Predictably, we both binged Master of None season 2. Plus the television gods blessed us with I Love Dick. As always, we’re both listening to some great music and indulging in some guilty pleasure media.
1. Master of None season 2
Michelle gives a great overview of the season (see below) but I’d like to focus on a few of my favorite episodes of season 2: “First Date,” “New York, I Love You,” and “Thanksgiving.” If you’ve seen this season, you’ll notice a trend. While (at times) I enjoy Dev’s quest to find love, Master of None is simply at its best when it plays with the half-hour television format, experiments with capsule episodes, or further explores its cast of characters.
Episode 4, “First Date,” is a montage of Dev’s internet dating experiences. At first, the episode treads familiar territory – there’s the nerdy woman who obviously isn’t his type, the workaholic who is always on her phone, etc. But Master of None subverts these stereotypes as the night progresses. It’s a surprising, cringe-worthy, hilarious half hour of television.
Episode 6, “New York, I Love You,” echoes the format of Paris je’taime and New York, I Love You and allows the audience to get to know random New Yorkers. We see a doorman’s struggles, a deaf couple fighting in a Anthropologie-esque shop, and a taxi driver’s best night out. It’s a well done, fun diversion from the show’s narrative, and, of course, the ending is gratifying.
My favorite episode of the season has to be episode 8, “Thanksgiving.” Written by Lena Waithe, who plays Denise, the episode reveals the long history of Dev and Denise’s friendship, the difficulties Denise faced when coming out to her mom, the traditions of a black, matriarchal family’s holiday, and the arduous process of introducing significant others to your family. It’s beautifully done.
2. I Love Dick season 1
Jill Soloway’s new Amazon series plays with an adaptation of Chris Krause’s part-fiction, part-memoir novel I Love Dick. There’s a lot to this 8-episode, half-hour show. I’m still trying to process it. But here are the things I know I love.
Katheryn Hahn as Chris. This is truly a stand-out performance. As Chris quickly becomes infatuated with Dick, a famous artist played by Kevin Bacon, Hahn’s narration is hot, expressive, and biting.
The backdrop of Marfa, Texas. I was lucky enough to visit Marfa a few months back. You can tell Soloway and her crew spent plenty of time in the small town. It’s a pretty accurate portrayal of the eccentricities of the small, west Texas art town. Plus, it’s a beautiful backdrop that allows for some gorgeous shots. Talk about reclaiming the Western.
Episode 5, “A Short History of Weird Girls.” This episode shines a spotlight on four women who know Dick, and their letters to Dick describing their life and sexuality. It’s beautiful.
Clips from feminist art films. Soloway cuts to several scenes from a range of feminist art films – from Marina Abramovic to Petra Cortright. The New Yorker calls the clips “visual static” (re: negative) but I’m a fan. The clips are deftly chosen to enhance the themes of the episodes, and work to expose a tv audience to some beautiful art.
The final shot. You’ll know it when you see it.
3. The Leftovers season 3
I binged episodes 3-5 of The Leftovers season 3, which is currently wrapping up on HBO right now. I won’t say much – I don’t know exactly where this season is heading, but I’m enjoying Nora’s (played by Carrie Coon) story, learning more about Kevin, and exploring the frenzy surrounding the anniversary of “The Departure.” Plus, they started this season with some crazy flashbacks and flash forwards that I’m especially anxious to learn about. Episode 5, “It’s a Matt, Matt, Matt, Matt World” is particularly…curious.
4. Discover ACL 2017 Spotify Playlist
Michelle and I are heading to Austin City Limits weekend 2 this year. After last year, I am motivated to explore more bands that play before 3pm – so I made a 5 hour Spotify playlist. I’ve enjoyed getting to know some of the bands and building excitement for October as I plan which acts I want to see!
1. Mazzy Star’s “Fade Into You”
I started this new project that was cooked up during a few drinks with my best friend Louis where I am putting this 90s indie hit into various scenes of television and film. The project is called Fade Into You 365 (which can be found on Instagram), named after the ambitious schedule of a scene for every day of the year. So far, it’s the most fun I’ve had with a random project, but because I’m making a clip for each day, I’ve been listening to this song QUITE a bit. In fact, I was so accustomed to hearing it that when it played randomly at a local bar without my influence, I wasn’t even phased. It was just so normal to hear it. Also, the drummer of Mazzy Star passed away on Tuesday, so I’ve been listening to their music in his honor.
2. Master of None Season 2
This season of Master of None on Netflix is one of the best seasons of a television series I’ve seen in the last few years. Of course there were quite a bit of moments that irritated me, felt cliche and rushed, and weren’t as strong as they could’ve been, but overall, this was like a master class in creating a great show. There are countless references to cinematic classics like The Bicycle Thieves, that stirred up a ton of excitement in this former film student’s heart. The recurring cast of Dev’s best friends and some new faces, made for a really strong collective of actors with range, diversity, and room to explore their characters. Once again, Master of None gives an incredibly strong season in music supervision and I’m still listening to the soundtrack. Musical moments featuring artists like Skeeter Davis, Kraftwerk, Soft Cell, Vengaboys, Mina, and more drive this relatively simple narrative of complications in dating and dealing with feelings into gear and set up the audience for a pleasurable 5-6 hours of television.
I’m a sucker for true crime. From podcasts to television series to documentaries, I am all about a good story unfolded through investigation and mystery. Mommie Dead and Dearest is the perfect fit for this preference of mine.
The HBO documentary centers on the death of Dee Dee Blancharde who was murdered by her daughter Gypsy Rose and Gypsy’s internet boyfriend, Nicholas. Sounds pretty simple and nothing out of the ordinary in terms of story, but it’s far from being normal. Gypsy was a victim of years of abuse from Dee Dee’s Munchausen’s By Proxy which manipulated and exploited the community around her, doctors, and even Gypsy’s father. For years, Gypsy believed she was sick and crippled by her illness, until she became aware of her ability to overcome these phantom diseases and conditions. One thing leads to another and Dee Dee is murdered.
It’s a very dark documentary, and one that is laced with deep, conflicting emotions of sympathy and disgust, anger and compassion, and more. It’s an interactive viewing experience, in the sense that you can’t help but engage with the story and put yourself into the various positions of the people featured within the documentary. No longer is Munchausen’s Syndrome just a mention in an Eminem song, but rather an illustration of the horrors of this very interesting and dangerous mental illness. I highly recommend checking it out and reading up more on the story, which is only a few years old. There’s plenty of feedback and commentary on the internet, since the film’s debut last week, so dive right in.