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.

 

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Friday Frivolity: My Last $100

It’s Friiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiidaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!  (Hey, sometimes I like to pretend I’m Oprah.)  Very excited for the weekend to be here especially because the butter on our Easter table spread this Sunday will be in the shapes of little lambs and the moment someone cuts into it, I’m going to make jokes about sacrificial lambs for the rest of the day.

For a little bit of frivolity on this fine almost-holiday Friday, I was inspired by a great new website, The Billfold.  Brought to you by the good people behind The Awl, Splitsider, and Hairpin (all worthy reads in their own right), Billfold is an irreverently fun and actually useful site about money and finance.  They didn’t even pay me to say that!  I actually think that thought on my own!  One cool feature on The Billfold is the series “My Last $100” where the author details the last one hundred dollars they’ve spent.  So, I thought I’d give you all a little peek into my finances – prepare to be…underwhelmed (spoiler alert:  it’s mostly food and/or beer-related!)

Note:  For the sake of ease and sparing you from reading about every $0.75 Diet Coke and $2.00 cup of oatmeal I bought this week, this only lists purchases over $5.00 and doesn’t include last night’s Girls Night, because that is off-limits for blog talk (as I foreswore on shoes and you cannot welch on that business).

$10 – DC Beer Week button – put your hands in the air for supporting local beer, what what!

$22 – Pitcher of beer, nachos, and french fries for a pre-21 Jump Street best friend movie matinee.  Mom(s), please don’t judge us.

$18 – Grocery trip to Wegmans – all off the cold/hot bar to stock my lunches for the last few days.  A conscious effort was made to include vegetables, to counter the effects of purchases made the day before this

$25 – H Street Country Club – Shrimp fajitas, a single margarita, and a couple of Dos Equis Ambers – weird DC-themed mini-golf on second floor of the bar was free with entree purchase!

$18Little Miss Whiskey’s – Several beers selected from the beloved Beer Book.

$7 – Au Pon Bain – I attempted to order myself a “healthy” lunch sandwich (veggies!  no cheese!  no aioli!  lots of veggies!) but *true story alert*, there were apparently two Rebeccas ordering lunch that day because when I returned to my desk, there was a turkey, brie, and cranberry chutney sandwich in the bag.  I could have gone back and swapped out for my 400-calorie-veggie-delight but instead, I ate that brie-swaddled goodness and did not look back.  It was a beautiful moment.

Have a great weekend and remember to spend responsibly!

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!

Lady Hero: Lena Dunham

New York Magazine

Let’s just get straight down to real talk – I love Lena Dunham.  I have loved her since my first of multiple viewings of Tiny Furniture and I have been breathlessly anticipating her HBO-debut with Girls.  Dunham, despite being two years my junior  (insert depressing parenthetical thought about how my life is disappearing before my eyes), has an innate ability to translate the actual reality of life for many twenty-something women and project in a way that’s affecting, hilarious, and poignant.

The best thing about Girls’ impending debut (Sunday, April 15th, mark your calendars!) is that there has been a wealth of great features on the fascinating Ms. Dunham.  In a full-length profile at New York Magazine, Emily Nussbaum perfectly encapsulates how many Millennial females may feel about Dunhams – “an unstable blend of worship, envy, and disdain, particularly from her peers, some of whom resented her ‘voice of a generation’ press. ”  For many of us, Dunham is the voice of a generation – or at least “a voice, of a generation” as her Girls character, Hannah, reasons in the show’s trailer.

Nussbaum also uses Dunham’s comfort with her body on-screen, her ability to parade around half-dressed or in painfully-real sex scenes that negate the Hollywood ideal of a pencil-thin twig with fake breasts showing strategic side-boob as perfectly natural sexual representations.  As the article points out,

“[She] films herself nude, with her skin breaking out, her belly in folds, chin doubled, or flat on her back with her feet in a gynecologist’s stirrups. These scenes shouldn’t shock, but they do, if only because in a culture soaked in Photoshop and Botox, few powerful women open themselves up so aggressively to the judgment of voyeurs.”

Amen, sister friend!

From Tiny Furniture (2010)

Over at The New Yorker, Lorrie Moore features our favorite multi-hyphenate on the Culture Desk, highlighting Dunham’s ability to find comedy in life’s depressing moments.  The piece includes a great conversation lifted from the pilot that so eerily echoes conversations I’ve had with my own parents, I almost wonder if Dunham was accidentally copied on a mass email to friends.

In a recent piece in the Village Voice, where she is described as a “humble narcissist, chronic oversharer, and compulsive exhibitionist”, Dunham shares some of her favorite girls on film, further convincing me that she and I were destined to be spiritual soul mates.  For a film series she’s curating at BAM, Dunham chose such smart and clever representations of young women, ranging from The Craft to The Last Days of Disco to Clueless to This Is My Life. If you haven’t seen all four of these, get thee to your Netflix queue!

New York Magazine

Sure, maybe there’s a little bit of Dunham media saturation going on and maybe the hype of Girls will inevitably invite some backlash from the Interweb denizens who can’t bring themselves to enjoy a good thing, but just as Gawker snarks, “As a 20-something female narcissist currently making a ton of mistakes in [life], am going to watch the shit out of it.”

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: 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!