Road To Gold: Final Predictions

It’s finally my Super Bowl and while I haven’t written much about the movies I saw and (mostly) loved this year, I’d be remiss not to make my final guesses on who I thought would win what at tonight’s Academy Awards. Since I’m not Jimmy Kimmel I’ll skip the intro and just get started.

Best Supporting Actor
Will Win: Mahershala Ali – Moonlight
Want to Win: Dev Patel – Lion
Honestly, I’ll be shocked if Ali doesn’t take away the big prize tonight. Not only was he fantastic, but he’s been an award season favorite all along. Patel’s win at the BAFTA’s indicates favor in his direction too, I’m not sure there’s enough for the trophy, though I’m still pulling for him – while Ali’s Juan shaped Moonlight in a way that a lot of supporting characters don’t, Patel got to do some serious leading-man material in Lion. It doesn’t hurt that I think he’d give the most endearing acceptance speech.

Best Supporting Actress
Will Win: Viola Davis – Fences
Want to Win: Naomi Harris – Moonlight
Viola Davis can and does do anything. She’s fantastic, and was the ultimate scene-stealer in Fences, but I just didn’t see her as a supporting character. She’s a star in anything she does, which is why I’d love to see a win for Naomi Harris, who not only completely transformed for her Moonlight role but also filmed all her scenes in just three days, which I think is absolutely incredible.

Best Actor
Will Win: Casey Affleck – Manchester By The Sea
Want to Win: Andrew Garfield – Hacksaw Ridge
Though Denzel Washington’s SAG Award win for Fences bodes well, I don’t see anybody but Casey Affleck walking away with the Oscar tonight. He’s won nearly every award this season, and has been a front-runner for what feels like a full year. There’s no way Andrew Garfield will win but it would be nice, right?

Best Actress
Will Win: Emma Stone – La La Land
There’s nothing I can say here that hasn’t already been said a million times. If Emma Stone’s not accepting an award tonight, I’ll be completely stunned.

Best Director
It’s Damien Chazelle v. Barry Jenkins, and honestly I’m not confident enough to bet in any direction. So I’m cheating here and saying both.

Best Picture
Can anything beat La La Land here either? Moonlight cleaned up at the Spirit Awards yesterday but with so much leaning in the musical’s favor it’s hard to tell where tonight will land. I think either is deserving of the big win, though Lion and Arrival ended up being unexpected favorites of mine this season, and I believe Hidden Figures should be required viewing for all Americans this year. I don’t see the quiet Hell or High Water or violent Hacksaw Ridge making waves, though Fences or Manchester By The Sea could potentially break through to the finish. Whoever wins, in a few hours nobody’s guesses will matter, and we’ll already looking ahead to 2018.



Road To Gold: Alternate Universe America

Golden Globes Nomination: Best Animated Feature Film

Much like Deadpool I only just sat down to watch Disney’s Zootopia. And very much like Deadpool I was still pleasantly surprised despite the hype that followed for the better half of the year. Zootopia is a movie that should genuinely be shown in schools, an enjoyable cautionary tale about where things in America are headed with an ending that gives a glimpse at how we might act if we didn’t have to focus all our energy on a reality star who tweets about meetings with Anna Wintour. Kids always have a better grasp on humanity than adults, and Zootopia taking away a top prize would just be a reminder that we should all take a step back from ourselves and join hands at a Shakira concert. Things really aren’t all bad, unless we want them to be.
Golden Globes Nomination: Best Picture, Drama + Best Supporting Actor + Best Supporting Actress + Best Original Score
SAG Awards Nomination: Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role + Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role

Completely unrelated to Zootopia‘s animal theme but falling in line with a nice picture of how the world could be is Lion, which brought several tears to my eyes despite the man who was snoring loudly beside me for the entire two hours. Based on a true story, Lion was maybe a little heavy on the ads for Google Earth and a little light on the character development. But for a minute, it’s a reminder of family, and how good things could come out of the internet if we didn’t have to focus all our energy on a reality star who tweets about meetings with – wait, did I already say that? Anyway… Dev Patel is charming as always, and Sunny Pawar is an adorable actor in the making. You’d have to be made of stone to not get a little joy from this.


Road To Gold: Tis The Season For Depression

Manchester By The Sea
Golden Globes Nomination: Best Picture, Drama + Best Director + Best Actor, Drama + Best Supporting Actress + Best Screenplay
SAG Awards Nomination: Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture + Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role + Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role + Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role

I live on Earth and read movie reviews, so I knew that this movie would be tragic, and yet I was still surprised at how deep that tragedy went. At the risk of describing it like any generic drama, Manchester By The Sea really is a sad, simple story that’s beautifully told. But with a surprising twist in the middle and excellent acting by the entire cast, there’s a lot more at stake here than it seems. Movies don’t need to be hugely scaled to influence, which Manchester by the Sea easily proves. I haven’t yet seen Moonlight, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this comes away with most of it’s potential awards on Sunday.
The Lobster
Golden Globes Nomination: Best Actor, Comedy

You know the feeling you get when you watch a movie and have to just sit there a few minutes after it ends, wallowing in it’s strangeness? That’s how I felt after The Lobster, which is billed as a comedy but made me feel deeply sad. Maybe I would have felt differently if I hadn’t watched it directly after the delight that is La La Land, and just didn’t give it the right attention. It wasn’t exactly the funniest movie I’d ever seen, despite the refreshingly original concept and the way that Colin Farrell and co. spoke clipped phrases like bad actors reading a script. I’m thinking Hugh Grant or dark-horse Ryan Reynolds already have this award, but it would be interesting if Farrell won. Maybe I should just tune in to Seven Psychopaths.


Road To Gold: I’ve Got A Bad Feeling

The Night Of
Golden Globes Nomination: Best TV Miniseries or Movie + Best Actor, Mini-Series or TV Movie
SAG Awards Nomination: Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a TV Movie or Miniseries

Game of Thrones failed me. I was far too obsessed with the latest season of the show to pay attention to press surrounding The Night Of, the show that would replace HBO’s coveted Sunday night timeslot. I saw the commercials every week as I sat waiting for Jon Snow to come back to life, but for some reason was convinced that The Night Of was a contagion story, or involved some supernatural elements, or was just too creepy for me to pay attention to. Obviously, I was wrong about all of the above.

If you’ve ever seen an episode of Law & Order, you get the gist of The Night Of. It’s a dark  procedural cop show at it’s core, revolving around a seemingly cut-and-dried murder case where Nasir Khan (Riz Ahmed), a young Pakistani-American, is on trial for the death of an Upper West Side girl. But in its first hour it pulls you in farther than anything allowed on Network television, and ends up saying a lot more about race than what Ice-T gets to deliver. It’s frustratingly slow at times, especially when we’re given more information about John Turturro’s character’s eczema than the evidence surrounding Nas. Its the pacing that gets to you, filling you with an ominous feeling of dread that you try to ignore while falling in love with Ahmed (who is having a great year, and also manages to be in the best character in Rogue One). The Night Of is a show that sticks with you because, as a mini-series, we’re never really left with any sort of conclusion. And while some of these questions are nagging (Why was his lawyer portrayed as an idiot who kisses him in a jail cell, on camera, even though I’d probably want to do the same thing?), most are left unanswered as a reminder that this happens every day in America. What happens to a young man forced into the prison system, what happens on trial when there’s no evidence to nab the likely criminal, what happens in racially divided neighborhoods – these are questions that don’t get answers, in real life or on HBO. I honestly haven’t stopped thinking about the show since I finished it. Maybe we’ll get a season two that will fill in some blanks, but if you’re looking to tune in I’ll tell you this: the cat, at least, gets a conclusion.


Road To Gold: Singing In The Rain

La La Land
Golden Globes Nomination: Best Picture, Comedy or Musical + Best Director + Best Actor, Comedy + Best Actress, Comedy + Best Screenplay + Best Original Score + Best Original Song
SAG Awards Nomination: Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role + Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role

When did we as a society get so cynical? Surely it was before the storm that was 2016, which wasn’t the world that La La Land was born from but one that it felt appropriate to be brought into. We needed a little optimism, and yet half of the press La La Land started to get was Twitter trolls talking about overrated and unnecessary the movie was. Really? Since when was highway dancing, mood lighting and tap shoes anything but underrated. It’s easy to say “they don’t make movies like this anymore,” but I don’t think Sebastian and Mia would mind the cliche – it’s the truth. Two people find each other while chasing their dreams. They interact over the course of a year. They sing a song about disliking each other, and then get together. You might be inclined to call all this cheesy, and that would be fine. But I don’t think a little bit of cheese is ever a bad thing, especially when it’s as beautiful as this. We watch movies because we want an escape, and though the ending may not be the escape you look forward to, La La Land gives you hope to go out there and try to do whatever it is you’ve always wanted. It’s like an old friend poking you to pick a New Year’s resolution and stick to it. It’s old-Hollywood familiar with a freshness that reminds you there isn’t color and song like this outside of live musicals on NBC. Sure, the world sucks sometimes. But we don’t need to be so down about it. I walked out of the movies feeling all that and then some, with “City of Stars” stuck in my head. Get out your tap shoes and enjoy the movie. It’s what it’s there for.


Road To Gold: I Finally Watched Deadpool

I don’t ski. I don’t travel. So the saving grace of the winter months for me is simple: Awards season. From Globes to SAGs to Oscars nothing brings me more joy than attempting to watch every bit of film released between December and January within one week of time off work, so that I can sit on my couch and make guesses about who’s taking home the trophies. Here’s my attempt to watch the most buzzed about television and movies and maybe take some semblance of hope away from 2016. Because seriously, this year needs to end.

Golden Globes Nomination: Best Picture, Comedy or Musical + Best Actor, Comedy

I know. It’s nearly 2017 and I still hadn’t seen Deadpool. I’m the only one on my flight to Iceland who chose watching Love, Rosie over what’s being lauded as the most important superhero film of the year. Don’t worry, this isn’t one of those thinkpieces – there are enough of those without me weighing in. But despite witnessing Ryan Reynolds’ public transformation into Wade Wilson and knowing pretty much every punchline of the movie heading into it, sitting down to watch was really satisfying. It’s an action-comedy that’s exactly that, an origin story that manages to have a clear plot, and a story that’s stayed faithful to the source material. It’s a movie that I genuinely laughed at, which is more than I can say about half of the typical “Comedy or Musical” nominees. It’s nice when the voters get it right, and though I don’t see Deadpool coming away with the top prize, as a moviegoer I appreciate the inclusion. Not that Mr. Pool would give a shit.

Shortlist of nominees I’ve already seen:

Game Of Thrones
Golden Globes Nomination: Best TV Series, Drama + Best Supporting Actress
SAG Awards Nomination: Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series + Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series

Stranger Things
Golden Globes Nomination: Best TV Series, Drama + Best Actress, Drama
SAG Awards Nomination: Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series + Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series

This Is Us
Golden Globes Nomination: Best TV Series, Drama + Best Supporting Actress
SAG Awards Nomination: Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series

Golden Globes Nomination: Best TV Series, Comedy/Musical + Best Actress, Comedy
SAG Awards Nomination: Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series + Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series

Golden Globes Nomination: Best TV Series, Comedy/Musical + Best Actor, Comedy + Best Actress, Comedy
SAG Awards Nomination: Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series + Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series

The Edge of Seventeen
Golden Globes Nomination: Best Actress, Comedy

Jane The Virgin
Golden Globes Nomination: Best Actress, Comedy

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Golden Globes Nomination: Best Actress, Comedy

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
SAG Awards Nomination: Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series + Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series

Golden Globes Nomination: Best TV Series, Comedy/Musical + Best Actor, Comedy + Best Actress, Comedy

The People vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story
Golden Globes Nomination: Best TV Miniseries or Movie + Best Supporting Actor + Best Actor, Mini-Series or TV Movie + Best Actress, Mini-Series or TV Movie
SAG Awards Nomination: Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a TV Movie or Miniseries + Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a TV Movie or Miniseries

Black Mirror
SAG Awards Nomination: Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a TV Movie or Miniseries

Mr. Robot
Golden Globes Nomination: Best Actor, Drama + Best Supporting Actor
SAG Awards Nomination: Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series


Where Will ‘Doctor Strange’ Rank In The Marvel Cinematic Universe?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, are more of a DC fan, or don’t stan Benedict Cumberbatch, you probably already know that Doctor Strange is out this weekend. But why should you care? It’s not about Chris Pratt’s alien gang and there’s no sign of Chris Evans for miles. In fact, there aren’t any Hollywood Chrises! Is it even a superhero movie!?

I’ll admit that while I’m not running to go see it (I actually don’t stan Cumberbatch, or like white washing, though it is getting great reviews), I’m intrigued by what it’s setting up for the future, especially how it will connect to Infinity War. Regardless of my personal thoughts on the movie, the release of a new Marvel Cinematic Universe movie really means one thing: time to look back and prematurely judge where it’ll rank! I and the rest of the world am taking a look back at the rest of the MCU movies we already know, love and hate. Because why watch a super hero movie if you’re not going to compare it to all the other ones you’ve already seen?

Disclaimer: this is, obviously, limited to the Paramount/Disney MCU and therefore will not include absolute gems like X-Men: First Class and 2004’s Fantastic Four.

13. The Incredible Hulk (2008)

#NoDisrespectToEdNorton, but it’s very easy to forget having ever seen this movie. Honestly, it’s not The Incredible Hulk’s fault that a casting change and early release makes it feel like it doesn’t belong in the MCU. But when my family rewatched the series in order, we went to Wikipedia to find out what happened in the end-credits scene. Tony Stark meets up with future Secretary Ross! At the time even this was an exciting button, but it’s not as cool now since we already know the Avengers are a thing, you know?

12. Iron Man 2 (2010)

Ugh. Did we peak too soon? Was the original Iron Man just too perfect of an introduction to keep the rolling? Because I really dislike this movie. It’s just about the opposite of the clean fun that is Tony Stark’s origin story, and gives us a villain who’s best friend is a parakeet- honestly, I’m still a little confused. At least this movie gives us Don Cheadle as Terrence Howard’s War Machine replacement, and the introduction of Black Widow, who needs her solo movie stat.

11. The Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

Age of Ultron isn’t a terrible movie. It’s just a movie that I have a lot of problems with. I have to give credit where credit is due. Sequels are a tough business, and this movie does at least give us the whole gang (including The Avengers Lite Division) hanging out, fighting the crime I’m assuming they deal with together between Cap rescuing Bucky and Tony building suits. But it’s predecessor was so great that I (possibly unfairly) wanted it to be so much more. A lot of the plot is just plain odd- Black Widow and Hulk’s hasty romance, Hawkeye’s hidden family, and Aaron Taylor Johnson’s accent for example. Without the hint of Captain America being able to lift Thor’s hammer, and the fact that the destruction in this movie sets up the MCU future, it would be pretty forgettable.

10. Thor (2011)

Thor is a romantic comedy. There’s nothing wrong with that- I love romantic comedies. But it’s a romcom stuck inside a completely different movie, and the flipping back and forth between both movies with weird cuts and deep contrasts between the darkness of space and the light of Earth is jarring and unexpected. When your villain, in this case Loki, is more well-received than your hero, it’s not always the best sign.

9. Thor: The Dark World (2013)

Listen, I don’t want to do Chris Hemsworth like this. He’s a fantastic dancer and a really enjoyable Thor. But these standalones are just alright, which kind of sucks considering how important the Tesseract and Infinity Stones are to the rest of the MCU plot. The Dark World is a step up for me, given the couple of plot twists and some dimension science that’s actually kind of cool. Overall you have to admit it’s hard for any space movie to compete against Guardians of the Galaxy.

8. Ant-Man (2015)

I’d hate to describe this movie as small because of, you know, the ant puns. But I really do love how small scale this movie gets. Yes, Ant-Man saves the world and fights another Avenger, like the squad is known to do. But he’s also more focused on just saving his daughter, so while their suburban street ends up getting wrecked it’s a nice change of pace from skyscrapers falling out of the sky. The fight scenes in a briefcase and on toy trains are genius, though I’d honestly give high marks to anything Paul Rudd is in.

7. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

Was the MCU saving the best for last on purpose, or what? Captain America is the final core Avenger to be introduced, and while it might fit better in a lineup of war dramas it’s pretty exciting to see the world start to get laid out. It’s also incredibly depressing, since Steve loses his best friend and the love of his life, and as if that wasn’t bad enough the first thing he sees after being in an ice-induced coma is Times Square. I’d be depressed too, bud.

6. Iron Man 3 (2013)

Why didn’t anyone tell me how good Iron Man 3 is? I didn’t see it for the longest time, mostly because I was still stung by Iron Man 2’s nonsense. I made sense of the MCU without it (in other words, I’m not an idiot), but watching it fills in some nice blanks about Tony Stark. Tony’s kid sidekick is actually really cute, and the twist is wild. There’s that whole thing where Gwenyth Paltrow is on fire, but we’ll look past it.

5. Iron Man (2008)

Imagine if Iron Man had been a flop? Either we’d remember it like we remember The Incredible Hulk, or worse- there’d be no MCU at all. Iron Man managed to pull off jump-starting an entire universe starring a superhero who wasn’t yet commercially well-known, and on top of that was a really great movie. Tony Stark was cool, and the movie’s soundtrack and big fight scenes prove it. Plus, it’s nice to see a superhero who’s known to the public, which we hadn’t seen in the Spiderman and Batman movies- and it doesn’t get more iconic than “I’m Iron Man.”

4. Captain America: Civil War (2016)

More than fighting aliens or locking up bad guys, I want to see our Avengers together. That’s what makes Civil War so good: the introductions of Spiderman (!!) and Ant Man to the rest of the group are hilarious, and the final fight scene between Tony and Steve hurts. Our antagonist Zemo is a little much at times (I get you want revenge, but at what cost?), but overall it pulls off the seemingly impossible task of introducing characters, laying out motivations, and still feeling like a Captain America movie.

3. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

What happens when you take a post-Zero Dark Thirty-buff Chris Pratt, a fire mix tape, and a tree that warms everyone’s heart, and put them together? You get Guardians, a movie that non-comic readers thought was going to be totally strange until they saw the trailer and pretty immediately got on board. I wouldn’t have expected a movie about “a bunch of assholes” to work so well, but it just goes to show you that the MCU can tap into the unexpected worlds of comic books and still succeed.

2. The Avengers (2012)

It really doesn’t get much better than this one. The MCU was officially solidified as a series that demanded attention to detail while bringing together more superheroes than the average American could list off at once. It was a risky move basing a lot of the first Avengers movie on the world of Thor. But it really works, and he’s better here than his solo movies, plus Iron Man becomes a great team player and we all get good at pretending Mark Ruffalo has been there all along. Maybe DC’s Justice League movie will totally blow this one out of the water, but we’ll always know The Avengers did it first, and they had Shawarma.

1. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

Maybe I’m biased, because Captain America is my favorite Avenger, but Winter Soldier is in a league of it’s own. Chris Evans threw some light shade at Joss Whedon saying that the Russo brothers, directors of Winter Solider and Civil War, make movies about people who happen to have powers, not movies about superheroes. And that’s exactly it. This movie has as many (if not more) fight scenes, shiny costumes and one-liners as any other movie in the MCU, but it doesn’t stop there; it throws in a compelling villain, strengthens character relationships and forces our hero to question his morals in a way that isn’t neatly wrapped up by the film’s end. Can Doctor Strange come close to beating it? Let’s see.


An Apology Letter to Ryan Murphy On Behalf Of ‘American Horror Story: Roanoke’

Dear Ryan Murphy,

I’m just going to come right out and say it. I’m sorry. I, along with many of my fellow American Horror Story viewers, was losing faith in you. I was ready to throw in the towel on the show that had given us Bloodyface, “Surprise, bitch,” and Evan Peters outside of Phil of the Future reruns. After 5 weeks of slight tedium (with the exception of Mott family history and some disgusting deaths) I was just about to give up, like I did with Glee after every single couple on the show broke up to Coldplay. But there was a promise of a twist ahead, and it was the best show airing at 10 PM on Wednesdays, so I wasn’t going to give up yet. Thank God I didn’t, and I’m sorry for doubting you.

Last night’s Chapter 6 was a game changer. Not only in this season alone, which promises to have three stories packed into 10 episodes, but in the American Horror Story series in general. They’ve had pretty reliable formats so far- a red herring villain, a Halloween special, an unanswered question (or four). And maybe future seasons will jump right back into that comfortable spot, especially with the possible resurgence of Coven and Freak Show characters. But this twist, with the actor re-enactors and talking head survivors returning to the Murder House for My Roanoke Nightmare’s reality season two of sorts, proves that we can still be surprised. The people on Reddit are no match for Mr. Ryan Murphy and co. So I’m sorry.

Chapter 6 (directed by Angela Bassett!) was a blast. I laughed, I screamed, I laughed some more, I was terrified. The very reason the first 5 episodes were so blasé for me (obviously, Shelby and Matt survived, so who cares?) were what made this episode genuinely scary: halfway through our first night in the house, we get a disclaimer that Everyone Died Except One. Let the guessing begin! Every time a character left a room or wandered off alone I was sure they were going to get brutally murdered. I was on the edge of my seat when it was finally Rory, Evan Peters’ simultaneously most hilarious and average character yet, who was stabbed by our psycho nurses. But of course it was! They needed that R to finish off their MURDER wall! A genius reminder to pay attention to everything that happens in this show. I’m sorry I didn’t see it coming.

Mr. Murphy, please accept my apology. I hate to say American Horror Story: Roanoke is good again, because it turns out it was good all along. I can’t wait to see more familiar faces, murder and who will live (I want to say Lee, because she’s already the suspected murderer). I’m sorry for doubting you here, and for doubting your use of Blurred Lines in that ‘The End of Twerk’ episode of Glee. Upon a second watch, it was actually pretty funny. But apologies aside, one thing that happened this week that I won’t forgive you for: killing Chad Radwell.

Sincerely, Me


Will ‘Jane’ Get Her Happily Ever After?

Ahh, all is well. Jane The Virgin is back, Gina Rodriquez is still a delight that none of us fully deserve, and (spoiler alert) Michael Cordero is alive. Sure, Petra is still paralyzed and Xo is still carrying the baby of her ex’s enemy. But in spite of the remaining doom, like Jane at it’s best this episode brought out a lot of sweet and optimistic moments: a story framed as a romance novel; heartwarming and hopeful flashes of Jane and Michael’s future; hilarious flashbacks of what happened after their first kiss (Michael had a cat and it died, jackass). While it’s all good for now, there’s the sneaking suspicion that things this good can’t last that long.

The theme and framing that this episode follows begins with an angry young Jane reacting to a new romance novel that ends on a twist rather than giving its romantic leads the expected HEA, or happily ever-after. Little Jane believes this twist fails the genre, since romance novels all follow a similar pattern that make you believe in true love. Jane has always had its soap roots on display, but all its romance novel influences are just as clear. This episode sets us up to think that the HEA past Jane looked for is her future with Michael, but what if this story instead ends with the unfair twist she never wanted?

Last season, I fully believed Michael would die, and the finale pretty much sealed that fate for me. Then Michael survived, and for a minute I forgot all about the narrator’s ominous statement about loving Jane “for as long as Michael lived, until he drew his very last breath.” But don’t worry! There’s still hope! Showrunner Jennie Snyder Urman responded to reporter questions about this particular quote saying, “I think you will have to watch… I will say it’s a reliable narrator. And we’re going to be dealing with that.” Urman also said that the love triangle is “not over, but it is over now.” And then my money was back on a funeral for Michael.

Of course, there aren’t always happy endings in real life. And Jane and her family’s struggles have always been relatable enough, but only to a point. Throw in a celebrity dad, a couple of murderers, crime plots, kidnapping, an evil twin… you get it. We relate to Jane, and strive for her optimism, but this isn’t a realistic show. You still hope for the best for her because against all the drama and cliffhangers her happiness is the heart of the show. Ultimately it’s a romantic soap, and how can they keep topping on the drama if Jane has a happy, normal life? I’ve flip flopped on #TeamRafael and #TeamMichael more times than I can count, so something has to come next. If Jane wants a peaceful life with Michael, as an audience member I want that too. And yet it doesn’t seem like that’s on the horizon. I’m in for the ride, and the ups and downs are what makes this show such an impossibly fun thing to recap. But isn’t it time Jane got her own HEA?


‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ Meets ‘New Girl,’ And It’s Better than Late-Night NPR

Is this going to be the year of the crossover? The Flash’s stint on Supergirl was widely regarded as a better DC vehicle than Superman vs. Batman, Alf showed up on Mr. Robot, and last night FOX brought back the long-dead sitcom crossover with New Girl meets Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Could there have been more actual crossover in this two episodes? Absolutely. But as a person who’s favorite part of LOST was watching characters cross paths in flashbacks, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Give us more!

Though it featured minimal character interaction (other than a meta, on-the-nose moment of Jake trying to commandeer Jess’ SUV and her shouting “It’s a crossover!”) the Brooklyn Nine-Nine episode was, a little unsurprisingly, the stronger half-hour. We’re barely a fifth through the season and it’s already clear Brooklyn Nine-Nine has become a stronger comedy. They made the smart decision to continue picking up where they left off- here, Jake was returning to the force for the first time since getting shot in Florida, adding a cane and taking away the frosted tips (Amy: “I feel like I’m kissing Vanilla Ice.” Jake: “There’s a time you would have jumped at that chance!”). A lot has changed at the force, which the writers of “The Night Shift” handled with grace; the squad is dealing with getting used to the night shift, Jake is dealing with Boyle spending time with his adopted son Nikolaj, and Rosa is still waiting for her fiancee Agent Pimento to return from witness protection. Usually, an episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine this cramped might feel thin, but even with the addition of Jess the story moves along smoothly and even has time to fit in a Twilight joke that’s still funny (Boyle thinks the movies are “an insult to the books”). Fortunately, we also got to learn a lot about Terry and Holt; Terry gets “night sassy,” Holt’s idea of a rager is hanging pieces of computer paper that just say “PARTY,” and the night shift stinks for the captain largely because “late-night NPR is garbage.” This show continues to be one of the best, and they were completely on board to up their game for the New Girl fans.

While it wasn’t as strong an episode New Girl was on board too, and I have to give them credit for crafting an episode revolving around meeting a few NYPD officers on their opposite coast. Plus, we even managed to get some fun world building! Remember way back in the Pilot, when Jess came home from a trip early to surprise her then-boyfriend Spencer, and ended up catching him cheating? Turns out, Jess came home early from a horrible trip in New York, where she fell into an open grate and witnessed a subway suicide. Just New Girl things! Despite her earlier bad Empire State experiences, Jess gets the most Brooklyn in her LA this time, running into Gina, Holt and Jake (whose dialogue and comedic beats reminded me how different these shows really are). The highlight of the three was optimistic Jess and serious Holt’s meeting, since the two are a match made in a Heaven who probably deserve a crossover episode dedicated to just the two of them. Nick and Winston running into Charles and Nikolaj was fun too, if only for the believability that Charles is super into busking, and that crowds of people would stop around two guys shouting “showtime” just to see what happens. Schmidt’s mom returned to play the quintessential Long Island mother, calling Great Neck “the real New York” and insisting that Schmidt kiss his brother, Reggie (he’s a standard poodle). The most New York moment goes to Jess’ frighteningly real experience at a packed NY Deli, but the episode ends with a huge boost from a last minute appearance by Coach. He runs into the gang on the street and scolds them for not calling him once they got to New York, and proves the point that a little Coach makes any episode better.

Overall, it was a fun hour, and a worthy experiment. I can only imagine where ABC’s family sitcoms could take this revived trope- Speechless’ Maya going toe to toe with The Real O’Neals‘s Eileen, or the black-ish gang meeting The Middle. Maybe I’m biased because I really love both New Girl and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, but if you can suspend disbelief about the fact that Jess and Jake had completely different conversations when they met in each episode I think we can all acknowledge this was a pleasant way to spend a Tuesday night. Now to get a story on how Damon Wayans Jr.’s 99th precinct cop Stevie catches a perp in LA undercover as Coach. That’s a crossover I’m here for.