Oooooooh yeah. This show just hit the “let's get jiggy with it ” button. After feeling unsure about the first two episode's mind-kersploding cliff hangers – Hubbel is dead, Michelle inherits everything he owned -- this third episode not only ended with a neat splash rather than a cardiac arrest, but it also had some nice developments tucked into the plot proceedings.
I know I've brought the endings up so much in these recaps, but it feels odd that a fledgling show like Bunheads, which should play well with a female demographic (and for unknown reasons, myself of the male persuasion), had to dig a hook into the hippocampus of its viewers as if to say “no, don't decide to watch that old episode of Cake Boss for the third time! You need actual sustenance!”
And a nice dose of sustenance at that. Michelle, saddled with not only the death of her two-day spouse and obliged diplomacy with his mean-mugged mother Fanny, has become a property owner. Had Bunheads been based in 1763, there would be an unquenchable uproar: “A woman cannot own land! She's a witch, burn her at the stake! Powder her wig first!” but in 2012, there's only the Zerg-like creep of town gossip and Fanny's pure bewilderment/hatred to greet her.
Of course, the dialogue never goes over in the dry manner that normal real estate talk does, with mentions of “escrow” and “home owner's associations” being substituted by more plebeian fare like “Hey, you own a house.” And it gets better and more nuanced when Fanny, in a show of defiance, refuses to use water or any cups to brew her tea, and even dares to quit teaching dance: “I don't own your dancing school, I just own the building and the land the building sits on!” Michelle instantly retorts.
Speaking of dancers, I'm a bit unsure as to how the ballerina side-story may go down, although it remains promising. For one, the concept of Boo dating Natalie's (yes, I think I learned another name) brother does not disinterest me as much as it simply grosses me out. The guy's like 21 and a ne'erdo-well, whereas she still gets picked up by her mom and giggles about dinner.
The promise, however, revolves around Snooki (the haughty, annoying, ice-cream cold ballerina), who supposedly has a soft soul underneath her hard, bitchy exterior. Her interaction with her mother was a well-worn trope of financial decay ruining families, but it still adds weight to her character.
While that's going on, Michelle endures a visit from Paradise's resident parasite, a deceitful opportunist of a real estate agent who uses her own marital distress – and comfort food – to slowly bring the heavy reality of landowning into view. Did you know that their property had two ponds and a septic tank? Neither did Michelle! She was hysterically dumbstruck with every new revelation, afraid that “the trees will rot and the squirrels will explode.”
This crafty agent works up the already tense Michelle-Fanny into a messy lather, prompting 'Chelle to take a joyride in Hubbel's vintage corvette and immediately have it keel over on an exorbitantly long private road, leading her to Bill, an ex-yuppie recluse with a dope abode. They chat. They smile. Clearly a future love interest. And once again, the show ends on a distanced yet amicable agreement between the main protagonists, this time literally.
I dug this episode quite a bit. It was a bit busier than the other two, but still has the easygoing vibe the series has touted so far. Seeing Michelle slowly take root into her new environment, and having her talk much more, gives hope that the show will assume a more linear focus rather than a reactionary sort of plan. The humor was also in full force, including tons of well-placed property jokes and one that lovingly stuck out “you have the autobahn for a driveway!”
What needs to be settled, the ballerina side-story, will definitely take more time and more direction. Is it just me, or did they all seem extremely keen and focused for a group of teen girls? Palladino knows what she's doing, but I've never seen a group of chick have a rich discussion about bruised feet before. Its like five Jesse Eisenbergs with boobs and leotards. Oh, and female faces.
P.S. This was the first time I'd seen an episode of anything on its scheduled air date in years. I did not enjoy waiting for Maybelline and Wendy's ads to trudge by before another ten minute block of “Bunhead” development. I'd rather wait for the internet to run its course as usual.
She was raped at twelve years, an experience so traumatic that she remained depressed for years.
This lyric puts the situation in a tasteful manner: “He washed ashore, and he took my pearl/and left an empty shell of me,” but clearly being 19 years old and sexually distraught results in heavy personal and outward distrust.
I wonder how she feels about the record now at 34 years old. Was it therapeutic, or simply an effusive release of ongoing pain?
“Sullen Girl,” and the album Tidal as a whole, gets to me in a weird way. Because as a 19 year old, I’m expected to be some aloof, eternally carefree being; “not giving a fuck about the consequences” as they say, yoloing about, sowing my oats in the fountains of carnal bliss, riding around and gettin’ it til my genitals fall off.
But clearly she had the opposite viewpoint. On the next song “Shadowboxer,” she laments that she must keep her distance from handsome guys lest they “get too close.” She feels trapped in an eternal retreat from sexual conquest, licking a mental wound that takes a brutally long time to heal.
Apple definitely represented the vulnerable condition most women find themselves in day to day in such a male-dominated world. Hopefully this doesn’t read as going against the team, but as a guy, I can only hypothesize how hard it must be for a girl my age who’d been bombarded with poisonous beauty magazines, the restrictions of societal dogma, the thousands of implicit and overtly explicit pop songs designed around exploiting women, and then to fear a true connection with others because of a deranged man’s selfish acts.
I’d like to see Nicki Minaj or Katy Perry come clean about how they really feel. I want them to trade the cotton candy-colored bras and the lollipop-flavored lip gloss for heartbreak and mental turmoil.
Tear down the walls us men have placed around your true form. Embrace it. There is strength and admiration in the truth.
Regina Spektor is fucking weird. My God. What is wrong with her.
I downloaded her newest album, What We Saw From The Cheap Seats, based on hearing a snippet of “All The Rowboats” on NPR. Being the pretentious asshole I am, there was no stopping the wide-eyed anticipation for its summer release.
However, to steel myself for the “greatness” that would be this album, I listened to her highest critical effort, Soviet Kitsch, which had a really cool cover of her downing a brew while creepily surrounded with matryoshka dolls (she was born in the USSR.)
Turns out the damn thing was full of spartan piano ballads featuring the most crass excuses for kooky experimental singing ever. I don’t know, maybe there’s a certain time, place, and mindset for such music, but how do I vibe to this?!?
Some songs benefit from a more supple arrangement, and the rowdy bar chant “Sailor Song” stands out for the “Marianne’s a Bitch!” line repeated ad nauseum, but yo… how is she famous.
Whatever. I’m a helpless music junkie. I bought the album. And it seems slightly more palatable than the first due to a more involved sound, but even more offensive to my being at the same time. “No Me Quitte Pas” and “All The Rowboats” pretty much define the good of this album: they both have inventive instrumentation, and her weirdness channels itself THROUGH the music, unlike on “Open” where it up and gives listeners a heart attack.
She comes across as the unbridled Kate Bush. Bush is able to be odd and off-putting, but she incorporates that into the theatrics of her work, whether it be Aborigine-inspired production, a song about pseudo-scientific theories, or how she emphasizes her lines. The song “Wow” represents her style quite well, and clearly shows a greater control in wielding the wand of “weird” in her music.
Sure, Spektor’s voice is cutesy-wootsy and she’s beautiful. Yeah, that’s true. But sometimes it feels like she just wraps up these half-assed concepts in musical bacon, but the bacon is actually avocado, so I get hives and throw up for a whole day.
This is what I get for wandering away from hip hop, right? The universe wags its celestial finger at me as I type this. Here’s another epic Kate Bush tune to wrap this up, and then a bomb ass Killer Mike record to get me back on track.
I watched this new show called “Bunheads” last night on a sketchy website which shall not be named. Since the themes were pretty feminine and non-manly, figured that I get it out in the open unless people find out about it later on when I run for public office or something.
Overall, the show is decent. Its about a showgirl named Michelle who hates her job because of her flat chest size (big-breasted dancers are allowed to display, and therefore get more money), and her rat-infested apartment. Ironically, the only excitement she can get in Las Vegas is by avoiding the eager yet annoying advances of Hubble, a fourtysomething who snakes his way into the dressing room whenever he’s in town. Her friends tease here for hating a guy who seems nice, but in her eyes, Hubble’s a scrub and she don’t want none.
After a failed audition for the famed “Chicago” cabaret, she agrees to spend some of Hubble’s time on a date- while downing tons of alcohol. Determined to win her heart, he tells her of the place he lives, a town called Paradise with a house built at the edge of the ocean. Normally, this is where our protagonist screams rape and douses him in pepper spray, but in vino veritas. She takes him on his offer, freakin’ marries him at a drive-through cathedral, and moves to his house.
So, up to that point, I didn’t dislike the show, but I wasn’t digging it either. Since the show’s producer was the same lady who created “Gilmore Girls,” most of the dialogue comes out in this catty repartee, sort of like Busta Rhymes without the rhyme and on half the speed. But the show remained on that topic of romance and love which, although not overt and vomit-inducing, was still not able to keep me beyond the first episode.
What at least guarantees a viewing of the second episode deals with Hubble’s cantankerous hag of a mother and the children she trains in ballet. Long story short- He lives with his mom. Blech. And Michelle was nearly ready to rescind all hope for the dude, especially since her new mother-in-law, Fanny, did not particularly greet with the grace of a swan; more like the grace of a woodchipper.
Anyways, the four main teenage girls that Fanny teaches sum up nature’s usual female stereotypes: the biotch, the biotch’s accomplice, the oblivious one, and the body conscious chick on the verge of an eating disorder (seriously? the chick with the nicest thighs gets disowned? white people, why?). Michelle finds them with a making idle talk about some scholarship audition in between swigs of stolen beer. She then decided to impart some knowledge to the young’ns by conducting one for them.
It was her most human moment of the show, as she gave these girls a break from the worthless drama that reigns supreme in their lives while also giving herself a break from the newfound drama of her scandalous marriage. In the end, the body conscious chick has great confidence in herself, although decidedly temporary, and Fanny eases up on Michelle when she realizes that she did in fact know how to dance and was not a Vegas hooker as she immediately suspected.
The twist that takes place after this feel-good moment seemed pretty risky for a new relationship drama, especially on on ABC Family, but if the writers and the actors make it work, and the show manages to inject more organic humor into the show, I might have something to watch on that channel. To be honest though, “Secret Life” has that really hot chick in it, but the hell with cringing through fabricated suburbian baby mama drama for that. Give me the makings of an interesting story.
I will now write about Breaking Bad in another post to redeem myself.
On November 15, 2011, Drake will place his golden goblet down on his Austrian imported coffee table, slip on his goose down slippers, and descend from the Epicurean city of excess with his latest project, Take Care. The essence of a million virgins shall be stolen by opportunistic frat boys, and the sex-addled minds of women everywhere shall delight in the bounty of wet dream jams that their saint has adorned them with. In a nutshell, Drake shall leave a trail of moist panties and softly broken hearts along the yellow bricked road that is his career.
And excuse me for slightly describing my preconceived disdain for Drizzy’s music- its simply that this new breed of “soap opera rap” (as he himself coined it on the track Headlines) does not wash over my musical palette without him leaving a considerable aftertaste of arrogance and an unnerving bipolar approach to women. Although Drake certainly seems to be a genuine emotional person if not a bit eccentric in his expression (lavender-scented showers, anyone?). Regardless, there was something for me to delight in on this album.
First and foremost were the beats. I am admitting a dearth of knowledge of his previous work, but as far as this project’s case, there seems to have been a conscious effort in acquiring high-quality instrumentals that add to his message, rather than simply provide a backdrop. The track “Crew Love” has a swirling, cavernous feel to it, and this pulsating, glassy sample adds a nice touch. The titular track, which features an underused Rihanna feature, has a dancehall-esque bass rhythm garnished with piano and live drums. While annoying at this point, “Marvin’s Room” still objectively merits from these cacophonous screeching sounds in the background, the swooning synth, and those nice bass stabs.
Despite Nicki Minaj’s presence on “Make Me Proud,” simply put that beat still goes hard (and frankly she was OK). And it took a while for me to come around on this one, but the Just Blaze sculpture on “Lord Knows” has to be one the best commercial beats this year, not to talk of being a great single later on down the promotion line. I love how the initial sample swirls round and round until swelling into an emphatic choral refrain accompanied band-style drums. And the beat goes straight laxative when Rick Ross bosses up the joint. It is truly gorgeous. And even if a beat failed to stand out among the herd, it at least kept with the consistent tone of the album and was by no means crap.
In a distant second were the lyrics. Now, let me preface this by saying that it is damn near impossible for me to critique the numerous sections on the album where Drake sings. Because that would be like a fifteen-year old girl enjoying The Expendables. They’re simply these overdrawn R&B stereotypes inflated to their breaking point and delivered with the sultry voice, crooning women into climax. Slow jam is not a good enough terminology for the concoctions that bears his name. Thankfully, he does not “Drake” on every song, and provides a compelling slew of rap songs accessible by those who want them. He’s got the flow, and on a lazy day, I would let “Headlines” or “We’ll Be Fine” bump in the whip.
The topics he discusses are quite varied, ranging from women, how his fame has attracted women, how he can’t settle down with some women, how he raps for women, and how many women he womens while womenning in Womendom. This cavalcade of sexy time, life’s pleasures, and paper-thin emotional display is to be expected like snow in the winter. But I still cannot shake my innate feelings on his approach. I mean come on, for a guy who wants to save women to also claim that “he can’t trust these hos” or the fact that he like girls who “practice” with other guys, isn’t there something uneven about that profile? He pretends to be the suave sweater-laden rapper who understands women, but then quickly objectifies women when it seems right. Cognitive dissonance is the bullshit I am calling here.
Overall, the album is not really expanding to any new territories save for the production. I suppose if you wanted this album, you would’ve had it by now. If anything, “Make Me Proud” and “Lord Knows” are songs that we can all Kuumbaya to in the proverbial club.
Drake sounds like J. Cole. Or does J. Cole sound like Drake? He did drop his debut an entire year after; its just an observation.