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Celebrating 20 years of ‘Sex and the City’!

Photo credit: HBO – one of my favorite scenes from the series.

This week, fans of “Sex and the City” have been celebrating its 20th anniversary – can you believe it?

HBO’s iconic series debuted in 1998, when I was in 8th grade. We didn’t have HBO at my house growing up, so I didn’t come across the series until I was a junior in high school, when I went on a college visit to Miami of Ohio.

It was 2001, and I saw an episode on DVD – I’m pretty sure I fell asleep before the episode was over. To be honest, I didn’t know a whole lot about dating when I was 17, and I certainly knew nothing about sex.

But by the time I went to college, I’d scrounged up all of the available seasons on DVDs and brought them to Louisiana. The episodes made me laugh, and I started to see why so many people loved the show so much – they spoke so honestly about dating, and in college, I really needed that.

My DVDs also came in handy when I applied to get a new roommate during my second semester of freshman year. The only open bed available was with someone who’d scored a room alone – she was probably REALLY disappointed when I showed up with my boxes of crap on a random weeknight.

Until I showed her my SATC collection and told her she was welcome to watch them anytime. We watched loads of episodes together.

It’s difficult to believe now, but SATC changed the dialogue about sex  and dating, and it was one of the first shows (aside from “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”) that put single, career-driven women at the forefront.

It also carved a larger path for sex columnists, given that SATC’s main character has a weekly column titled, “Sex and the City”. I quickly became a fan of Natalie Krisnky’s writing, who was the sex columnist for Yale’s campus newspaper until 2004.

I also wrote the relationship column for the LSU paper, and while that was not the start of my publishing career, it gave me a place to vent about my dating troubles, and gave me confidence to start this blog, and eventually publish multiple books on the topic of love, sex, and relationships.

Based on the best-selling novel by Candace Bushnell, SATC gave us four women that were relatable, yet far enough out-of-reach that we could drool over their fashion, apartments, and exclusive access to New York City.

In the span of six seasons (from 1998-2004), Carrie, Miranda, Samantha, and Charlotte became our best friends, even if only digitally, we related to their love, loss, fun, and fights.

The best part? The writing is timeless. Over the years, SATC episodes covered first dates, baby showers, breakups, and marriage, and even dipped into more serious issues such as cancer, abortion, miscarriage, infidelity, interracial dating, and sexual identity.

No matter the topic, the tone of the show was always hopeful – that we can get through just about anything with the support of our friends and the relationship we ultimately have with ourself, and that’s a lesson that never comes too late.

As part of a week-long celebration, the E! Network has been playing all of the SATC episodes, and although I have the entire series on DVD (I was gifted an entirely new set after wearing out the first set), it’s fun to just turn on the TV and see all of the episodes I’ve watched countless times – I could probably recite most of them.

For this post, I was trying so hard to think of my all-time favorite episode, but it changes depending on what I’m going through at the time.

Right now, I can definitely relate to “A Woman’s Right to Shoes” (season 6, episode 9) when Carrie attends a baby shower and is asked to remove her Manolos – they get stolen, and she gets “shoe shamed” when she asks for a new pair from the hostess.

I have also always loved “Hot Child in the City” (season 3, episode 15) where all of the women face something from their childhood – whether it’s scooters and sunbathing or getting braces.

Just a few episodes later, in “Cock a Doodle Do”, Samantha goes to WAR with transsexuals on her block – it involves eggs and lots of yelling, but eventually they makeup and throw a rooftop party.

I never really did like any of Carrie’s boyfriends, not Berger or The Russian – I only like Mr. Big. One of my favorite episodes with him is “I Heart N.Y.” (Season 4, episode 18) when he’s getting ready to move to Napa. There’s pizza in an empty apartment, and several references to “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and it’s perfect.

SATC also gave us some epic one-liners, including:

  • When real people fall down in life, they get right back up and keep on walking.
  • Being single used to mean that nobody wanted you. Now it means that you’re pretty sexy and you’re taking your time deciding how you want your life to be and who you want to spend it with.
  • They say nothing lasts forever; dreams change, trends come and go, but friendships never go out of style.
  • I am someone who is looking for love. Real love. Ridiculous, inconvenient, consuming, can’t-live-without-each-other love.
  • Maybe the best any of us can do is not to quit, play the hand we’ve been given, and accessorize the outfit we’ve got.

I will probably spend a large chunk of my weekend watching SATC without regret. But I’d love to know, what were some of your favorite moments of the show? Or, did it change your life in some way? Give you confidence for a career move? Help you meet new friends?

Let me know in the comments! Have a great weekend everyone!

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BBC: ‘The Rainbow Comes and Goes’.

Hello! It’s Friday and I’m just rolling right on through my reading list. Usually, I use my library reserve list to choose the order in which I read books (when it comes time to pick up, that’s the book I read next), but given my recent loss, I saw this book was on the shelf and decided to go ahead and read it.

I’m talking about “The Rainbow Comes and Goes: A Mother and Son on Life, Love, and Loss” by Anderson Cooper and Gloria Vanderbilt.

Last year, when the accompanying documentary came out (“Nothing Left Unsaid“), I watched it immediately – I also wrote a review on it. I have always admired Anderson Cooper, have watched him for years on CNN, and saw him in-person with Andy Cohen last year.

Before I go any further, here is the official description of the book from Amazon.com:

A touching and intimate correspondence between Anderson Cooper and his mother, Gloria Vanderbilt, offering timeless wisdom and a revealing glimpse into their lives

Though Anderson Cooper has always considered himself close to his mother, his intensely busy career as a journalist for CNN and CBS affords him little time to spend with her. After she suffers a brief but serious illness at the age of ninety-one, they resolve to change their relationship by beginning a year-long conversation unlike any they had ever had before. The result is a correspondence of surprising honesty and depth in which they discuss their lives, the things that matter to them, and what they still want to learn about each other.

Both a son’s love letter to his mother and an unconventional mom’s life lessons for her grown son, The Rainbow Comes and Goes offers a rare window into their close relationship and fascinating life stories, including their tragedies and triumphs. In these often humorous and moving exchanges, they share their most private thoughts and the hard-earned truths they’ve learned along the way. In their words their distinctive personalities shine through—Anderson’s journalistic outlook on the world is a sharp contrast to his mother’s idealism and unwavering optimism.

An appealing memoir with inspirational advice, The Rainbow Comes and Goes is a beautiful and affectionate celebration of the universal bond between a parent and a child, and a thoughtful reflection on life, reminding us of the precious insight that remains to be shared, no matter our age.

The documentary and the book are obviously based on the same collection of information, but the book is the collection of emails between Cooper and Vanderbilt, which was really interesting.

It’s funny to me how much we don’t know about our families, or even our parents – or maybe it’s just me. But even someone as famous as Gloria Vanderbilt had a bit of a mysterious past to her son. Here are some quotes I took note of during my reading:

  • “I know now that it’s never too late to change the relationship you have with someone important in your life… all it takes is a willingness to be honest and to shed your old skin, to let go of the long-standing assumptions and slights you still cling to.”
  • “I’ve often thought of loss as a kind of language. Once learned, it’s never forgotten.”
  • “I no longer imagine a diamond at my secret core. Instead, I see shimmering flashes of moonlight on the calm of a midnight sea.”

One topic they didn’t discuss in-depth was the suicide of Anderson’s brother, which Vanderbilt was witness to. It’s talked about extensively in the documentary.

All in all, it was a great read, and inspiring – get to know people you care about! I’d recommend this book to anyone who loves memoirs, and of course, fans of Anderson Cooper and/or Gloria Vanderbilt.

The next book Blanche’s Book Club will be reading is “Into The Wild” by Jon Krakauer.

I hope you all have a great weekend – I have another batch of blogs planned for next week! I think it’s safe to say, I am slowly getting my creativity back. Talk soon!

Watching: ‘Jurassic World’.

Scene from ‘Jurassic World’.

I know I’m like two years late to the game here (per usual), but I finally watched “Jurassic World“! I don’t know WHY I waited so long – I love “Jurassic Park“, and one of my college roommates is IN the movie! I do admit that sometimes I have to be in the mood to watch a movie – especially at home.

But this weekend, I actually watched several movies at home. This is what happens when you all of the sudden have loads of time on your hands. Here’s the official description of “Jurassic World” from IMBd:

A new theme park, built on the original site of Jurassic Park, creates a genetically modified hybrid dinosaur, which escapes containment and goes on a killing spree.

I’ll admit, it was pretty cool to see a “working park” – not unlike a public zoo, but plus real dinosaurs and open areas/rides where park-goers could interact with the dinos. Would I go to a place like that? Uh, hell no! Of course, there’s a little bit of a romance between Chris Pratt and his co-star female lead, Bryce Dallas Howard.

I won’t give away any spoilers, but the end of the movie definitely leaves room for more. Naturally, the sequel comes out June 18, “Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom”.

Also watching: ‘The Intern’.

I loved ‘The Intern’.

Yep, I also watched “The Intern“, starring Anne Hathaway and Robert DeNiro! You guys – I LOVED this movie! I’m not a big fan of Hathaway, but I still really enjoyed it. And yes, I realize I’m two years late on this movie, too.

Here’s the scoop from IMBd: 70-year-old widower Ben Whittaker has discovered that retirement isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Seizing an opportunity to get back in the game, he becomes a senior intern at an online fashion site, founded and run by Jules Ostin.

I’m not a fan of start-up culture, and I definitely cackled at Jules riding a BIKE through the office, but whatever. Really, the business didn’t have much to do with the movie, aside from the juxtaposition of a young company hiring a senior citizen.

Either way, it was funny, and light-hearted. Not to mention, I loved the cameos from Adam Devine.

I still have a few other random movies on my DVR to watch, but what movies are you guys watching? I’m always down for recommendations!

Saying goodbye to ‘Girls’.

Saying goodbye to one of my favorite shows!

While most of America was gorging on honey ham and chocolate bunnies, I was waiting for the series finale of HBO’s “Girls”. Don’t worry, I whipped up stuffed shells with butternut squash sauce and some crescent rolls for the occasion.

I know “Girls” took a lot of shit – for making millenials look bad; for highlighting self-absorbed characters; for a lack of diversity; and well, often because of Lena Dunham. But I really, really liked this show.

Let’s be clear: it is/was not “Sex and the City”. Instead, it was the story of a group of friends living in New York city, post-college. It involved shitty boyfriends (and husbands), crap jobs, Brooklyn apartments, and the underlying sting of figuring out how to navigate life.

Before the final episode aired, I was a little nervous! But the episode flew by and it was a little surreal. Basically, it was a look into life after Hannah gives birth – 5 months later.

Soo… she actually named her baby Grover, which I was surprised by, and Marnie moved in with her to help with the baby. Naturally, they’re getting on each other’s nerves, and Marney is still navigating how to properly be single.

I was sad to see that the only characters in this episode were Hannah, Marnie, and Hannah’s mom. We were left with the same questions we started with this season: What would happen with Shosh? Did she actually get married? Would Desi ever get clean? What about Hannah’s dad? And Adam – he’s going to stay with HER?

The end just didn’t seem to fit for me, and I know I’m not alone because Twitter.

Everyone was saying last week’s episode was the real finale, which was probably true. All of the ladies found themselves at Shosh’s engagement party, and basically decided they weren’t meant to be in a room together.

Nonetheless Hannah and Jessa ended up dancing the night away, judgment-free.

Regardless, the finale tied a bow on the six seasons we’ve come to love. Hannah grew up and is somehow raising a child without the help of a man. Her mom has found peace, and Marnie, well, she’s learning to find her own way.

No, it’s not an ending that answers our questions, but truthfully, this season was for the books. I’m sad to see this show go – the reason I got HBO in the first place – but I know it was time.

Farewell, “Girls”!

Season Review: ‘Big Little Lies’.

I finally watched HBO’s ‘Big Little Lies’.

Well, I F-IIIII-nally watched HBO’s limited series, “Big Little Lies” this weekend! I was in such a hurry to read the book (check out my review, here) before the series came out, and then week after week, I simply recorded it and just now got around to watching it.

After the finale, everyone was talking about it so much, I felt like I had to stay on alert to avoid the spoilers. However, after reading the book – there really weren’t any spoilers, as it was almost exactly like the book (in a good way!).

Here’s the scoop from HBO.com: In the tranquil seaside town of Monterey, California, nothing is quite as it seems. Doting moms, successful husbands, adorable children, beautiful homes: What lies will be told to keep their perfect worlds from unraveling?

Told through the eyes of three mothers – Madeline, Celeste and Jane – Big Little Lies paints a picture of a town fueled by rumors and divided into the haves and have-nots, exposing the conflicts, secrets and betrayals that compromise relationships between husbands and wives, parents and children, and friends and neighbors.

Based on the New York Times number-one bestseller of the same name by Liane Moriarty, this seven-part limited series is a subversive, darkly comedic drama that weaves a tale of murder and mischief as it explores society’s myth of perfection and the contradictions that exist beneath our idealized façade of marriage, sex, parenting and friendship.

Directed by Jean-Marc Vallée (Dallas Buyers Club, for which he received an editing Oscar nomination; Wild; Demolition), Big Little Lies is written for television and created by David E. Kelley (seven-time Emmy winner for Picket Fences, LA Law, The Practice and Ally McBeal; Goliath).

The stellar cast includes Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley, Laura Dern, Zoë Kravitz, Alexander Skarsgård, Adam Scott, James Tupper, Jeffrey Nordling, Santiago Cabrera, P.J. Byrne and Virginia Kull.

Executive produced by Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, David E. Kelley, Bruna Papandrea (Gone Girl; Wild; the Oscar nominee Milk), Per Saari (Rabbit Hole, The Family Fang, Monte Carlo), Jean-Marc Vallée, Nathan Ross (Dallas Buyers Club, Wild, Demolition) and Gregg Fienberg (four-time Emmy-nominee; HBO’s True Blood and Deadwood), and produced by Barbara A. Hall (Ray, Milk) and Liane Moriarty, Big Little Lies is a Pacific Standard/Blossom Films/David E. Kelley Productions production for HBO Films.

…First thing’s first, Reese Witherspoon and Shailene Woodley SHINE in this series! I would watch the two of them for days.

The other thing I’ll note is that, while the book had some scenes including domestic violence, seeing it in the series is very difficult – wow. I enjoyed seeing the book come to life, but it’s not something I’d ever watch again because of these tough scenes.

The cool thing about the series – much like the book – is that it offers you a taste of the ending right at the beginning, so you’re sort of aware of what’s to come.

What’s surprising to me about the book and the series is that, minus the murder, this is a story that I’d bet many, many people can relate to; but it hasn’t really been told.

I enjoyed it, but I’m also really glad I waited until I had all of the episodes recorded so I could watch them all at once.

This weekend, I also got my butt in gear – sort of – and cleaned out my car (I vacuumed it and even washed the floor mats), did my laundry, cooked, cleaned my apartment, read, went to the library, and in-general, just tried to get my life in order pre-vacation.

But, I hope today is treating you well! Don’t be shocked if the blog is full of TV talk this week; my DVR is full and I’ve got lots to say about it.

BBC: ‘The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl’.

Hello! Happy Weekend Eve! You guys… I took a new fitness class on Wednesday night, which kicked my ass so hard I thought I was going to puke… and despite being so sore yesterday, I still went to two dance classes last night. So today I basically want to die.

But, hey everything is always okay on a Friday, right? Anyway, I finished reading another book for the book club, one that I was just SO excited to read: “The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl” by Issa Rae. Here’s the description from Amazon:

In this universally accessible New York Times bestseller named for her wildly popular web series, Issa Rae—“a singular voice with the verve and vivacity of uncorked champagne” (Kirkus Reviews)—waxes humorously on what it’s like to be unabashedly awkward in a world that regards introverts as hapless misfits and black as cool.

I’m awkward—and black. Someone once told me those were the two worst things anyone could be. That someone was right. Where do I start?

Being an introvert (as well as “funny,” according to the Los Angeles Times) in a world that glorifies cool isn’t easy. But when Issa Rae, the creator of the Shorty Award-winning hit seriesThe Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, is that introvert—whether she’s navigating love, the workplace, friendships, or “rapping”—it sure is entertaining. Now, in this New York Timesbestselling debut collection written in her witty and self-deprecating voice, Rae covers everything from cybersexing in the early days of the Internet to deflecting unsolicited comments on weight gain, from navigating the perils of eating out alone and public displays of affection to learning to accept yourself—natural hair and all.

The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl is a book no one—awkward or cool, black, white, or other—will want to miss.

I’ve basically had a girl crush on Miss Rae since the debut of her HBO series “Insecure” last fall. Little did I know that the chick was not only the lead actress in the show, but also the lead writer of it, having based the whole series on her successful YouTube show.

But her collection of stories was published before anything happened with HBO, so it’s definitely a different side of Issa. There are some pretty funny bits in there – particularly about how she was Catfishing people online before it was a thing, and well before she could drive.

There are several stories about her childhood, her family, and in general, her observations of black culture – despite the fact that she’s never wanted to be a voice on the “black experience”.

The story that stuck out to me the most was a simple one about her being robbed – nearly all of her film and computer equipment was stolen, including lots of work she’d already accomplished for film school. It took lots of time for her to get back on her feet (it was thousands of dollars’ worth of equipment), and that’s essentially how she came up with the idea for her YouTube series – she just wanted to share the story of her life, and how awkward she felt at all times.

This is why I love Issa so much – she’s cool as hell, but thinks she so awkward or insecure. When, in reality, we basically all feel that way (right??). It’s the great equalizer… well, minus Olivia Palermo. Pretty sure she’s never felt awkward or insecure in her whole life.

If you’re a fan of Issa, or comedians, this would be a good book to check out. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it for literary critics.

The next book Blanche’s Book Club will be reading is “Goodnight Nobody” by Jennifer Weiner. Feel free to read along with me next week by giving me a shout on social media @OrangeJulius7 – I’d love to hear from you!

This weekend, I’m looking forward to tackling a few dance rehearsals (I’m performing on stage at the end of the month), and hitting up a romance reading event at a nearby library. I am also totally planning to watch the Grammy red carpet, but not the actual Grammy’s, given that no one good is performing. Yeah I said it, Bey.

Anyway – I’ll catch you all on the flipside!

BBC: ‘Big Little Lies’.

Hey, hey! We all made it to Friday! I’m actually working from home today, so the fact that I get to stay in my comfy pjs and have the TV on is basically like I’ve already made it to the weekend.

Last night, I finished reading the latest installment in Blanche’s Book Club: “Big Little Lies” by Liane Moriarty. I read “What Alice Forgot” by Moriarty last year and loved it, so I was really excited to read this book, especially before the HBO series on the book begins in mid-February.

Here’s the book’s description from “Big Little Lies”:

Sometimes it’s the little lies that turn out to be the most lethal…
A murder…a tragic accident…or just parents behaving badly?  
What’s indisputable is that someone is dead. But who did what?

Big Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads:

Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved beachside community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest (how is this possible?). And to top it all off, Madeline’s teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her. (How. Is. This. Possible?).

Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn’t be, with those rambunctious twin boys? Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and queen of the school parent body. But royalty often comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is willing to pay.

New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny. Jane is sad beyond her years and harbors secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all.

Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.

…As you can tell, there’s a lot going on in this book! I don’t want to give anything away, but I’ll say a little about it. 1. The first chapter was a little weird to get into just because I wasn’t really sure what kind of story I was about to jump into. 2. Once things get going, it was a difficult book to put down. 3. This is going to make for a dramaaaaatic TV series!

Without being obvious about it, this book really talks a lot about society in terms of class/financial status, the behavior of children, marriage, and keeping up appearances. I would definitely recommend this book!

So, I’m not sure if this is weird or not, but I actually purchased this book (I usually get all of my books from the library), and since I’m dabbling into minimalism, I was going to put it in my donate pile. But if I’ve got a reader out there that would like my (very gently used copy) – simply become a fan of The Bitter Lemon Facebook page, and leave a comment that includes a book recommendation for me, and I’ll draw a number this weekend for the winner. Cool?

The next book Blanche’s Book Club will be reading is “Today Will Be Different” by Maria Semple. Want to read along with us? Simply start reading and leave comments on the blog, or contact me through social media @OrangeJulius7 to get the book chatter going. The joys of non-committal book clubs!

Before I go for the weekend, I do want to say that I didn’t have enough time this week to gather my thoughts on the passing of the beloved Mary Tyler Moore. My mom has always been a big fan of hers, so I grew up knowing about her and have always loved her as Mary Richards.

Much like any pioneer woman, Mary did things before her time, and normalized the things women take for granted today – like being single, successful, independent, and confident. Here’s a bit of info I wrote about “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” in a previous blog post (read the full post here):

“The Mary Tyler Moore Show” ran for seven seasons, beginning in 1970 — a time when America was going through political change, and women were beginning to experience economic freedom. Feminism was spreading, women were granted the right to vote, and in 1973, women were granted the right to an abortion.

But as the show premiered, the idea of women having freedom was new, so a show about a girl — a single girl — moving out on her own to establish a career was a fresh idea. “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” was the “Sex and the City” of its time.

Starring Mary Tyler Moore (obviously), Valerie Harper (Rhoda), Cloris Leachman (Phyllis), Ted Knight (Ted Baxter), Edward Asner (Lou), and Gavin MacLeod (Murray), the show is centered around Mary and her adventures in working and dating.

What I love about the show is that, aside from its already shocking plot (single woman on her own!!!), the show covers issues that are relevant today, even 40 years later, including equal pay for women, premarital sex, addiction, homosexuality, divorce, infidelity, prostitution, death, adoption, infertility, and heart health.

She was a voice – in many ways – for women that would come after her. And she always will be.

I hope you all have a fantastic weekend – and don’t forget to comment on the Facebook page if you want the book! See you all Monday – xoxo!

Who can turn the world on with her smile?
Who can take a nothing day, and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?
Well it’s you girl, and you should know it
With each glance and every little movement you show it
 
Love is all around, no need to waste it
You can never tell, why don’t you take it
You’re gonna make it after all.

Introducing my spiritual masters.

Broadway playwright and performer Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Broadway playwright and performer Lin-Manuel Miranda.

A few months ago, I was listening to the “Happier” podcast hosted by Gretchen Rubin and her sister Elizabeth Craft. In each episode, they offer a tip you can try at home that might make your daily life a little happier.

In one episode, their tip was to “Imitate a spiritual master”, basically someone you can look to for guidance, or perhaps someone that can inspire you when you need a little push. I’d never really though about having a spiritual leader, but Elizabeth said hers was Barbra Walters.

Uh, yes! I’d always thought it would have to be someone like Ghandi or the Dalai Lama (both would be fantastic spiritual leaders).

Ever since then, I’ve been thinking about who my spiritual masters are, especially in these times – I have a feeling I’m going to be looking to them a lot. So, I made a list:

Lin-Manuel Miranda

“Hamilton” creator and performer Lin-Manuel Miranda was the FIRST person I put on my list of spiritual masters. Frankly, he’s so freakin’ awesome, I think I could have a list of JUST him.

Yesterday, the Oscar nominations were announced, and Miranda is nominated for Best Original Song. Not only is it just another thing that makes him cooler, but it puts him closer to something only few can dream of: an EGOT – a rare title one gets after winning an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony. Damn.

As mentioned in a New York Times article, “Mr. Miranda has two Grammys, one for the cast recording to his 2008 Broadway musical “In the Heights” and another for his smash hit “Hamilton.” He has personally won three Tony awards (and his musicals have collected many more). He won an Emmy for his work on the music and lyrics at the 2013 Tony award show.”

So why is Miranda one of my spiritual masters? Aside from being a wildly talented writer and performer that I can look up to, what I look up to most about him is his attitude. He’s willing to speak openly about his political views, but remain positive on a daily basis.

Seriously, when you’re in need of guidance, just go to his Twitter feed @Lin_Manuel and get a dose of sunshine.

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Issa Rae

I first heard of Ms. Issa Rae on the HBO series “Insecure”, which premiered in the fall of last year. I pretty much loved the pilot episode and couldn’t get enough of it after that. Little did I know that Issa was more than just an actress on the show.

After graduating from Stanford and attending the New York Film Academy, Issa had started to build her reputation as a screenwriter and a video producer. She created a series on YouTube, “Awkward Black Girl”, that has more than 200,000 subscribers.

The fantastic and gorgeous, Issa Rae.

The fantastic and gorgeous, Issa Rae.

She later turned her web series into a book (which I am currently on a waiting list for at the library), and it quickly became a New York Times bestseller. And then HBO came a-knockin’ and she actually was given a budget to turn her YouTube series into a hit on network television.

She da-bomb! Yeah, I just said that. She’s beautiful, hilarious, and sharp as hell – I cannot help but look up to this woman.

“It’s a bit cliche, but you can’t go wrong by writing what you know. Even if you’re a horrible writer, your own knowledge and experience is unrivaled. Nobody knows what you know like you know what you know. The way you see things is pretty unique.” – Issa Rae

Trevor Noah

I know I can’t be the only one that’s basically looking to comedian and host of “The Daily Show”, Trevor Noah to guide us through the next four years. I’ve limited my new coverage to 10 minutes of “TODAY” each morning, and then leave it up to Trevor to pick up the pieces each night before bed.

Born in South Africa, Noah comes from a very interesting background which he talks about in his book, “Born a Crime“, and serves as a lense for his unique sense of humor.

One of my biggest concerns in the coming years is how the press is going to handle it all (aside from that whole nuclear thing). We need journalists who are going to be blunt, and check the President on everything. And Noah just so happens to do it with a laugh.

“We get angry about the small things sometimes, I feel, so that we feel like we’re doing something, so that we don’t have to tackle the big things. And it’s fine; let people do that. But I’m not gonna now change because of that. You know? Like, the worst thing that happens to me is you don’t like me. And then what?” -Trevor Noah

Anna Kendrick

I didn’t really get the craze surrounding Anna Kendrick until I read her memoir, “Scrappy Little Nobody” last week… and I loved it. Of course, she was awesome in”Pitch Perfect”, but I had no clue she’s been working her little butt off since she was 12!

The lovely Anna Kendrick.

The lovely Anna Kendrick.

Not only does she have drive, but she’s hilarious, humble, and has a “take it or leave it” attitude when it comes to men and dating, which is just the kind of advice I need from a spiritual master.

“Maybe I am stepping up in the world. Pretty soon I’m going to be 30 and making dope carrot soup and will have my sh-t together.” – Anna Kendrick

JohnJay Van Es

I can’t have a list of spiritual masters without including JohnJay Van Es, co-host of the best radio show ever, “JohnJay and Rich”.

While I know cohosts of the show, Rich and Kyle, would get a big kick out of my trusting of JohnJay with my spiritual guidance, but I’ll explain. I started listening to the show years ago, during a time when my job was pretty rough.

JohnJay Van Es.

JohnJay Van Es.

I found daily solace in listening to their jokes, phone pranks, and the simple chatter of small problems. Little did I know, I was about to lose my job, and when I did, I kept listening to the show. It was sometimes the only thing I looked forward to each day.

Years later, I am still listening every day, and I love laughing along with JohnJay as he tells the stories from his insane life. He’s also the creator of a kindness movement, LoveUp, which promotes random acts of kindness of all sizes, each and every day. It’s changed how I look at the world, and I can’t thank him enough.

There you have it! I’d love to know who your spiritual masters are these days – who knows, maybe I’ll add them to my list!

Thoughts on ‘La La Land’.

I want this to happen to me.

I want this to happen to me.

Last week,  my mom and I ventured to the Drafthouse to see “La La Land”! We were both pretty excited to see this movie, having both been fans of musicals since forever, and well, who doesn’t love Emma Stone? Sorry, I’m not huge on Mr. Gosling (and this is when everyone stops reading).

But anyway, I saw the preview for “La La Land” when I saw “Fantastic Beasts”, and I was immediately hooked. It was clear this was a movie about dreamers, and Hollywood, and entertainment, with lots of dancing – so basically all of my favorite things crammed into a single movie. Yes.

Here’s the plot from IMDB: Mia, an aspiring actress, serves lattes to movie stars in between auditions and Sebastian, a jazz musician, scrapes by playing cocktail party gigs in dingy bars, but as success mounts they are faced with decisions that begin to fray the fragile fabric of their love affair, and the dreams they worked so hard to maintain in each other threaten to rip them apart.

There’s absolutely no question the singing and dancing in this movie is ON POINT. And in my wildest dreams of having my life burst into a musical, I couldn’t quite imagine something as fun as the opening scene where people are literally dancing on top of their cars during rush hour in L.A. Fantastic!

But, there were parts of this movie that were difficult for me to see the reality from the dream (I’m sure a purposeful move), but at times that line was blurred between downright ridiculous to serious and nearly depressing.

Many critics named this flick the “feel-good movie of the year”, and while yes, there were many scenes that had me smiling, I left the theatre closer to tears, and not the good kind. I won’t give any spoilers, but if you’ve seen the movie I’d love to hear your thoughts on the ending!

Would I recommend it? Yes – I mean, if you’re a fan of musicals… and dreamers, too.

HBO's 'The Newsroom', season 3.

HBO’s ‘The Newsroom’, season 3.

I also have to talk about “Newsroom”, season three (the final season), because I spent Monday laying in bed watching it, in its entirety.

It took me a year to watch all three seasons of HBO’s “The Newsroom”, and I’ll admit that I wasn’t really that into it during season one. Frankly, it wasn’t that well-written, and it mostly did the same thing all shows about journalists do – romanticized what it’s like to be one.

But, I stuck with it and season two was grittier, and way better. So, I was really looking forward to season three – except for the fact that it was the last season! There was a part of me that was putting off watching it because I knew it would be that much closer to being over.

Season three is sadly only six episodes, though it was clearly written to be an end, and it was definitely the best season of all of them.

I came across a review of the series finale in The New York Times (don’t click that unless you want to know how things end), and it talked about how the series continued to struggle, from day one, with relevancy, given that it was a show about journalists and their battle with the digital change, and the show itself was covering events from two years prior.

On the one hand, covering events that moved us in real life was hook-worthy… but no one’s mentioning the fact that ACN was the worst news network anyone had seen. They were the last to cover any story, because they were stuck behind their desks and not actually out in the world living it.

So, Will McAvoy can be a charming playboy and a witty-one liner news anchor, but the folks typing the crap didn’t have it together – but they sure did have a love for their craft (or the one they were being paid for).

Nonetheless, it was a fun show to watch – because, well, writers are an interesting breed. I’ve heard, though, that people really enjoyed watching “Scandal” instead, soooo… maybe I should add that to my list!

Podcasts I’ve been listening to, Part VI.

Let’s be real – I never thought I’d be writing a 6th installment of the podcasts I’ve been listening to. However, I listen to podcasts all day, every week day.

Sometimes, I listen to a podcast so much I make it through all of the archives and have to wait until there’s new episodes! Other times, I just like to find new ones and add them into my weekly rotation. You know what they say, variety is the spice of life.

This recent batch of podcasts I’ve been catching up on is a cheerful collection – no true crime this time. So, here’s what’s been coming out of my earbuds lately:

The Babysitters Club Club – If I had an award for the podcast I’m most thankful I came across, it would go to “The Babysitters Club Club”, hands down. I heard about it when the hosts, Tanner and Jack, were guests on another podcast I love, “What Should I Read Next?” On the show, they explained the scoop on their podcast – here’s the official dish from the show’s website:

One relatively small man, one relatively large man, and one HUGE idea: To read through the seminal works of American novelist Ann M. Martin in chronological order and initiate ourselves, in the process, into the arcane, mystical rites of The Baby-Sitters Club. 

This podcast promises to take you on a journey. A journey that begins with Kristy’s Great Idea (the great idea was to form a babysitting conglomerate of sorts with her pals), and that ends with The Fire at Mary Anne’s House, which we haven’t read yet, but which we are deeply, horribly, shatteringly worried about because we have grown very much attached to these girls and we badly don’t want them to burn. 

Jack and Tanner, men in their 30s, reading “The Babysitters Club” series, and discussing it in-depth, while drinking beers. It’s basically one of the best things I’ve ever heard. I started listening at episode one, and after listening to episodes at work, in my car, while soaking in the tub, and even while tucking myself into bed, I’ve had to ration myself so I don’t run out of the food stuff! I’m telling you – this podcast will make you laugh on your worst day, and bring in-depth analysis to the simplest of reads.

I’m ordering you to listen TODAY – here’s where you can find episodes.

Throwing Shade – I was listening to an old episode of “Bitch Sesh” (another podcast) and Bryan Safi was a guest, and he was absolutely hilarious! He mentioned he had his own podcast, “Throwing Shade”, so I immediately checked it out. Little did I know, this was voted as one of Vulture’s top 10 most comedic podcasts, and rightfully so, because I am constantly trying to contain my laughter within my cubicle.

As they say at the beginning of each episode, Throwing Shade takes a weekly look at issues affecting women and gays, and treat them with much less respect than they deserve. Trust me, this one is going to make you chuckle – check out episodes here (and they do have a TV show premiering next month!).

Insecuritea – If you were anything like me and obsessing over every morsel of HBO’s original series, “Insecurity”, then you’ll want to tune right in to the official aftershow podcast, “Insecuritea”. Hostesses Fran and Crissle – who have podcasts of their own as well – break down each episode bit by bit, and it’s produced with clips from the show, awesome music, and lovely analysis and next-episode predictions. So, watch the show, and then go listen to the AFTER show. Here’s all the episodes

Happier – Hosted by happiness expert Gretchen Rubin, and her sister, this show features quick 20-minute episodes that help listeners live a happier life. I love that each episode is laid out similarly, and features a tip you can try at home, a study or a theory of some kind, and then a listener question. You can check out some of the tips I’ve heard so far, here. I am always using my notebook when I listen to this podcast so I can actually try the tips later. This is a good podcast if you’re someone who is seeking more happiness, and/or are often feeling bogged down by the giant to-do lists in life. Check out episodes here!

So, there’s what I’ve been listening to – what about you? I am always looking for more things to listen to, so I’d love to hear what you’re enjoying.

‘Insecure’: Broken as F**k.

The season finale of 'Insecure'!

The season finale of ‘Insecure’!

Monday is baaaack! Omigosh, I hope you all really had a fun and delicious holiday weekend. I was so excited for Thursday to come, and I got up early, watched the parade, made a pie, and drank my weight in champagne-based cocktails. And then by the time Friday was here, I was feeling all sorts of pressure to make the weekend productive, and fun, and relaxing all at once, and I nearly had an anxiety attack. Does this happen to anyone else, or just me?

Anyway, it ended up being a great weekend – and it was fun, productive, and relaxing. Mission accomplished. Although the idea of a five-day work week is a little intimidating after a four-day weekend, I know it’s possible, and sorry not sorry, but I’m just gonna go ‘head and start that countdown until “Christmas Break”, okay?

But in the meantime, we’ve got Sunday night TV to hold us over. And last night, it was the bittersweet season finale of HBO’s “Insecure”. After last week’s episode, I was REALLY curious to see how the writers were going to wrap this one up, while keeping some sort of suspense for season two.

So, let’s get into it!

At the start of the episode, we find Issa doing what (I think) we all do post-breakup. Moping, on the couch, surfing Facebook, and embarrassing ourselves calling the ex too many times. After a few days, she stops by his new office and he gets pissed, and tells her not to call him anymore because he is DONE.

So, Issa heads to Malibu with her girlfriends for Kelly’s birthday. Molly is obviously still mad and is pretty cold for the majority of the trip despite Issa’s efforts to make her laugh and, at the very least, break the ice.

Molly is still hurt from what Issa said about her habits with men, and plays right into it when they’re all out dancing, and she’s making out with a random guy on the dancefloor, and ends up sleeping with him that night.

At this point, we’re 26 minutes into a 30-minute show and it’s looking like there’s no way Issa is going to have a happy ending. But at about that moment, one of the girls calls Issa out and tells her to stop acting like she has a boyfriend when she doesn’t, and know the group knows that they brokeup.

Just then, Lawrence calls Issa from the strip club where he nearly paid to sleep with a stripper. But instead, he calls Issa and tells her he misses her, and maybe they should talk. He throws in the thought that he hates sleeping at Chad’s.

Issa tells him she will be gone until Monday, so if he needs a place to stay he can go to the apartment. He says okay, and they hang up.

Issa immediately tells the ladies she has to go home because Lawrence wants to talk. None of them agree to go or to take her, but Molly comes through with the keys, and the two are heading home. Molly admits to Issa that she’s right, she is a mess, and Issa admits she’s got some work to do, too.

Issa gets home, and see’s Lawrence’s keys on the counter, but as she’s walking through the apartment, he doesn’t appear to be home. This is where it got a little fuzzy for me… it shows his Best Buy shirt hanging on the door, but perhaps he came and got his other belongings from the apartment before she got there?

Because the next scene, he’s at Tasha’s (the bank teller) apartment having wild sex with her. Like no holds.

And bam, Issa and Molly are outside on the bouch with a bottle of wine.

ROUGH.

As tough as this scene was to watch, it’s the realest ending they could have crafted. I almost thought Issa was going to end up with Molly and Lawrence back and it would have seemed too good to be true.

So, now we have to wait until season two. And I have a feeling it’s going to be a loooong wait, because that was such a good show!

Whew! So, even though “Insecure” is over for now, I hope you weren’t thinking that Sunday night TV recaps were coming to a close. Leave it to me to find something else to recap and feature it right here, on Mondays. What will we be recapping next? But of course, “Mariah’s World” on E!, which premiers Sunday, December 4 (perfect timing) at 9pm EST.

I have SO many questions about how this “8-Part Event” is going to play out, including all of the parts that focus on her now-ex. Will they be edited out or kept in; I find it hard to believe Mariah would let them stay. But only time will tell, and I cannot wait to see. Next Sunday!

‘Insecure’: Real as F**k.

There's only ONE episode left!

There’s only ONE episode left!

Happy Thanksgiving week! I’m hoping, for your sake, that you’re reading this from the comforts of your bed, a plane, a train, or perhaps your childhood home as you’re gearing up to celebrate the tastiest of holidays. I will be at the office this week, until the end of business on Wednesday, anyway. However, The Bitter Lemon will still be serving up fresh content just for you, ALL week, just in case you need a getaway from it all!

While I am pretty much never excited for Monday’s arrival, I do love me some Sunday night TV. We are just two episodes out from the season finale of HBO’s “Insecure”, and it could not be more bittersweet.

Will Issa’s lie blow up in her face in front of Daniel, Lawrence, Molly, AND all of her coworkers and kids in tonight’s episode? Will Lawrence leave her for the job in Santa Monica at the season’s end? How will HBO leave us hanging in anticipation for season two (which was confirmed by HBO last week)?

1014500_thanksgiving_associates_300x250Let’s get into it!

At the start of the episode, Issa is shopping for a dress for her office fundraiser with Molly. Molly seems shocked that Issa even cares – but it seems Issa has taken on a new attitude, “Give all the fucks” instead of none.

She claims she wants to work/care for her man, and her job. Molly seems skeptical.

Later, Molly runs into an old friend from school. It seems as if this friend didn’t have it all together back in the day, but now she’s all cleaned up. The friend says she can thank therapy, and it’s obvious Molly’s wheels are turning.

When she tells Issa about it, Issa says maybe therapy wouldn’t be a bad idea, just to have someone to talk to. Molly seems pretty pissed by this idea, and confirms that she does NOT need therapy.

Meanwhile, Lawrence is on his interview for the tech job, and he appears to be nailing it, so much so, that he gets a job offer right on the spot. He comes home and tells Issa, and she is really excited for him. He seems excited too, until he starts telling her that his app was already ahead of the company’s that he got the job for. So, maybe he should ditch the job and continue working on his app.

Issa is obviously deflated by this idea, and tells him he can always keep working on the app on the side. While Lawrence verbally agrees, it sort of appears he feels Issa is not fully supportive of his dreams.

At the fundraiser, Issa looks great, and so does Lawrence, and just as he’s announcing to her coworkers about his new job, Issa sees Daniel walk in. Molly runs to him to see if she can diffuse the situation. Daniel assures her he’s there “for the kids”.

When Issa confronts him, he wants to know why she tossed him to the side; didn’t their night together mean something? “You were just an itch I needed to scratch,” she tells him. Ouch. And with that, he walks out of the fundraiser and runs into Lawrence while waiting on the valet. Although the two don’t speak much, it’s obvious Lawrence knows something happened between him and Issa.

Inside the party, one of Issa’s coworkers offers to buy Molly a drink and she rudely shuts him down, sending Issa into a tizzy. The two get into a pretty brutal argument, putting it all out there: that Molly can’t get a guy because she’s too picky, and that Issa doesn’t even deserve Lawrence. Molly storms off, with a giant “Fuck you, Issa”, and ends up on Jared’s doorstep AGAIN. Only this time, he slams the door in her face.

Issa’s boss is pleased with her work and sends her home with a bottle of champagne. But when she walks in the door, Lawrence immediately asks her who Daniel is and if she fucked him. When she is slow to respond, the fight breaks out, leaving Lawrence storming out of the apartment and Issa, alone.

END OF EPISODE! Next week is the finale! Although I hated to see this week’s episode end this way, it’s the only way it could end. Issa wasn’t going to get away with what she did, and honestly, such is life, right? Just when you think everything is on the up-and-up, something falls in the shitter. And I cannot wait to see how this season wraps up!

Before I forget, I’m sending out the Thanksgiving edition of “Fresche Squeeze” – The Bitter Lemon’s email newsletter tomorrow morning. Are you signed up to get it? If not, sign up here, and now!

‘Insecure’: Guilty as F**k.

Funny girl Issa Rae.

Funny girl Issa Rae.

Well, I told you guys I was done with HBO’s “Divorce”, and I meant it! But seriously, someone tell me if the show takes a turn for the better.

But, last night I still cozied up for a brand new episode of “Insecure” – I’m going to be really sad when we get to the season finale; I really love this show!

1013506_us_events_countdowntobf2_template_associate_300x250So, this week’s episode is the one happening right after Issa slept with her ex, Daniel. At the beginning of the episode, she is driving home from Daniel’s studio and she can she Lawrence sitting in their living room.

She walks in, and immediately tells him she slept with her ex. And Lawrence slaps her across the face, and I literally shrieked in my living room!

Quickly we realize this is just in Issa’s head, and she’s still sitting in her car, outside her apartment. She goes inside, for real, and plays it off – not saying anything.

Instead, Lawrence shows her that he got a friend to help him get the “Broken pussy” YouTube video removed. Issa starts crying and tells Lawrence how thankful she is and how much she loves him. The next morning, she makes him a big breakfast and says they should finally have a date night – look who’s feeling guilty…

Meanwhile, Molly wakes up on Jared’s couch after her wasted night at her coworker’s engagement party. Jared is still pissed off, even after she apologizes to him and thanks him for letting her sleep on his couch.

When she tries to leave, though, he caves and they end up having sex. Very loud sex. Later, she cooks him dinner at her apartment, where they hook up again. But, as they are eating the meal, they start sharing stories of their dating pasts.

Molly admits to kissing a girl in college and also hooking up with one of her professors. Jared tells her he slept with his first boss who was married, and also says he hooked up with a guy once. This does not go over so smooth with Molly. She wants details, and wonders if he is bisexual.

On their date night, Issa and Lawrence see a movie at the mall, and Lawrence takes her to a jewelry store to look at engagement rings. Issa has flashbacks of her night with Daniel and immediately says they need to go.

At work the next day, Lawrence breaks the good news to Issa that he has a job interview at a tech company. Things, he says, might be finally falling into place for them. And Issa feels like a piece of dirt.

Molly and Issa go out for a drink where Molly says she just can’t shake the fact that Jared was with another guy. She really wishes he wouldn’t have said anything to her about it so she could just keep dating him, but she can’t.

Issa tells Molly she slept with Daniel, but that it won’t happen again. Molly advises her not to tell Lawrence, but instead to just move on.

When Issa gets home, Lawrence is looking in the bathroom mirror, practicing some interview questions. Issa immediately kisses him, and they sleep together.

In the middle of the night, Lawrence gets up to use the bathroom, when he trips over Issa’s bag – and her cellphone comes out. On the screen is a text from Daniel: “So we really not talking?”

END OF EPISODE!

Because of course! My jaw dropped. Because now we have two secrets. Issa has clearly made the decision not to tell Lawrence about Daniel… but will Lawrence bring up the text? Now he has to know something went on between them.

There are only two episodes left, and the previews for next week look insane (think Daniel and Lawrence at the same party for Issa’s work)!!!!! GAH!!

I also watched “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” last night because I’m just so excited that Sheree is back. But I’ll spare you – if you’re watching it, let’s chat. Happy Monday, y’all!

Episodes 5: ‘Divorce’ & ‘Insecure’.

Francis and Robert... sitting in a tree?

Francis and Robert… sitting in a tree?

Good morning! I definitely stayed up writing this entire post last night, and scheduled it to publish, and when I woke up, I see that it published with no words or phots… so there’s the wonder of technology on this Monday morning!

I spent most of my weekend at dance rehearsal, as I performed in two showcases yesterday evening. I have the day off work, and I’m really glad I planned for it, because my legs are so sore! But, more on that later this week. For now, I’ll try and write what I recall from my usual Sunday night TV binge (given that I’ve already erased the episodes from my DVR).

If you recall, last week I said I was giving HBO’s “Divorce” one final episode before I stopped watching it, and that episode was last night’s.

When the episode opens, Robert is hiring a divorce attorney. The guy seems like a complete idiot, but still costs an arm and a leg, and only accepts cash. Robert obliges, and later, the attorney calls the house and Francis answers – a rather awkward conversation follows,  but nonetheless, now Francis knows Robert hired an attorney.

She immediately calls Robert, upset that he is no longer agreeing to mediation. So, she goes out and finds herself an attorney as well – only this guy has a reputation that precedes him. Apparently, she’s going to win this thing, despite her affair, and also admitting to deleting episodes of Robert’s favorite shows on the DVR (pure evil).

Later, Francis finally gets the keys to her art gallery and the realtor tells her all the things it’s been before, kind of making it seem like businesses in that area/building haven’t succeeded. Francis seems like she’s starting to feel a bit of buyer’s remorse on the place, but it’s too late now.

That night, Francis and some of her girlfriends head out to an art opening. Francis meets one of her favorite artists, and at first, it seems they are hitting it off and that something might spark. But then, the artist says something to another guy and they end up punching each other in all all out brawl, and ending the night early. Awkward.

Meanwhile, Robert is out with Nick, who is fully recovered from his heart attack. Robert pulls out his laptop and shows Nick his ideas for “Fun Space” – one of those places that has all the trampolines. Robert is convinced that this should be his next investment, although nick isn’t so sure.

At the end of the night, Robert fires his attorney and also his accountant in a fit of rage. Simultaneously, Francis’ friends tell her she’s probably not going to get custody of her dog. And that’s the end of the episode. Not impressed. Even the previews for next week look like the same old thing. Is anyone else giving up on this show? I wanted to like it! But I’m just not seeing it go anywhere – why did Robert and Francis get together in the first place? It seems like they’ve hated each other for awhile, so I’d love to know the backstory. Someone let me know if that episode ever happens.

Heeey girl...

Heeey girl…

Afterward, on “Insecure” the story is moving right along. Isa is really concerned about the fact that all of the students found the video of her at the open mic night. She apologizes to the teachers at the school and promises she’ll make it right.

This means she goes to Molly’s office and asks her to help her sue whoever recorded and posted the video, since it was done so without her consent. Molly agrees to help and ends up calling her former date – the “Enterprise” guy. He’s happy to hear from her, but seems a little pissed when he finds out why she’s calling.

He was at the open mic night, but isn’t sure who recorded the video. He says he’ll talk to his brother and get back to her. Molly has a new man in the scene, Mike, who seems to really like her, and vis versa. She invites him to come to her coworker’s engagement party that night and he tells her he will see her then.

Later, as she’s getting ready, she texts him to see if he’s coming to pick her up. He tells her he will just see her at the party. She knows this is a bad sign, but heads to the party, where he shows up and tells her coworkers that he’s her boyfriend. Everyone seems impressed, but when Molly pulls him away and asks if he was serious about that title, he says “Of course not”, that he was just doing her a favor by impressing her friends. She’s embarrassed and asks him to leave.

Meanwhile, Daniel is determined to help Isa recover from the leaked video. He invites her to hangout at his studio, but when she gets inside, it’s dark, there’s one guy in the booth (who sounds pretty terrible), and everyone else is sitting around drunk and/or high. Isa seems uncomfortable, until everyone leaves and Daniel asks her to get in the booth.

She records a bit of a song, and Daniel seems impressed. He asks her why she didn’t give him a chance before; she explains herself, and they laugh, but sort of agree maybe there would have been something there. They kiss, and Isa stops it, at first… until things get heated, REAL quick.

Afterward, Isa has another scene looking in the bathroom mirror. You can tell she feels guilty, and she sees what looks to be a woman’s bar of soap in the bathroom, and she quickly leaves.

Meanwhile, Lawrence is working a shift at Best Buy when his lil friend from the bank arrives, wearing a very revealing top. She invites him out for drinks and he quickly reminds her that he has a girlfriend. She seems embarrassed and quickly leaves.

I’ve been listening to a podcast, “InsecuriTEA” that recaps the show, and the two hostesses predicted either Isa would cheat or Lawrence would, and I’m glad it wasn’t Lawrence. I really want him to be a good guy, and it seems he’s really trying, even when Isa’s not around.

The question now becomes, will Isa tell Lawrence about her little affair? We will see in next week’s episode!

Espisodes 4: ‘Divorce’ & ‘Insecure’.

Pretty Issa.

Pretty Issa.

Hola! Here we are, back at it again! This weekend was exactly what I needed: beautiful weather, semi-productive activities, and lots of back porch relaxin’ and couch potato sittin’ – watching loads of TV. And that includes my Sunday night faves: “Divorce” and “Insecure” on HBO.

I usually talk “Divorce” first, simply because it comes on before “Insecure”, but I’m all about mixing things up lately. So, “Insecure” it is.

At the beginning of the episode, Issa is trying to spice things up with her boyfriend by hopping into the shower with him, but it naturally ends poorly. Molly has another subpar date, and we’re off to the races.

At work, Issa gets an unexpected visit from Daniel (the guy from Facebook a few episodes back). He tells her he doesn’t want things to be awkward between them, and she tells him she’s back with her boyfriend. After that, he’s pretty much done with the conversation.

Issa calls Molly to give her the scoop, and Issa blames this entire scenario on the typical law: as soon as things are looking up, an ex finds a reason to pop back into her life. At the end of the call, Molly admits she may not be able to make it to Issa’s work for “Career Day”.

Lawrence arrives at Best Buy for his first day on the job. While he’s told he’s doing a good job in the computer section, he’s asked to cover the washer/dryer section. He doesn’t seem too pleased with this idea, but goes anyway.

Back at work, Issa is helping plan Career Day, and finally starts to bond with one of her female coworkers. They bond over the frustrations of their job, and realize they still have slots to fill at Career Day. Her coworker suggests Daniel – since he works in music. Issa hesitates, but texts him anyway.

Molly is on another date that she seems to be blowing off, although he seems actually decent. They are at a jazz club and he invites her to dance, which makes for a cute scene.

Lawrence meets his old fling for lunch; the one he saw at the bank. It seems innocent although she’s a little flirty. He has his paperwork from Best Buy and he expresses his concern over the fact that it may not be a temporary job like he originally thought. She tells him to keep up his side project: the app.

At Career Day, Daniel shows up with a sound board and easily impresses all the kids. He lays a beat and invites the kids to freestyle, and one kid embarrasses himself. Daniel tells the kids Issa can spit. Of course, none of them believe her, and he says “Yeah, she actually inspired me”, and all the kids whooooo oohhhh!

She walks him outside, and I think there is this weird moment where she was impressed by him. Afterall, he’s got a great job that’s cool, and he was good with her kids. Later, she has a fantasy about Daniel with his shirt off (looking FINE) and Ty Dolla Sign – random, yes. And this just drives home the fact that Issa doesn’t seem to be attracted to Lawrence anymore.

Molly arrives and has lots of questions for Issa: why was Daniel there? Why didn’t she ask her boyfriend to come? And as Issa is leaving school, the kids have found a video of her now-infamous open mic night. She’s toooooast – and the episode is over.

I am still loving this show! I’d venture to say it’s the best thing on TV right now – and there’s even a podcast that recaps it call, called “InsecuriTEA”. Definitely worth a listen.

Alone, again.

Alone, again.

After last week’s episode, where Francis admitted to sleeping with her side-piece at least “32 times”, her and Robert are going through with the divorce. The episode opens with their first appointment at mediation, and despite being able to agree on that, it’s about the only thing they agree on.

Next step? Telling their kids they’re getting a divorce. Yikes.

Francis also hasn’t told anyone at work, until she’s forced to when she needs her pay stubs from the payroll department. She has an awkward breakdown in front of a random employee, and even admits to her affair. Awwwwkwaaard.

Francis and Robert take their kids out for ice cream to tell them about the divorce. But it ends up in an argument over how expensive the sundaes are – and the conversation never happens.

After missing a call from “J”, her former lover, Francis meets with him and tells him she no longer wants to see him and she doesn’t want them to hurt each other any longer. He agrees, and asks Francis if she will ask her husband to stop calling him.

J then shows Francis all of the texts, missed calls, pictures, and even videos Robert has sent him – they are threatening, and awkwardly hilarious.

Back at mediation, Robert is late so nothing can really get done… and the episode is over.

I’m going to be honest here – this show needs to pick it up. At this point, we (the viewers) have no clue why Robert and Francis got together in the first place. Frankly, they aren’t very likable people – and hey, there are characters that we shouldn’t like, i.e. Dexter, Nurse Jackie, etc. – but we find reasons to root for them.

And right now, there are no stakes; no reasons for us to cheer for Francis and Robert to stay together. What would save this season? A flashback episode that shows us some incredible backstory on how/why they got together – and flash forward to current time, and something arises (a problem) that requires them to stay together in order to fix it.

Otherwise, we’re going to be watching six more episodes of mediocre bickering. It’s getting old.