Ask me anything
People, wherever they live, are not statistics. They are not abstractions.
Bad things happen to good people all the time. When they do, hopefully, you’ll have a better idea who, and what, on a human scale, is involved.
I’m not saying that sitting down with people and sharing a plate is the answer to world peace. Not by a long shot.
But it can’t hurt."
- Anthony Bourdain on the human race (via lostinamerica)
Whenever an episode of Girls ends, I always have an upending urge to write about it. There are a lot of things I love about Girls. But, what I think I love most, is that it’s not a happy show. Tonight’s episode aside, the majority of the season has been one scene of secondhand embarrassment after another. Being in your twenties is hard. I don’t mean to say that in a #whitegirlproblems sort of way (although there really is no other way to take that) but the truth, is that it is. There’s a lot to figure out, and a great big world out there, and while I want to conquer all of it, I have absolutely no idea how too. Isn’t that what Girls is about? I have always liked the show because in some sense, it has validated a lot of the feelings I have. I know my feelings are privileged, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a right to feel them. Girls does a good job of portraying that.
Being from Los Angeles, I inevitably spend a good portion of my life in my car. Recently, I’ve been using this time to get into podcasts. One of my latest finds has been “Here’s The Thing” with Alec Baldwin. Each week, Alec Baldwin interviews a ‘tastemaker’ – you know, the type of people who make things move. A couple of weeks ago I listened to his interview with Lena Dunham. Alec spent a lot of time talking about ‘Girls’ and Lena’s experiences producing ‘Girls’, and the kind of general undertones of the show. Here is my favorite quote from the interview:
Lena Dunham: Well, something I feel about being in your 20’s, which is different than – you know, “Sex and the City” was a show about women in their 30’s who had successful careers, pre-recession, the best, most supportive friends. They didn’t have – I mean they had little friend tiffs, but the characters on our show are tortured. It’s sort of impossible to get through your 20’s without – it’s like if you ask a girl in her 20’s, ‘Are you a happy person?’ I think she can say, ‘I have happy moments,’ but I don’t think it’s possible – maybe I’m – maybe people will radically disagree with me, but I don’t really think it’s possible to be sort of an at-peace human when you are between 22 and 30.
The last part of the quote really stuck with me. As I listened to this podcast, that was my AH-HA! moment. If you ask a girl in her 20’s ‘Are you a happy person?’ I think she cay “I have happy moments.” And that is so true. Over the past year, as I have lived at home in Los Angeles, I can tell you that I have happy moments, but I am not necessarily a happy person. I am not at-peace, and that is fine for me, because I don’t think you should be at peace while you are trying to figure yourself out. I’m not sure it’s possible to know exactly who you are at 22. In fact, I hope I never know exactly who I am. I hope I’m always trying to figure out the little nooks and crannies of who I want to be.
Last night I told a friend that I had really been disappointed with this season of Girls, and upon second thought, I think I lashed out at it because I was made uncomfortable by it. And I think I was made uncomfortable by it because I saw a lot of the stuff I have been going through in my own life, on the screen. I get what it feels like to watch a friendship kind of unravel, like Marnie and Hannah. I understand the feelings that Hannah is feeling when she goes and hooks up with Laird simply because she is craving male attention. I empathized with Marnie as she flailed her way through the entire season. And the way that Charlie feels about Marnie? That kind of unyielding-undenying-drives-you-crazy kind of love? I’m in that. So I know now that I felt uncomfortable by the entire second season of Girls because it made me look at my own life critically.
But, at the end of the day, it’s still just television. So, for as much as it has helped me come to the conclusion that part of being in your twenties just really sucks, it’s still just television. And while I know that I love the fact that this show is not a happy show, our characters still deserve happiness. See, I’m not interested in loose ends. My life at the moment is one big loose end, so when I can have a half hour episode where everybody ends up relatively happy at the end, I’m going to take it. We deserve happiness. And I am going to take the big admission of love from Marnie and Charlie, and I am going to take Adam running through Brooklyn shirtless to get to Hannah, and I am going to take Shoshana making out with some random in a bar. Yes, what I like most about the show is that it is not a happy one. But that doesn’t mean we don’t all deserve our little bit of happiness.
I’m celebrating the Veronica Mars kickstarter campaign by re-watching all of the greatest Veronica/Logan scenes out there.
There is generally a moment during the first time you fall in love where you truly believe your romance is epic. That your romance and your romance alone can move mountains, defy boundaries, and go up against the toughest of odds. Nobody has ever been in love the way that you are in love. What made the Logan/Veronica relationship feel real was how innocent it felt. You really truly saw Logan fall in love for the very first time, and you got to experience all of those emotions right along with him — how terrifying it is when you realize you have given your hear to someone else, and how larger than life that very love can make you feel.
Tonight I had the distinct pleasure of attending the Paleyfest Q&A session featuring the cast of HBO’s The Newsroom, as well as writer/creater/master-in-chief Aaron Sorkin. To say I have been excited for this evening is a bit of an understatement; not only has The Newsroom become one of my favorite television shows since it’s debut last summer, but I am a huge fan of Aaron Sorkin. Truth be told, I love Sorkin because I love words. I love reading because I love words. Words have the same effect on me that listening to a really beautiful symphony would have on a musician. I am moved by words; always have been, always will be. I love Sorkin because Sorkin loves words.
But enough of that. Tonight I went to the Saban theater on Wilshire and La Cienega, and I spent a lovely evening with my 10 new best friends (and I can pretend that’s true because it’s MY blog) … and Piers Morgan. Who … look, it’s no secret that the person, whom impresses Piers Morgan the most, is Piers Morgan. Piers moderated the panel featuring Sorkin as well as Jeff Daniels, Emily Mortimer, Sam Waterston, et all. Piers was a totally egotistical pinhead, who spent most of his time asking nonsensically ethical, wandering, questions to the actors as if they really were the ones responsible for making the news. I’m sorry Piers, but I don’t think Emily Mortimer has any idea on what kind of judgment calls a real life news producer has to make. She’s an actress (and a good one at that!) Let’s not pretend anybody is curing cancer or anything.
Anyways, here are a couple of highlights I pulled out from the hour-long panel and 30 minute Q&A.
Jeff Daniels seems like a pretty nice guy. My favorite answer of the evening was when Jeff Daniels told Piers that’s he’s simply an actor. He doesn’t pretend to understand the vision for the show like Sorkin — he doesn’t show up and say to the director “well, I think you should do it this way.” He very plainly stated that he’s an actor, just like everyone else on the panel. They show up, give it they’re all, and hope that they give “enough to get something good out of.”
Olivia Munn is cool. I mean look, I’m not going to pretend that I walked into that theater an Olivia Munn fan. I have come to believe that I don’t like Olivia Munn because I’m not supposed to like Olivia Munn – because she’s super hot, but claims to be a “geek” and blah blah blah. But you know what? She TOTALLY called me on it! When Piers asked her the obligatory “can Sloan Sabbith (her Newsroom character) be hot AND smart?” she responded with a cool statement regarding the nature of our culture to compartmentalize the two. You know what Olivia I totally get it. You’re right! I shouldn’t instinctually hate you because you’re a pretty girl who likes Star Wars. Hell, I’m a pretty girl who likes Star Wars. And that’s what I love Sloan so much on the show; because she knows she’s hot, and she knows she’s smart.
I’d like to be best friends with Sam Waterston. Waterston sort of has the Mr. Miyagi feel of the group, but he doesn’t come off as entitled or anything. Instead, he is incredibly charming and incredibly humble. He can both give as well as receive a compliment, which I think is a very undervalued trait to have.
“You can’t fake smart. And you can’t fake funny.” Sorkin did a lot of talking throughout the evening – and I mean a lot. But everything he said had a point, which is what makes him a great writer. The last 20 minutes of the evening were spent on a Q&A session with the panel. One of the questions asked to Aaron was “what makes a great actor?” Now, Sorkin has worked with a ton of great actors in his years – Michael Douglas, Annette Benning, Tom Cruise, Martin Sheen, Allison Janney, Stockard Channing, etc. So it’s safe to say that he might have some insight on the subject. I found what he had to say interesting: “As to what makes a great actor, I don’t know. But I can tell you two things; you can’t fake smart, and you can’t fake funny.”
Ask, and ye shall receive. Because of the long-windedness (not a word, but whatever) nature of the panel, we only got through about 4 questions. But the second to last one was just the best. After listening to a couple of answers regarding the various subjects Newsroom will tackle in season 2, as well as Sorkin’s only personal dilemma over whether or not to include the tragedy at Sandy Hook, the microphone was handed over to an enthusiastic fan in the front row. The woman introduced herself, thanked Sorkin for making her feel “proud to have a degree in Broadcast Journalism” and then directed her question to Mr. Daniels. “Jeff, I have to ask you … what makes America the greatest country in the world?” The crowd just exploded with cheers and applause, the whole cast got up to give the woman a standing ovation. And in a very meta-kind of experience (is this Jeff? OR WILL? ARE WE IN THE NEWSROOM?) Daniels responded with “it’s not, but it can be.”
Overall, despite the incessant interjections from Piers Morgan, I had a really great time. It was a real treat to see Aaron Sorkin discuss his project, something he is obviously extremely passionate about. It was also nice to see the cast in person and to hear them all discuss the show as well – Sorkin is right, you can’t fake smart. I also really liked the length of the whole evening. I got to see 10 minutes of the first episode of season 2 (it’s good! It’s good!) followed by a full hour panel, and a 20 minute Q&A. Hopefully I’ll be back next year! For more information, visit http://www.paleycenter.org/paleyfest-home/.
P.S. Jeff Daniels name-dropped Dumb and Dumber, one of my top 10 “silly movies forever.” I love it when serious actors acknowledge their not-so serious roles. (I’m looking at you, Penn!)