Friday Frivolity: Millennials on TV

Hello friends!  Thanks for sticking with the blog during our little hiatus.  We are back up and running and looking forward to some great posts next week, including some thoughts on Revolver, attitude in the workplace, and postcollegiate summers.  As always, I’m looking for more fearless post-collegiates to feature, so if you’re interested in being interviewed for the blog (or want to guest post), get in touch with me at postcollegiate [at] gmail [dot] com or tweet me.

I’ve been wanting to do a frivolous Friday post on some television characters I’ve noticed who really seem to embody the postcollegiate spirit and was thrilled to see this Vulture piece on the universally hated character on Smash, Ellis.  What makes Ellis so awful?  He’s a textbook millennial – he’s disloyal, he job hunts, he demands credit, he’s too eager to please, and he thinks he’s better than he is.  Sounds like just about every middle-aged office worker I know talking about our generation in the workplace!  The story really inspired me to think about other television characters, good or bad, who really seem to represent the millennial generation.

Nick Miller  (The New Girl)

Oh, Nick Miller.  Nick Miller, who dropped out of law school and lives off his meager bar-tending wages.  Nick Miller, who doesn’t have health insurance.  Nick Miller, who can’t get a cell phone because his credit score is so laughable.  Nick Miller, who’s friends are convinced they could buy their own city with the money they’d save not covering his share of the rent.  Nick Miller embodies just about every cliche (and hard truth) about millennial and money – most of us don’t have it and when we do have it, we’re not very responsible with it.

Penny Hartz (Happy Endings)

Penny’s misadventures in dating is essentially a documentary for anyone who didn’t get married by the time they were 24.  She’s the girl who will adapt to whatever the guy she likes is into (see:  that time she dated a hipster), she’s willing to go way out on a limb to find someone to settle down with (see: that time she dated the guy named you-know-what), and she’s even explored the possibility of settling down with her best friend (see: that time her sex dream about Dave was really a proposal dream).  But what really makes Penny the embodiment of millennial dating is her perpetual optimism that it will all work out in the end, even though life tells us otherwise.

June Colburn (Don’t Trust the B—-in Apartment 23)

Poor Chloe.  She gets her dream job, moves to the big city, and is so excited to settle down with her fiance.  Except the job goes bust, she loses the perfect apartment, and her fiance is a lying cheat.  So, she ends up trucking along at a dead-end coffee shop job while she tries to survive living with the show’s titular bitch, Chloe.  If Chloe wasn’t so much frickin’ fun, it would almost be depressing to watch.  It’s hard not to empathize with June’s blind belief that everything in her post-collegiate life is going to work out just fine.

 

Abed Nadir (Community)

Inability to communicate?  Check.  Constantly indulged by his peers?  Check.  Refusal to grow up and mature?  Check.  Pursuing a less-than-marketable humanities degree?  Check.  Obsession with pop culture which will unlikely serve him well in the future?  Check.  Although Annie’s relentless ambitious and need for approval and Troy’s insistence on being treated like an adult even when he isn’t really one yet are both strong candidates, Abed takes the millennial crown at Greendale.

 

Attack The Block

Well, friends, all my nightmares have come true.  The horror is upon us.  I am in a glass case of emotion and nothing can save me now.

My office blocked WordPress at work.

It really doesn’t get worse than this.  Somewhere, in the deep recesses of our building, some IT troll was tasked with expanding the definition of “social media and networking sites” and because they are a friendless freak, decided that WordPress and Twitter and Tumblr and every other site that brings me joy and distraction during the eight hours that I am desk-bound.  Perhaps it was a long time coming, but for me, this is akin to someone slashing my benefits package.

Thankfully, I am through the grieving process and starting to move towards acceptance (and towards manipulating the system.)  Luckily, I have a hack around the Twitter block (thanks, Hoot Suite) but am still not sure how to get through to WordPress during the work day.  If anyone has suggestions for accessing WordPress through blocks, let me know!  I will also work more diligently in the next few weeks to post in the evenings or stockpile some posts so that this blog can continue to grow.

As always, thanks for your unending support and continuing to check in on the blog.  As for me, I may be slowing dying inside every second I can scroll my Tumblr dashboard at work but as least I’m started to move towards acceptance.

Post-Collegiate Life Lessons: Chevy Chase Edition

When I was kid, my mom would take Baby Sister and I to Blockbuster every Friday and let us rent five videos for family viewing over the weekend.  The break down of the rentals usually went something like this – 1.  New Release, generally action or family-friendly comedy, 2.  Children’s Movie, selected by Baby Sister and automatically disdained by me on the mere virtue of being the selection of a younger child, 3.  1930s-1960s Movie Musical, because I was that kind of a kid, and 4/5. Classic Comedies, culled from Blockbuster’s back shelves.  I would spend a significant amount of time going back up and down the aisles, trying to curate the perfect viewing experience.  My mom (or occasionally my dad, when he had the odd Friday off) would casually suggest that Animal House or Blazing Saddles might be a good pick and then I would be instantly hooked, spending the following weekends trying to watch the rest of the Brooks oeuvre or researching in my Maltin guide what other films the original SNL cast had produced.

A Friday in 1998 that stands out to me, even amongst so many nights of picking up movies that would find their way on my best-of lists for years to come, was the night that Post Collegiate Dad suggested we try a Chevy Chase double feature – Fletch and Spies Like Us.  I knew Chevy from the Griswold flicks and had recently seen Caddyshack for the first time, although I was more taken with Bill Murray’s Carl, dropping “it’s in the hole, it’s in the hole!” into most of my casual conversations.  But up to this point in my life, Chevy Chase was Clark Griswold and nothing more.

That Chase double-feature night changed everything.  I’m not sure if anything I had encountered in my life up to that point.  Whether it was Fletch insisting his name was Babar and that he didn’t have any elephant books or the entire “Doctor” exchange that I still reference in my daily interactions with the doctors here, that night made me a Chase devotee.  I was too young and too uninformed to know about the problems with employers, drugs, ego, and on-set difficulties – all I knew was that he was Chevy Chase and we were not and it was hilarious.

Harboring plenty of good will left from his 80’s classics, I was excited when I learned that Chase was going to be part of Community.  Throughout the past three seasons, the character of Pierce Hawthorne has been sometimes difficult to take but the show has provided a seemingly ideal outlet for Chase’s talent – physical comedy, a blissful lack of self-awareness paired with an overstuffed ego, and misguided bantering.  Watching Pierce try to slip in an Eartha Kitt sex story reference into each of the timelines of the episode “Remedial Chaos Theory” (it came up organically!), I really felt a glimmer of the old magic that made me want to dust off my Three Amigos VHS.

It saddens me to see the recent rumblings of discord between Chase and creator/executive producer Dan Harmon.  I am not as unaware as I use to be and I know that this is just one in a long line of professional disputes that Chase has been involved in that will likely result in his leaving the show, but I am still just as disappointed.  While I often try to ignore the behind-the-scenes antics and personalities when evaluating my pop culture intake, it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to do so as the creative process is shared in real time over social media and spread so quickly over the Internet.

With that said, I also can’t help but feel that hopefully a few lessons can be learned from Chevy Chase’s most recent professional troubles, one that may well-serve those fresh out of college and diving into their first few jobs:

  • Be careful who you say things to.  Part of Chase’s job is promotion - Community has never been a ratings powerhouse, so each cast member has been deployed generously to talk to reporters and journalists ranging from major publications to tiny entertainment blogs to help drive buzz.  This means that even the most casual quip or jibe made about his time on the set has been repeated, circulated, and quoted ad nauseum.  What may have been a careless remark about a gag or joke he didn’t like has now become gospel just by sheer repetition.  This just as true for office gossip, whether or not your office is on-set.
  • Don’t take things at the work place too seriously.  Maybe you and your boss don’t get along great or perhaps one of your coworkers tends to exclude you from lunch outings.  Sometimes it’s best not to let life at work upset your actual life outside of work.  While Chase could take the mature route and ignore what he perceives as slights and attacks from Harmon, he is only adding fuel to the fire by taking things personally.  It’s a paycheck and sometimes, that’s all it has to be, especially if you’re good at what you’re doing.
  • It’s prudent not to bad mouth your boss, especially in public.  And at the end of the day, it’s your boss who makes sure that paycheck keeps coming.  When you do have a problem, it’s always best to go straight to the source and try to have a measured, calm conversation.  Airing your grievances publicly, even after you’ve left your job, only makes you look bad and burns bridges behind you.
  • Try not to make the same mistakes twice.  The most aggravating aspect of this debacle is that Chase has done all of the above multiple times in the past.  This most current conflict, likely exacerbated by Harmon’s own prickly personality, could have been avoided if Chase had tried to learn from his previous mistakes.

What do you think?  Is my affection for the comedy genius clouding my judgement on this one?  Have you ever had some Chase-like moments of unprofessional behavior?  Still not sure what Community is?  Leave it in the comments!

 

Friday Frivolity: Time for a New Job

Oh dear.  A week has come and gone without a new post.  I’m sure you all could just die from not surprise.  As you can imagine, between officially giving notice and the holiday season, I’ve been a little too focused on being a productive employee (for these final few weeks, at least) and holiday party planning to do much blogging.  I hope you will all forgive me and check back in next week, for which I have a couple really good posts percolating.

For this week’s Friday frivolity, I was inspired by last night’s super-awesome-fantastic-six-seasons-and-a-movie episode of Community.  The episode (which you should all go watch RIGHT NOW if you haven’t already) featured a guest appearance by Taran Killam, who is one of my television faves.  He nailed the role of the glee choir director last night, lambasting Matt Morrison’s ridiculous performance as Will Schuester on Glee.  This appearance reminded me how much I love Killam’s work and how sad I am that he’s stuck with guest starring roles, due to his contract with the barely-adequate Saturday Night Life.

So, in the spirit of New Years and new jobs, here are a few television all-stars I think should be dusting off their resumes and finding a better home for their talents:

  • Max Greenfield – I first fell in love with Max as the charming Deputy Leo on Veronica Mars and have enjoyed every cameo he’s made since then (especially as Max’s boyfriend on Happy Endings – let’s get those crazy kids back together!)  Sadly, his perfect mix of slightly douche but vulnerably lovable is wasted on the tragically un-funny New Girl.
  • Naya RiveraHave you seen her?  Seriously, people don’t usually look like that.  On top on her looks, she’s an incredible actress with serious pipes and the ability to move.  She should be looking to be the next huge pop star, not wasting her time on the hot mess that has become Glee
  • Nate Corddry – Once a delightfully wry Daily Show correspondent (just like his brother, Rob), Corddry is wasting away on the unimaginable popular Harry’s Law.  His work in The Pacific proved he can do gritty – perhaps he’s willing to see out a guest role on Breaking Bad?
  • Ellie Kemper – Look, The Office is not a bad show.  It’s not as a good as it was but it’s not terrible.  One of the best things this show has going for it is Ellie Kemper, whose sweet, slightly dim receptionist Erin is the shining light in an uneven, post-Carrell season.  She’s clearly outgrown the show – perhaps her character can run off to help Michael and Kemper can head to funnier pastures.
  • Maulik Pancholy – Why, why, why is Pancholy, best known as Sanjay or Jonathan in my house, wasting his time on Whitney?  I can only assume he lost an epic game of Words with Friends to Alec Baldwin.
  • Melissa McCarthy – It almost goes without saying but Sookie St. James deserves better than Mike and Molly and her breakout performance in this summer’s Bridesmaids should have had her agent freeing her up for better gigs.
  • Ty Burrell – Everything good about Modern Family stems from Burrell’s brilliance as Phil Dunphy.  Even as the show has rapidly declined in quality, Burrell slays with the best and worst material thrown at him.  That kind of work ethic and showmanship would be better suited for the big screen.  It’s time
  • Finally, in addition to the aforementioned Taran Killam, let’s spring Jay Pharoah and Bill Hader from their SNL prisons.  I’d love to see the trio on a dark comedy, perhaps on FX.

As you head into your weekend, who would you suggest could use a TV job upgrade?  Leave your thoughts in the comments and have a great weekend!