Oops, I did it again. The disturbing Sinner.

Reviews, Tv Series

Oh, the times they called me Mary in the past, because in their distorted minds they thought I looked like Jessica Biel, Mary in Seventh Heaven. I was always responding “I wish” (also because I never had either her body or her perfect lips)… then I must have grown up or something and poof, it ended; whatever happened people just started saying I looked like someone else. How about I look like… me? Also, why do you feel like you need to tell people who they resemble more? Did the doctor prescribed you to do so? I mean… But anyway… all things considered, by now I think I should have something around thirty people all looking like my-crazy-self all over the world. I wonder what happened to just those other six of us who should look like us, according to science. Wasn’t there supposed to be only 7 look-alike of ours on planet Earth? Unless I am an alien, and that would actually explain a lot.

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Jokes apart, I did it again. I binge watched. Well I never stopped of course, but here I am ready to write it down. Moving back and forth, oceans, continents, cities, towns, flights, houses, annoying people, crazy fellows, foooood, …you know all this being all over the place puts you on hold, but then oops. You’re waiting for your Amazon Fresh delivery to get to your door and you have some spare time, so why not using it to talk about one of the last shows you binge watched lately? Said, done. Why have I started talking about Mary and Jessica Biel then? Why yeah, isn’t it obvious? It is because the tv-show I am going to review here, now, is The Sinner, on Netflix, starring her, Jessica Biel, (who is also an executive producer), Bill Pullman and …others. Dots connected yet?

Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 94% with an Average Audience Score of 85% liking the show, Metacritic stays on 71% but you have to consider there is NO negative reviews so far, and Imdb rates it for 8/10. I mean, The Handmaid’s Tale got almost the same numbers and we’re almost done with season 2. I wonder if there will be a season 2 for The Sinner, but I doubt it will focus on Jessica’s character any longer, for reasons I can’t explain (I don’t need to spoil this for you). Still, there is always a way as they say, the show must go on, and if a second season gets requested either by the network or by the fans (this is going crazy lately having shows getting reborn thanks to popular demand, look at #luciferonfox #savelucifer #bringbacklucifer #luciferreborn etc), one way or the other it will be done.

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I loved Jessica Biel in this role. The whole story is a nice story that, before checking it out, I felt it had to be coming from a book, but if it weren’t for Jessica’s performance, I would have probably quit watching the series. Yeah no, ok, that was a lie. I never quit. I would have watched the whole series but I may have not spent a second to write about it. No wait, that is not true either. I would have probably written about it, complaining and saying how much I hated it. Oh wait no, ok whatever, I cannot know what I may or may not have done, but as far as I am concerned I did watch it and I am now talking about it, so let’s go back to what I was saying about Jessica’s Cora. Something was not quite right during the first minutes of episode one. I thought, either she is failing the role or something odd will happen. Guess what was it? Indeed, the second. So going back to how I felt when I started watching the show now I say: yasss, Jessica. You gave us that feeling of discomfort, of feeling like “why is she acting so weird?” (acting in both senses, literal and not literal) and also of wanting to know what was going to happen next.

She was almost drowning in the water when she eventually comes out looking all twisted; she suddenly kills a guy -she hears a song this guy and a group of friends were listening to that makes her lose her mind- she stabs him, she scares everyone to death and boom, we are not even halfway through the episode and you think “hmm, interesting“, now I see. “The title was misleading, she is not the sinner, wanna bet?” No. Don’t. You’re wrong. The whole sinner reference will come up with the passing of the time and the new episodes, just be patient. What actually overwhelmed me a little was that the setting of the show is today, but it felt like it was set in the seventies or something. The story goes back in time, we see Cora and her disturbed and disturbing childhood because of her religious fanatic mother, we see her through adolescence and up until now,  but the most important time frame is no longer than five years, from 2012 to 2017. But then again, it’s 2018 and we still have people believing the Earth is flat and stuff like that, so I don’t know why it would surprise me that a similar family would actually exist during the nineties and the beginning of the twenty-first century… but it does, ok? It shocks me. Fine, I’ll kneel on little rocks and ask for forgiveness.

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The show focuses on Cora’s motive to kill this guy who, since the beginning, you basically want to hate because he is accused of raping her in 2012, although it is a lie and we get to know this right away. To be honest, it seemed like Cora was hiding something, willingly, making up motives, excuses, wrong memories, mismatching not only facts but also names, but you will eventually feel a sort of relief by the end of the series. I particularly appreciated how a story that started as a simple whydunit (after all we know who did what, how and where) turns out to be the story of a traumatized person who eventually loses it, and it is not even her fault. I want to underline this is not at all related to actual murderers, and I am not even justifying murderous impulse on sick people. What appeared from the very beginning of the show, although of course she actually killed someone at the end of the day, was that this Cora girl was somehow half innocent, we just needed to know more and figure out how we can even think of a killer as “innocent”. I promised not to spoil this to those who haven’t seen it yet, so I cannot go further into details, except from saying this, and it may or may bot be linked to the series, so no blame: there will come a day when people will pay for their own actual mistakes without having someone else cover for them. Not only “to cover up” in the sense of hiding the truth, but also letting someone else destroy his or her life because of the consequences that these mistakes have created to the third parties. I don’t know if I made sense with this, but trying not to spoil a movie or a tv-show by talking about it, is hard, folks. Hard.

Trauma and traumatic experiences, the way they act on the human brain and the tools that our psyche uses to cope with it (and I will never get tired of repeating this), is something that we need to study, to understand and to let people be aware of, just like what is happening with mental problems, suicide, depression and mental health awareness. I feel like this show was all about trauma, abuse, violence, drugs, and yes, even mental health, so really, get a chance and watch it, and if you want to make ME happy, just binge watch it right away: 8 episodes go by rrrreally quick.

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The Sinner

Genre: they want to call it “crime-mystery drama”
Based onThe Sinner by Petra Hammesfahr
StarringJessica BielChristopher AbbottDohn NorwoodAbby MillerBill PullmanJacob Pitts
Watched on: Netflix
One season, Eight Episodes binge watched in: one afternoon, evening, night.

Let’s see, how am I supposed to review this series? One word: disturbing. As I said before, what started as a crime investigation on a sudden murder committed in public on a beach, turns out to be an investigation on abuse and sick events that hijacked a person’s mental stability and life. Cora Tannetti (Jessica Biel) is married to Mason, they work at the Tannetti’s company and Mason’s mother takes care of their little child. Cora seems to be tired, (maybe a postpartum depression? you would think) something is bothering her as she is on medications and she does not seem to enjoy sex with her husband anymore. One day, they are at the beach, Cora goes for a swim and she is not coming back when her husband starts worrying. Eventually she gets out of the water and she starts feeding her child, cutting fruit and chatting with her husband, letting the audience sense a little envy while they watch two couples having fun next to them, playing music, kissing and flirting. The most obnoxious girl in the world (ed.) plays a song on her phone (which I actually kind of liked) and starts kissing the guy veeeery passionately, I mean, not be prude, but in public you could at least be a little more discreet. This seems to trigger something inside Cora, along with the song she seems to recall in her head, and she starts being delusional, she runs towards them and she stabs the man with a fruit knife 7 times, killing him. There is no apparent reason for her to do so, just a sudden homicidal instinct.

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When Cora is taken to the police station, a detective sees something in her behavior that does not link to her accuse of premeditated murder, and he starts researching until he’s led to find out the truth taking out some traumas from her past. Each episode disentangles details from Cora’s youth and life ruined by a mother who is a religious fanatic who claims that Cora’s actions are the cause for her sister Phoebe’s (Nadia Alexander) lymphoma, and she needs to constantly pray and be a good girl in order for her sister to heal (now seriously how f* up is this? Sick!). Even more twisted than their mother, Phoebe seems to be taking a little bit too much advantage of her sister with the excuse of being sick, to the point that she forces her to go out with guys and more. She creates an online profile where she picks up her sister’s dates so they can rob them and save money to leave home and go to Florida and we also see when sick (literally and mentally at this point) Phoebe forces her sister to masturbate her in order for her to feel what it is like. After all, she stole all her mother’s energy in the womb and that’s why Phoebe is sick, so she owes it to her. See? Disturbing. Super sick. We’re pretty much at the stage where we start to sympathize for this poor girl who yes, has killed a guy, but she was also raised in guilt and abuse and whatsoever, so no wonder she is traumatized. All the things that happen later with J.D (Who?), Maddie (what?), Frankie (Really?), private club houses (wait what? sex?), masked abusers (now, seriously?) and odd detective’s behaviors (oh come on!) cannot be disclosed for spoiling reasons… just watch it and then we can discuss about it. Enjoy.

Oh well, I just found out in August I’ll have to binge watch season 2, where there will be Carrie Coon, you know, from The Leftovers?! Wait, haven’t I reviewed it yet? Bad BWQ, bad. Now I know what to do next.

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Germans do it… as good as Hollywood: Dark

Reviews, Tv Series

Dark-TV-Show-Character-ListDid I really say it? Am I trying to say the Germans outsmarted Hollywood’s geniuses? Uhm, not necessarily so, but I am honestly taking my hat off, chapeau! We are so used to the Hollywood style, or at least I am, that it surprised me to watch such a good TV show that captured me since episode one. As the binge watching queen that I am, when Netflix warned me about this new show coming on air I put it on the list back then, but wasn’t sure about it, most of all when I read “the German Stranger Things“. Now, yes, I liked Stranger Things and I will be watching the second season when the time will come, but not to the point that I am dying to watch something similar to that creepy show. At this moment, since I actually watched Dark, (one week after release day) let me say it out loud: it is NOT like Stranger Things, at all, folks. It is not!

Dark-01I would rather put it on a list where I would also add The O.A. (which I reviewed here!) considering the themes that can be listed as touched by the storyline, such as time (in the unusual way of traveling through it), family, trauma, grief, violence, guilt, and the metaphysical sphere of the unknown. Apart from the awful dubbing (I mean, Italians have been doing it for decades and decades so they mastered the art of dubbing, but English speakers? No way, no. Watch it in German, the original language, with English subtitles! It is way, way better like that!), I seriously found no negative sides of this show. It is charming, addicting, and the story is so messed up that although you may have guessed since the beginning what is going on, there are new elements added episode after episode making you expect the unexpected, and you still get overwhelmed by the end of season one. Good job Germans! Yes!

8c177a79f366ef305f7534fe8bae7009dd1d2407Apparently, there are secrets in a small town in Germany. Children are disappearing and weird events are repeating after a certain amount of years. When we get familiar with what could be the cause of the disasters occurring (i.e. there is a nuclear-power-plant which may be the direct link to these strange horrifying events), the attention is moved to something else, a diversion in the storyline: lights fading, animals falling from the sky, people appearing in places that are not from their time clearly by the way they are dressed…  we are only certain about something haunting this German community but nobody talks about it, except for those who are labelled as crazy. It sounds a little familiar actually, considering what is going on today in the world, but this is a different story.

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Dark

Genre: they want to call it “science fiction, thriller drama”
Created by:Baran bo Odar, Jantje Friese
StarringLouis Hofmann, Maja Schöne, Oliver MasucciStephan Kampwirth, Angela WinklerJördis Triebel, Daan Lennard Liebrenz, Lisa Vicari, Moritz Jahn, Paul Lux, Karoline Eichhorn … and many more.
Watched onNetflix 
One Season, Ten Episodes binge watched in: One night, like a whole night.

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Ulrich Nielsen (Oliver Masucci) is a police officer and father of three. He cheats on his wife with a woman whose husband commits suicide right at the beginning of the show. One night, Ulrich’s youngest, Mikkel disappears, just like someone else before him, leading the police to start researching if local youths are being on the spot for criminals and serial killers. Something weird happens every time there is a child’s disappearance: birds drop dead from the sky, lights flicker and old residents recall older times when they were younger and weird things were happening similarly to the present events. We also start wondering about what is going on when a scene shows the line on the newspaper saying “Where is Mikkel?”, crossed out with “When is Mikkel?” and that is a very good question! For the rest of the plot, watch the show!!!

medium-cleanTime travel, mystery, police knowing but not telling, old people revealing truths and other details entwined in the story, reminded me of my beloved Lynch’s Twin Peaks: supernatural lies underneath what we see and what we perceive as reality because there is something else… beyond us. Maybe this is what makes of these TV series a sort of more than fascinating shows, worth binge watching on a Saturday night. You get lost in the time of your binge watching session and you get lost in the complicated plot they try to mix with a good dose of soundtrack and colors. Cinematography is growing wiser, sexier and more interesting, or am I growing fonder because I am growing older? Nice question. No answer. As of right now, I am going to giggle at the idea of having another Country, Germany, producing amazing pieces for TV which are adding up to what Hollywood has been offering us. More work for me to do. More binge watching sessions, more food for thought, more nutrition for my majestic curiosity and visual need for detachment from this… reality.

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Golden Globes 2018: BWQ is back to black

Reviews

timesuppinI’m back. Well, I just spent a whole bunch of time binge watching shows, and actually, I also invested many hours catching up on movies I could find on Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Amazon Prime Video, any platform really… long story short, I had to be ready for the Golden Globes last night, and oh, I was so ready. Stating the obvious, no matter all the great winners that went up on the stage to thank their family, friends, co-workers, etcetera, I believe the actual winner was the pin everyone was wearing, the one showing the words: time’s up. The winner is not the pin itself, you fools, but the meaning it brings, because yes, the time is up. Time’s up on what? Anything. Anybody. As many posts on the world wide web show now, time’s up on silence, on waiting, on tolerating abuses, on lack of respect, on people of any gender having to say “me too” when someone else finally has the gut to speak up and say: this person has violated me. We are free to say what we need to say.

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It is not me, it is you crying. Sobbing at every word spoken last night by either a man or a woman (mostly women though), either on or off stage, winners or not of that Golden Globe’s Night that opens the awards’ season in the entertainment industry. On a side note, artists, or how I call them “people of a certain depth”, already have my respect, so please do not judge me if you’ll notice that I am totally “Hollywood team”. I cheered, I cheer and will always do, always. I had so many haters, so many “grounded” people -as they like to be called- disliking my particular predisposition to support this category and most of all this area of the world that apparently you can either hate or love, no in between. Ugh, who knows. I grew up imagining myself in a different world than my own, surrounding myself with alternative realities portrayed in motion pictures, so I am sorry but I am not sorry for taking a stand with and for them, for liking and sharing the same ideas and ideals.

big-little-lies-golden-globe-win-ht-jef-180107_12x5_992We are back to black. How? Black is one of my favorite colors. It is considered to be the absence of light, or better, the absorption of light that can no longer be reflected. To me, black is at the same time power, mystery, authority, fear, elegance, formality, death, evil, aggression, sophistication… rebellion. You need black to have depth and variation of hue in any other color. You all other painters over there, do you agree? You do, don’t you? Black is often given a negative connotation. As many said last night, when Natalie Portman and other goddesses of mine started sharing the hashtag #whywewearblack, black is for mourning, for the losses we had since these stories of abuses came to surface. No, to me black is strength, it means being serious when bright cheerful colors need to shut up for just a second. Of course then I need my beloved deep blood red and my relaxing smoke gray… but now is the time for black. This is why I wore black too, last night: I was not mourning, I was celebrating freedom, of speech, of choice, of being.

golden-globes-2017-1I won’t talk about the nominees, the winners, the host Seth Meyers who had a tremendous monologue, the series and the movies because these are basically details that turned out to be futile in such a night of revelation, of empowerment and awakening and, hopefully, this will last until it becomes normality. Not a movement, not a revolution. Normality. As for the reviews of movies and series that were competing for this year Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s award we’ll have to wait until Thursday, as the day of Thor is the designated weekday for the Binge Watching Queen’s Alternative Reviews. 

Liebster award: discover new blogs

Haircut Madness

typewriterPrince, founder and author at the World Writers Hub just nominated me, the Binge Watching Queen, for the Liebster Award. Thank you Prince, after all, you’re Prince and I am a Queen… Big laugh. Jokes apart, if you were wondering what is this Liebster award, what I can say is that it was created to recognize and/or discover new bloggers and welcome them to the great blogging community. But please, do not be shy, and if you want to know more, feel free to take a look here, and you will find also the official rules of this project by clicking here.

I hate chains, so for those who know me this would sound like a nonsense, but the reason why I accepted the nomination is simple: it is not just a way to promote ourselves, it is a way to promote others. In the blogosphere many are struggling: we may have great voices and amazing things to say, but at the same time we may not have the right networking entourage. A little help is always much appreciated. Spread the word you all, we need everyone’s help!

Prince’s blog, for instance, is about writing. Easy as that.

“It intends to function as a guide that will help you to understand life extra carefully and lead you through its hot tracks”.

As part of this nomination we have to answer a few questions to help others know us a little better, most of the times referring to our beloved blog or our muses and mentors. Here are my answers to Prince’s questions:

  1. How did you pick your blog’s name? I realized I have always been a binger, I binge on books and tv-series, movies and videos. Food. So it just came out naturally, I am the Queen of Binge… Watching!!!
  2. What’s your blogging quote? Don’t really have one.
  3. What are three things you cannot blog without? Sun, Silence, Sunkist
  4. Who is your favorite blogging father? You mean, Mother? I started working “professionally” for Facciunsalto, go check it out, if you know Italian. Otherwise scroll down and find the FUSion column where we wrote articles in English.
  5. Describe yourself in three words. Pensive, Imaginative, Misunderstood
  6. What is your guiltiest pleasure? Not sure I get what you are asking for. Chocolate?
  7. What is your most prized possession? Moral strength
  8. What single quality do you most appreciate in people? Honesty.
  9. What do you love most about blogging? Being appreciated for what I say&think.
  10. What’s the favorite post that you’ve published? (Link, please!) Not my favorite but probably the most important is a post about Chester Bennington from Linkin Park. You can find it here. Missing him every single day.

Now, let’s have a look at the nominations.

Blogs I nominate for The Liebster Award

Now, with my Academy Awards’ best voice, please let me introduce you to the nominees for the Liebster Award:

Congrats to my fellow nominees! If you choose to accept this nomination, you have to answer the following questions, and write your blog post adding the link of the blog that nominated you (the Binge Watching Queen, duh!) followed by the other 10 you chose to nominate. Add your 10 questions and let’s keep rolling.

1. Who is your favorite writer (blogger, narrative, film…)?
2. Where do you blog from?
3. Who knows about your blog?
4. What famous person (dead or alive) would you go to dinner with?
5. When was the last time you cried watching a movie?
6. Have you ever binge watched a TV-series? If so, write me a message and explain.
7. Who do you want to become thanks to your blog? A more famous blogger? An influencer?… 
8. Would you spend a year on a space station? A month? A week?
9. Which Countries have you lived in or visited?
10. What would you suggest to your fellow bloggers to improve their followers?

Great! Now it is your turn. Make us all proud. Remember to link your referrer and your nominees. Good luck. Talk soon,

The BWQ. 

Travelling

 

Isolation, trauma and the O.A.

Reviews, Tv Series

I think I explained this already: my “reviews” are considered alternative because I do not focus on judging a work of art (any kind of art!) by using specific knowledge or terminology, but by simply following the train of thoughts that the vision of that artwork creates in my brain, if it does. I do not consider myself an expert in anything, probably nothing at all. I know a tiny bit of many things, but I do not excel in a specific matter, and that may be one of the reasons why I could never find “my way”. Why am I even saying this? Because the idea of writing about The OA, a Netflix series that was released almost a year ago, has been moving around for quite a while; I had this feeling that I had to make up my mind before writing about it, and then I may be able to say something coherent. I finally realized I just needed to accept something that I was too blind (or too proud?) to see.

giphy-downsized-largeThe OA received several contrasting comments and opinions among the experts. While I personally loved it, I can understand that the critics might be a little reluctant in showing appreciation when it is a little hard to see through, a little deeper, a story that makes no sense to the Western culture. Moreover, both plot and style are entwined, the story pops like a bubble during the season finale, leaving the spectators speechless, and those charming dance moves are definitely not accepted, or simply not understood, by many: too spiritual, too superficial, too …stupid.

05AO-master768As always, when a TV series catches my eye (I mean, literally), it is because of something they say, a song from the soundtrack or some other features I can relate to, easily. It is in the very first episode that the protagonist, the OA, says “It’s not really a measure of mental health to be well-adjusted in a society that’s very sick,” referring to an outburst of violence of one of her friends. For instance, violence, pain, isolation and trauma, not only suffered by the OA, but by other people as well (spectators too?) seem to be the “leitmotivs” of the whole story, making it more relatable to a more general public, well at least more to me. When you’re trained to find allegories, symbols, metaphors, (I was a student of literature for a long time, after all!) it is a little easier to go further, to look for what is hidden behind the written words because the author might have wanted to say something, although not explicitly. What I wanted to see in this case is how, by using scenes that to most are normal fiction-based images, a message of freedom, an open door from isolation, had to be cautiously portrayed: the last episode is about high school students getting assaulted while trapped in their glass-walled cafeteria, just like Prairie -the OA, was trapped in her blindness first, and glass-walled cage later. Her story, whether made up -as they want us to believe-, or not, got her through her own imprisonment, until she freed herself and the students, by teaching them a sense of community, sharing what I interpreted as ancient traditions, made of dance moves and spiritual calling: “I survived because I wasn’t alone”. (Damn, I am screwed.)

lonely20161013_630_630That was the moment when I opened my eyes. Social isolation is real. When a person starts avoiding social interaction well, as they say, the “shit has hit the fan”, but being an introvert, it may not be as clear as it should be. Have you ever stopped to think about this? Have you ever had a friend denying offers to go out, even to just have coffee and not necessarily to go partying all night long? Have you ever thought of a friend “what a bitch” for canceling last minute on you? Have you? Do not feel bad (yet). It’s ok. As far as you’re concerned, it is not a big deal. When does this go from “not being in the mood” to isolation? When this denial, this resistance, this rejection of interaction persists for a longer time than usual, and it is well often a consequence of a period spent in a depressive state, sometimes caused by a sense of shame, or low self-worth (rings a bell!). What many do not understand is that there are several factors that can impair social skills leading to isolation, and it is not always by choice.

giphyPrairie survived because she was not alone. When you spend most of your time all by yourself though, you get used to be alone. It only takes time to realize that eventually being alone sucks. You start avoiding not only social interaction but professional events as well. You make up excuses and you miss that chance to meet new people, new opportunities, turning your isolation into a vicious circle of worthlessness. You register to be a reporter for a cultural festival where you really want to interview people who are successful, who made of their passions their job, and their daily inspiration, to potentially stumble upon people you used to know, to breathe fresh air and walk down the crowded roads of the historical center of a town -that you used to know, but -you- are no longer who you used to know or used to be. You choose your aloneness over opportunity. You choose vacuum over fullness. Withdrawal over moving forward. You choose to let go even of all those things you may want to keep…

I watched The OA when something was coming down the pike but it was not so evident yet. Not to me, even less to others. It definitely takes a while for me to digest things, and this took almost a year, but in my defense I can say that… well, no need to defend myself. These days, everybody is focusing on mental health, depression, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts and actual successful performances. It is not that common to hear someone talk about isolation and alienation, when I believe it is actually part of the same game. While missing all the events and the various opportunity I may have, I did not want to miss the chance to talk about it. Even if not in person, not to someone, and not actually -talking-!

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The O.A.

Genre: they want to call it “science fiction, supernatural drama”
Created byBrit MarlingZal Batmanglij
StarringBrit MarlingEmory CohenScott WilsonPhyllis SmithAlice KrigePatrick GibsonBrendan Meyer
Watched onNetflix 
One Season, Eight Episodes binge watched in: One day.

A Russian blind special girl gets adopted by an elderly American couple. They rename her Prairie. When she turns 20 she runs away from home to go to NYC because she believes her dreams showing her father looking for her in the city. She lives homeless for a while playing the violin on the streets, with a song her father taught her when she was a child hoping he would come to her. Instead she catches the attention of a doctor who offers her a place to stay if she agrees to be a part of a research about NDE, near death experiences. She leaves with him but he keeps her into a glass walled cage in the basement of his house. For seven years, she is held captive with four other people while being drowned and revived many times. They do not realize this is happening until she teaches each one of the prisoners a move to a five part dance ritual that can help open a portal to bring people back to life or heal them. Once the doctor has proof there is life after death he gets rid of Prairie, and she finds herself stranded somewhere. Her adoptive parents recognize her and take her back home. She does not socialize much, but she befriends some high schoolers with troubled backgrounds and convinces them to meet so she can tell them her story. Here she starts calling herself the OA, the Original Angel, and she begins teaching them the dance movements so she can open the portal and save the remaining prisoners. One day there is a shooting at the high school. While the disciples do the dance moves, the OA gets shot and the season ends with a collection of books the police found under her bed with titles referring to her story, making it all appear to be made up. Like I said, alienation/isolation and trauma seem to be the foundation of this story where, in order to understand, you have to believe reality is not what it looks like. Your mind has to be wide open, your mentality has to be flexible, believe it or not, this may be just another version of the truth, a multi-faceted reality nobody knows at its whole. Crazy? Maybe. Trustworthy? Possibly. Fascinating? Definitely. 

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Perception and mental wellness

Reviews, Tv Series

To begin with, why have I used wellness and not health? I will quote what the UNC webpage of Advisory Committee to the Chancellor for Employee Health and Wellness says with regard to this: “According to the World Health Organization, mental health is defined as “a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.” So, mental health is the general term to refer to our emotional, psychological, and social …well-being. Mental wellness, as I am calling it here, is yes a synonyms of mental health, but I want to give it a slightly more positive connotation. The way our brain works affects how we think, feel, act and also how we make choices. Mental health is what makes us work properly in our society. Mental wellness, to me, is how we feel and if we feel -fine enough- to work, act, exist …in our society.

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There are several internal and external factors which contribute to a person’s mental wellness, including relationships with friends, loved ones, financial issues, workplace environment, and those that are called “coping behaviors” and skills. I wonder if I am interested in these topics because of my previous studies in psychology, but then I would have to ask why I was interested in psychology in the first place, back in the days. In this case, I would need a couple of years to go through this argument. So, no thank you. What remains though, is the fact that I just needed a word, perception, to be sure I would have binged watched another tv-show. Duh! And yes, the fact that Eric McCormack was the protagonist was a huge incentive because of Will and Grace, that kept me company during my first years at University, many, many years ago. (Oh, and by the way, a brand new season of Will and Grace is now showing on NBC, oh yeah!)

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I am going to introduce the plot of Perception-the series before continuing this digression on mental wellness:

Perception 

Genre: they want to call it “crime drama” …I would add something psychological too, but meh.
Created by: Kenneth Biller, Mike Sussman
StarringEric McCormackRachael Leigh CookKelly RowanArjay SmithLeVar BurtonScott Wolf
Watched on: FOX Italy
Three Seasons, Thirty-nine Episodes watched in: a couple of months.

Dr. Daniel Pierce is a neuropsychiatrist who teaches neuroscience at the (fictional) Chicago Lake Michigan University (CLMU), and his interest in neuroscience stems from his own long history of paranoid schizophrenia (everyone is interested is what touches them the most, I guess). He also works as an expert consultant for the FBI assisting closely a very Special Agent, Kate Moretti, who is a former student of Pierce’s classes back in the days. It is thanks to his hallucinations that, most of the times, he can pick out the clues allowing him and Agent Moretti to solve the crimes they are investigating. Lewicki, Dr. Pierce’s teaching assistant, is a fundamental asset for Prof. Pierce’s mental well-being, because he knows how to handle his crisis and his obsessions. Last, but not least, (considering she was in another tv-show, The O.C. another favorite of mine) Natalie Vincent played by Kelly Rowan, is the most favorite Pierce’s hallucination who manifests herself as a result of his schizophrenia, but who also serves as his counselor, clue collector and, of course, best friend. How the story “ends” in the last episode of season three is up to you to find out. No spoilers here. #Sorrynotsorry.

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One of the things I like the most is when a tv-series’ episode typically begins with a scene of the protagonist giving a lecture (missing academia much?), or introducing a sort of metaphysical problem, concerns, whatever, about an aspect of humanity that usually leads to the development of the plot itself (Grey’s Anatomy is another show that does something similar, I love you Shonda Rhimes). In this case, it is a brain fact or factor that becomes significant within the story, and reaching the end of the episode, the observations that the professor explains to the students about the paradoxes of human perception end his lecture. Brilliant, I know.

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Perception was canceled after the third season and there were controversies saying it passed a wrong idea about the schizophrenic disease. Now, seriously? The big issue for some was that the main character chose to go off of his meds whilst still managing to work and teach his students, having reasonings with his hallucination-friend, sharing the wrong idea that getting off of your meds is okay. Ugh, no. I bet this is not the message, as eventually Prof. Pierce is just an adult who sees that therapy is needed, but cannot be abused. Schizophrenia is a disease, a complex one which needs to be studied deeply, still. Also, not all the people diagnosed with schizophrenia are alike. The symptoms vary and the age when they first appear makes a huge difference for the prognosis. So every time we judge a tv-show, let’s remember the viewpoint and the actual fact that -this is fiction-, with a few hints of reality, yes, but basically fictional stories.

perception-eric-mccormack-1In conclusion, why was this show important, from my perspective? Because it opened a door on the so called “mental illnesses” that can be part of a person’s life without interfering so very much with their social life. I am not saying it does not affect their own lives, because it does, but it creates no harm, no danger for their social behavior if taken good care of and most of all, if responsibly studied and handled. An important part of mental health is how we perceive the world around us. A person with a mental disease may perceive things much differently than another person, but that does not mean it is the wrong way of perceiving it. Wouldn’t you sound crazy if you had X-rays in your eyes and told others you can see through their skin? Indeed. In many cases, therapy can help interpret and detect these perceptions, but these do not necessarily need to be corrected because someone evaluated and categorized them as distorted. They are simply different ways of perceiving the world around us that may make sense to a different being with a different sensibility, and sensitivity, than others. As they say, a word to the wise is unnecessary and If the cap fits, wear it.

Ghostwriters, anonymous geniuses

Reviews, Tv Series

Ghostwriter-2Another day, another interview. It happened by chance that I got to know the existence of an actual profession, the ghostwriter. I applied to a job post that was asking for a content writer, a passionate thinker, yadda yadda yadda. A few days before my interview, while browsing new series on Netflix, I found this interesting animated sitcom I decided to binge watch …just because. I started watching BoJack Horseman, attracted by the presence of Aaron Paul (although as a voice-over only), on a warm summertime weekday in LA, after taking some time off my job hunting routine.

It did not take long to realize another TV-series, another binge watching session, would have inspired another post. It is like when you see your whole life scrolling down right before or after a sudden event: pre-death experiences or whatever they call it. If you never experienced it, welllllll, I would not suggest trying it, but it means you definitely did not get hit by a car when you were a kid, flying for a few feets, thinking “oh shoooot, I’m dying”, touching the ground, sliding on the stoney side of the road, getting back up to see the world around you stopped for a second, until you noticed the broken windshield of the woman’s car who just hit you. It was her fault, but no one will ever know, as she moved you and her car while panicking, canceling any trace of the accident, making it hard -if not impossible, for the agents to declare …anything.

EXT. SS CITY. AFTERNOON.            
              
              TEEN GIRL
Did I do this, did I break your car's window? 
               WOMAN
     yes, you don't remember? 
              TEEN GIRL
         No, I'm so sorry...

Diane_NguyenOnce the flash-back was over, I realized the main character, the one I was supposed to “get introduced to” at this moment of my life was not BoJack but Diane. Diane is a ghostwriter. She was hired by BoJack Horseman to write his autobiography. She is an wannabe writer, who feels like nobody actually understands -or even sees, her potentiality, she is originally from Boston, and she is dating famous actor and BoJack’s rival, Mr. Peanutbutter. Yes, apart from the romance, the other details are pretty familiar.

Diane is one of the characters in BoJack Horseman who is portrayed as an actual human. She reminded me of Daria Morgendorffer right away. Never seen Daria, you all? Go check it out, now! Diane had a hard childhood, growing up in a family she did not feel like she belonged to, she attended Boston University (BU? Why not BC? Go Eagles!) with a major in Literature (and Equine Studies, but those are details). She moved to Los Angeles, California and she worked at a Starbucks, where she met her wealthy boyfriend, a star of the movie industry. Again, apart from the romance…

ce313c1c82b20d82e6c9c13a69f6c7b5--aaron-paul-hot-amazing-eyesBoJack hires her to ghostwrite his autobiography when, at a night party, he gets fascinated by her personality. By the end of the very first episodes you forget you are watching an animated series, and I personally watched the rest of season 1, 2 and 3 as if I were actually watching a normal, human based, show. Aaron Paul‘s voice triggered my imagination to the point that I was actually seeing his face instead of the cartooned character who was awkwardly too similar to Breaking Bad‘s Jesse Pinkman. But how did I get here? I was halfway through the first season when I had my Skype call with the recruiter. She asked me the usual questions: could you tell me your story? How do you see yourself in a couple of years? Why would you be the perfect fit for this job? And last but not least: who is really LG? How would you describe yourself? Honestly, it felt like she just asked me “Who is Gossip Girl?” …How would you answer? How would I answer? I am… me. I clutched at straws for a couple of minutes until she answered for me. “You are the Binge Watching Queen, you want to be heard, your voice is captivating, your blog is nice to read… and you will never bend to be a ghostwriter”.

…and this is why I am not the perfect fit for this job. Well then thank you. For reading my resume, for taking the time to take a peek at my blog posts, for telling me the truth, and yes, for making me feel fine, (just a little) hearing you claim, out loud, “you are the BWQ”! But I haven’t got the job. It was not to be “just” a content writer. I had to be the voice of a person who has a famous face. If they cheered at her, at her words, her posts, they would cheer at me, without knowing it. The recruiter saw that I could not be the anonymous creator of somebody else’s fame, career and respect. A living Diane, who eventually ends up writing a book ABOUT BoJack, not his autobiography that was supposed to be written as if it was him the writer who used the right words, the appealing style, the pleasant ideas. No… way. So I gave in to never finding a job where I can perfectly fit, I ordered some Indian food and binged on BoJack Horseman ’til the end.

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BoJack Horseman

Genre: they want to call it “adult animation sitcom”
Created by: Raphael Bob-Waksberg
Voices ofWill Arnett,  Amy SedarisAlison BriePaul F. TompkinsAaron Paul
Watched onNetflix 
Three Seasons, Thirty Seven Episodes binge watched in: Four days, nights included.

The story takes place in Hollywood, actually Hollywoo after the D gets stolen. BoJack is a former sitcom star, and he is a horse; Diane, his biographer, is a human and she will get married to a dog-actor; BoJack’s agent is a cat; Todd is a human in his mid-twenties who lives with BoJack in his house and sleeps on the couch, but gets little to no attention from his roommate; all of the other characters are either humans or animals, without interferences. BoJack was the star of a 90’s sitcom called Horsin’ Around, but since then he lives out of his old fame. Through BoJack’s shenanigans we get philosophical, psychological, societal and generally intellectual perspectives. No matter the several mistakes and flaws that become BoJack’s trademarks, the whole series seems to be based on the justification of the movie industry’s environment, which is misleading and toxic for many. The series includes sensitive topics like acting teen’s addiction to drugs and alcohol, unexpected pregnancies, abortions, sexual abuse, depression and other so called morally unacceptable behaviors treated on different levels of perception and judgement. Don’t believe me? Take a look and see for yourself.

“Friends don’t lie” #StrangerThings

Reviews, Tv Series

I confess. This is one of very few times in my life now I surrendered and watched something just because it was advertised and Netflix sent me a pretty cool invitation when it came out. Eventually, I liked it. Not that I would kill to watch it again, but I will definitely watch season two as soon as it gets released just because I want to know what happens next.

Screen Shot 2017-08-05 at 10.59.26 PMStranger Things is captivating for those kids like me who were born in the ’80s and by watching a show which offers old school music and references to that time, you can’t help but remember the Goonies, the GremlinsStand by Me, and others, maybe with a little bit of nostalgia. If you have a keen interest in vintage and old style cinematography, welcome aboard. Honestly I am not a huge fan of those years, (so not technologic, evil laugh) but probably it is just because those old movies scared me when I was a child. I always had a very rich and detailed imagination, so watching ambiguous images only contributed to have nightmares, until rationality took the lead. I was still having bad dreams, but at least I knew it was just that. A “This isn’t real!” kind of awareness. I am not sure this was actually a positive change, but at least I stopped worrying about aliens flying bikes and calling home, close encounters of any kind, cute little things turning into evil monsters after midnight, cheeky human-like ducks coming from the future, and ufo navigators.

stranger-monster-feat-480x279We used to have horror movie nights on TV, not sure if it was on Wednesdays or Thursdays during the summer, when the school was over and kids could stay up late, as they were usually broadcasted late night. As of today, I should ask young millennials how it works, considering they have everything they want (and do not want) available anytime, anywhere. They may have thought that the setting of this show was tremendously old fashioned and out-dated, kind of what I used to say when I had to watch spaghetti western with my parents. Yeah, let’s not rub it in. Instead, the reference that the producers and the writers gave to the show is not as heavy as someone would expect, it is actually fascinating, also considered that they rendered the idea by using the instruments we have today, so chapeau!

stranger-things2I particularly appreciated the fact that those who appear to be the strongest and coolest characters of the show are women, Eleven and Will’s mother, among the others, are essential for the balance that the story keeps throughout its development. They could have used a normal boy, instead the supernatural magical kid is a girl and she.is.the.bomb.

Nothing terribly psychological came up while watching Stranger Things. If you are looking for an excuse to criticize or judge, I do not believe you will find any. Just like I did, enjoy the product of contemporary cinematographers who dare to play with the past never resulting in an overdose of clichés, rather building a great mix for TV-series addicts.

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Stranger Things

Genre: they want to call it “supernatural, science fiction drama”
Created by: The Duffer Brothers
StarringWinona RyderDavid HarbourFinn WolfhardMillie Bobby Brown, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton, Cara Buono, Matthew Modine, Noah Schnapp, Joe Keery, Sadie Sink, Dacre Montgomery
Watched on: Netflix
One Season, Eight Episodes binge watched in: one whole afternoon

stranger-things-season-2-eleven-picWe are in Indiana, USA in 1983. A twelve-year-old Will disappears mysteriously while, on the other side of the town in a secret laboratory, a monster creature comes to life. A young girl trapped in the laboratory, manages to escape after the accident with the monster. She is running away from the lab agents who are chasing after her, when the girl meets three kids who are Will’s best friends: Mike, Lucas and Dustin. Mike understands something is wrong with the girl who does not speak, and the only thing she manages to tell him is her name is Eleven, after reading the number she has tattooed on her arm. He eventually hides her in his house and takes care of her feeding her with Eggo (I know, I had to point this out). Eleven knows what is going on and she helps the boys look for Will, who apparently got trapped in another dimension, where monsters and evil creatures live. mqdefaultWinona Ryder is Will’s mother, who does not believe the agents when they say her son is dead. Everyone in town starts thinking she is going insane when she says supernatural events are happening in her house: it is Will’s way to get in contact with her mother, asking for help from “the other side”. Will’s brother and other people from their town unites looking for the truth behind this evil laboratory, which seems to be the source of what is going on. Meanwhile the agents try to capture Eleven to take her back to the lab.

 

“We live in a kingdom of bullsh*t”

Reviews, Tv Series

8966767_origI knew I was in love with this TV-show since episode one. Elliot, the main character, is a genius. I was hooked when at the end of his mental digression he goes “F*ck society” but he responds “nothing” when the doctor asks him “what is wrong?”, as I recognized myself in those words, something I always wanted to scream out loud, to wake people up. Then I remembered that I read somewhere something like “you can’t explain to people something they are not ready to understand”, and I just isolated myself in my world, or almost so, where I could at least relate to a TV-show, feeling less weird. Elliot’s sessions at his shrink‘s are basically the literal representation of what most of us is thinking right now. Or not? I mean, at least we should. I completely lost it during episode nine, when it was clear that his dissociative identity disorder could relate to Fight Club because the Pixies’ Where Is My Mind started to play. I love that song, and at the same time it reminds me of part of my past I do not love as much. Meh.

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Raise your hand if you have ever felt alienated, when you should feel like you belong to society because after all, you are a human being, but you actually feel detached, different, wrong. Although you try to survive, day by day, you cannot find your spot in a world that does not reflect the socially accepted and advertised picture they taught you since your first second on this planet: a beautiful place, where peace reigns and people are allowed to go to war to bring peace to those areas where it is needed. Crazy? yes. Fair? No. Just a big fat lie. A lie they sugarcoated making it sound beautiful to your ears. They made you believe there is no better place than Earth, that life is worth living and if you kill yourself you are automatically sent to hell. Wow. Where is YOUR mind?

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So here is why a TV-show may be interesting for people who felt, or still feel, isolated and different: from a certain point of view, it makes you feel less lonely. Still, you have to keep in mind it is just a show. A fake representation of reality, where characters may actually be telling the truth, hidden behind a magnified distorted rendered version of it, just to let people, and in this case spectators, stay in that bubble someone else has created for us all. Whether you agree with saying “f*ck society” or not, whether you felt different in a world of clones or not, this is a TV-show that is worth a view.

Mr. Robot

Genre: they want to call it “psychological thriller”
Created by: Sam Esmail
StarringRami MalekCarly ChaikinPortia DoubledayMartin WallströmChristian SlaterMichael CristoferStephanie CorneliussenGrace Gummer
Watched on: TV (Xfinity On Demand)
Two Seasons, Twenty-two episodes binge watched in: two weekends.

Elliot (Rami Malek)is a young programmer who works as a cyber-security engineer at Allsafe, a NYC based IT company.  At first he appears to be a typical nerd, until we realize he is constantly debating with a sort of alter ego, dealing with social anxiety disorder, and depression. Elliot’s thought process seems heavily influenced by a distorted representation of reality which makes him become some kind of vigilante hacker by night. This is how he “knows” people he gets in contact with, by hacking their social media profiles gathering information. He eventually gets recruited by a hacker group whose leader is Mr Robot (Christian Slater) with the purpose of destroying one of the biggest and most important companies in the world, E-corp, which is also the main client of Allsafe, in order to cancel the global debt. Trying to fight the demons in his head, using drugs to detach from reality, and having Angela -a long time friend- by his side, Elliot struggles to do what he thinks is needed in a corrupted society he does not fit in. What happens with him, his family members and everyday drama, is left for you to watch and grow fond of. You’re welcome. 

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“Is any of it real? I mean, look at this. Look at it! A world built on fantasy. Synthetic emotions in the form of pills. Psychological warfare in the form of advertising. Mind-altering chemicals in the form of… food! Brainwashing seminars in the form of media. Controlled isolated bubbles in the form of social networks. Real? You want to talk about reality? We haven’t lived in anything remotely close to it since the turn of the century. We turned it off, took out the batteries, snacked on a bag of GMOs while we tossed the remnants in the ever-expanding dumpster of the human condition. We live in branded houses trademarked by corporations built on bipolar numbers jumping up and down on digital displays, hypnotizing us into the biggest slumber mankind has ever seen. You have to dig pretty deep, kiddo, before you can find anything real. We live in a kingdom of bullsh*t. A kingdom you’ve lived in for far too long. So don’t tell me about not being real. I’m no less real than the f*cking beef patty in your Big Mac.” Season 1, episode 10.

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How to survive a plane crash #Travelers

Reviews, Tv Series

No. I do not know how to survive a plane crash, and if I knew, it would make my life so much easier. This is just one of the things I wanted to keep as useful information after my binge watching session of Travelers, on Netflix, this spring.

will and graceJust like everything that happens in my life, one of those weekends throughout the academic year, when I had tons of stuff to do which automatically turn to be NOTHING (only in my head though), I was scrolling down my Netflix account menu to find something cool to watch. Honestly, not the title in itself, but the presence of Eric McCormac as the main actor, just captured my attention, and I clicked on the play button to see if this time, after (NBC) Will and Grace, and another favorite, (ABC)  Perception, he would disappoint me. It did not happen. Obviously.

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What the TV-show is about you will see keeping on reading, reaching the “alternative” review, because for now, I just want to underline how, for whatever reason, everything lately seems to throw hints on something wrong with the world we live in and similar truths, ehm I mean, bs. Which are not bs if we believe when they say we are going through a time of change, that the Age of Aquarius is at its dawn of whatsoever. According to Wikipedia (lame, I know) Aquarius “is associated with electricity, computers, flight, democracy, freedom, humanitarianism, idealism, modernization, astrology, nervous disorders, rebellion, nonconformity, philanthropy, veracity, perseverance, humanity, and irresolution”, and what more than myself watching this kind of TV-show fits better to confirm that definition? Just consider this: for any respectable FBI agent on Earth, we know that some of them work under cover, leading a double life: they work to save the future from the mistakes of the past/present, they take care of humans and their families, they interact and they teach something in order to evolve, while using knowledge that they acquired with time and experience. Thanks to social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and all, we can portray a scenario of what our lives are right now, sharing anything that is possibly imaginable. But then, we realize that reality is not what it seems. The media world is packed with fake profiles, not fake per se, but because people share parts of their lives that are not real, there are missing information or settings that are created in order to show a more appealing portrait of ourselves.
Doesn’t this lead us to a righteous social judgment? We are allowed to wonder if what is shown via the media can or cannot be reliable. What will the future generations get from all this? Will it be a distorted representation of how our lives are today? We share pictures of our lunches as if we were dining in the most prestigious restaurant on the planet, when we are actually tweeting from a comfortable bed,  filled with bed bugs, in a hot Californian evening in our overpriced AirBnb room. Is there a lesson we have to learn from this? Well, at least we saw that, to survive a plane crash, we have to find the remotest spot in the back of a plane, and this may be a fact. Any volunteer?

Travelers

Genre: they want to call it “science fiction”
Created by: Brad Wright
StarringEric McCormacMacKenzie Porter, Nesta Cooper, Jared Abrahamson, Reilly Dolman, Patrick Gilmore
Watched on: Netflix
One Season, Twelve Episodes binge watched in: one afternoon & one half night.

Travelers1-2Agents from the future are sent back to our present to stop catastrophes and massive accidents. Grant McLaren (Eric McCormack) an FBI agent who tries to track down suspicious criminals, eventually becomes one of the Travelers himself when, right at the moment of his death, falling from an open window, his body gets taken over by the chief of the travelers’ squad. The Travelers have protocols assigned and missions to accomplish, in order to not really care so much for those people who were in their lives before “transforming”, but eventually they do. Apparently empathetically, all Travelers find a connection with those around them from, who do not know they really are. Interesting is the way the Travelers move through time and space, called T.E.L.L. (time, elevation, longitude, latitude) technology. Right a couple of seconds before the earthly death of their host bodies, the agents coming from the future take their place without leaving a dead body behind. They become the person of the present, with their life, family and friends, and only the other travelers know who they are.

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The transfer of their consciousness is possible thanks to GPS and the 21st century technology, and social media are used to gather information about their hosts people’s lives. Along with travelers there are messengers; any child can be one, taken over for a few seconds, released right after, thanks to their pre-puberty condition of being malleable and flexible. Season one was over and I am waiting for season two to be released. Is it worth watching? Yes. If not just for the presence of Eric McCormack who excels in every role he plays, it is quite fascinating to wonder why, by the first half of the season, you already start sensing that, no matter when -in terms of centuries- you live, there will always be someone who is more worth saving than someone else. It is always a matter of power and social hierarchy, isn’t it?

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Sympathy Love For The Devil: Lucifer (Morningstar)

Reviews, Tv Series

Please allow me to introduce myself himself, I’m he’s a man of wealth and taste …oh so much taste! Apologies to the Rolling Stones for stealing part of their Sympathy For The Devil‘s lyrics but it was totally, completely, relentlessly necessary. The charming angel who fell from Heaven to rule the world could not be portrayed in a better way: Tom Ellis is the bomb. His British (Welsh) accent gives that hint of allure to a character who, per se, attracts interest and attention. The Devil seduces you, he wants you to be free to do whatever you like despite those God dictated rules. What is actually wrong with that?

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I swear to… hmmm, anyway, I do not want to complain about religious views and beliefs, but allow me to be a little, how can I say this, blasphemous for someone… saying that I would rather worship someone like -this- light bringer, although fallen for only God knows why, than the Almighty him/herself, who is supposed to be pure love but then… Yeah, right. I mean, talking from the point of view of what tv-shows like this have to offer, giving a different, fantastic, imaginative perspective of fictional characters with all their personality colors and shades, there is nothing to be hated about this figure. If only everybody could just freely wear their masks and not care about judgments… or maybe, isn’t it what is actually happening as of right now? Wasn’t Shakespeare right when he made his characters in As You Like It say: “All the world’s a stage / And all the men and women merely players;/ They have their exits and their entrances, / And one man in his time plays many parts”? I think he was. Right, I mean.

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We all wake up in the morning and put on our daily façade, the one we offer to the world, which changes slightly depending on whom we encounter and where we are headed. We may smile to that stranger who showed us kindness, or give a bad look to that person on the other side of the street who is being a bully with someone else. Then we try to show strength and positivity to our children, although we might not be able to pay the rent next month, and we show a huge smile to the one standing in front of us in the mirror, because someone told us that you can trick the mind by making it believe you’re happy. Or when you cry. Aren’t we all characters then? Aren’t we God‘s favorite toys, actors in a movie he/she created for him/herself to get entertained? Isn’t Lucifer, all the demons, and the good angels around us, just other supporters of the greatest film of all times, with God in the role of the director, a few executive producers holding the finances to keep the recordings going (may be the Illuminati, who knows?) and almost six billions actors and actresses who are constantly playing on the sets that are all over the globe? Hmph, maybe. Until proven otherwise…

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Lucifer

Genre: they want to call it “crime-comedy drama”
Based onVertigo by Neil Gaiman, Sam Kieth, and Mike Dringenberg
Starring: Tom Ellis, Lauren German, Kevin Alejandro, D. B. Woodside, Lesley-Ann Brandt, Scarlett Estevez, Kevin Rankin, Rachael Harris, Tricia Helfer, Aimee Garcia
Watched on: Netflix and TV (FOX)
Two Seasons, Thirty-one Episodes binge watched in: less than a week.

Lucifer Morningstar, the Devil, is our hero. He leaves Hell, and moves to the City of Angels, Los Angeles, of course, where else? Always impeccably dressed and …perfect, he runs a nightclub called “Lux”, and next to him he has his faithful demon: super sexy and strong Mazikeen, or Maze. When he meets the breathtakingly beautiful Detective Chloe Decker (Lauren German), he can’t help but start to work with her trying to resolve crime cases for the LAPD: “Tell me your deepest desire”, his persuasive powers have no effect on her, but on everybody else they work perfectly.
dabdf76c0e77988b48653e53398ede6aAlong with Lucifer lives his brother Amenadiel, and later the goddess of all creation will join them, to take them back to Heaven, as she may or may not have something already planned. The angels’ mother escaped Hell in fact, where she was sent after causing disasters and whatsoever. All this happens while in LA people get killed and, following a sort of CSI style, every episode ends with every case closed. If not for the story itself, in case you hated to worship the devil in all of his forms, enjoy all the views of the coolest city in California, with scenes shot at the Santa Monica Pier, Hollywood, and all around the main attractions and typical spots of the LA county.

Th1rteen R3easons Why and Depression

Reviews, Tv Series

Isn’t it absurd and hilarious how a tv-show can wreak havoc on the teen-age world of the twenty-first century? Ok, no. Wait a second. I know even the Huffington Post talked about it several times and I wanted to publish this post sooner, but when life gets in the way, there is nothing you can do about it. Indeed. Life has nothing to do with tv-shows or movies. Young teens or young adults, who commit suicide, do not decide to end their lives “just because Hannah did so”. The tv-show is based on a book by Jay Asher anyway, how come nobody killed themselves when the book got published? Oh wait, are we saying that teenagers do no read anymore? Hmm. Watching a movie is definitely faster and more up-to-date considering the way our brain and our attention span got shaped with time and technology, but still, do we really want to believe that young people are stupid enough, in 2017, to actually end their lives because of a movie? To put a period and the end of their story just to emulate a character? I honestly doubt it.

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Thirteen Reasons Why  may or may not have “something to do” with recent suicides of teenagers, because what lies beneath and what has not been taken into consideration enough, is the so-called depression. I do not even like to call it that way, because most of the times, diagnosed as a mental condition, seen a disease that can be cured, it gets underestimated, passed unnoticed, and people die in their depressed state, without showing any sign of being ill.

Let’s see. Have you ever had the feeling of each and every bone of your body aching because of all those days spent laying in bed, doing nothing? Have you ever forgotten the sound of your voice because you haven’t spoken in weeks? You might have even communicated with your acquaintances, sent them text messages, but you have not actually talked out loud to anyone? Have you ever heard someone say “you are so strong and brave, I wish I were like you” while you were broken in pieces inside, holding them back together with a sort of spiritual duct tape that only God knows how you did it? Have you ever wished you were dead because being alive in this world does not sound that appealing to you anymore, for whatever reason? And now, have you ever wondered, for once in your life, how would it be to be dead? If we turned into energy back to the cosmic state, or if we would simple be eaten by worms while lying six feet under ground? Have you ever thought about suicide? Never? Well, I guess many from either my generation, the previous and the following one would say yes to at least one of these questions, and as far as I’m concerned, depression is not “only” a disease, it is a “way of being”, it is part of your personality, it is rooted in yourself. Boom. Dropped the bomb. Yes. I know, someone got healed. Psychiatrists and co. can help… if you ever started therapy. But then explain to me why the majority of today’s human beings are depressed, suicidal at times, and in general not feeling happy. Content. Satisfied. Glad to be alive. And nobody knows this about them. Go ahead.

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This said, is it really a tv-show’s fault if teens kill themselves? Do movies suggest you for real how to use a knife, or a gun, or pills? I mean, I’ve seen plenty of movies where people were killing or getting killed, and this did not make me a killer. Or a cheater. Or a princess. Or, a suicide. Yet, we want to read that this or that caused somebody else’s decision of liberating themselves from the burden of the mortal condition. Fine, believe what you want, but here’s my review.

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Thirteen Reasons Why

Genre: they want to call it “teen drama”
Based on: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Starring: Dylan Minnette, Katherine Langford, Christian Navarro, Alisha Boe, Brandon Flynn, Justin Prentice, Miles Heizer, Ross Butler, Devin Druid, Amy Hargreaves, Derek Luke, Kate Walsh
Watched on: Netflix
Season One, Thirteen Episodes binge watched in: less than 15 hours

Clay Jensen (Dylan Minnette) is one of the main characters of the story. He finds a box with seven double-sided tapes recorded by Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford), his classmate who committed suicide two weeks prior to this moment. On tape, Hannah talks to specific people in her life, building up a sort of audio journal, or confessional, more like audio letters if we want to say so, explaining the reasons why this person is on tape and why he or she is part of the reasons why she killed herself. Each person who receives the package plays a role in the “game” of these thirteen reasons, thirteen people who are “guilty” in their own way. Twelve recordings are dedicated to her classmates, lovers, abusers, rapers, all of them around her age, but one, the thirteenth is eventually for an adult. Here, is where my attention focused, at the end of a binge watch session that lasted a whole night (it actually started right after lunch time and ended the morning after). This tv-show is not meant to be educational, is not meant to be seen by kids who need to understand what bullying is, what respect is…, to my humble opinion, it should be an eye-opener for adults. The exact same adults you turn to when you’re in danger, when you tell them that something is not right, but you do not know how to express your feelings. And they do not believe you. They minimize the gravity and they release you in a world that is, still, treating you wrong. Exception made for her parents. Olivia, Hannah’s mother, played by the amazing Kate Walsh, is the one who finds her daughter dead. Both parents never realized she was suffering. Most of the times, parents can’t see, and I believe this is what the whole tv-show wants you to ponder on. All the drama, the request for attention, the teen-age useless fights, are secondary. As Antoine de Saint-Exupéry tried to teach us, through his Little Prince’s story “what is essential, is invisible to the eye”; nevertheless a lot of us are still terribly blind.13rw_104_02536r_-_h_2017

Thanksgiving and #GilmoreGirls

Haircut Madness, Reviews, Tv Series

Oh well, oh well. While watching the brand new episodes of the Netflix exclusive season of Gilmore Girls I had so many thoughts popping in my head I actually considered writing them all down not to forget anything, but as always I just did not. No wonder. Let me try to catch my train of thoughts a little anyway.

screen-shot-2016-11-25-at-20-52-08It started last night, right after my “alternative” Thanksgiving dinner: my landlords invited me for Rosh Hashanah this past October and they wanted to have me celebrate with them for Thanksgiving as well, so I could not say no. These things usually get me nervous but as always I put my daily façade and I just cope with the feeling until those first few glasses of wine set it for the rest of the night. Sounds more like an alcoholic talk but trust me, it is not what it seems. I know this is what everybody says, but honestly? Who cares? The best part was actually when my mind was just rambling on getting my inner voice upset, and I was just zoning in and out laughing at more or less funny jokes we started reading on line, from “Yo mama is…” to “Trump…”. Fun times. Even funnier was that, when I had to say goodbye, I only had to open the door leading to the basement, and just go down the stairs. Once I was all undressed and I got my make up removed, I just started binging on Netflix movies when a brand new and cooler party started upstairs. I think the adults just spent a couple more hours sipping some wine while listening to music, songs going from Jeff Buckley‘s, to Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Lou Reed… I honestly have to say I was kind of jealous. I would have done the same with the right company, so I just pictured myself in the future, in my own house (rented, of course) which is a big deal considering we may not be here tomorrow. Yeah, no. No drama, just saying.

screen-shot-2016-11-25-at-20-51-24I have to confess again, while putting my sweatpants and sweatshirt on, I accidentally looked at myself in the mirror, recalling I do not look like the person my memory still remembers. I cannot understand why I am having such a hard time getting used to the no-longer-new look. I still do not like it though. I guess I never will. While wasting time watching some movies, I had the chance to communicate with some people, not everybody was going wild till late at night after all, and it just made me feel more normal, if normal is a good way to feel anyway. Then oh yeah, I remembered. I just could not wait for a Netflix series to be finally on. I grew up watching #GilmoreGirls, I basically memorized every line because I watched and re-watched those episodes a thousand times, over and over just because I liked it. That is it! There has been people labelling it as a stupid tv-show, others saying they loved it, others simply did not watch it…and I mean, isn’t it always like that? I will always find someone to either agree or disagree with, so I just stopped justifying myself for having different tastes than others, in whatever field they might be.

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What captures me and I think most of all human beings in general, is the way we eventually end up relating to this or that character, or the story, or we simply sympathize for a situation, a memory that for some reasons gets attached to a scene, an episode, an actor or actress, and we cannot stop watching the show, the movie, the series… Having a sequel after so many years got me emotional too. I know I know, this is shocking, I was impressed too, but hey, I guess I have to stick to this human mortal condition for now, so obviously I have to have emotions, somehow.

Gilmore Girls, A Year in The Life

Genre: they want to call it “family-comedy drama”
Created by: Amy Sherman-Palladino
Starring: Lauren Graham, Alexis Bledel, Melissa McCarthy, Keiko Agena, Yanic Truesdale, Scott Patterson, Kelly Bishop, Liza Weil, Jared Padalecki, Milo Ventimiglia, Sean Gunn, David Sutcliffe, Chris Eigeman, Matt Czuchry
Watched on: Netflix and TV (Previous seasons)
Seven Seasons, One-hundred and fifty-three Episodes watched in: years, like for real LAST SEASON, or better sequel of four two-hour(ish) episodes binge watched in an afternoon. DUH.

screen-shot-2016-11-25-at-20-43-34I have watched all of the four episodes that Netflix had on. All the available ones. There are no more left to watch, and of course the last episode had to end the way it ended. My teeth are still grinding from anger. Why Amy Sherman Palladino? Why? Did you go to school with freaking Shonda Rhimes? I mean, if you all women in the film industry just want to drive us all spectators crazy, well go ahead, you are actually doing a pretty good job, just do not mess with us that much!!! This basically should make you guess how I am feeling right now! I am already going cold turkey (and any reference to Thanksgiving right now is totally unintentional) and I want to know what will happen next. Although, I know this is not going to happen soon, so all I can do is …imagine. Story of my life. Imagining things that will never happen, or that I would like to happen but then… of course they won’t, also having conversations that do not exist in real life but they are real in that parallel universe where everything is still screwed up a little, but definitely more interesting and exciting. Whatever.  I tried to stand up every once in a while pausing the streaming for a few minutes, just because I recalled one of the guests last night, talking about how those Apple Watches tell you to move because you have been sitting for too long. I laughed so hard. Seriously, one episode is at least 80 minutes long so sitting on my butt for six hours straight would have been awkward. Is it just me or when you stand after a long while that you have been sitting somewhere, you feel taller? I had this odd perception right after standing and taking a few steps! I was feeling weirdly taller. It goes away, but I felt the same way a few times before and it just makes me chuckle. I guess it is not just time to be relative, uh?

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screen-shot-2016-11-25-at-20-42-13Ha! It is also hilarious that the voice in my head (reading these words right now) is actually one of the characters I have just been watching. I have been told I looked like her before, since when the tv show actually started. One of my friends back home has me on her contacts list as Lorelei (although on the tv show it is spelt Lorelai) and another one still calls me that since high school. Should not even sound too silly that I actually own a picture signed by the actress because when I was still young and full of dreams I believed in the power of writing letters, like real letters. So I was very young, I wrote letters to celebrities, yes, and this is simply who I was. My young hearted spirit still recalls the nice feeling in getting screen-shot-2016-11-25-at-20-40-52those letters back with autographed pictures, or vhs gifted to me because I wrote this or that band a letter. Oh young and innocent Lor, where art thou?

…and I cannot help but think of the last time I heard someone say: you can be anyone you want to be, you can do anything. Just go for it. And I miss those talks, really, but it does not matter anymore. I will just have to keep going as I am doing now after the last scene of the last episode I just watched. It is bitter. Now wait, for real, it sucks. As it does not depend on me though, I will just stick to this feeling, get some fattening sugary junk food, get uglier, remembering when I had long hair, Gilmore Girls A Year in the Life was not out yet, and I could still write actual letters, mailing them to actual people, getting to see actual mail men delivering envelopes to that crazy little monster living in a small town near Venice. The island, not the beach. Peace out.