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.

 

The Reports Of My Death Are Greatly Exaggerated

I am good at a lot of things in life, including, but certainly not limited to, pouring a perfect beer, being the ideal Jeopardy couch-contestant, remembering the lyrics to 60’s one hit wonder songs, juggling the various storylines of Game of Thrones by describing different characters as “Hot Dude, Stark Division” and “Hot Dude, Bastard Division”, etc, and remembering to refill the candy bowl so that when guests come over, it looks like we never eat candy (when it fact it makes up 37% of my daily television watching fuel).

However, I am not good at one thing – being sick.

I am terrible at being sick.  I eschew Western medicine, mostly because I’m lazy and complacent but also a little bit because I think the pharmaceutical companies will some day be our evil overlords.  I do not understand the concept of “resting” and “relaxing” unless I am purposefully procrastinating on something important.  Any type of illness that limits my daily food intake also comes with a dose of whiny petulance that is a direct result of upsetting my eatin’ schedule.  All in all, it’s usually not very pretty.

Sadly, I have been sick.  It started Wednesday with what I thought was just a light case of the chills, brought on by too much air conditioning and my insistence on rocking sundresses to work that are probably still a little unseasonably appropriate but by late Wednesday night, in the midst of a fever dream underscored by the tune of Zou Bisou Bisou, I was convinced that I was Patient Zero and it was the end.  I stayed burrowed on my couch for three days, rejecting sunlight, conversation, and pills, convinced that the copious amounts of alcohol that have passed through my bloodstream would easily flush out whatever toxins remained.

Alas, it seems that I have survived.  I felt chipper enough yesterday to eat steak, drink beers, and soak up a little Vitamin D while deck-sitting and listening to Bob Dylan – that’s basically my preferred modus operandi.  I waltzed into the office today, wearing a seasonally-appropriate shift and feeling healthy enough to even change the water jug.  It seems that all is well.

I apologize for the lack of posting during my unannounced sabbatical but I am feeling full of vim and vigor and am confident that you are in for a great week of bloggery!

Thanks for your patience, and stay safe out there!

Friday Frivolity: Donna Meagle, Lady Hero

Editor’s Note:  Thanks so much to the lovely and talented Retta (aka THE Donna Meagle) for retweeting this post!  She calls Donna the “poor man’s Deepak Chopra“!  Love love love!

I know I say this every Friday but I am so glad that the weekend is upon us.  I shall now enumerate the reasons why for you in a bulleted list, because that’s just how I roll, Interwebs.

  • This week has been le suck.  It could not be over sooner for me.
  • I have a dinner date with one of my biffles tonight and it’s going to be awesome.
  • Tomorrow is the home opener for DC United – I am geared up for tail-gating, cheering, jumping, and hot boys running up and down a field for my amusement.
  • My best friend is moving here this weekend, so things just feel right in the world.
  • Seriously, I cannot reiterate how rough this week has been.  It’s time to set the reset button.

I have been feeling so out of sorts lately that I left work early yesterday (something I almost never do) and went home to mope, day drink, and be generally irritable.  I watched Tiny Furniture, felt sorry for myself, and sent whiny emails to my eternally patient besties.  But then, 8:30 pm (EST) rolled around and my spirits were lifted, for out of the HD haze rose  my life’s inspiration – Donna Meagle from Parks and Recreation.

My life mantra, thanks to Donna

I know most young women watching P&R are likely drawn to Amy Poehler’s optimistic spitfire Leslie Knope or find a kindred spirit in Aubrey Plaza’s sardonic mastermind April but for my money, no single female on television (except for possibly Happy Ending’s Penny Hartz) perfectly encapsulates the attitude I want to embody more than Retta’s delightful Donna.  Why is Donna is so awesome?  Let this series of images show you!

Donna has a way with words.  She is the wisest woman of the 21st century.

Donna doesn’t always need words.  Although she can whip off a snappy comeback or double entrendre, Donna often lets you know exactly what she thinks without saying a word.

Donna tells it like it is.  When she’s right, she’s right and you’re going to know about it.

Donna doesn’t care for fancy technology.  She can handle her business without the latest gadget or flashy gimmick.

Donna understands the importance of a well-placed pop culture reference.  When you’re Ginuwine’s cousin, you have to know your stuff.

Donna will not tolerate your foolishness.  Sometimes you just have to let people know that they are idiots.

Donna recognizes the importance of working what you’ve got.  Even if it means wearing Entertainment 720 gear or a bedazzled silk robe and especially if it’s ya Benz.

Donna knows when to put her personal life before work.  But she always has your back when you need her.

Most importantly, Donna likes to drink.  And don’t we all?

The bottom line is, whenever I’m sad or feeling sorry for myself, I just ask myself a simple question – what would donna do?  And then I throw back a double shot, hop in my Benz (metaphorically), and find myself a large fireman named Marcus to make me feel better.  Thanks, Donna!

Friday Frivolity

I have always loved Fridays.  It seems almost silly to say it, because who doesn’t?  In college, I spent hours crafting the perfect schedule so that I could always have Fridays free.  In my first “real-world” job, I rarely took vacations in a chunk, instead preferring to pepper my vacation days on random Fridays, as a little treat to myself.  Even in my current state of semi-employment, I rarely choose to do anything on Fridays that is remotely productive.

In that spirit, I thought I would brighten everyone’s Friday with movie recommendations, courtesy of Paste Magazine, one of my favorite cultural publications.  About a year ago, they ranked the top 8 movies featuring post-collegiate life.  Here’s the list and my thoughts on each:

8.  St. Elmo’s Fire

Being a child of the 1980s, I love this movie.  I spent my first year of college life at a large private college in D.C. and my views of what it meant to be a young adult in the capital were largely informed by my preteen repeat viewings of this film.

7. The Motorcycle Diaries

Gael Garcia Bernal is so good-looking, it’s literally exhausting.  The film takes a unique perspective on the life of Che Guevara but honestly, how many of us have ever wanted to drop out of school/quit our jobs/leave our lives behind and just hop on a motorcycle and go?

6.  Reality Bites

First, how this is not the number one movie on the list is criminal.  Secondly, growing up in Houston means that watching this film is like going home for me – it’s a great slice of a great city.  I have a dear friend who told me that you knew you were a grown-up when you wanted Winona Ryder to choose Ben Stiller over Ethan Hawke.  It makes me smile to know that Hawke’s Troy still gets me every time.

5. Into the Wild

Along the lines of The Motorcycle Diaries, this is a film that taps into the impulse we all have to break away and see the world.  The allure of the American West still drives people into the wilderness and this film [along with its fantastic source material] is an excellent exploration of what can happen.

4. The Big Chill

A classic with an all-star cast and great music, this is a quintessential nostalgia piece that undoubtedly will make your parents tell you stories you wish you hadn’t heard.  I, however, prefer The Lather Effect – a similar film that features a cast of 1980s favorites (Eric Stoltz!  Ione Skye!) and one of my favorite actresses, Connie Britton!

3. Funny Ha Ha

The only film on the list I haven’t seen.  In the last few years, there’s been a rise in mumblecore films such as this that I occasionally enjoy but oftentimes feel are more geared towards man-boys than myself.

2. Kicking and Screaming

More Eric Stoltz!  Apparently Paste Magazine shares my love for that irresistible ginger.  This is a movie that perfectly encapsulates what I wish my first post-collegiate year had been.  It’s a great look at what it feels like to be over-educated yet under-prepared for life after college.

1.  The Graduate

Obviously.  If you haven’t seen it, drop whatever you’re doing and get your hands on a copy.  Although it was released in 1967, the yearning Dustin Hoffman’s character feels for something meaningful and different in his life is timeless.

[Note: St. Elmo’s Fire, The Motorcyle Diaries, and Kicking and Screaming are all available via Netflix Instant.  All others can be found on Netflix DVD.]

Are We Having Fun Yet?

I’m a big fan of the television show Party Down.  It features a great cast, clever dialogue, and a rotation of guest star performances that rivals anything on TV right now.  If you’ve never seen it, check it out on the Starz website or you can stream both seasons on Netflix Instant.

The second season started shortly after I found myself unemployed and a little lost.  While I loved the show from the get-go, I found myself really drawn to it as workplace dramedy.  While it has a lot of hilarious moments, it’s also a very bleak and realistic representation of what the working world is like for a lot of people in their 20s.

Take a look at the characters and tell me if you don’t see yourself in one or two of them:

  • Henry – Gave up on his dream job when he encountered one too many hurdles.  Sets his expectations drastically lower and finds a small amount of satisfaction from a minor leadership role
  • Casey – Pursuing her dream job but finding herself jaded and hurt by the frustrations she keeps encountering.  Toils away at a meaningless job to pay the bills.
  • Kyle – Desperate for anything closely resembling his dream job.  Willing to degrade himself and sell out if it means financial wealth.
  • Roman – Stubbornly pursuing his dream job in the strictest sense possible – refuses to compromise in any way, which finds him left behind by others
  • Lydia – Working hard at a job beneath her skill set to support the dreams and ambitions of another person [in this case, her daughter, but substitute husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend and this describes several of you who have written to me]

I’ll tell you exactly where I fall.  I relate best to Henry – the idealized version of my career path that I had when I graduated didn’t work out as planned.  I became disenfranchised with the plan I had created for myself.  So, I’ve taken a step back, juggling a few jobs that are not exactly what I had in mind when I took out student loans to pay for a college degree.

I don’t necessarily think being a Henry is a bad thing.  I won’t spoil the show for those of you who haven’t watched, but the trajectory that Henry is on is one that ultimately I think is healthy and normal for someone in their 20s dealing with career changes and shifts in perspective.  When I watch the show, I’m not only laughing at that week’s ridiculous party concept or rooting for the Henry/Casey romance to work out but I’m also hoping that each character makes that dream job a reality.

[Note:  The day after writing this entry, I learned that Party Down has been canceled.  I think this proves two things – one, most people watching television are idiots.  Secondly, I think the show was actually a little too honest and true to life for people to watch comfortably.  Nevertheless, le sigh.]