“Two Mamorus? MY TIME HAS COME.” Oh, Usagi, you beautiful, greedy girl. We finally ditch Orientalist Moonlight Knight (I guess subconscious thoughts can just go walking through the world now? Although it’s not like Mamoru is any more effective than a ghost…) and Ail and An, despite having hurt and maybe killed people, go sailing off into the stars. Fare ye well, you beautiful early nineties character designs.

Sailor Moon, “Angel or Devil? the Mysterious Girl from the Sky”

I REMEMBER THIS EPISODE! Or, more actually, the English dub, wherein Chibiusa does NOT have a gun, which feels out of left field. Chibiusa as Rabbit is a nice touch, as are the Spectre Sisters. On the one hand, I don’t like how all the villainous women in this show are vain. On the other hand, hard femme forever.

Also: ew, Chibiusa, that is your dad. Who is dating a fourteen year old, so I suppose it’s genetic…

Project Progress

Sailor Moon: 7.7% (1/13)
Saturday Night Live: 15.3% (5/39)
Star Trek: 32.5% (13/40)

eralkfang: (Default)

Film

The Love Punch (2013)

Catnip for Anglophiles of a certain age, but a weird little number for everyone else. At the very least, though, it does feature a beautiful rich girl who begins as a mark but ends as a friend to the main couple, through the magic of treating her like a person.

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (1987)

Y’all, I think I just don’t like John Hughes movies that aren’t Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

Television

Sailor Moon, “Is Seijuro the Moonlight Knight? Mako On Fire”

Yesss, Mako’s turn to get a power up… and make food and hit on boys while also being a Sailor Scout. And Ail and An are kind of adorable this episode, where’d they been mostly intimidating before, as they don’t understand human food.

Sailor Moon, “Steal a Kiss from Mamoru! An's Project Snow White”

Mako claims that she should be Snow White because she has the biggest breasts, which is not something I expected the show to go for. Meh?

Sailor Moon, “After-School Trouble: Usagi Is a Target”

Aww, the girls go to a movie but get interrupted by being superheroes. ADORABLE.

Sailor Moon, “Disconnecting Love: the Raging Makai Tree”

Part one of the end of this storyline.

Saturday Night Live, “Lily Tomlin”

Lovely and beloved by the cast. It’s nice to see the show just wholly showcase her because both she and they can. Also: Lily Tomlin singing with a Muppet and whispering in its ear. I DIE.

Saturday Night Live, “Cameron Diaz/Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars”

Bruno Mars, you consummate showman. And the return of Your Girls, which should be a holiday tradition.

Project Progress

Sailor Moon: 7.7% (1/13)
Saturday Night Live: 15.3% (5/39)
Star Trek: 32.5% (13/40)

eralkfang: (Default)

Film

Blow Dry (2001)

A by-the-numbers wacky urbanites come to a working class English town fillum that’s elevated by featuring a queer protagonist whose story isn’t about being queer and is actually largely about making peace with her family. Also, Heidi Klum overplays a bit part as an evil Barbie doll, and it’s hilarious.

The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

Better paced than the first, more emotional than the first (despite the monster speaking, removing the eeriness of his face), and then there’s the Bride herself—an arresting, iconic presence in only five minutes. Holy crow.

Macgruber (2010)

A mediocre action film with occasional funny scenes. I love Will Forte, but Kristen Wiig is the best part about this movie.

Music

Kate Bush, Hounds of Love

I love Hounds of Love, but I’ve never made it past the first EP before. “Running Up That Hill” is a stone cold classic, “Hounds of Love” is theatrical gorgeousness. But this time around, “Mother Stands for Comfort” has been sticking with me.

Television

Sailor Moon, “Mamoru and Usagi’s Babysitting Mayhem”

I kind of love that, despite the cats despairing of Usagi’s interest in having her one true love regain his memories, the other Guardians are all over it (except maybe Rei? I don’t recall her teasing Usagi in this episode). Sailor Mercury gets her power up for no real reason.

Sailor Moon, “The School Festival Is for Me?! Queen Rei’s Song”

But Sailor Mars gets her power up for a really awesome reason—namely, that, while she will never admit it, she works really hard, and if a monster is going to destroy her work, she will destroy that monster. I also love that Rei is hero-worshipped at her school. It puts her “bossiness” in another light. And then the episode ends with an affirmation of her friendship with Usagi! This is a great Sailor Mars episode.

Saturday Night Live, “Candice Bergen/Esther Phillips”

Candice! She’s so lovely on the show and off, to the point that I think she’s the only two-time guest in the first season. Adorable. Widely considered the beginning of Saturday Night Live because this episode introduces so many hallmarks. (Assignment: forty episodes of Saturday Night Live, one a season, that encapsulates the season. This could be it for season one.) That Catherine Deneuve sketch is still so funny.

Saturday Night Live, “Robert Klein/ABBA, Loudon Wainwright III”

Utterly unknown to me actor/comedian Klein meshes very well with the cast here. “Tough Director” is a hard sketch to watch. But Gilda’s “Firefighter” sketch is amazing.

Project Progress

Sailor Moon: 7.7% (1/13)
Saturday Night Live: 15.3% (5/39)
Star Trek: 32.5% (13/40)

eralkfang: (Default)

Television

Sailor Moon, “A New Transformation: Usagi’s Power-Up”

Usagi gets a power-up and new transformation sequence.

Sailor Moon, “The Targeted Kindergarteners: Venus to the Rescue”

A Venus-centric episode! I like how it highlights the light tension between Sailor Moon and Sailor Venus—both are the only famous Guardians—and their similarities.

Saturday Night Live, “George Carlin/Janis Ian”

I embark on my classic Saturday Night Live journey once more! I remain struck by how much of a variety show it is, and am new to my fuzzy warm feelings about John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd.

Saturday Night Live, “Chris Rock/Prince”

Alas that Rock returns… and finds that there’s simply not much there, because his astonishing strength is being himself, not playing other characters. The visibility of the black cast members was quite welcome, though. “GoProbe” and “Women in the Workplace” were the best sketches of the night. Why has no one made .gifs out of “your grandpa’s colonoscopy” yet? I AM DISAPPOINT, INTERNET.

Also, the birth rate will skyrocket in nine months. Thanks, Prince!

Project Progress

Sailor Moon: 7.7% (1/13)
Saturday Night Live: 15.3% (5/39)
Star Trek: 32.5% (13/40)

eralkfang: (Default)

Film

Ghostbusters (1984)

I love the eighties. I love Saturday Night Live. I love sf. You’d think this would be a slam dunk… but there are just pieces here and there that I like, because young asshole Bill Murray’s charisma has no access point for me and actively repels me at times (see: trying to get Dana to agree to a date by being an awful human being). But Ray, Egon, and Winston are darlings. I’m interested to see what the all-lady reboot will do with it.

Nosferatu (1922)

Silent films are best appreciated with live accompaniment and a live audience. It’s certainly aged, but it’s fascinating from a historical perspective, and the deathship sequence is still terrifying. And, of course, Max Schreck’s Nosferatu is an amazing creation.

Shadow of the Vampire (2000)

To the point that a biopic positing he was actually a vampire exists. Shadow of the Vampire doesn’t have the budget to execute its dreams, but when it does, in fits and spurts, it’s amazing—creepy, bitingly funny, and sharp. Willem Dafoe is astonishing as Schreck.

Music

Haim, Days Are Gone

I’ve been listened to this a lot lately. I have trouble with music sometimes, because I can’t quite grok albums versus singles—there needs to be a balance between the consistent atmosphere of an album and tracks that have their own merits. Haim does that on this album. So my top three favorite albums at the moment are Night Work, Ta-Dah, and Days are Gone. Yeah. That’s the ticket.

Television

Sailor Moon, “Moon Returns: The Mysterious Aliens Appear”

I actually remember this arc from childhood! All I really remember is Ail, An, and the parking garage they live in, but that’s delightful. I do have a history with this show!

Sailor Moon, “For Love and for Justice: Sailor Guardians Once Again”

Here’s why Sailor Mars and Sailor Jupiter are great: even without superpowers or the knowledge that they possess superpowers, they will still beat the crap out of monsters.

Sailor Moon, “For Whom Is the White Rose? The Moonlight Knight Appears”

So he’s Mamoru?

Sailor Moon, “Usagi’s Crisis: The Tiara Stops Working”

So he’s not Mamoru. Is he Mamoru from the future? This is my first unanswered question in the show, and I am excited to learn the answer.

Saturday Night Live, "Jim Carrey/Iggy Azalea"

Carrey is such an engaged performer that it's always great to see him on the show. 

Star Trek: The Next Generation, “Reunion”

No, K'Ehlyr! You were so wonderful…

Star Trek: The Next Generation, “Future Imperfect”

Has The Next Generation done a hideously powerful alien storyline yet? They must have, four seasons in, but this feels a little more like a The Original Series episode—which makes sense, because Riker is Kirk for a new generation. Love the double twist.

Star Trek: The Next Generation, “Final Mission”

Wait, Wesley leaves? I only get to give him guff in five more episodes in the whole series? This was the last time I used my awful Picard impression to make fun of him?

Well, goodbye, sweet prince. Try not to let your science experiments eat the Academy.

Project Progress

Sailor Moon: 7.7% (1/13)
Saturday Night Live: 15.3% (5/39)
Star Trek: 32.5% (13/40)

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Eralk Fang

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