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July Media Companion

Happy Endings | Created By: David Caspe

If you like the TV show FRIENDS, but wish it were a little more modern, you should watch Happy Endings. The show only lasted three short seasons, but it filled that little FRIENDS whole in my heart and it was a lot more relatable. The reason I consider it such a strong example of Friendship is because of how the series starts and what it lets you know that it’s going to accomplish. Our six friends are Penny, Alex, Jane, Brad, Dave and Max. A little background information: Alex and Jane are sisters. Jane and Brad are married. Max is gay, and he and Penny hooked up in college, but they’re past that now. And finally, our story starts on the aisle at Dave and Alex’s wedding. That is, until some dude on rollerblades rolls in and Alex runs away with him, leaving Dave at the altar. Cue the opening credits.

The episode picks up with the other four friends trying to figure out how they’re going to split time now that their six-some is basically getting divorced. There’s no way that they will all be in the same room together after that fiasco, but Alex and Dave know that they can’t be those people. By no means are they okay with each other, and they spend the series working out their issues and figuring out what went wrong in their relationship. But the friendships that they share with the other main characters remind them of why they need to work it out. None of the six of them can function without the others, and you see that throughout the series. You see fun examples of “girl code” and “guy code”, being friends with a married couple, being single, and having a friend in your group who is gay but realizing that is the last thing you think about when you define him. It’s a great show to binge watch and a fun thing to watch with a group a friends. You’ll be choosing who you most relate to before the first episode is over.

P.S. I’m a little bit Penny, with a dash of Jane and Brad and Max too. Maybe Dave, and sometimes Alex. 

Boy Meets World | Created By: Michael Jacobs and April Kelly & Girl Meets World | Created By: Michael Jacobs and April Kelly

I'm not sure when I started watching Boy Meets World. I remember watching the last few seasons as they aired, and being devastated when it was over. The show definitely ranks in my favorites, probably because I could watch any episode at any time and it still holds up. I wanted to be a part of the Matthews family. I wanted a best friend as loyal and hot (find me someone who disagrees) as Shawn Hunter. I wanted a teacher as wise as Mr. Feeny. The structure of the series was to have the lesson that was taught in school be a reflection of what Cory would experience in the world that week. Sometimes it was a little trite, and it was always on the nose. But there may not be a show out there that has gotten as many tears out of me in twenty three minutes (wait for it). Rather than go on and on about how much I love Boy Meets World, I want to make a case for it's successor. Here's why you should be watching Girl Meets World

Fourteen years after we left Cory and Topanga, we meet their daughter Riley (and her little brother Auggie). She has a spunky bad ass best friend named Maya Hart and they sit in Riley's bay window and talk about life. They have a friend named Farkle Minkus (yes, Stuart Minkus' son), Riley has a crush on Texas boy Lucas Friar, and Cory Matthews is the new Mr. Feeny. This show could have easily gone all wrong. It could have been too over the top, not good enough, and I sometimes have a hard time believing young actors, but this has everything that I loved about Boy Meets World. Not to mention that at the beginning of the third season they debuted a new opening credits sequence mirroring the original. Complete with studio back lot stoops and dumping buckets of water from a fire escape. The lessons that Riley and Maya are learning are even more in touch with what's going on in the world today, and it's so much fun to see this show written for a female protagonist. Riley and Maya are going through the difficult, yet ridiculously real, period of life where they're trying to figure out who they are while still holding on to their relationships. They just started high school in this third season and they've already been through so much both individually and together. I really don't want to spoil how amazing the cameos are, but in the first two seasons we saw Shawn, Mr. and Mrs. Matthews, Cory's younger brother (he was the surprise baby when the show ended, now he's fifteen and hot), Angela, Mr. Feeny, Eric, Shawn's dad (as a vision when Shawn is looking for guidance), Mr. Turner, Minkus, Jack, and Harley Keiner (who is now the janitor, yeah, that's what being a dick will get you). 

Long story short, I would be really really happy if this show stayed on the air for a while. Check it out, you won't be disappointed. And enjoy the clip from an episode earlier this month when Cory and Shawn gave the people what they wanted and broke out their handshake.

Now and Then | Directed By: Lesli Linka Glatter

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants | Directed By: Ken Kwapis

Both Now and Then and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants immediately came to mind when I tried to think of movies about friendship. The more I thought about why they were such great examples, the more I realized how similar they are, so I'm going to write about them together. Now and Then (1995) follows Samantha (Christina Ricci/Rosie O'Donnell), Samantha (Gaby Hoffmann/Demi Moore), Teeny (Thora Birch/Melanie Griffith), and Chrissy (Ashleigh Aston Moore/Rita Wilson) during the summer that they were twelve, and also later in life when they are brought back together. It's the summer of puberty, boys being assholes, and figuring out not just what kind of friend you are, but what kind of person you want to be. I'm honestly tearing up thinking about how much I love this movie. I'm way more interested in telling you that I'm a lot of Roberta with a some Chrissy thrown in, than I am discussing Sex and the City. These are the movies that remind me of how great it was to have friend groups like this. It is just a reminder though, because with that reminder comes the fact that people change. 

When The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants  (2005) was on Netflix, I was all over that shit. Magic jeans that fit Blake Lively and America Ferrera? Count me in. This story follows Tibby (Amber Tamblyn), Lena (Alexis Bledel), Carmen (America Ferrera), and Bridget (Blake Lively) as they head in different directions for the summer. Lena is visiting her grandparents in Greece (Hello Costas!), Carmen is going to stay with her dad, Bridget is off to soccer camp, and Tibby is stuck at home with a summer job. They come up with a plan to mail the jeans around all summer with letters to keep in touch. This movie doesn't cover as much time as Now and Then, so the effects of time apart don't have as much of an effect on these friendships, but you can still see the strain that geography and new people have on things that you're used to. I like these movies, and others like them, because they are a reminder that opposites do attract. All of these girls and women are so different, but most friends are. Everyone has their quirks and flaws, but the quirks and flaws of the others balance everyone out. It's harmonious, and it's comforting knowing that you have people who can calm you down and build you up. Stories about relationships, especially friendships, are fascinating when they are told realistically. They can be a reminder of what makes you happy in life, but they can also be an eye opener if you've been questioning the health of your relationships. Remember who your friends are. You might not be able to fit into the same pair of jeans, but they're always just a phone call away. And if it's 1995 and you don't have a cell phone, get on your bike.

You Don't Have to Like Me: Essays on Growing Up, Speaking Out, and Finding Feminism | Written By: Alida Nugent

I was exploring Barnes and Noble section by section when I came across You Don’t Have to Like Me. I loved the title and the cover art, and I flipped to a random page where I read a sentenced that perfectly reflected my life up to this point. So of course I bought it. Alida Nugent is me, and most of the other women I know in my life. I’ve always been a reader, but after starting feMAIL I’ve found myself immersed in a whole other selection of authors and essayists that I hadn’t been aware of. I have been blowing through more and more personal stories and fiction that I find ridiculously relatable. It is so comforting to hear someone say the things that you try and convince yourself of on a daily basis. You are okay, do whatever you want, be happy with you are. It sounds easy, but I think everyone really knows that it’s not.

You Don’t Have to Like Me covers most of the bases that you find in collections of personal essays. I’ve heard a lot of stories like this before, but none of them were Alida’s story. That’s what makes this book so special. I love stories, and everyone has their own story to tell. Everyone’s story is worth telling, and I’m happy that I got to read hers. It’s nice knowing that you aren’t the only one who’s doubted their cosmetic purchases, eaten too much while watching Netflix at home on a Friday night, had a shitty yet completely mundane “losing your virginity” experience, and been extremely angry at the state of the world. It’s nice to hear someone write down that women shouldn’t have to be afraid of walking home at night (check out Aziz Ansari’s Master of None for a great take on this), shouldn’t have to be the only ones talked to about consent when it comes to sex education, shouldn’t have to be subjected to society’s ridiculous beauty standards, and shouldn’t have to explain their choices to everyone. We can do whatever we want, and we don’t need your permission.

Thank you Alida, for reminding me of that.

Sex and the City | Created By: Darren Star

I wanted to take this theme as an opportunity to look at the different "girl buddy" TV shows that I have watched over the years. What is so interesting about these "girl buddy" shows is that you almost forget that they are shows about a group of girlfriends because the subject matter is so heavily focused on their romantic relationships. The OG of the "girl buddy" show for me would be Sex and the City. This show is about four very different 30-40 somethings women who rely on each other for gossip, advice (primarily men, dating, and sex), and good laughs. The popularity of this show continued into films and more. Women like to identify with one of the four women: Are you more of a Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda, or Samantha? (Just for the fun of it, I am totally a Carrie with a little Miranda) All of these women are beautiful, sexy, intelligent, but wildly different from one another. People can relate to the sweet innocence of Charlotte, but wish they had the sexual freedom, "man-mentality" that Samantha has. Miranda is a successful lawyer and mother so is grounded in her moral core (opposite of a Samantha type). And than there's our heroine Carrie, the sexy, fun writer who shares her experiences with men through we weekly column. 

In so many ways, I can find reasons to admire all these women. As privileged as these upper east side women are, this show was the first of its kind. Finally, there was a show where women can talk about funny sexual experiences, the frustrations with dating, and the pressure to settle down without having to focus on a main male character. In many ways I wish the focus was more about career, personal goals, and self-reliance but at least the friendship expressed through the series is a wonderful example of loving support between girlfriends, a relationship I cherish more than most. These characters seem to genuine care for each other. A lot of the shows that came after Sex and the City like Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars, and even Girls show the volatile, catty side for women friendships. It almost makes you lose faith in the bond between young women. At the end of the day, I have my girlfriends to talk to, to cry to, to laugh with, to seek advice from.  

Camp Out | Directed By: Larry Grimaldi and Kirk Marcolina

Here at feMAIL, we are a community by women for women & men. This community is a special form of friendship built by common interests. I wanted to watch the documentary Camp Out to learn more about a community I didn't know much about. Camp Out is about 10 gay teens going away for the summer to gay Christian camps. The film follows the friendship, relationship, and memories made at this unique camp. Some may think that being a gay Christian is almost like an oxymoron. Growing up in a Christian environment myself I found it difficult to grasp why gay people did not have a place in the church community. I have several gay friends and I found it difficult in my own faith to support a religious community that doesn't support, love and accept everyone, no matter their sexuality. I heard about this documentary and was immediately intrigued. What would it be like to be a young gay teen but also have Christian beliefs, despite sin shaming from the religious community. It is a very niche gay community. It would make sense that most gay teens that grew up in a Christian home would feel jaded toward the Christian faith since the teen would feel like an outsider. 

In the documentary, each featured teen explains their journey leading up to summer camp. A lot of these teens came out between the ages of 13-16 and have been searching for a place they can be themselves and express their faith. I found it so interesting how the Christian faith was taught at the camp. It was loving, positive, and accepting. I could relate more to the Christian practices held at this camp knowing that there was a place for everyone, not just the straight, white person. In the Christian community, sin is not always looked at equally. Also, sin is interpreted differently, depending on one's opinions, morals, and upbringing. I may think something is not a sin that other Christians think it is sin. The purpose of gay Christian camp was to shine light on the everlasting love from God, not the wrath from God. In the end, these teen created lasting friendships and built a stronger relationship with God. You can watch the full documentary for free HERE.