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Sunday, April 6, 2014

A Trip to 30 Rock

In a recent trip to New York City, my family (not my sister) and I went to 30 Rock and the GE Building and I must say that it was quite surreal. We went into the actual NBC Experience store, went to the top of the rock, and to one of Seth Meyers' last monologue rehearsals before the premiere of his era at Late Night. We went through the halls of NBC studios and saw photos of great SNL moments and there was the SNL studio, but then we made a hard right to Studio 8G where Seth gave us ten minutes of quality jokes, some of which made the first show of his! We made eye contact, if I may say so. It was such an amazing experience to remember for(sing-song voice)eveeeer.

Oh, and this!

Yes, I Saw The LEGO Movie, Too

The LEGO Movie was certainly interesting. Everyone was saying such great things about it and I believed them. With a great vocal cast of Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Alison Brie, Morgan Freeman, Liam Neeson, Will Arnett, Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Will Ferrell, Charlie Day, and Will Forte it was hard not to believe this would be one of the more sophisticated animated movies of our time. While I do consider it superior to some of the blithering "films" put out there (Did anyone ever want an Open Season 3?) I was not overly thrilled with it and maybe my expectations were just too high. The concept was interesting and there were multiple parts that did make me laugh, but overall it seemed rather cookie cutter with a theme that is so obvious it's on the poster. I did enjoy the *SPOILER* surprise of seeing actual human Will Ferrell and the realization that his son had been playing with these toys and creating the scene. Everything did make a rather neat connection, but maybe it was the one song that was always playing in the background. I didn't mind it, but I didn't love it.

Secrets of Get a Horse!

The latest, stellar, should-have-won-the-Oscar-for-Best-Animated-Short Mickey Mouse short film, Get a Horse, has a lot of depth in it, from the breaking of the fourth wall, to the mix of black and white and color, with old characters, new, and even the vocals of Walt Disney as Mickey. Entertainment Weekly spoke with director Lauren MacMullan about the various secrets of the making of Get a Horse! There are little gags, "twisted literalism," and cartoon logic. All in all, a very enlightening countdown of ten secrets that went into creating one of the great short films of our time. A nice throwback.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

How I Met Your Mother

And here we are. Another beloved show has come to an end. Nine years ago, Ted sat his kids and us down the the incredible story of how he met their mother. Now, we know the whole story. I've got two parts of the post for you. Recap and analysis. Here we go.


September 2005: A song is playing in the background that both evokes nostalgia and a pace for the episode. The pace will be quick as the song which begins the show is as well. We are taken back to the beginning of the series when Robin is first inducted into the group. Lily says the only way Ted or Barney can sleep with Robin is if they also marry her. Hashtag major foreshadowing. We know Barney married her in the previous episode, but Ted...hmm... "Once you're in you're in for life."

May 2013: Ted and The Mother actually make eye contact during Barney and Robin's wedding reception! Barney talks to her and asks if she remembers him from the drugstore. He also learns she is single, prompting him to run up to Ted and tell him (over and over again) to look into his eyes because he is in such an ecstatic frenzy. Naturally, Barney wants to play one last game of "Haaaaaaave you met Ted?" But Ted declines and says it's time for him to leave for Chicago. Outside, he says goodbye to his four best friends. With Robin, they say "Major Pleasure" and use that recurring joke for the last time. He and Marshall hug very tightly and emotionally. Ted gives Lily a creepy E.T. goodbye and with Barney, a high infinity. A high five which will echo through the ages. The next day? Ted is in MacLaren's again, upsetting Lily and Marshall for putting them through emotional turmoil, but he has stayed because he met someone. Marshall is upset because Ted's going to blow it, per usual, but Lily can tell this one is different. Ted even breaks his 72-hour rule to call the mother.

2015: While planning a grandiose wedding, Ted has to stop because the mother wants to be able to fit into her wedding dress if she's getting married. She's pregnant with Penny! However, while in Argentina, Barney and Robin are going through some marital troubles as they try to balance work and love. Barney takes his wedding vow of honesty to heart and the two divorce.

2016: Lily is pregnant with her and Marshall's third child and they decide (after seeing the cockamouse again) to move out of the apartment they love so dearly. Robin appears at the party to say farewell to the apartment, but she leaves once realizing the inevitable. After her and Barney's split and the constant strain of her job, she was going to be phased out whether voluntarily by the group or not. Seeing Ted happier than he has ever been is too much for Robin and in a heart-to-heart with Lily she says, "We'll always be friends, it's just never going to be like it was." Lily (in a pregnant whale costume) is left all alone in the empty apartment and she cries. She looks around and remembers all the memories they made and it's the same time we realize "our" friends are leaving and it truly won't be the same.

2018: Barney, who has always valued companionship over everything else, admittedly or not, is beyond excited that he, Lily, Ted, and Marshall are finally hanging out at the bar again. When Marshall shows up, he tells his friends he is going to become a judge and he is proudly nicknamed Judge Fudge. When Barney further regresses into his old bachelor self, Lily berates him and asks him if he has changed at all. Barney says no and he just wants to be himself. "If it wasn't going to happen with Robin, then it just isn't going to happen with anybody."

2019: Lily, Marshall, Ted, and the mother are all attending a (strangely beloved) Robots v. Wrestlers match when Barney shows up looking disheveled and sad. He tells them about his follow-up to the Perfect Week, a Perfect Month, in which he constructed a second Playbook, further washing away some of his character development. In a twist, the thirty-first girl he slept with in the month is pregnant.

2020: A big year for the group. Ted and Penny run into Robin while looking at the building he designed. Barney, Marshall, Lily, Ted, and "number thirty-one" are all at the hospital. Barney is, at first, reluctant about the child he is about to have and even after she is born, he denies that he is the father and still doesn't really want to see her. But when he does meet his daughter, Ellie:

There's always that one scene from a series finale that sticks out above the rest. For me, it was Andy's scene with the fans of the documentary in The Office, Lassie breaking the DVD in Psych, Joey and Chandler's hug in Friends, etc. Amazing scene from Neil Patrick Harris to show that Barney actually has changed. He's changed a lot. The only girl he could truly love is his daughter. And what a way to complete Barney. "You are the love of my life. Everything I have and everything I am is yours. Forever."

Then, still in 2020, Ted has to propose to the mother again due to the "statute of limitations" or whatever. So, he does and she says yes and they agree to marry that very Thursday. Robin initially RSVPs "no" but due to the mother's persuading, she shows up. The group take another photo together, fifteen years after the one seen in every episode during the theme song. Lily remarks that she "can't believe it's Ted Mosby's wedding day." Marshall leans over to a group of friends in the booth behind them and here is the dialogue.

Marshall: "Hey, you kids."
Robin: "Oh, you didn't sound 1,000 just then."
Guy: "Yeah?"
Marshall: "Do you know what happened in this bar?"
Guy: "No. What happened?"
Marshall: "Just...all kinds of stuff."

Lily then toasts Ted, his resolve, and his soon-to-be bride and Ted (narrating, which was actually Josh Radnor instead of Bob Saget. Farewell, Bob) agrees with Lily and delivers an amazing quote from the finale.

"Your Aunt Lily was right. It was, at times, a long and difficult road. But I'm glad it was long and difficult, because if I hadn't gone through hell to get there, the lesson might not have been as clear. See, kids, right from the moment I met your mom, I knew. I have to love this woman as much as I can, for as long as I can; and never stop loving her, not even for a second. I carried that lesson with me through every stupid fight we ever had, every 5:00 A.M. Christmas morning, ever sleepy Sunday afternoon. Through ever speed bump, ever pang of jealousy or boredom or uncertainty that came our way, I carried that lesson with me. And I carried it with me when she got sick. Even then, in what can only be called the worst of times, all I could do was thank God. Thank every God there is, or was, or ever will be, and the whole universe and anyone else I could possibly thank, that I saw that beautiful game on that train platform. And that I had the guts to stand up, walk over to her, tap her on the shoulder, open my mouth, and speak."

May 2013: You see, throughout the episode we were given flashes of the scene at the Farhampton train station where an old lady tries relentlessly to get Ted to go talk to the mother. "Just be cool, lady, damn." Eventually, Ted goes up to the mother and he meets her. Ted. Meets. The mother. A great song plays as they meet. After nine years, he has met the mother. They have a very cute conversation about the rain and Barney and Robin's wedding before the yellow umbrella comes into play. Ted spots his initials "TM" on it and jokingly accuses her of stealing his umbrella. She corrects him and says those are her initials, "Tracy McConnell." So there it is. Her name is Tracy Mosby. She recalls losing her umbrella for a few years, but then the two realize their adult lives have been intertwined. "It's funny how sometimes you just...find things." The two continue speaking as the camera zooms out and the audio fades away. Then, the final scene:

So there, it is. The final scene. Naturally, an alternate ending was created by a fan, to which the creators of the show, Bays and Thomas, said an alternate ending they decided to cut from the finale will be on the DVD because fans are upset they didn't get their way.

I knew this line would be in the finale. From the first episode I ever watched of How I Met Your Mother, I knew this line would be in it. "And that kids, is how I met your mother."

2030: It was not the last line of the episode though because then Luke and Penny confront him and tell him it wasn't about the mother, it was about Robin. He tells them he kept it short and to the point, ha, but the kids give him their permission to ask out Aunt Robin because "Mom's been gone for six years," and "it's time." Instead of calling her, he decides to run out and then we flash to Robin's apartment. Cue another great song to play during the finale. Robin hears her doorbell and she commands her futuristic television to show who's at the door, but it doesn't comply so she opens her window and looks out seeing none other than Ted. A scene from the pilot is recreated as Robin (and two dogs) look down at Ted on the sidewalk holding up the blue french horn from twenty-five "years" ago. The title card replaces them as the song continues to play and we are introduced to the cast one last time with a photo of each of them from the pilot, followed by "Cristin Milioti as Tracy."

And that was the end of the great, How I Met Your Mother. It took me a couple days to decide if I liked it, never mind make sense of it. But I have decided that yes. I like it. I love it. I think it's one of the all-time great endings to a television show. There is something about that it is profoundly beautiful. Whether it's the realistic nature of life, the theme of companionship, the lessons Ted learned when he met the love his life, whatever it is it is truly beautiful. Barney's ending could have been so depressing, disgusting, and sad, but it was the complete opposite. It takes an unprecedented amount of character development to turn Barney from a skeevy womanizer to someone with a genuine heart and a love for those close to him.

A relationship like that of Lily and Marshall is undeniably true. They got their happy endings, but those endings are not the ones they always desired. Lily wanted to be a world-renowned artist and Marshall wanted to save the environment as a lawyer. They didn't achieve their dreams, but they achieved happiness and that is all they could really ask for.

As for the ending a vast majority of people have claimed to hate due to the death of the mother and the pairing of Ted and Robin, I did not mind it. As a whole, I loved it, but I did enjoy the ending. I do believe the creators of the show were too obsessed with putting Ted and Robin together and if they had just let the show play out as they constructed it to, the ending would have been better. But they actually couldn't change anything because they filmed the final scene with the kids back in season two. Speaking of, it was surreal to see Ted and his kids interacting in the study.

But, the ending did not really fit the show it had become, it was well-crafted and at first glance, it was rushed, but looking back and reflecting, after letting it sit for a bit, it became wonderful. It became true to the show and Ted's hopeless romanticism, despite Ted being the definition of a tortured soul, further confirmed after his true love's death. Ted and Robin were not right for each other until they both had truly settled. This takes absolutely nothing away from Ted's relationship with Tracy (hard to just say that so nonchalantly). Those two were soul mates and they changed and loved each other irrevocably. But the major theme of companionship prevailed. Ted and Robin wanted to go through the rest of life with someone, even if it couldn't be their true loves. May I also add that it was somewhat sad to see this group of five people twenty-five years removed from the pilot seventeen years removed from the glory days of their friendship? To think of the final scene depicting Robin and Ted in their fifties, it's just kind of weird. The death tone spooked me a bit, I guess.

Finally, to address those who say the entire ninth season was pointless because Barney and Robin immediately got divorced in the finale, the season was not about Barney and Robin's wedding. It was set at Barney and Robin's wedding, but it was about the last bit of discovery and growth in these characters. The scenes resolving the recurring characters' storylines, Ted's words about love when Barney and Robin got married, all of his friends meeting the mother, Marshall and Lily's fight, the mother's first rendition of "La Vie en Rose" and Ted's remarks about it. The scene in season eight when a time-travelling Ted dashes to the mother's old apartment. All of this was to cement why we love these characters so much. Why we've been going on this journey. It was to create and follow through on the endings they kind of deserved, but fully needed. The show itself was not pointless because in the end Ted and Robin will be together. Ted will always love the mother more than Robin. That's been established. The montage of Ted and Tracy's photos is not all we got from them. Throughout the show and especially this season, their relationship's biggest moments have been depicted. The show is not rendered pointless after the finale. The title is pointless. It was the story of how he met their mother. Not the story of "how he met his afterthought" as some have proclaimed. We all feel in love with this show because of the journey, not the destination. The show always had Ted's quest to meet the mother as an overlaying story, but the show itself was about the stories Ted had while navigating to get there. And that's why we loved and that's why it was great and that's why we are so attached to this show and have a difficult time letting go. But we will. In time, it will be remembered as one of the great finales. There will always be doubters, sure, but I, at least know that it was legen...

...wait for it...

Space Jam 2?

Rumors swirled around the Internet about LeBron James' decision to star in a sequel to Space Jam with Bugs Bunny. LeBron and his agent quickly put these rumors to bed by denying he would be partaking in it. Without LeBron, the whole concept of a sequel to the old, Michael Jordan movie fell out of cultural relevancy rather quickly. I have a suggestion, however. What about if Blake Griffin starred instead of LeBron? Blake clearly enjoys comedy, acting, and entertainment. He did the Lockout Professionals viral video, Gamefly parody ads, and he is always frequenting with Yvette Nicole Brown and Gillian Jacobs. Blake, I believe, wants a life in acting after he's done with basketball. Why not have him star? Just an idea.

Friends with Suggested Hashtags

There's no such thing, anymore, as a television show without a hashtag in one of the corners. Whether it's as simple as #HIMYM or as relative as #MeowMeowBeenz, the hashtags are there. But what if there had been hashtags on shows from a time before Twitter, say Friends? Buzzfeed (naturally) created a full gallery of the "What if" scenarios. It's pretty good.

Friday, April 4, 2014

The Comprehensive List of the 75 Best Songs

It truly was a fun countdown. We got to go through a journey of awesome music throughout history all the way from Palchebel to Jason Mraz. It was quite enjoyable and I hope it was for you, too. Obviously, it was completely opinionated, but everything is. Here, for you, I have the full list of my rankings, and I have added songs I would put in if I could do it again. Some I forgot, some I learned of during the process. Nevertheless, it was good fun. Be sure to look for the new poll asking YOU what the best song ever made is, in your opinion. Good times.

Songs I Forgot: Cecilia (Simon and Garfunkel), Tomorrow (Annie), Heaven (The Walkmen), Nights on Broadway (Bee Gees), Let It Go (Idina Menzel), Best Day of My Life (American Authors), Ordinary Love (U2), Bye Bye Love (The Everly Brothers), Wake Up Little Suzie (The Everly Brothers), Dream (The Everly Brothers), You May Be Right (Billy Joel), Pompeii (Bastille), The Weight (The Band), Don't Cry Out Loud (Melissa Manchester), Don't Stop Me Now (Queen), Come Sail Away (Styx), Keep On Loving You (REO Speedwagon), Roxanne (The Police), Build Me Up Buttercup (The Foundations), Lookin' Out My Back Door (Creedence Clearwater Revival), Paint It Black (The Rlling Stones), Wouldn't It Be Nice (The Beach Boys)

75 Best Songs:
75. Life in Technicolor II by Coldplay
74. Alouette by The Delta Rhythm Boys
73. When the River Meets the Sea by John Denver
72. With a Few Good Friends by Carly Simon
71. Wavin' Flag by K'NAAN
70. Live Forever by Drew Holcomb
69. Life's a Happy Song by Brett McKenzie
68. Get Lucky by Daft Punk
67. Somewhere Only We Know by Keane
66. Pleasant Valley Sunday by The Monkeys
65. Trip the Light by Gary Schyman
64. Set Fire to the Rain by Adele
63. Rivers and Roads by The Head and the Heart
62. It's Time by Imagine Dragons
61. All the Faces by Creed Bratton
60. You and I by Ingrid Michaelson
59. Rainbow Connection by Kermit the Frog
58. Feed the Birds by Julie Andrews
57. Over and Over by Tim McGraw and Nelly
56. She's Got a Way by Billy Joel
55. Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison
54. Open Your Eyes by Snow Patrol
53. Let It Be by The Beatles
52. Payphone by Maroon 5
51. You Should Be Dancing by Bee Gees
50. Every Rose Has Its Thorn by Poison
49. Shake It Out by Florence and the Machine
48. Under Pressure by Queen
47. Only the Good Die Young by Billy Joel
46. All-Star by Smash Mouth
45. Summer of '69 by Bryan Adams
44. The Remedy by Jason Mraz
43. Mirrors by Justin Timberlake
42. Good Vibrations by Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch
41. Here Comes My Girl by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
40. Kiss From a Rose by Seal
39. Carry On by Fun
38. It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year by Andy Williams
37. I Will Remember You by Sarah McLachlan
36. Canon in D Minor by Johan Pachelbel
35. Fix You by Coldplay
34. Come Together by The Beatles
33. Daylight by Maroon 5
32. I Lived by OneRepublic
31. Hey Ya by Outkast
30. Dirty Paws by Of Monsters and Men
29. Feeling Good by Michael Buble
28. Clocks by Coldplay
27. I Won't Give Up by Jason Mraz
26. Good Life by OneRepublic
25. Cat's in the Cradle by Harry Chapin
24. Major Tom by Shiny Toy Guns
23. You Make Me Feel So Young by Frank Sinatra
22. If It Kills Me by Jason Mraz
21. Sweet Child O' Mine by Guns 'n' Roses
20. In the Air Tonight by Phil Collins
19. 93 Million Miles by Jason Mraz
18. Only Wanna Be with You by Hootie and the Blowfish
17. Time of the Season by The Zombies
16. For the Longest Time by Billy Joel
15. Hallelujah by Jeff Buckley
14. Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard by Paul Simon
13. American Pie by Don McLean
12. Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen
11. Mr. Jones by Counting Crows
10. Take on Me by a-Ha
9. Suspicious Minds by Elvis Presley
8. Africa by Toto
7. Hotel California by The Eagles
6. I'm Yours by Jason Mraz
5. Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen
4. Hey Jude by The Beatles
3. My Way by Frank Sinatra
2. Piano Man by Billy Joel
1. Space Oddity by David Bowie