New Girl: A Refreshingly Different Sitcom

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Photo Source: fanpop.com

I’ve watched New Girl for years now. It wasn’t until recently that I’ve come to truly appreciate it. New Girl isn’t the typical comedy: it’s not a Seinfeld or Friends, but I think its uniqueness it what makes it so fun.

Foremost, all of the characters on the show are very wacky and as I heard showrunner Elizabeth Meriwether put it: “[they are] very bad at life.” That’s spot on. Most comedies have a stable central character who is surrounded by crazy friends, the “Michael Bluth” of the series. In New Girl, they are all crazy. Jess, the lead character, is very quirky and sometimes the wackiest of the bunch (although I would argue Winston and Schmidt are the craziest). I believe this accurately represents real life, as all of us have a cooky, quirky side, like Jessica Day. This is also what makes her character so fun: she’s always full of laughs.

New Girl also has a great balance of comedy and drama. It’s not as dramatic as How I Met Your Mother, which was at times surprisingly very sad. But it has its sweet, serious moments, like in the recent episode, where Schmidt and Cece both express their worries about their upcoming marriage. And these serious moments are what make New Girl feel real, as life is both wacky and chaotic, but also confusing.

Furthermore, New Girl is a great representation of this generation and the problems in our current society. We’re already established that the gang is generally struggling with life in general, which is reflective of many people nowadays that are in their 20’s and 30’s. As seen through Nick, a failed lawyer turned bartender, and Cece, who doesn’t really know what she wants to do with her life, the series is very relatable to its target audience.

Despite not relying on traditionally funny antics that former successful sitcoms like Arrested Development and Seinfeld, New Girl is effective with its use of bizarre, identifiable characters and its ties to our current society. And is someone who is likewise in their 20’s and hilariously struggling a bit with life, I’ve learned to enjoy the series even more.

 

Honestly, I Love The Prequels

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Photo source: thenerdpocalypse.com

I’m a huge Star Wars fan, and also a film major. So what I am about to say may sound almost like treason, but I honestly love the Star Wars prequel trilogy. Although I agree that the films are not great, I enjoy them.

As a child of the ’90’s and early 2000’s, I grew up when the prequels were released. The Phantom Menace, which is the lowest reviewed film of the entire series, was the first Star Wars film that I saw. I was six years old and fell in love with the series. I loved the podracing, the epic lightsaber duel with Darth Maul, and the entire film in general. It was fun. Yes, I recently watched the film and agree that it has a lot of story issues, but it is certainly fun to watch, with all of the action and mythology. Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith have a similar place in my heart; I have fond memories of seeing them in theaters and immediately wanting to buy a lightsaber and action figure afterwards.

Many will argue that the prequel trilogy’s stories were not told well. As a screenwriting major, I don’t disagree. However, I believe that the prequels’ overall story of hero Anakin Skywalker turning to the dark side and becoming Darth Vader was a good story. To summarize, he was a pitiable slave turned hero who turned to the dark side to save his true love. Overall, that’s a compelling story. I also believe that Revenge of the Sith was well-written; it wasn’t perfect, but Anakin’s transformation did emotionally move me and there were moments when I wanted to cry during the film. Yes, I do believe that details and storylines of the prequel trilogy could be improved, but I thought Anakin’s story was decent at the very least.

Finally, the prequels did have their highlights. Without them, we wouldn’t have the Sith great that is Darth Maul, the Boba Fett origin story, or the epic lightsaber battles between Yoda and Darth Sidious and Anakin vs. Obi-Wan. Even though the original trilogy’s story was better than the prequels, the prequels were still a spectacle to watch. They expanded the Star Wars universe with beautiful planets and worlds like Naboo and added interesting characters like Qui-Gon Jinn and Jango Fett. And now that I’ve finished re-watching the films for the millionth time, I want to watch them again and experience the cinematic magic once more.

The “Favorite Movie of All-Time” Question

As a film major and aspiring writer, I have often been asked the question, “What is your favorite movie of all-time?” Honestly, the answer doesn’t come to me right away. I’ve answered with several different responses over the years. I have a few favorites, namely Scream, Clueless, The Lion King, Spider-Man, and American Pie. There are even a few more that I could argue are my favorites.

I remember when I was asked the question at a freshmen preview for Loyola Marymount University (although I later ended up attending Chapman University). I responded with “Scream” and half of the kids in my group laughed at me. They chose much more typical film student movies, like “Requiem for a Dream” or “The Godfather” or every other typical movie a film students claims is their favorite in order to sound sophisticated.

We all have that movie that we are shamefully in love and afraid to admit it. In my case, I wasn’t afraid to admit it. Still, I think our favorite movies should be the ones that mean something more to us. I loved Scream for years because it inspired me to want to write scripts that are smart and witty, innovative, and have admirable characters. I’ve recently grown to love Legally Blonde because Elle Woods inspires me to believe in myself, even when I’ve hit a rough patch in my life.

So, to conclude, I encourage all film majors and fans to never feel pressure by the question they will probably be asked by producers, writers, directors, studio executives, professors, and anyone else involved with film. Also, the kid who says Heathers is their favorite movie of all-time is going to stand out a lot more than the one who says with the standard Godfather or Citizen Kane.

 

Gilmore Girls: A Different Kind Of Storytelling

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Photo Source: TVLine

I was a teenager in the 2000’s, so a lot of my peers watched Gilmore Girls religiously. I didn’t actually watch the show until recently, when several of my friends demanded I watch it. Although I’m not an avid fan of the show like other die-hard girls, I’ve grown to appreciate the unique writing of the series.

Although Gilmore Girls is a series meant for teens and young adults, it seems more sophisticated like its counterparts. It’s a dramedy, which is a rarity in teen television, and in television in general. I can only think of two recent dramedies: Buffy and The O.C. However, even these two series are more drama than comedy. Gilmore Girls seems to balance drama and comedy better than any show I’ve seen before. It occasionally gets very serious, but isn’t overly dramatic like other soap operas, such as Dawson’s Creek. It’s not a sitcom, either, but it’s very quirky and almost Seinfeld-esque in the way that it makes fun of people and life in general.

The series also features two of the strongest and most relatable female leads on television in Rory and Lorelai Gilmore. Rory is the shy, smart, slightly awkward girl that teens growing up can relate to; she lives a relatively normal, sometimes dramatic life, which is representative of many girls. Lorelai is likewise a relatable thirty-year old woman who wants to get her life together and cares about her daughter more than anyone else in the world. It’s not always easy to find television series that have female leads that viewers can relate to and see themselves through, but also can admire.

Another characteristic of Gilmore Girls that sets it apart from other series on television is its pacing. Much has been said about the fast dialogue and 70-page scripts of each show, but the series moves in a pace like none other on television. Other teen series like Pretty Little Liars move through storylines and relationships within a span of four to five episodes, but Gilmore Girls extends these stories for half-seasons and sometimes seasons. There are no crazy cliffhangers each episode. The series takes its time with developing stories and characters, which is more reflective of real life.

Overall, the series proves that television can mirror real life and still be entertaining.

 

Batman vs. Superman: A Protest

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Admittedly, I haven’t seen Batman vs. Superman. However, the reviews on Rotten Tomatoes are scaring me away. Last I checked, only 31% of critics enjoyed the film, which is an abysmal rating for a DC Comics film. I was supposed to see it this weekend with my friend, but I don’t think I want to anymore. I’m a huge DC superhero fan. I’ve seen all of the films, watched every episode of Smallville and Arrow, and I’ve seen a lot of the 90’s Batman and Superman animated series. Superman is my favorite superhero. However, I’m afraid that seeing this film might ruin Superman, and DC comics for me.

Like a lot of other superhero fans, I’m glad we FINALLY got to see Batman vs. Superman on the big screen. The mash-up has been done before on the old television 90’s series and in the comics, but this is the first time the two have been together on film. This is also the first on-screen appearance for Wonder Woman, who is arguably the most famous female superhero of all-time. By featuring both these firsts, the film has already made history. Still, these factors don’t outweigh the following reasons why I won’t see the film.

Superman Deserves Some Justice

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As I said before, Superman is my favorite superhero. I started watching Smallville years ago and fell in love with the Superman mythology. In my mind, Superman is also one of the most relatable superheroes. He’s an outsider, and haven’t we all at some point felt like we don’t fit in? I had high hopes for Man of Steel because we hadn’t seen a good Superman film since the first one came out in the 1970’s. Steel was a huge disappointment to me, but I felt that maybe his character could be redeemed in Batman vs. Superman. From what the reviews are saying, it sure doesn’t sound like it. Hopefully, one day Superman will get a good movie. And when he does, I will see that one.

It’s Not “The Avengers”

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Yes, obviously The Avengers are part of the Marvel Universe. I understand that these two films will be very different. Admittedly, I don’t really like the heroes in the Avengers that much. My favorite would have to be Captain America, but I’m still not an avid fan of him. But I really enjoyed and appreciated The Avengers film because of the way it balanced the group of superheroes. That film was the first superhero team film and it could have failed completely, with all of the characters it had to balance, but it did just the opposite. I owe most of the credit to Joss Whedon, one of my favorite writers of all-time. The man is a genius. This film proved that a superhero team film could be a fun, action-packed, character-driven and powerful story.

I honestly didn’t have the same high hopes with the creative team behind Batman vs. Superman. Zack Snyder is a good director, but he tends to focus more on visuals, like in his previous films, Watchman and Man of Steel, but doesn’t do as good a job as Whedon when it comes to balancing that with storytelling. From what I’ve heard, the film is beautiful to watch, but the story falls flat. The story could have been great, in my opinion, but it failed to live up to the hype.

Lex Luthor

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I wasn’t a fan of the initial casting of Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor. I think he’s a good actor, but not the right actor for the part. Billy Zane would have been my ideal casting for the role. Maybe we were too spoiled with Michael Rosenbaum, who was the perfect Lex Luthor in Smallville, but I’ve always imagined Lex Luthor to be the way he portrayed him: smart and charming, but manipulative. Eisenberg’s Luthor seems intelligent, but he lacks the charisma and intrigue that Rosenbaum had.

Maybe I will see Batman vs. Superman. Still, I can’t help but be disappointed that it isn’t the same critical success that The Avengers or The Dark Knight series were. I’m hoping that The Justice League film can redeem it. At the very least, I’m excited for Suicide Squad.

 

Thoughts on “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child”

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I was a major Harry Potter fan growing up. I credit those books for making me want to become a writer. I had a cape and a wand. I locked myself in my room for two whole days when the final book came out. Like every true Harry Potter fan, I’m excited about “The Cursed Child.” But I’m also conflicted.

I was pleased with the ending of The Deathly Hallows. I was a little disappointed with a few of the character deaths (R.I.P. Fred Weasley and Hedwig), but I enjoyed the finale. Harry had a family, he was safe and finally happy. It was a good ending to a good series. Apparently, that isn’t the ending, though, as the series will continue. It’s similar to how I felt about Star Wars: I’m glad to see a series I love continue, but sometimes you just need to leave it be and be satisfied with the conclusive ending we were given.

Furthermore, it will be sad to see the suffering of Harry continue. He went through so much in the first seven books, that it was nice to see him in a good place and able to live as a normal wizard at the end of The Deathly Hallows. We can presume that this suffering and hardship will continue, though, since the series continues. Plus, “The Cursed Child” sounds very grim.

Still, it will have been seven years since the release of the previous installment of the Harry Potter franchise. I am excited and will be reading it the day it comes out. I have a lot of faith in J.K. Rowling, and am sure it will be well-written and perfect, like the rest of her books. I’m not 100% on board for the series continuing, but I will still support it. I was very much against Star Wars Episode 7 happening, but really enjoyed it. So hopefully the same will happen with “The Cursed Child.”

 

Why I Write For Fun

Realistically, I’m not sure if I will ever become a television series writer, but that hasn’t stopped me from writing for fun.  I’ve found a lot of benefits from writing on my own term, despite not getting any monetary compensation for it.

1. The Freedom:

When I write on my terms, I get to write what I want.  I have full creative freedom.  Sure, that script may only exist on paper, and doesn’t have a chance to be professionally made unless I send it to someone. But one of the reasons I have hesitated to pursue writing is because I know as a writer starting out, I will be writing someone else’s story, not my own.

2. The Brain Stimulation:

I just graduated school in May, and have been working part-time at Disneyland. It’s a nice job, but there isn’t a lot of mental, creative stimulation involved as a cashier. Writing has allowed me to continue higher-order thinking and use the knowledge I earned at Chapman, to a greater cause.

3. It’s Like Watching TV:

I finished re-watching Buffy and Smallville, which were very exciting to me. I watch current television, but I’m not super passionate about anything currently on TV. So, in order to cope with this boredom, I’ve decided to write in the meantime. When I write, I get to re-create the shows I enjoy watching by taking elements I enjoyed from them, such as the structure, tone or way of storytelling, and watch them, in a sense. I get to take the best of written television and re-create it.

4. Maybe One Day:

I’ve read in multiple books on the entertainment industry that it is important to write stories that you are passionate about and close to you.  Those stories will become your best writing. By writing stories for fun, I’ve wrote these stories that are my best work possible. If I ever get the opportunity to have my script read by a producer or an agent, there is a chance they may admire my writing ability or think my series has potential. This could be my key to landing a writing job, and reaching my career goals of becoming a writer.