Shows

Tuca and Bertie Season 3: Episode 3: The One Where Bertie Gets Eaten by a Snake Review

In this episode, we pick up where we left off where Tuca and Bertie adjusting to the events of the previous episode. Tuca talks to Bertie about how she and Figgy have made some rules about his drinking. No home-brewing–it is gross apparently. Figgy follows up with one rule of his own–don’t tell him to stop drinking. Tuca is concerned, but she is excited about their next date.

Read More
Shows

A Defense of Johnathan Byers in Stranger Things Season 4

Note: I will only be talking about his actions in Season 4. I still think it was gross for him to take pictures of Nancy in Season 1, and it

Read More
Movies

Don’t Look Up Spoiler Review: 5 Reflections On This Wonderful Movie

Don’t Look Up. Three words create a giant controversy. If you watch even a few seconds of attention to the news, this is pretty obvious. I will start by saying this movie is satire, it is dangerously true to life. It is also hilarious and true and beautiful. I don’t typically watch movies about political satire, but after these past 2 years, I felt interested. I heard this movie addresses our modern age and includes some famous people and was like, I gotta watch that. You know, sometimes, it’s not that deep. I see Meryl Streep and Timothee Chalamet and I click.

Don’t Look Up begins when Kate Dibasky (Jennifer Lawrence), a Ph.D. student at the University of Michigan, discovers a comment that will hit the earth and destroy the world. She then must, along with her professor Randall Mindy (Leonardo Decaprio) inform the president of the United States.

The film has got a ton of celebrities: Meryl Street plays the self-interested president. Timothee Chalumet plays a young Evangelical hippie guy and Ariana Grande plays a famous singer nearly identical to herself.

I enjoyed this movie more than I thought. The film was written to address climate change and politics, but the themes of denial and politicization of a threat to human lives fit the pandemic pretty well too. That is partially why the movie is so big. Other than knowing that Don’t Look Down is a satire of American politics and features celebrities, I really didn’t know what to expect.

In this review, I’ll be talking about 5 main ideas I thought of watching this movie. I was pleasantly surprised by what the movie decided to cover. Some characters—Leonardo DiCaprio—are downright unlikeable at times, but somehow, I made it through, partially due to Jennifer Lawrence and Timothee Chalamet.

l. Leonardo DiCaprio is unlikable

Leonardo DiCaprio Helped Rewrite Funniest Don't Look Up Scene 15 Times

It is very hard to like Randall Mindy ( Leonardo Decaprio). Randall is introduced as a camera-shy scientist who views life as a series of facts. We quickly learn, however, that the minute the awkward scientist gets recognition, he falls in with the crowd. He starts off insisting on science and I imagine he’s going to be the voice of reason.

But I, perhaps idealistically, turned out to be wrong about Mindy. Peter Isherwille, the (evil) tech guru understands him. Randall’s fatal flaw is that he is shy and insecure and wants people to like him. Unlike most of the population, he accepts the fact that his life will end in six months. To avoid that horrifying truth, he allows fame to distract him.

“I know what you are, you are a lifestyle idealist. You’re just thrown towards pleasure and away from pain like a field mouse.”

Peter Isherwillie

It also seems like Mindy has an anxiety disorder. He mentions that he takes Xanax and Zoloft. The audience isn’t told any specifics, but he gets visibly anxious before going on TV. Overall, medications (and alcohol) are tools that the characters use to numb the pain of the events happening to them. Randall shares his medications with Kate, which is clearly problematic, after they find out about the meteor.

Both characters pursue or at least accept momentary pleasure when it is offered to them, but DeCaprio is the one who annoyed me.

Kate takes medication and gets high with Yule, but she doesn’t harm anyone else.

Randall is a married man, and his wife cares for several teenage sons mostly by herself. One of his sons takes medication, but he is pretty oblivious about how to be a good father. He has responsibilities as a father, husband, and scientist, and he neglects them all.

The haircut is the start of his ruin. Before he goes on the news to talk about the meteor, the studio cuts Randall’s hair and shapes his beard. The news crew won’t listen what he is going to say, even if he is literally telling them the world will end soon, but they do want him to look hot. The media grooms him like a golden retriever and he falls into their trap so easily. Talk show reporter Brie Evantee (Kate Blanchett) flirts with Randall on set, and after a few interviews, he begins an affair with her as his wife struggles to raise their sons alone. In addition to getting with a reporter, Randall personally recieves almost no backlash for his behavior and he is just the pretty face. Randall is dubbed the hottest scientist by the media, and he rides safely in the limousine of privilege as the truth as society crumbles around him.

While the impending damage of the meteor is downplayed in interviews, and Randall is featured on Elmo, Kate is mocked and reduced to a meltdown meme. Randal is her teacher and he is supposed to be supporting her, but he leaves her in the dust. I wonder if the film was making a point about sexism in the media. Kate is horrified by the public’s attempts to downplay the imminent death of the world and she is honest and upset. Everyone should be upset. But the media portrays her as overly emotional and a joke. No one takes her seriously.

People don’t take Randall seriously, but he never suffers the amount of vitriol that Kate receives. Even when he finally breaks down and screams and swears at the public, no one judges him. In a traumatic situation like this, there is no one way to react or process, but Kate is the only one who is insulted for her grief.

In turn, Randall doesn’t protect Kate and slowly allows the media to take the narrative from him. Randall becomes a shallow, morally bankrupt version of his former self. He was once a man who loved science and facts. He saw life as a series of truths and put facts and honesty above all.

He then settles into an extremely shallow relationship with reporter Brie Evantee. From what we know about her, Bre was born into a wealthy family and has been taught to be very shallow. Brie never broaches a conversation topic below the surface. Her banter with her co-star Jack Bremmer (Tyler Perry) is marketed as light and fun. They jump from death to celebrity drama with little care.

I almost felt bad for Bre at first but then she turned out to be a terrible person. She is the one to pursue him even though she knows he’s married. She is clearly capable of being blunt too. She is honest with Randall and his wife about the affair. She is capable of honesty on TV, but she only is honest when it can get her what she wants. Their relationship also mirrors Randall’s relationship with the press. He exchanges integrity for sex appeal and a shallow relationship with the media, where he occasionally spits out facts to an uninterested population.

Randall sucks for the affair. I was disappointed there wasn’t more of a downfall to his character. His wife loves him and takes care of their sons. She gets mad at him rightfully, but then she just forgives him–with the excuse that she cheated on him in college. I get that it is the end of the world, but this guy gets so much slack, and it annoys me when shows ignore the results of cheating. They just sort of blow it off with a joke. Instead, I wish she had genuinely forgiven him if she ever wanted to and that the cheating wasn’t trivialized.

I also hated how he let Kate get made fun of while he was a hero. He never apologizes to Kate. He also gets the best lines at the end and is still the good guy, but Kate has been nothing but kind, honest, and considerate. Kate deals with the worst of the press. She is the true star of this film, but this guy gets the closing lines. I get it, he had everything and lost it all. He also gets a great ending. At least Kate gets Timothee Calumet.

As much as I complain, I appreciate his character arch from honest scientist to a shallow famous face.

It is an eternal truth that power and influence corrupt. For that reason, I liked that Mindy was morally grey. The movie could have made the scientists always act with good intentions and exist as paragons of virtue. I’m glad they didn’t. It would feel too preachy.

Everyone is guilty of ignoring pain and seeking pleasure. No one is completely innocent and pure, even if they believe and say the right things. Our values don’t stop us from screwing up. We are all capable of committing the evils we claim to abhor.

2. Don’t Look Up Makes fun of current politics with wonderful accuracy

Don't Look Up Images Reveal Meryl Streep's President & Star Studded Cast

The president and her son felt like they were genuinely related. She feels like Donald Trump and he feels like one of Trump’s children. The hairstyle and clothing designers knew how to dress the actors for the parts. The nepotism feels so realistic, unfortunately and Jason Orlean is a spoiled brat and Jonah Hill plays that so well and I loved to hate him and president Orlean. The jokes are direct parallels to the real Trump presidency. There is a scene where Jason says his mother is a smoke show or something similar and that he would date her if she was not his mom. That reminds me of what Trump has said about Ivanka.

The scenes showing her supporters and her choice of the cabinet mirrored Trump. Her hat and flag match him to a T. The movie also shows how our media excuses the racist and sexist behavior of others. The old man the president chooses to fly into space makes racist remarks but the media excuses the things he said because he is from “a different time.” This is classic lampshading. No one is held to any moral standard, and the politicians just don’t care because they have power.

The politician’s ignorance of meteor don’t harm themselves, but their supporters. If the president of the United States is telling you that something is true, you should expect honesty. Especially it involves your health or the fact that something could kill you.

Near the beginning, Kate is charged $20 for snacks and water from a member of the staff, only to find out later that food in the White House is free. She wonders why he would scam her like that. Sometimes people do jerky things for kicks and it is so annoying. Political office and power allow humans to do unreasonable things, and I liked the ongoing conversation. In situations where people do bad things, sometimes we remember the simple stuff the most.

3. Engagement with Political Activism/Issues and shallowness of Media

Ariana Grande improvised 'Don't Look Up''s apocalyptic pop anthem

The movie shows how the reporters, politicians, and everyone else preferred a shallow existence to one that recognizes the facts of life. We would rather pretend problems don’t exist and that we live in a perfect world. We’d rather pretend the news doesn’t apply to us and won’t affect us personally. The media we consume caters to our human desire for comfort, safety, and ignorance.

The scene with Ariana Grande still bugs me. She wanted to talk about her charity, saving the manatees, but the press only cares about her breakup. This is one time where a non-scientist wants to do something good for the environment, and no one lets her. She cares about the climate and help others become more aware of the problems around her, but what about Pete Davidson? The apathy of these people was heartbreaking.

Instead, people escape into her relationship drama. Her drama doesn’t affect their lives, but people like the escape into someone else’s false feelings rather than acknowledge their own. They want drama, as long as it doesn’t affect them, and a happy ending is always enjoyable, even if it is fake. It isn’t until she performs a song to look up that fans and the media listen. But by then, there is nothing else they can do.

4. The Film Mocks Big Tech and Its Flirtation with Science

Is Don't Look Up's BASH a Real Mobile Company? Is Peter ...

Peter Isherwell plays a good villain, he acts with an awkward certainty that just feels like a powerful tech billionaire. He is supposed to parody Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, and all those rich tech people. The dude is so obsessed with wealth. He saw a literal meteor that will kill all people and the first thing the man thinks of was to let it hit the earth and then mine it for gold.

He also uses science and causes like ending world hunger and restoration of biodiversity to justify taking a risk in pursuit of profit. His tech ads are promoted to help people, but they also are supposed to cater to our every desire and need. Science is really an excuse to cater to our individual needs and make money off those needs rather than improve the world around us. We become self-centered and dependent on our devices. We go to them when we are sad and want to be happy. Then they follow an algorithm and give us what we think we need. The tech company BASH argues that phones can predict all.

Technology is also described using religious language. Drones are mankind’s savior. “You’re gonna be a god in the sky,” he says. Technology is a new means of understanding the world. It is religion, it is science, it is philosophy. When he talks about his phone company, Peter says:

“This is evolution, the evolution of the human species.”

Is it? Is it really? Technology is idealized so much. It is supposed to solve all our problems and make our lives perfect apparently. This film laughs at that idea. The media spreads sparky, empty news. Phones distract people and make them happy when they should panic. Technology only serves to dissuade people, rather than encourage them to care about humanity. It is only when people let go of tech and focus on each other that they’re able to be real and have honest conversations. Tech paints a false promise of utopia, but that is wrong. Isherwell calls the age of tech the Golden Age, which was a time of prosperity in Greece, but the characters are their best when they are together, sitting down at a meal with no screens in sight.

“Isherwell calls the age of tech the Golden Age, which was a time of prosperity in Greece, but the characters are their best when they are together, sitting down at a meal with no screens in sight.”

I liked how he was wrong about Randall’s death. Technology can’t control and predict the world; data does not capture an entire person. He didn’t surrender to impulse and momentary pleasure and returned to his wife and sons. He brings his friends along. He chose to invest in the people around him. He didn’t die alone.

I do wonder what will happen next. The tech lord won and I’m not sure his new society will be a better one. Will the naked people be addicted to their phones for happiness? Will they stage a revolt? Hopefully, we never have to find out. Maybe they’ll all die, after all, the scientist guy is the type to start a war. I’m kind of hoping for a sequel.

5. Engagement with Evangelical Christianity

Don't Look Up," sheeple! Adam McKay's comedy, about a comet that will  destroy Earth, fails to hit | Salon.com

I’ve seen quite a few movies where characters are asked if they believe in God, but this movie portrays Christianity a lot more than many. Timothee Chalemet plays Yule, a young man who was raised by Evangelical parents. He grew up in the countryside and wears a camo baseball hat. He is one of my favorite characters.

Don’t Look Up portrays religion pretty satirically at first. The politicians invoke God and Jesus but only as a means to accomplish their political aims. Their level of pandering is so obvious and hilarious, and this sadly occurs in real life–to people of all groups. Politicians use language to make people think they care about interests greater than themselves. News flash–they don’t. The people who support the president parody Trump supporters. They are one-dimensional charicatures. In a satire, and the film aims to call out politicians. The film accomplishes its message, while stereotypes aren’t ideal, it fits the film’s purpose well. It feels more honest than offensive, and pandering by politicians should be called out way, way more than it currently is.

So, back to Timothee, his parents are Evangelical Christians and he disagrees with what they stand for and says he doesn’t like them. If we look at stereotypes, his parents are likely conservative Evangelical Christians. They likely voted for this president who claimed to support them and their values. He could easily have rejected the faith he grew up in as a nonsense but he doesn’t. He says he figured out how to believe in God in his own way, but it is somewhat unclear at first what he means. Yule is a young guy who is learning about life outside of the one he grew up in for the first time.

I liked how Yule skeptical of the meteor. He doesn’t believe in it initially because he hasn’t heard anything else from his environment, but he’s open to listening to Kate when she tells him the truth. He can listen to others with respect without their words threatening him.

We see Yule pray on the roof with Kate, and his faith feels learned, but genuine. He isn’t repeating a family prayer in a sense of desperation. His faith is real and his own. Is he a perfect person, of course not, but that’s what makes him a good character. For a movie about science that partly mocks Evangelical people, his character could have been a quirky stoner stereotype, but instead, the writes decided to create a Christian character with respect. I would argue he and Kate as well is a moral center to the film. While the people around him worry and are filled with fear, he is a calm presence.

At the end of the most, we see Yule praying for everyone by their request. June and Dr. Randall Mindy are not particularly religious, they have no idea how to pray and only know that saying amen is part of the process. Still, they ask Yule to pray for them because it feels important.

“Dearest Father and Almighty Creator… …we ask for your grace tonight, despite our pride. Your forgiveness, despite our doubt. Most of all, Lord… We ask for Your love to soothe us through these dark times. May we face whatever is to come… …in your divine will with courage and open hearts of acceptance. Amen.”

At this point, everyone has given up any sense of control, they know they will die within minutes. June asked Yule to pray because she was scared. They all are; they fear death and what is to come and are looking for peace and acceptance.

Pride is a big force in this movie. Randall enjoys media attention and does not try to help stop the events around him out of pride. He likes feeling good about himself over fear. Tech billionaire Peter Isherwell denies the need to peer-review his plan to combat the meteor because of pride. He thinks he can fix it himself. The same goes for the president.

At this moment, the characters have a choice. They can fight and they can get angry. They can cry or isolate themselves or go into denial. Instead, they accept their fate. They understand their lack of power and they come together to give their attention to something greater than themselves. Relief doesn’t rely on them alone, and they accept that. Though all the characters are not openly religious, the moment is beautiful and unites all of them. They are accepting what they can’t change and Timothee prays for their fate in God’s hands. They are also holding each other’s hands, they are connected, unified in this terrifying situation, but they are not afraid.

The themes of acceptance and forgiveness are at the heart of this movie. So many characters try to change the world to fit their own perception of reality and hold grudges and false perceptions about others. The reporters try to distort the facts and put on false cheer. The president and tech leader aim for their own success instead of pursuing and accepting the truth. As much as we disagree with Randall’s cheating, he comes back to his wife and asks for forgiveness and she accepts him into her home. She chooses to forgive instead of getting angry and he is honest about his mistake. He doesn’t excuse his behavior or alter the facts.

So much of this movie is full of people altering facts. The ending itself is just beautiful. Timothee’s prayer, acceptance, humility, and connection between the group are powerful. Even though they barely know each other, they face this terrifying event together. That scene redeems the hopeless tragedy that humans have created.

If you’ve seen this movie, what do you think? What do you think of the things I pointed out? Let me know down in the comments below.

Books

It’s Not All Misogyny: 7 Reasons to Read The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway: A Spoiler Free Review

It’s Not All Misogyny: 7 Reasons to Read The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway: A Spoiler Free Review

Intro

The Sun Also Rises was published by Ernest Hemingway. I read this novel in my 20th Century Novel Class. I enjoyed this book, but there are some flaws. I’m going to aim for as few spoilers as possible in this review. The novel is about Jake Barnes, who travels with some friends to the Fiesta de San Fermin in Spain after World War 2. While he visits the Spanish Countryside and watches the bullfighting competition, Jake struggles with a war injury and post-war delusion as he tries to find a code to live by. It is a beautiful novel.

I looked at reviews for this article on Goodreads and I was disappointed. The novel is not just a book about a bunch of guys who chase an idealized woman. The novel is much more than that, and I am going to defend it, and Brett as a character as well.

The novel does have some problematic elements, Robert Cohn is a Jewish character who Hemingway stereotypes. He is the only Jewish character, but he is portrayed as annoying and he is mocked by all the other characters. Brett is also sexualized and treated as an object by many of the male characters, but it is realistic of the time she lived in. If we look past Jake’s perception of her, she is more complex than he gives her credit for. Cohn, unfortunately, is not treated with as much understanding, but he is pitied at least. Upon acknowledging these problems, the novel is worth reading and appreciating for the good elements. My review mostly talks about the good, but first, we will talk about alcohol.

The characters drink an absurd amount of alcohol. The characters drink every few pages and it is pretty concerning. If they are drunk the entire book, I’m not surprised considering the decisions they make. I feel like it is easy to say the book is full of people who drink all the time, but it is more than that. The characters want to numb the pain of the war and of the lives they live. They long for something greater but make awful decisions along the way. For a book with people who are always drinking, there is plenty of beautiful descriptions of nature and the atmosphere around them.

  1. Unusual Male Protagonist

Jake was wounded in the war and is impotent. I hadn’t read a book with a male protagonist in Jake’s situation before and I was surprised it was included. Jake lives a full life and maintains good friendships. Hemingway is an author who seems concerned with masculinity, so it was nice to see that Jake is never less of a man or person because he doesn’t have sex. Sex and romance bring drama for everyone who is in a relationship in this novel.

Jake, like many of Hemingway’s protagonists, was in the war. The novel deals with the post-war delusion and in a modernist novel fashion, he shows the ways we try to explain and ignore the events that happened to us. Hemingway was also famous for his “iceberg principle.” He was notorious for cutting out any bit of unnecessary information. There is so much information under the surface of conversations and thoughts that Hemingway doesn’t state. Many of these people feel broken and are looking for relief as well as a code to explain the world around them. We see all this in Jake, he isn’t idealized or perfected, no one is, and he screws up. He has to live with his choices just like all the characters do.

2. Spanish Bullfighting and Culture

I have never been to Spain or traveled to the Fiesta De San Fermin, but Hemingway made it feel like I had a ticket. Hemingway traveled all the time, and in his lifetime, he made more than 20 trips to Spain. He captures an outsider’s perspective of Spanish culture during this festival. He describes the beauty, excitement, and sadness in the event. Romero is a major bullfighter in the novel and he is beautiful. Hemingway saw bullfighting as a sacred experience that requires a deep connection between the bull and the bullfighter. From what I have heard about horseback riding, it is similar.

There is also a contrast with culture. The tourists are focused on having fun and drinking the day away and it feels like a constant party but not a good one. The descriptions of bullfighting and Spanish culture reveal a code of living that Hemingway deeply admires. Pay attention to his descriptions of bullfighting. They are where Hemingway shines.

3. Brett is the new woman

The only main female character in the novel is Lady Brett Ashley. At the time of the novel, she was The New Woman. She was a common trope and ideal for a woman after the war. She rejects the ideals of the chaste, Victorian woman. She is a woman who drinks, who smokes, who hangs out with the dudes. She outdoes all the men; she is one of the boys. All the guys want to date her. The male protagonist pines after her. Another guy even fights for her honor. Her boyfriend doesn’t care much for her and treats her poorly. She could simply be a male fantasy, but if you take a minute and look at her outside the male perspective–you might realize the guys are missing something. Although she is written under the male gaze, Jake once describes her as a motorboat, her character is more than she appears.

Lady Brett Ashley is a woman who is aware of what people think of her. She knows what she’s doing and she’s not as confident as we think. She is her own harshest critic. We see the facade of Brett, but the flashes we see are of someone with insecurities and doubts. She wonders about going to confession and feels anxious when she goes to a church. She is real, whether anyone notices or not. Though she is breaking societal roles, her role in the world is one that has been created for men. The men enjoy her personality as is, she doesn’t challenge or make them change in any way. She has to realize if this is someone she really wants to be and if so, she should break bad habits and unhealthy cycles.

4. Stunning Landscape

The descriptions of the Spanish countryside in The Sun Also Rises are gorgeous. Bill and Jake look out the window on the way there and well, here’s a quote:

“We all got in the car and it started up the white dusty road into Spain. For a while the country was much as it had been; then, climbing all the time, we crossed the top of a Col, the road winding back and forth on itself, and then it was really Spain. There were long brown mountains and a few pines and far-off forests of beech-trees on some of the mountainsides. The road went along the summit of the Col and then dropped down, and the driver had to honk, and slow up, and turn out to avoid running into two donkeys that were sleeping in the road. We came down out of the mountains and through an oak forest, and there were white cattle grazing in the forest. Down below there were grassy plains and clear streams, and then we crossed a stream and went through a gloomy little village, and started to climb again. We climbed up and up and crossed another high Col and turned along with it, and the road ran down to the right, and we saw a whole new range of mountains off to the south, all brown and baked-looking and furrowed in strange shapes.”

5. Sweet Portrayal of Male Friendship

Bill is another charming side character. He is a friend of Jake’s and he’s the only one who doesn’t pine after Brett. He is funny and a good friend to Jake. They go fishing together and have fun and it is nice to watch. They play off each other well, and though they are quite different, the two get along. It was nice to have a break from some of the more dramatic scenes.

6. Engagement with Catholicism

The novel takes place in a time where there is much misunderstanding between Catholics and Protestants and by in a time, I mean all times. The confusion has always been there. Always. Jake is a Catholic, but he is a bit of a lapsed Catholic. The modernist era includes a doubt in traditional religion, and Jake’s relationship with the church feels unusual. His doubts aren’t strong, but the post-war world he lives in and the people he surrounds himself with do not value growing or understanding faith in any meaningful way. But he still attends church and participates in Catholic traditions. Jake feels simultaneously connected with and disconnected with the rites and experiences of church. His relationship with religion feels real. The church isn’t a huge topic of discussion or major plot point, but it is layered throughout the story. That’s part of why I love Hemingway. He touches on issues with subtlety, and if you blink you will miss them, but they are so rich.

The title is also a reference to Ecclesiastes, and the words fit the novel well. The beauty of a rising sun also fits with the beauty of the material world.

7. The Difficulty of Redemption, Forgiveness, and Understanding Each Other

There were times where I felt let down. I felt both connected to and disconnected from Jake’s narration. He is an imperfect narrator, Hemingway sees things that Jake doesn’t see. If we look we can see cracks. That is part of the beauty of this novel. So many characters have obvious seeming faults, but when we look inside, they are not as obvious and easily solvable. Jake’s relationship with Brett is complicated. They are attracted but can’t ever be together. Jake knows Brett and he doesn’t know Brett. They have an understanding, but both feel misunderstood and alone. I found their entire dynamic fascinating, toxic at times, astounding. Falling in love or love isn’t a universal perfect good.

Conclusion

As I said, Hemingway provides no simple solution. The world these characters live in is not understanding of their struggles. Forgiveness can be limited, redemption can be conditional. The novel asks what it takes to make us choose to change. Mostly, we don’t want to or ignore the need to. The novel captures that temptation well. The Sun Also Rises also shows us good things, the landscape, nature, food, and comradery. The simple speech provides a complex narrative and hints at depth under the surface. Hemingway describes bullfighting beautifully; I feel like I had seats to the bullfight with Jake, Brett, Mike, Cohn, and Bill.

I also liked how traveling wasn’t the end-all-be-all to this series. Travel isn’t an escape to make our lives better, and it isn’t going to make you someone better than you are. It certainly does change you, and this is partly what the novel is about.

I would recommend this novel to any adult or young adult. The Sun Also Rises took me on a trip and back home again. All of these characters are looking for a code, and Jake’s journey and the ending are satisfying. It is beautiful but also broken at times.

Have you read The Sun Also Rises or any Hemingway novels? What did you think? Let me know down in the comments below!

Shows

Sinners Need Love; Everyone else is Useless. 4 Predictions for the Future of Helluva Boss & Hazbin Hotel

Sinners Need Love; Everyone else is Useless.  4 Predictions for the Future of Helluva Boss & Hazbin Hotel

Some Spoilers are included for Helluva Boss and Hazbin Hotel!

Hazbin Hotel, a Youtube series, and the first show Vivziepop created is a hotel that hopefully will rehabilitate sinners. Helluva Boss and Hazbin Hotel both take place in the same universe. Vivienne Mercado said that the Hell in her Helluva Boss and Hazbin Hotel series is not a copy of the Hell of Christian tradition. Mercado is called Vivziepop on her YouTube channel, and I’m using that name in this article.

She has taken some liberties, but still, the show bears some similarities with a cultural understanding of Hell, especially Dante’s Inferno. Dante’s Inferno is part of a trilogy that Dante Alighieri wrote about Dante’s journey through Hell to Purgatory. Dante was Catholic, but he took liberties in his depiction of Hell. Dante’s Inferno has been called Christian Fanfiction. I would agree. As this blog has shown, we can learn wisdom from most media. While this violent cartoon is not trying to be Dante, all media can teach wisdom or provide an accurate picture of the human condition. Whether or not this happens in these shows is to be determined.

Is everyone irredeemable? What is Hell like? Hazbin Hotel and Helluva Boss somewhat answer these questions of this nature in two hilarious YouTube shows. I find shows about Hell and Heaven fascinating, and I’m curious how this show addresses areas of morality, religion, redemption, and relationships. As much as these characters are “supposed to be bad people” there are a lot of sweet moments too. I’ll begin with a description of the lore, which is both invented and inspired.

Like Dante’s Inferno, there are nine circles of Hell. Seven of them represent the seven deadly sins. Everyone goes in a ring based on the worst sin they committed in their previous life.

In contrast, Hazbin Hotel and Helluva Boss place all earthborn sinners in the pride ring. You could argue that all sins come from pride because people sin because they believe they know best. This Hell is also composed of many different creatures, including Imps, Hellhounds, and princes of hell. Speaking of princes, Vivziepop confirmed that seven princes control the seven circles of Hell, but we have yet to meet all of them. This is where this story defers from Christain and Dantean notion of Hell. People experience positive emotions there–at least non-humans do.

RoboFizz and Demons in the Lust Ring

From the episodes we’ve seen so far, the rings of Hell, rather than rightfully punishing people for the sins they commit, are places where people relish and fully enjoy the sins of that ring. Only those born in hell can enter these rings, so the sinners cannot reach them. Asmodeus is in charge of the ring of lust, which runs like a lusty restaurant. Couples come to the tables as a place to express and celebrate their lust. Humans cannot go to the Ring of Lust, so at least sinners do not just celebrate their sin. That would make no sense. The problem is that romantic love, expressions of affection, and appreciation are as disgusting in the Lust Ring.

Therefore, when Moxxie sings a love song for Millie, he is kicked out of the ring of lust. The last episode of Helluva Boss shows that lust is not sufficient to make either Stolas or Blitz happy. Blitz feels like Stolas is using him, and rightfully so. Then Stolas starts to care about Blitz. He finally wants to get to know him. Valentino is in an abusive relationship with Angel Dust, who performs for him. I wonder if his persona is accurate or if Angel Dust is putting on an act. His video “Addict” makes me feel bad for him. 

 I’m a little confused why the rings exist. If the sinners are not punished according to each one, what is the point? The princes who ruled each ring may have created them based on what sin they liked doing the most. For instance, Asmodeus loves all things lust-related.

As Charlie creates the hotel, I wonder if there will be any change to the rings. Asmodeus and Fizz seem like a couple, will he realize that he loves Fizz and that lust is not enough? No one judges him, but you never know. They are a likable couple so far so I can see him rebelling a bit and falling in love with Fizz.

These two seem to like each other more than just lust

So, that leads to my predictions for both shows. 

We don’t know much about the earthborn sinners, but we know the demons are capable of good. Stolas and Blitz are loving, imperfect fathers, and Moxxie and Mille show love for each other all the time. Yes, they do terrible things, like try to murder husbands and people they want revenge on, but they also do good. This is important when we think of what happens next.

  1. Charlie will realize that Heaven is a Bad Place.

So, as to the question of rehabilitating sinners, I’ll start by saying that not everyone deserves to go to heaven. In the fourth episode, C.H.E.R.U.B, we meet the angels who rival Blitzo by fighting to get an elderly man into Heaven. Blitz’s group, IMP, is hired to kill him by his old business partner, Loopty. They died when they created a de-aging device, and it backfired. Loopty died, while Lye survived. Loopty went to hell for his corporate greed, and his business partner on earth reaps all the benefits of the business they created together. The man, Lyle Lipton, is a trillionaire and gives none of the money to others. He has a framed photo of money for goodness sake. He hates being old. The cherub angels come to convince him to live. Then he can be a good person and then go to Heaven. IMP plans to convince him to die so he’ll go to Hell. The story ends with Lyle deciding to live, but then he dies and goes to Hell for being a greedy person.

Despite the cherubs’ attempts to show him the goodness of life, most of their arguments are about appreciation. They argue for the beauty of the earth, music, and art and that Lyle may one day fall in love. All of these are self-centered, all will make Lyle happy, but they don’t talk about loving others. God is also absent from their arguments. The God of Vivziepop’s universe is distant. He is also far from Hell, which is correct from a Christian perspective. But, God also seems distant in Heaven and Earth. The cherubs never mention God in their speech or God’s relationship to the created world or these good things and reasons to live. In Christianity, sinners enjoy Heaven because they are with God forever. But this God seems isolated and confusing. I’m not sure if these people even interact with God at all, which is outside the point of Heaven from a Christian perspective. 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image-2-1024x442.png
The cherubs look so good here, don’t they?

The cherubs are rude and disrespectful to Blitzo, Moxxie, and Millie. They are funny, but they seem sketch. I feel like they would murder a child without hesitation. Maybe Heaven will be a case of toxic positivity, pretending to be happy all the time is good for no one. There are several online theory videos that predict Hazbin’s Heaven is a miserable place. Perhaps people are forced to be happy all the time and cheerful in this Heaven. In a Heaven without a present God making things good and these annoying cherubs being cheery all the time, I probably wouldn’t enjoy this Heaven either.

So, my theory is that either or both shows will have their characters find out that Heaven is a terrible place. I guess that it will be Hazbin. Humans are stuck in pride ring, so maybe Hazbin Hotel will allow them to enter all the rings. If they let go of their pride, perhaps they could enjoy Hell as it is. Others characters, I think, will remain in the pride ring.

2. Some human sinners are unredeemable and are just selfish

This old man does not care about anyone besides himself, so he belongs in Hell. He will probably remain rude and useless. As shown by the rude reporter, some people are just bad. They don’t want to change. We see people die in hell but then come back. This is based on a Prometheus myth; souls are erased using holy steel. I wonder if some souls will be destroyed in the show. If someone is evil enough, the show may say death into nothingness is necessary for some. What will the evil rich old man do in the pride ring? If he is unredeemable is the best punishment suffering or disappearing completely? Although I can see human sinners staying in the pride ring or gone for good, unfortunately, I’m guessing there will still be bad demons who were born in Hell, but everyone has to deal with them. But how about the others?

3. The show will argue that life circumstances and power makes us bad

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is KatieFullDemonForm.png

Helluva Boss and Hazbin Hotel are comedies. They are not solving moral questions about the problem of evil, nor are these characters supposed to be examples of how to live morally. Still, they deal with evil, and we can learn from what the show calls evil. I am guessing that power and cycles of abuse will be the worst evils. Angel Dust, for instance, became an addict and died from drugs. He was born into a mobster family, so it could have been his environment that made him an addict. He could be going along with his family and never have learned to be good. We also see Blitz’s insecurities delve from his past experiences. His desire for status and power appeals to him because he has none. He thinks a successful business will make him happy and give him respect.

4. The Main Characters will learn to love better

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image-3-1024x431.png
Stolas and Octavia

Some of these sinners have committed terrible atrocities. Alastor was a murderer on earth and buried his victims on the deer-hunting ground. He also kills demons in Hell to become powerful. He comes to the Hotel to watch sinners fail to become better. Charlie seems idealistic; her plan seems like it won’t work. I’m looking forward to hearing Alastor’s backstory and if the show finds a way to justify his actions. Did he kill bad people? Or are his actions wrong, but is he able to redeem himself? Since these characters are likable, I think they will. Charlie is overly optimistic, but Alastor is a pessimist. Their ability to work together will probably be both disastrous and challenging. It will also help both of them find a healthy medium. Hopefully, it will be hilarious.

I was surprised to see murderous characters portrayed as better than greedy and prideful people. Our pride makes us do things that harm others and ourselves. I would agree that manipulation can do plenty of damage to a person, and this is obvious in the series. Helluva Boss is quite bloody, and IMP kills people in Hell with little regard to the consequences. Alastor and Angel Dust are murderers, which is terrible. However, they are more sympathetic than the greedy rich guy. 

With Blitzo, it seems he will have to confront his past, and with Stolas’ help, learn to love him. It will be similar to other characters; they will decide to be better through the love of one another. There is also some self-sacrifice. Stolas might lose the respect he gets from the upper class. I’m hoping this happens; it seems like the owl gets whatever he wants. We love others not for what they do for us, but for themselves as people. Dante claims that all love is perverted, we love ourselves more than others. Therefore, we must redirect our love to what matters most: others. Stolas must let go of his pride and status to truly love Blitzo. He needs to be humble, which would be weird but nice to see in the pride ring.

Overall Thoughts and Questions

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image-5-1024x439.png

Power dynamics create the most evil on the show. Hell itself is composed of a hierarchy, and overlords like Valentino can treat Angel Dust like garbage despite this disparity. The difference in social status between them is why Stolas makes Blitz feel bad about himself. He is so high above Stolas in society, and he teases Blitzo and enjoys that he has authority over him. This is evident in the nicknames he calls him, “impish little plaything” and “Blitzy” are a few. Stolas needs to be kicked down a peg, at least metaphorically. Despite his faults, Stolas does care about Blitzo and his daughter. He is greedy, he wants Blitz and his status and power too, but he isn’t unwilling to change.

Overall, I’m a little disappointed by the worldbuilding. I know both shows are new, but I found much of the information I included on Hell came from the wiki page. Vivziepop also reveals information through interviews, Twitter, and the character’s Instagram accounts. Yes, these characters have Instagram. It is kind of cute, but I don’t check their accounts regularly. Creating character social media accounts is an intriguing and fun way to add to the story. As the episodes take time to come out, they can be fun bits of content for fans to look at while waiting for the next episodes. I hope these posts remain an addition rather than a necessary element to the story.

I’m hoping to get answers to big questions, like why sinners are only allowed in the pride ring and what the different rings of Hell look like soon. I want to see what happens next with Stolas and Blitzo watch their relationship grow, but I also want to learn more about this fictional world. I should be able to enjoy and understand the worlds of Hazbin Hotel and Helluva Boss without watching any youtube videos or any interviews or seeing any social media posts.

I’m curious to see what happens next. I like this show. It surprisingly has good messages that things like lust fail to make us happy because they are self-serving. Power can do horrible things to people. But Charlie’s plan to help others become better is a good one. Considering her father is Lucifer, I am surprised she’s a well-intentioned character. It may be idealistic, but I’m hoping she will learn along the way. I am quite curious about how the show will depict Lucifer and God. I’m not expecting a Christian message or program. This God will probably look very different from the Christain one if shown at all. From what I’ve seen on the wiki, this God is not a Trinity, and there is no Jesus or Holy Spirit. I would be surprised if they were even remotely similar, but that also gives God the power to be evil. Will God be good is Lucifer the good one in this world? If Lucifer is the king of pride, is he selfish? How is Charlie so determined to help others.

Stolas and the main characters better not die. It would feel cheap to kill anyone right now. Considering the creators love Stolas and Blitzo as a couple, it seems unlikely. I like them too, though I hope they’re able to fix their problems. They’re pretty unhealthy right now, and Blitz has to work himself a bit. Stolas needs some awareness of people outside of himself. For other characters, I want to see more development. I want to learn about Alastor and Angel’s backstories and learn more about Charlie. I hope they don’t give Alastor a love interest like they said they wouldn’t. It would be nice to have a character who isn’t paired off. Everyone is deeply flawed, so I hope they can learn a bit and become better people. Whatever happens, I’m hoping for good storytelling and tons of jokes.

Note: I heard that Hazbin Hotel will be recast. The previous cast was fantastic and I’m a little disappointed I won’t be hearing them again. As to the new cast, I won’t I’m not sure how I feel about this yet, but I’m reserving judgment until more information is released.

Have you seen Hazbin Hotel or Helluva Boss? What did you think of the show’s portrayal of Hell so far? What do you like or not like about it? Let me know down in the comments below. 

Movies

Michael Scott is in Love? Dan In Real Life: The Love Story You’re Missing

Michael Scott is in Love? Dan In Real Life: The Love Story You’re Missing

Are you sick of Hallmark movies? Is Deck the Halls a little too much? I personally just want a good holiday story where the family isn’t all tinsel and hot chocolate. I love this season, and Christmas, but it just feels like false cheer. Holidays are stressful and awkward and hanging out with your family for days on end isn’t the magical dream that you see in the movies.

Just like The Office isn’t a story about a people working in glamorous careers and meeting equally put-together people, media about real people is so much better than perfect humans. We also see the beauty and awkwardness in relationships between people. Jim and Pam’s story is beautiful because they are so imperfect and awkward. Meanwhile, Hallmark actors are always cheerful, always get along with their friends, and the attractive love interest instantly falls for them. They are awkward at times, it is always charming, and their love never feels real or painful. We know who will end up together, and that no true obstacles will come that a little holiday magic can’t fix.

I’d much prefer seeing normal people just being awkward but look for love in all the wrong places. If there is one person who fits this ideal best, it is Steve Carell. Michael Scott is the most uncomfortably awkward human on television, but he is also one of the most likable. In this movie, luckily, we don’t have to deal with the cringe factor.

If you like Steve Carell being serious, and pining after someone he can’t date, this movie is a good watch. Dan is just living in real life, trying to find love, but turns out life isn’t that easy. Dan in Real Life is available to watch on Disney Plus and Amazon Prime.

Ever dream of meeting the love of your life in a bookstore? Dan in Real Life turns a classic trope on its side when she shows up at their family weekend as his brother’s new girlfriend.

If you’re not quite sold yet, I get it. I saw this movie on Amazon and to be honest I wasn’t sure if it’d be that good. I love Steve Carell in The Office, but I wasn’t sure how he would be as a romantic lead. He’s just so silly to be a pining lover, to my surprise, it worked. He was a great actor in this movie and the romance is really sweet and realistic.

Note: the movie references Emily Dickinson Poetry and Flannery O’Connor’s A Good Man is Hard to Find. Both authors are fantastic, and Dan picks these books up when he is looking for recommendations for Marie.

It doesn’t hurt that he and Marie (Juliette Binoche) have amazing chemistry. The story begins by establishing Dan as a widow with three daughters. He writes for a newspaper as an advice columnist and lives a pretty normal life. Dan is known for giving great advice to others, but he’s not so great at following it himself. He is a caring dad, but he can be a bit overprotective.

The love in this movie is very dramatic; Dan and Marie are attracted to each other, but Marie likes his brother as well and wants to see where it goes with him. She is also attracted to Dan and wishes they had met under different circumstances. The tension is intense when they are together and often funny.

The problem is they can’t tell anyone. Dan’s brother Mitch was a bit of a player in the past and isn’t the best with words, but he’s not too bad of a guy. He’s one of those gym-goers, and I can understand why the two get together at the beginning. I definitely rooting for Dan over Mitch, but Mitch wasn’t one of those jerks who the sweet lead would never think of interacting with in the first place.

Dan’s daughter Cara (Britt Robertson) is also in love with a boy named Marty. It was funny seeing the contrast between their young love and Dan’s hidden feelings for Marie. His other daughters are pretty funny too. They are sweet and not overly cutesy.

Their relationship with their father is pretty normal, the two oldest daughters are often annoyed with him and his youngest daughter still likes him. The actresses playing his daughters were pretty good. Dan is a good dad too, with Steve Carell, I expected him to be overly awkward or incompetent, but he was actually really sweet. There are some stereotypical family bonding activities like playing football in the backyard and charades, and they are fun, if a little cheesy.

Steve Carell’s acting is amazing in this film, he goes from sweet and romantic to grumpy and heartbroken and he’s never unbelievable. He is understandably heartbroken, but he keeps it to himself mostly. He’s never mad at Marie for no reason and he doesn’t take his anger out on his brother. He’s a decent person, but like all romantic protagonists, he makes a few mistakes. Yes, he pines a bit and is overdramatic, but it’s all part of the fun in a romantic comedy. I laughed out loud and almost shed a tear at the romantic scenes.

The movie shows that sometimes you have to be open to surprises. The timing isn’t always right, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make it work. I could predict what would happen at the end, but I enjoyed the ride. It works out in the end, but I feel like it could happen in real life. It’s not totally unbelievable. There are no Christmas miracles or anything like that, and for that reason, I would recommend this movie to anyone interested in a heartfelt romance who could use a break from the Hallmark movies.

If you’re curious about the pancakes, there is a reason for them. Hint: its sweet.

Chronicles of the Muse

7 Things I Learned from Creating My First Podcast Episode with Chronicles of PA Wilson

7 Things I Learned from Creating My First Podcast Episode with Chronicles of PA Wilson

 So, I did a thing. I’m starting a podcast with my friend, a fellow blogger and fellow English major, Paige Wilson, also known as Chronicles of PA Wilson. We wrote a study guide on a book we read in our 20th Century Novel Class at Grove City College a month back. It is a challenging but rewarding read. We wanted to help students and interested readers as they read this novel. We also wanted to talk about all our favorite and least favorite parts.

We’ve always enjoyed talking about books, shows, movies, and everything else, so we decided to make a podcast. Although I’ve had a bit of experience creating videos and video editing and I’ve used Audacity a little, making a podcast was not like I’d expected. Making a podcast is like jumping out of a hundred-story window and learning how to land. Here are seven things I learned from making the first episode.

  1. Being Recorded isn’t too bad

I’m not used to being on camera, and I’ve never been a fan of putting myself out there, so I was a little nervous before filming a podcast. To my surprise, it wasn’t so bad. After a few minutes, it felt normal. Paige and I were a little uncertain at times, but I think I’ll get more comfortable with it as time goes on. We used our study guide as a sort of script, so that helped me remember what to say

2. You need a good microphone 

We both recorded the first episode using our computer microphones. Paige’s microphone picked up background sound, so we had to cancel the noise on Audacity. We both bought microphones and plan to use them for our next episode.

3. Have a backup just in case

Paige and I set up our podcast by calling each other on Zoom. We recorded ourselves using Audacity and on Zoom. We each recorded ourselves on Audacity and later synched the audios together. It is important to have backup audio just in case something goes wrong with Audacity or the recording. Luckily, there were no problems.

4. Editing is tedious and time-consuming.

 I sent Paige the recording of my audio and she edited them together. She uploaded them to an MP3 and then created a second edit. In the second recording, we edited out long poses and the “um” and the “likes.” Since I did not have a good mic yet, unnecessary background noise. She edited the first ten minutes or so of the second recording and I finished it. It took us at least 8 hours between the two of us. Reducing the background noise took a lot of time. If you have a good microphone, editing should not take as long, but it is still tiring.

5. I say “like” a lot when I talk, Paige said “um a few times

I barely notice these things when I speak out loud, and I know it’s what happens when we talk normally, but wow. I use filler words a lot. I didn’t even want to try counting them

6. Editing isn’t too bad

Although editing feels like it takes ages sometimes, I enjoyed listening to us talk again and remembering all the points we made. It is so satisfying to cut out that extra “um” and make the audio sound better. When I finished, I felt like I created something cool. I loved making progress as I went along and then listening to the final project. 

7. Podcasting is fun and it is not just for extraverts

I had a blast making the first episode. I used to think podcasts were for more outgoing people, but anyone can do it. I don’t worry about other people listening because it is prerecorded. It feels like a conversation with a friend. I also loved the opportunity to talk about books! The Sound and the Fury is one of my favorites, and I love talking about the characters and all the complicated questions it asks.

Check out The Chronicles of a Muse podcast on my podcast page!

We plan to create another episode soon. We are introducing Chronicles of the Muse, talking a little about ourselves and our plans for this podcast. Keep listening, folks. We plan on getting more into literature soon. We also love to analyze books, shows, music, and movies on our separate blogs. Check out my blog and Paige’s at chroniclesofpawilson.com.

Shows

BoJack Horseman argues Parenthood Should Be A Choice

A horrible mother, a strong-willed woman, a horrible person, a debutante, and the one who never asked to be a mother– all those phrases describe Beatrice Horseman. BoJack, her son, the only living person to remember her says:

“Beatrice Horseman was born in 1938, and she died in 2018, and I have no idea… what she wanted.”


Beatrice’s big tragedy is that she never got a chance to go after what she wanted. She never even had time to evaluate and figure out where she wanted to go in life. She was raised into a life where no one asked.

Who is Beatrice Horseman and why does she so trapped? It all began when she was a child, and her problems began far before she could fully understand them.

Beatrice had a brother Crackerjack who died in the war. Her mother broke down, and her father lobotomized her mother Honey when Beatrice was a young girl. She warned her daughter to never love others as much as she loved her son because he died. Her father, Joseph Sugarman, was emotionally abusive. Beatrice then turns into an abusive mother.

If we look back, her present behavior comes from her upbringing. We see later that Beatrice is mad at BoJack for what giving birth to him did to her body. Beatrice was a little chubby as a kid, as many kids are, and her father was overly critical of her weight. He even went so much to prevent his daughter from eating ice cream, he said eating sugar and lemon was a better snack for girls.

When she gets Scarlett Fever, her dad says he’s glad that she lost weight from the fever. He’s outlandish, sexist, overly rude, and selfish. He also has no moral backing for his actions. He holds onto gender roles and rejects emotions for no foreseeable reason; he is a two-dimensional character. We can only assume that his father was terrible as well, and he makes a terrifying villain. None of this excuses his actions. However, we don’t understand why he does the things he does. He also blames his wife for not knowing that her daughter has Scarlett Fever and for not protecting her. The role of a woman is to be a good mother, he says, but he is ironically a terrible father. He says weird things like this:

“Now, stop making books your friends. Reading does nothing for young women but build their brains taking valuable resources away from their breasts and hips.”

She also makes the wrong choice, unintentionally, the first chance she has to break away from her parents. She attends a debutante party and chats with party crasher Butterscotch Horseman. He scorns the life she is born into and is different and attractive, and they have a one-night stand. Then she gets pregnant.

Beatrice marries Butterscotch and plans to raise BoJack with him because she thinks they can have a life together. She bases this on a romanticized picture that Butterscotch paints for her. The time her father burned a favorite doll haunts her, so she decides to have and raise the child out of fear and fantasy.


She never thinks about what she really wants out of life. She has passions, but her parents present marriage into a wealthy family as the only option. Therefore, she never gets to consider putting her career or other interests over finding a man. Things seem black and white to Beatrice. There are two groups: the high society that her parents live under and the rebels. She rejects the societal choice: ice cream businessman Corbin Creemerman. Beatrice chooses the rugged Kerouac-loving stallion instead thinking he’ll give her the a viable alternative to her father’s choices. But she is wrong. She learns that Corbin wanted to challenge his father’s ideas and do his business his way. He also had passion and talent. But pregnancy means that things are too late for her. That one night now determined her future. Butterscotch talked the talk, but his words came out horse crap.

The show stresses that we cannot run away from our problems. We have to look for solutions based on what we want. Beatrice is a perfect example. Running away from her emotionally abusive father led her to another abusive man. Butterscotch’s abuse is not Beatice’s fault. The mentality her father ingrained in her kept her from seeing other options as viable.

BoJack Horseman constantly reminds us that we can’t run away from our problems, and Beatrice models that ideal like she’s working for Cosmo. She learns that running away from her emotionally abusive father led her to another abusive man. She gave up her dreams for a man, so when she meets a woman with dreams to become a nurse, she encourages her to choose her career.


When Butterscotch gets the maid pregnant, he begs Beatrice to talk to her.

“Don’t throw away your dreams for this child. Don’t let that man poison your life the way he did mine. You are going to finish your schooling and become a nurse. You’ll meet a man, a good man and you’ll have a family, but please believe me you don’t want this. Please, Henrietta, you have to believe me. Please, don’t do it I did.”


Beatrice went to Columbia College. Her father wanted her to find a husband there. We do not know what Beatrice studied, but we do know she was passionate about civil rights, justice, and lessening economic disparities. She was critical of the social class she grew up in and of her father’s business.

She reminds me a lot of Diane, they both have the same passions, but Beatrice got stuck in a life she never wanted. When she decides to marry Butterscotch, she follows is a romanticized idea of marriage and a family and is thus stuck there.

Time’s Arrow challenges the idea that things happen for a–presumably good–reason. Beatrice and Butterscotch actually wanted different things out of life, but they din’t get a chance to end their relationship. Beatrice accepted the consequences of her choices, and her acceptance of the life she chose limited her for the rest of her life.

Beatrice says that later in life Henrietta will meet a good man and have a family. Is Beatrice projecting here?

She chose not to think about if she wanted to be a stay-at-home mom because Butterscotch told her life would be idyllic and she wanted to believe him. She never made a conscious decision to be a parent, let alone a good one. She didn’t see her child as a living creature who deserved love. She was never taught about loving another person. Instead, she saw BoJack as something that ruined her life. It is fortunate that her son never becomes a father.


At the end of the series, Herb says BoJack is a:

“Husband to no-one, father to no one (that we know of) Standup comedian, actor, crippling alcoholic, a talented charmer, a stupid piece of shit.”


It is joked about that BoJack paid for several women to get abortions. The horse certainly spread his seed, and he could have gotten a woman pregnant who ended up either raising or putting up a child for adoption. It is no surprise when Hollyhock tells him that he might be her daddy. Hollyhock forces BoJack to become responsible for another human, and as we see in Stupid Piece of Sh*t, he uses this to fuel his self-hatred further. He ditches her to get drunk. So, fatherly responsibility isn’t going to fix BoJack.


His lie that the voice in her head goes away would probably come back to haunt her when she realized her father suffered the same way. He is relieved when he realizes that Hollyhock is his sister instead. Once he realizes he has no obligation to be a parent, their relationship actually improves. The show never argues that parenthood makes anyone a better or less selfish person. It is clear BoJack makes a terrible parent.
BoJack’s experiences with children are rarely good. He gives four-year-old Sarah Lynn that harrowing speech not to stop dancing. But that doesn’t stop his desires or curiosity about having children.

But he dreams of an alternate world of marrying Charlotte and having a daughter. It is a beautiful image of what could have been. We don’t know if it could’ve been that good. The idealist in me wants to believe that, though it wouldn’t have been all sunshine and rainbows, it would be better for him. If BoJack thought about it and decided to leave LA, he could have been happier. But when he meets Charlotte’s family and real daughter, Penny, he gives her teenage friends alcohol, leaves an overdosed teen at the hospital unaided. He then agrees to and almost has sex with Charlotte’s daughter after Charlotte rejects him. I could go on, but BoJack takes horrible care of himself and even worse care of others.


Diane and Mr. Peanutbutter are other characters who deal with children. Diane has an abortion and the two seem just not to want kids. Their relationship as a couple has been tumultuous, but they also have good times. Oddly enough, I would argue that the episode where Diane has an abortion is the best the two have gotten along and the healthiest day we see of their relationship. We also see that their lack of interest in having kids is completely unrelated to the state of their marriage or their desire for love. They both marry and remarry a couple of times in the show and put effort into their marriage when they’re together. Being in a loving and stable relationship and having a partner to lean on and live life with is important for both of them. Having children is something that neither of them wants out of life.
Diane does end up marrying Guy, who has a teenage stepson. It was fun watching them bond. Sonny is a pretty well-adjusted teen, and she doesn’t have to parent him. That is all Guy.

Diane also has a heart for helping kids, and people who are struggling. She cares for a boy in Cordovia only for him to die. She worries about her neglectful parents and wants to use her trauma for good and to help others in similar situations. Diane ends up writing a middle-grade mystery series about a Vietnamese American girl named Ivy Tran because she enjoys it. She says she wishes that she could have read a novel like this growing up. It could have helped her. Although she doesn’t help children through motherhood, Diane helps kids in ways she didn’t expect. BoJack Horseman shows that you don’t have to give up your passions to be happy. She helps others by doing things that she loves rather than sacrificing what she wants. By realizing her passions, Diane can help kids around the world. Kids can look up to her and have hope for the future. Ivy Trans is a gift that keeps giving, she creates a world that she wishes she had as a kid.


Instead, she watched BoJack’s Horsin’ Around as a kid, a show that simplified life’s problems into 30-minute segments. The show put real kids on set for hours a day, performing for an audience of people who do not care about them. A good parent could have helped Sarah Lynn realize her passions and encouraged her in her dream to become an architect. Instead, she was raised by money-driven parents and negligent producers who contributed to her low-self worth and addiction. Sarah Lynn deserved so much better.


This show would be pretty skeptical of all parents if it weren’t for Princess Carolyn. She is the one major character who desperately wants a baby. She famously says:

I compulsively take care of other people because I can’t take care of myself.”

Out of all the characters, surface-level Princess Carolyn would not want kids. Women in fiction who focus on their careers usually lack a desire for children. Work and children are two separate areas of life where one can succeed. A woman chooses one or the other. Princess Carolyn cares about her career more than anyone else. She works long hours, does almost everything for the job.

When we look at Diane, she works hard when she is passionate about something, but she cares much more for the social impact of her work and gets little of her value from the work itself if it is not meaningful. She also spends a considerable portion of her time on her romantic relationships.


For BoJack, the work is the means to an end too. BoJack puts a decent bit of his self-worth into work. He is willing to put effort into work if it makes him feel good about himself, gives his life purpose, and makes him look good, but he gives up if it doesn’t serve him. His work never fully fulfills him, because each project ends and then he has to do something new. He keeps looking for a meaningful role, but he doesn’t find what he’s looking for. Work can’t make him feel better about himself, which is why he also spends a significant amount of his time trying to feel better about himself and numb the pain through drugs, alcohol, and sex. Mr. Peanutbutter and Todd put their effort into wacky hijinks and work seems to just happen to them.

Princess Carolyn, in contrast, spends the majority of her time working. She rarely dates or puts effort into romantic relationships, even though she wants to have a child. She is good at her job, so she puts all her time and energy into work.


It is only when Princess Carolyn leaves an environment that promotes working hard and selling anything that she is challenged. This is when she visits a pregnant woman named Sadie who lives in the same rural town she grew up in. Her hometown was a place where she she started out, and it humbled her even when she doesn’t want to be humbled.

Princess Carolyn tries to impress Sadie, but she learns that outside of Hollywoo, people aren’t flattered easily. Sadie calls Princess Carolyn out. Princess Carolyn insists that Sadie does what she wants and doesn’t decide based on her boyfriend or the baby. Princess Carolyn insists that she knows best, and though she has good intentions. The reality is that Sadie could give her child a good life if she wanted to be a mother. There isn’t a better way of life or one right way to be a parent, but you have to want and choose to care about your kids and put them first.

“I just want to give your baby a better life”

“Better than what. Better than a sky for of stars?”

Princess Carolyn and Sadie

Princess Carolyn has to let go of her ego. She treats taking care of a kid like a business deal, but Sadie doesn’t fall for her tricks, just like a child wouldn’t. Princess Carolyn is called out for her flaws, before adopting a child, and I found this important. Princess Carolyn is one of my favorite characters, and she is certainly tenacious, but I did wonder if she’d be a good mother. She ends up spending a lot of time on her career after adopting Ruthie and she ends up marrying Judah, who is just as job-focused as she is. Her acceptance of Sadie, and realizing that what she wants might not be best for Sadie. She has to understand someone else’s needs and put them first.

I felt hopeful after that scene, if her daughter is different from her if she doesn’t have that work-loving ambition, Princess Carolyn will love her all the same. Unlike her mother, she can accept someone’s dream is not hers. Her child will grow up and become an individual and find purpose in a lifestyle that might be different from her mother.


By recognizing that her child won’t always do what she wants, Princess Carolyn will be a better mother than hers was. I found that role models help. Beatrice Horseman lost everything that she loved, but she had no role model. Princess Carolyn is inspired by Amelia Airheart to pursue her dreams, and she always worked for what she wanted. She knew what she wanted, which can be rare, but she always made the best of a bad situation. It is how she grew up. She will raise Ruthie and pass her values into her. I like to think that Princess Carolyn became a good mother.


Still, her self-reliance is a trademark of her character, she pushes a loving boyfriend away. She’s also been through a lot, she knows that she wants a baby and is willing to go through anything to get there. In the episode Ruthie, Princess Carolyn imagines her great-great-great-granddaughter telling her class about a day in her life. It is revealed in “Ruthie” that she had five miscarriages. She isn’t longing for an idealized fantasy, she wants something and goes after it. She does enjoy the work she does and she names a tv show Philibert after a baby she lost. The show becomes a pseudo child for her. It becomes clear though, that the show isn’t what Princess Carolyn wants. She wants a real child, a real person to love and to carry on her legacy. It is only when her work baby dies–Philbert gets canceled–that Princess Carolyn finally gets her real baby. Princess Carolyn chooses to have a baby because it is what she wants, and she makes sacrifices to get there. Princess Carolyn and her goals are amazing, but the show makes it clear that not everyone should follow her example. When BoJack contemplates his life in a dreamlike state in “The View From Halfway Down” he talks about sacrifice with the important people in his life.

BoJack: “When we grow up in a house that does that we internalize this idea that being happy is a selfish act, but sacrifice doesn’t mean anything.”

Sarah Lynn: “Yes it does.”

BoJack: “Sacrifice? In the service of something greater, maybe, but just in and of itself? What’s the good in that?”

Beatrice was convinced that she was giving up herself, sacrificing her happiness for a husband and child. She feels that marrying Butterscotch and raising BoJack was her sacrifice to life, but this notion limits her. In reality, she does not give anything to BoJack. She emotionally abuses him and makes him feel small and worthless. She clings to the societal convention that people shouldn’t divorce, but there is no heart behind that conviction. Her father burned her doll as a child when she gets sick, and he tells her it is a good thing. Giving up the good things is never the answer. Beatrice made a sacrifice raising BoJack, but she never wanted to be a mother of Butterscotch’s child. He doesn’t want BoJack either, and they are both miserable. Her mentality about sacrifice isn’t good for anyone.


There is never a message that there is a greater cause that makes sacrifice worth it. Beatrice’s father’s misogyny is shallow. He only cares about money and surface-level appearances. Beatrice continues this cycle and remains miserable because it is the only thing she knows. She feels unable to love BoJack because she feels like her ability to love is gone, like her doll in the fire.

If we look at Diane, she never gave up her passion for anything else. She ended her marriage with Mr. Peanutbutter because she didn’t want to live always squinting to see what makes her happy. She wanted to be happy and to be the best version of herself. By following what she is good at (writing) and what she enjoys, Diane helps others in a brilliant but unexpected way. The same is to be said for BoJack. He never becomes a father in the traditional sense, but he helps coach young actors at Wesleyan and later actors in prison. He turns out to be a great coach, and he gives to something bigger than himself. His acting is no longer just something to boost his ego, and he doesn’t have to put hours into something he hates for the sake of doing good. He genuinely loves helping people and uses his experience to his advantage. BoJack also has made the decision to change and do good by the people around him.


When Princess Carolyn finally adopts Ruthie, life becomes busier, but she is in a good place to have a child. Soon afterward, Judah tells her that he loves her and they get married. Before her marriage, her friend Todd also helped her out and babysat. She can handle this and she wants a baby. Although things might not always be the same, Princess Carolyn trusts her past self made the right choice.


Choice doesn’t necessarily make things better in BoJack’s world–people often make terrible ones–but the central message is that you have to both accept and embrace the decisions you make. When Beatrice makes Henrietta give up her daughter, it is easy to see her as cruel. We know Hollyhock was raised by loving parents, but we don’t know if giving up the baby was the right decision. Henrietta wanted her baby more than Beatrice ever did, but she also wanted a baby for perhaps the wrong reasons. She still cared for Butterscotch and hoped he would be a good father and romantic partner. Beatrice knew the truth.

So, when it comes to decisions and sacrifice, the series affirms that thoughtful and careful consideration are important. People who are unable to receive the facts are at a disadvantage. Beatrice is here when she decides to marry Butterscotch. It is important to take what we know and work with it.

We can’t predict the future, but we can learn about our situation now and decide on those factors. At one point, BoJack asks Princess Carolyn why she is an agent and she says that she is good at it. She keeps working and finds she wants to be a manager, a similar role, instead. We should look at what makes us happy, our strengths, and think about what makes us happy in real-life rather than grasping for ideals or our imagination. At the end of the series, BoJack responds to Carolyn’s concern about doubting herself. What if her marriage to Judah doesn’t work out? Well, that’s just life–we make choices and figure things out.

” No, but you’re here because at some point, Princess Carolyn thought this was a really good idea, and I think we oughtta listen to her because she’s the smartest woman I know”

Have you watched BoJack Horseman? What did you think? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Music

LoFi is Superior to Focus Music: 5 Playlists to Study, Chill, Write and, Relax To When You Can’t Focus

LoFi is Superior to Focus Music: 5 Playlists to Study, Chill, Write and, Relax To When You Can’t Focus

So, I have a confession. My Spotify Wrapped may be a tad inaccurate. Truth is, I listen to a lot of music on YouTube. For some reason, it is satisfying to switch Google Chrome from music to my writing within seconds. I also don’t have premium, so that makes it a bit challenging. It messes with my ability to focus. Nevertheless, I love listening to music while I study, and YouTube has a bunch of playlists that people make. So, here we are. Here is a list of my top 5 categories of playlists to study, write, and relax to.

  1. Dark Academia

I like dark academic music for studying because it feels classical, studious, and adventurous. Dark academia is basically classical music with dark undertones. When I listen to dark academia music, the world around me falls away and I am transported to a new place. Imagine walking down the dark towers, a deep forest, or studying at the library at night. I like to imagine that I go to college at Hogwarts and there are ghosts hidden everywhere. I’ve listened to this one several times and it just works when I want to feel serious about academics.

2. Light Academia

Light academia is an alteration from Dark Academia. Light academia is an outstretched hand for a dance in a golden ballroom, a gentle smile, a sweet symphony. Calm, regal, castle. Your Jane Austens, fairy tale, kingdoms. It is associated with royal core, and sometimes books like The Selection are included in this aesthetic. I never finished The Selection, but the light classical music is beautiful. You are transformed into another time. You are learning dance steps with royalty in the back room. You’re elegant. Light academia tiptoes in, light on her feet, she sweeps you into a beautiful dance. You’re captivated by the scene, the delicacy, the large room.

3. LoFi

If Light Academia is classical, Lofi is modern. With a pair of headphones and a laptop, skyscrapers all around, winter, summer, spring, or autumn, she’s vibing. She’s cool and you want to be like her. She’s always there, which is kind of weird, but she’s also there for you. Lofi is the offbeat of a song, so the beats do not necessarily feel normal. Somehow, it works. When my motivation to study is a little off, the Lofi helps set me back in place. LoFi isn’t my absolute favorite though. I usually enjoy the themed LoFi videos over the live ones. I like LoFi but sometimes the offbeat isn’t the vibe I want, so I switch to light academia. I chose one of my favorites, this one is for ghosts only. It has some of the dark academic vibes that I love.

4. Electric Swing

I love swing dancing, but I hadn’t ever checked electric swing music out until a friend mentioned that she studied with an electric swing playlist in the background. Swing is fast and fun, and I don’t generally listen to the ones with words while I read. It is a lot of fun to listen to while you work on work like design or writing. Out of all the music, this one puts me in the best mood. The song’s beat hit and I am energized and focused. I feel more upbeat at 3 in the afternoon than I normally would after a day of work. I chose this playlist because it is for a character from a show I like, Hazbin Hotel. The songs on here are fun and upbeat and Alastor is a bit of a trickster figure. There are plenty of electric swing playlists out there so I’d recommend checking them out. Some are older and others are more modern, but all of them are pretty good if you’re in the mood for some sweet jazz.

5. Deep Focus Music

This my dudes, is for when you’re feeling so, so serious. When you need to STUDY and it is IMPORTANT, you slap one of these things in and prepare for hours of a test. You put on the music and you’ll have the focus skills and brainpower to move mountains. I listen to these when I want to focus on studying rather than enjoy the music. It isn’t bad music, it’s just a little boring sometimes. I don’t listen to these for a long time, but they are cool when you want to hyper-focus on an assignment. It makes you feel like you’re using your brain and are great at not procrastinating for a while, so that’s a plus.

So, if you’re relaxing, these songs can be nice to chill to. If you’re studying something challenging, especially for midterms finals, remember, take breaks, get some sleep, eat regularly, stay hydrated, take a walk or exercise a little to give your mind a break, and do your best when the time comes. I was intimidated by finals my first year, but after the last test, it’s a great relief. You’re awesome. You made it through another semester, half a year, I’m proud of you all. Remember your worth isn’t in your grades, whatever it ends up, it is a test, and there is much, much more to life. And afterward, you can take relaxing seriously, take a nap, chill out. You deserve it.

Shows

5 Reasons Bojack Horseman Is Perfect for Gen Z

Sad Horses. I can not remember the last time I watched a show with anthropomorphic animals that made me so sad, maybe Charlotte’s Web? I was around eight, and I watched the 1973 version. It always cracked me up when I was having a bad day. Does anyone remember the rat paradise scene? I’d recommend checking it out if you haven’t seen it before. He walks around the fair and eats a bunch of fair food. A mood perhaps. Anyway, I the ending of Charlotte’s Web made me cry the first time I saw it, but Bojack has so much more sadness.

So, why do I keep talking about this? Why is this odd show starring anthropomorphic animals and cartoon humans so good? Look at this picture.

There were loads of pictures and great scenes I could have introduced BoJack with, but this one fits my gut reaction to the show best. BoJack Horseman forces us to see ourselves. The show serves as a mirror to ourselves. It shows the world we live in, the lines on our faces, our mistakes, our biggest regrets. Our days of Horsin Around have ended. Hard times and self-reflection have begun. The days of animal puns, a deep dive into various facets of the human psyche, and all the worst parts about ourselves are just beginning.

Raphael Bob Waksberg is incredibly talented. If you are an optimistic person and have a high view of human nature, buckle up. You will be in for a bumpy ride. Do you see that one with all the potholes? Yes, we are in the right place. We are going to fasten our seatbelts now. If you are in the camp of people who feel stuck a lot of the time and struggle to get better, prepare for more disappointment in humanity and animality. I am not saying the characters are unlikable. Many of them–like Princess Carolyn, Todd, and Diane–are fascinating and deeply imperfect. Others are awful people or random criminal masterminds, like Margo Martindale, and almost everyone is miserable.

There are also moments like this:

The fire department saves this poor cat quickly. Unfortunately, when people get stuck in a bad situation due to their personal choices, we cannot become free from what got us there. A few people, a truck, and a ladder cannot solve their unhealthy patterns. Mistakes come with long-term consequences and sometimes permanent damage to relationships. How we acknowledge and continue to live after our mistakes is a question that the show asks. And if you want more animal puns, BoJack Horseman contains many, many more of them. 

So here is a Spoiler-free list of all the reasons to watch Bojack Horseman.

So, why do you watch that weird show with the talking horse? That is a question I heard a few times this summer from family and friends when I told them I watched Bojack Horseman on Netflix. Bojack Horseman, known for sad themes, is often called the Sad Horse show. Bojack Horseman was the type of show I watched a couple of episodes at a time a few days a week. I would never binge the series in a week. Like a fine wine, Bojack works best when you take a sip and let it sit with you for a while. Perhaps I have not convinced you to watch yet, fair enough. I had not watched many adult cartoons before this one, and I was a little skeptical about a talking horse show.

Thankfully, a few scenes popped enough on my youtube recommendations. After witnessing enormous emotional depth and character development packed in a few short clips, I needed to watch BoJack Horseman. When I finished the sixth season, the tall, depressed, anthropomorphic horse actor and his friends won my heart. Despite, or even because the show focused on this fifty-something talking horse rather than some live actor. BoJack Horseman felt more human than anything I have watched in a while. Here are some reasons why you should give BoJack a try.

  1. Excellent Character Development
136 Hidden Jokes You Probably Missed On "BoJack Horseman" | Bojack  horseman, Horseman, Cartoon cat
Princess Carolyn, agent

Many of the characters are unique and have different backstories and goals for life. I recognized myself in several of the characters. BoJack is a washed-up actor trying to find out what will give him purpose.

Princess Carolyn is focused on her career and longs for a baby. Her desire to be a mother and issues conceiving feel very real. She works with BoJack, which is complicated for several reasons, one is his egoism. She often takes care of other people over herself and after all these years, she still isn’t where she wants in life.

Diane is a passionate writer and wants to help others and make a difference. She is a humanitarian and she wants to do good, but she still hasn’t figured out how her ambitions fit with the soullessness of LA. She is dating Mr. Peanutbutter, whose constant optimism clashes with her dissatisfaction with the world.

Todd is a young guy who is oddly successful with his wacky business ideas until they crash and burn. He crashes at BoJack’s and he is trying to find his place in the world. I’m going to add a minor spoiler here.

A part of Todd’s storyline is his discovery of his sexuality. Todd finds out that he is asexual in the fourth season. Asexual people do not experience sexual attraction to anyone. In a world where romance and sex are rampant, I appreciated how much the writers cared about the storyline. They took an established and lovable character, Todd is so sweet and funny, and showed him figuring out that he is ace. This storyline made me love him all the more. Todd meets other asexual people, and we learn about their asexual experiences too. Todd is a great character and represents a group of people (1% of the population) rarely seen on screen.

Overall, everyone is on a unique path to understanding themselves and the world better. Everyone in BoJack Horseman is grappling with life dissatisfaction at the beginning of the series. Everyone is shaped and drawn to certain behaviors for better or worse, but they all have to figure out how to live in this world. Every person or animal must grapple with cycles of bad habits and character flaws as they try to create meaning for their lives.

Their parents and past shows shaped their current selves. How does someone develop and find peace after leaving behind an unhealthy childhood? Most of the characters are stuck in their careers and lifestyles. But does that mean that they are successful and happy? What does it mean to be a success, anyway? And where do we go next if our choices aren’t making us happy? What does happiness mean for us? How do we get there?

Every character has a unique set of passions, goals, and personalities. The road to happiness is not a straight drive, and I root for all of them along the way.

2. Mental Health Representation, Depression, Alcoholism, and Abusive Childhoods

Bojack and Todd Vibing in Bojack’s Mansion

There is not much accurate representation on TV for any of these experiences. Recently, mental health awareness has become more popular and widespread. Representation in media helps people with these experiences feel seen and helps educate others about people who suffer from depression, anxiety, Bipolar disorder, or other mental health issues. BoJack Horseman shows the day-to-day life of a person experiencing depression. Season 4, Episode 6, “Stupid Piece of Sh*t”, is celebrated for portraying the inner monologue of someone dealing with depression and alcoholism. “The Face of Depression” and “Good Damage” give an inside look into depression from another perspective and capture the feelings some people with depression experience. Both characters struggle with depression but they both experience, process, and deal with the symptoms differently. 

Bojack Horseman shows how childhood abuse affects self-worth. Get prepared for flashbacks! And bring the tissues and the tomatoes. I disliked quite a few people in the show. I would not boo them off stage, but I want to. I also want to keep watching. The people in this show are sometimes the worst. Most come from complicated lives and have reasons for why they are the way they are. 

3. It is honest

Princess Carolyn and Bojack

Bojack Horseman shows that life is hard; Wacksberg never shies away from critiquing Hollywood, the deep flaws within our culture, and the tragedies that befall people who become famous at a young age. If you heard about the cast of Full House or the case of Britney Spears, famous people are often treated like dirt, by their audiences, by each other, and by the industry itself.

I found myself understanding and empathizing with many characters even though I never experienced fame myself. Everyone in Bojack Horseman is flawed and human. They also have moments where they are funny, kind-hearted, and creative. Shows like the Simpsons and other sitcoms are funny and sometimes heartwarming, but I can never get invested in them. No one truly changes or grows, and few acknowledge existential angst. They are comfortable, sometimes they complain about the monotony of life, sure, but they don’t question their place in the world. They never desperately long for a change but go about it in the wrong ways.

Full House is good if you want to turn your brain off for a few hours. If you are looking for another Fuller House or Friends to watch, I would not recommend watching Bojack Horseman (except maybe season 1). I love Full House, but when each episode ends, you wonder, that is it? They solved this complex issue in thirty minutes. This character never makes the same mistake again, and if they do, they solve it in another 30 minutes? Bojack realized that in real life, with real human beings, reaching such a satisfying conclusion is impossible.

It is a deep show, man. Bojack asks questions like; what type of person should I be? How do I become a better person? Why do I keep failing? Why are the things that I am doing not making me happy? They all bring me back to reality. Often, at the end of an episode, I would feel sad. There is no grand speech or gesture that makes it happy again. In a typical comedy, characters make stupid and occasionally cruel choices and act dumb, but they never really change. Nor do their mistakes have any consequences after the episode has aired. Every action follows the characters of Bojack Horseman. Just watch the opening credits. Every season and even episode changes.

In life, there is not an easy fix or an easy answer. We make decisions. Then we fall and start over. We do good and then screw it up; we have to decide if we should get up and try again.

Life is not clean-cut and easily understood. Every decision in the world of Bojack leads to repercussions and sometimes permanent damage to their relationships with others. There is no reset button with every episode. We do not just forget that our friend betrayed us. There is forgiveness, but forgiveness does not make everything right or make consequences disappear. We have to learn from our mistakes and move forward where we are. Getting better results requires us to act kinder to ourselves and others right now. Every person keeps going, living with choices they made in the episodes before.

In life, there is no easy fix or an easy answer. We make decisions, we fall and start over, we do good and screw it up and have to decide if we should get up and try again. The characters get stuck in unhealthy patterns and screw up in a world where people only care about fame, power, and individual happiness. The decision to do good is often made alone in a world that does not give a damn. The support from others certainly helps, and it does, but we can not fix other people or their unhealthy patterns. The actions one takes and the consequences are something that every character must understand and learn from themselves.

4. Witty animal puns and jokes

This show is so punny. I need to rewatch it to get all the jokes. Bojack Horseman contains countless animal puns and pop culture references; we are in Hollywood, after all. The animals act like actual animals. Mr. Peanutbutter is a happy-go-lucky golden retriever. He gets excited when guests ring the doorbell, stick his head out the window in the car, and hoards tennis balls. Princess Carolyn says she is not catty, but she keeps a scratching post in her office and always lands on her feet. Pretty much everyone gets an animal pun, so lookout. The artwork, background characters, and regulars are full of puns. Todd and Mr. Peanutbutter bring plenty of wacky hijinks that never cease to amaze me.

Like Tuca and Bertie, the humor is self-aware and witty. Though Bojack is a total jerk, Bojack has a great sense of sarcastic horse humor.

5. It provides understanding into the time we live in

When I first started watching Bojack Horseman, to put it bluntly, I saw a cynical show full of miserable people. The show gets darker after each passing episode, but there are many heartwarming moments. If you are making your way through the show right now, I will tell you it gets better. It also gets worse but in a good way.

But why is it so sad?

I would say that the show causes so much distress and sadness is because of its harsh criticism of our culture, past, and present. There is little that the characters of Bojack can hold onto for comfort. Many characters are alone and struggle to communicate with one another. The resolutions are not the happy talks we expect from Full House. I would also argue that the show refuses to sugarcoat what it believes to be true about reality. Life is not all gloom and doom, but the nature of our existence and state as beings in this world, if we really want to live well, according to the creators, requires us to accept some harsh truths.

Bojack Horseman refutes common beliefs about love, family, death, redemption, and friendship. Whether or not you agree with how the show approaches these topics and others, Bojack Horseman is consistent and seldom shallow. Cue cringy pool joke about the opening credits here.

Bojack Horseman carefully considers the characters and their decisions and what the audience takes away from the show. A question I often ask is, what do the writers think of the characters? They, after all, write every decision that the characters make and have to make them likable or redeemable enough to keep people watching. There are some fantastic meta moments later. They might make you question things, or they may not.

Overall, Bojack Horseman is correctly called the Sad Horse show. It made me laugh out loud, I fell in love with the characters, and it made me (awfully) sad sometimes. I found it to be a pretty accurate representation of our culture and (some of) our generation’s view of the past and the human condition. Life is hard and, this show never shies away from, well, anything. Bojack Horseman is layered and well written. The dialogue hits hard, and characters call each other out on their crap. I love watching people get called out. But it is also sad to watch. I would recommend the show to anyone looking for a new show to watch. If you feel in the mood for a chipper, happy-go-lucky, Disney-like comedy, I would not recommend watching the entirety of Bojack Horseman now. It can be sad. You could always watch a few of the best-rated episodes from IMDB. Time’s Arrow is my favorite episode.

One more thing, if you do give it a watch, a final reminder, DO NOT skip the intro! The intro is a total bop, and the background of the credits changes and gives some hints and Easter eggs.

Have you seen Bojack Horseman or any shows that deal with sad themes; what do you like about it? What are some of your favorite shows? Let me know what you think of this review in the comments below.

Hobbies

The Best Way to Relax During College: Why I love Yoga and the local studio on Broad Street

people exercising

A few weeks ago, I decided to check out a local yoga studio for the first time. I got into yoga when I was sent home from college during the pandemic and felt stuck. What started with a YouTube recommendation for a Yoga with Adrienne video and a bit of curiosity turned into a regular practice and skill that I wanted to continue.

In a world where life feels like it is constantly moving, yoga offered a time where I never felt like I had to rush.

I’ve never been super flexible, and it was definitely challenging at first. The virtual instructors early on said that yoga is great for everyone because you can practice at your own pace. My positions were not supposed to be exact replicas of what I saw on the screen, especially as a beginner. I went through each to the best of my ability and moved gently from pose to pose. I loved how yoga focused on the breath combined with motion and mindfulness. Mindfulness is awareness of what you are sensing and feeling at the moment. It’s so easy for me to get so caught up in all the tasks I have to do that I forget to take a breath and appreciate where I am right now.

Once I watched my first yoga video, I quickly found out that I wouldn’t have to worry about running out anytime soon. YouTube offers a yoga video for from five minutes to over an hour, any mood you’re in, and all skill levels. Yoga isn’t the best to do on the carpet, so I bought a mat pretty early.

One year later, yoga is still a good go-to whenever I want to relieve stress, get some exercise in, take a break from schoolwork, or just relax. In college, when it feels my work is never done, it is nice to start a yoga or exercise practice. I can let go of my thoughts and worries about the day and focus on my breath and the movements of each pose. Sometimes, I would take a 5-10 minute yoga break during the day and my mind feels more clear and I feel so much less tense.

Once I got back to my college dorm, it was a little more difficult to let go of thoughts of school, but even if I’m stressed starting out, I always feel better having completed practice and I get a boost of motivation to return to my assignments for the day. Yoga also helps me wind down at night or wake up in the morning.

I thought of trying out a studio at college for a while and heard they would be open in the Fall, but I kept putting it off. I wanted to go, but I wasn’t sure what it would be like in person. One weeknight, I decided to check out a Vinyasa class at 5 pm. I walked into town and checked out the local studio, Broad Street Yoga. I saw warm candlelight fill the square studio windows as I walked up to the studio from the darkening street. A woman with flowing brown curls and bubbles around her was painted on the window.

I went to check-in and then walked into the back room. The floors were long dark hardwood and candles and a small speaker rested at the ends of the room. The room was a little warm, but not hot. About halfway through the lesson, it got hotter and our instructor asked if we’d like to turn the fans on. Our yoga instructor began with stretches and we went through each phase with our breath, counting down from five each time. I had worried a little before that with other people in the room, I would feel self-conscious or it would be harder to lose track of my thoughts and focus on the movements. But with the candles, wide-open space, and the gentle voice of our instructor, I felt more mindful of my movement through each pose than I had in my (sometimes messy) college dorm and my living room at home.

Yoga also feels so nice. The stretch felt great after a long day of classes, and I was a little sore afterward, but not too sore. The class was an hour, which was longer than I usually did for online classes, and it felt like a perfect time slot. By the end of the session, I had gotten lost in the movement and gentle music playing in the back right corner. College worries were out of my mind for an hour. I walked back to my dorm feeling less stressed, peaceful, and happy. The people that were there with me were kind and understanding. We talked a little before and after the session and it was nice to have company going through a class with me.

woman in white tank top and pink leggings doing yoga

Some of the stretches required a lot of flexibility and balance, and I did drop my foot a couple of times only to stand back up again. My instructor told me that “if you’re doing your best, you’re doing it right.” It helped me feel better. Every time I tried a pose and wished that I could balance longer or in a harder pose, I knew there was an opportunity to improve through further practice. After a few months, these poses would be more familiar and I’d be able to hold them longer and with more ease, but they’d still be challenging. There are a few modified poses too that require a little less balance if you’re not comfortable with the more difficult ones. I still do modified poses when the first pose seems less doable. That’s a nice thing with yoga, all levels are welcome, and even experts can get a good workout after a long session.

I also learned that there are many different types of yoga. I took a Vinyasa class, which I had been more familiar with when I watched online videos, which focuses on breath-work and motion. Vinyasa yoga classes typically switch up the poses throughout the sequence in a continuous flow. The Vinyasa keeps life moving and I love how no sequence is exactly the same.

I think I’ll be back at the yoga studio on Broad Street and I’ll keep looking at online videos. Broad Street Yoga also records lessons to be put on Zoom if you’re unable to visit in person. Either way, yoga has been rewarding and I’d say if you get the chance, check out a local yoga studio, a yoga video on YouTube, or just look up some poses online. If you’re interested in Broad Street Yoga, check out the schedule on their website: https://www.broadstreetyoga.com/schedule

Have you ever visited Broad Street Yoga or tried yoga before? How did you like it? Do you have a favorite way to chill either on a busy day or just whenever? Let me know in the comments!

Shows

“I Am Not Okay With This” Ended and Here is Why I Will Never Be Okay With That

“I Am Not Okay With This” Ended and Here is Why I Will Never Be Okay With That

Why I Can’t Get Over “I Am Not Okay With This” Ending

As Stranger Things Season 4 rolls around, I find myself missing a good superpower-themed show. I heard about I am Not Okay with This on Netflix a while ago. I didn’t get around to watching it until this November. After watching the first season, I am not okay with this show ending. The show begins with Sydney Novak, Sophia Nills, an unpopular 17-year-old who discovers that she has telekinesis a year after her father’s death. She recently started high school in a Pennsylvania town.

Fun Fact: the show was filmed in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and the bowling alley, Baden Bowl, is near the town I grew up in. Surprisingly, there are quite a few shows that take place in Pennsylvania, but I haven’t seen many filmed near me.

Sydney recently moved to live a pretty normal life. She skips football games and hangs out with her best friend and fellow new kid Dina. Syd’s pretty chill with that, she loves spending time with Dina, and the popular kids are huge jerks. She watches her little brother after school. She is also grieving her father’s death and has a difficult relationship with her mother. Her world starts to erupt when her best friend tells her that she is dating the popular football player Brad Lewis. Sydney then starts hanging out with her neighbor Stanley “Stan” Barber.

Sydney’s story is compelling from the start. The show starts with her walking through the streets in a fancy dress covered in blood.

The show is not subtle being a teenager and having a superpower is hard.

I Am Not Okay With This deals with themes like depression and suicide. Also, there is blood. If you put on the first episode, you will see the protagonist covered in blood–that is a warning.

The story stars Sydney Novak, played by Sophia Lillis. Sydney starts the story off pretty snarkily.

Dear diary, go f*** yourself.

Just kidding, I don’t know what to write in this stupid thing.”

This sums up her character pretty well. She is sarcastic and sometimes cynical on the outside. On the inside, she feels alone and has no idea what she is doing–she is not sure how to tell people either. She puts up a bit of a front and, she’s not a jerk. Syd is a grieving teen who is figuring it out just like everyone else. 

She looked familiar, and I found out that she played Beverly Marsh in IT and was not surprised. I, unfortunately, have not seen IT yet, but from what I can tell…she fits the horror/supernatural genre well. Her character experiences a wide range of emotions, and her acting was terrific.

The supporting actors were wonderful as well. I loved Stan–the man has a killer fashion sense and is hilarious. The first awkward interaction between Stan and Sydney cracked me up. They begin as neighbors who make small talk occasionally but never hang out. He awkwardly asks if she wants to hang out and get high and, Syd watches this odd guy with shock, confusion. What is this guy? Because Dina suggested that she also find a date for the homecoming dance, she agrees.

Spoilers Ahead- Warning!

If you dislike seeing (some) spoilers before watching as much as I dislike Brad, I’d suggest reading this post after you watch.

I was into the show from the first scene; it looks awesome. The vibes are immaculate. The whole time, I kept wondering about the origin of Sydney’s powers. After all, she seems to be the only character in this story with them. Her abilities kind of come out of nowhere, and it is great. Her powers come out when she feels overwhelming emotions. Where do they come from? What will happen next? We do not get all the answers, but I felt pretty shocked by what I found out. The ending was pretty satisfying in an incomplete sort of way.

I liked how Syd’s powers were a sort of metaphor for her dealing with depression, anxiety, grief, and figuring out her sexuality. Sydney feels alone, and she’s grieving without many people to support her.

Being a teenager is rough. The show shows us all the worst parts of high school, the ones we’d rather forget, the ones that make us want to curl into a ball and cry. There are bullies, boring classes, and detentions, but friends make it a little easier. It was also nice to see actual teenagers playing high schoolers. The show feels realistic that way.

It is like Stranger Things, but a little more mature and dark. Sydney starts as a loner whose crush and only friend ditches her to hang out with her boyfriend, but by the end of the story–she has a trio and a potential girlfriend on the horizon. It was great to see Syd, Dina, and Stan hanging out. Knowing she has friends to support her as she moves forward with what she knows about herself and her family was great to see.

I loved Stan and his dynamic with Syd. There are not many shows where a guy and girl are just friends, and I liked how things were pretty chill for them. The homecoming scene reminded me of Pretty and Pink a little bit, the lights and the dance, and Molly Ringwald has a similar haircut. Stan reminded me of Ducky a little bit. He is funny, sweet, and an outcast, a perfect friend to mock football games with Syd.

The 1990s and 1980s aesthetics interweave throughout the story–like Stranger Things. Both have a similar premise, but I Am Not Okay with This is darker and more realistic. Stranger Things plays to the nostalgia and the family dynamics go smooth enough. I Am Not Okay With This also jumps straight into the drama and hard feelings about high school. I also liked how the show focuses on a small cast of characters. If the show continued, they could have developed the characters further, and it could have been something special. 

I did like the modern update too. Stan is such a good friend to Sydney. He genuinely cares about her and thinks it is freaking awesome that she has superpowers. Although she is unsure what to make of him, Sydney grows to like Stan as a person and friend. Stan is strange, but he is also unapologetically himself and pretty content with life. Sydney can learn from him in that way. I loved how their friendship continues and goes back to normal even after Sydney says she likes Dina. 

Sydney and Dina

Speaking of romance, her relationship with Dina is so wholesome. Both characters seem like they have their person. A significant other is does not complete you or make your problems go away, but they are loving and supportive and the best person for you. 

Dina helps Syd out of her shell and makes her so happy. Sydney is so closed off, sarcastic, and quiet. Energetic, sweet, and fun-loving Dina seems like a perfect match for Sydney. I like how their relationship builds slowly, but I could have seen less of Brad–the moments where the two of them are together are small but beautiful.

She keeps me laughing, even when I want to melt to the floor.”

I wish the show continued, so we could see them more as a couple and get to know Dina better. On the bright side, Brad pretty much sucked– and I am glad he is gone. He was the worst kind of jock guy on TV and treated women like tissues. He keeps using them and then picks up another one. He has plenty of lovely lines like–when he talks to Syd for the first time,

 Jesus, do you ever smile?” 

The ending was satisfying but also gross and disturbing as it should be.

I read that the writers did not want romance to be the end-all-be-all for the characters. The family relationships are well-developed and dynamic.

Family Relationships

Her mother, Maggie, for instance, has been through hell. She lost her husband and now works a full-time job as a waitress to support her family. Working long hours in customer service is rough, especially if you have coworkers who always call off and make you cover their shifts. It is still disappointing watching her ignore her children’s grief and Sydney’s anger towards her. Her children lost their father too, and they are all struggling. I understand that she is grieving and frustrated. I do. But one line she says made it hard for me to sympathize with her, at least at first. It is the one scene where the two sit on the couch and talk, the one time her mother isn’t running around or off to work. Syd tells her mother: “Sometimes, I feel like the people I love don’t love me back.”

 Syd says this to her mom after a fight with Dina, but it applies to everyone in her life. Sydney is thinking of Dina a little, but she mostly thinks of her mother in this scene. The mother always seems judgemental and seldom seems loving. Her mother criticizes her while constantly needing her support. She never gets anything in return and the fact that Maggie can’t see that hurts. She is a kid seeking reassurance from a parent, desperate to hear that people (she) love her, that she is important. Her mother hits her back with “Well, maybe you’re aiming too high, hon.”

Sometimes, I feel like the people I love don’t love me back.

Well, maybe you’re aiming too high, hon”

Maggie’s words feel like a raw knife in the back. Man, it is brutal out there.

Syd’s mom sucks here, but I don’t think she said this to spite her daughter. She and Syd end up bonding later before the dance. She helps Syd get ready and, she talks about dancing with Syd’s father at a high school dance and feeling like she knew he was the one. Her actual marriage didn’t live up to the fantasy. She mentions how Syd’s Dad wasn’t present even when he was home–he hid in the basement and kept things from his wife. After we hear about her father’s situation at the end, I can’t even imagine what must have been like for both of them. Syd maintained a loving image of her father, which was for the best. Maggie seems like she was going through this all alone and didn’t have anyone to confide in. So they all grieved his death alone.

She feels like the hope in love she felt in high school was aiming too high. Her marriage never measured up to the early parts of her relationship. There were times where she did not feel loved by her husband; I understand her cynicism. She is not completely closed off though. In that last scene with her daughter, Maggie tells Syd about when she went to a dance with Sydney’s father and felt like she just knew that he was the one. She seems hopeful that Sydney will experience a love like that too. Maggie never apologizes for her words earlier, but she is trying to be better, more present. Maggie starts to see that there is hope for her daughter, and her as well, after all.

Netflix's I Am Not Okay With This Cast & Character Guide

Sydney’s younger brother was also a great addition to the cast. He and Sydney have a pretty good relationship. They annoy each other, and he makes weird mac and cheese, but they have each other’s backs. When she hears Richard making fun of her brother, she goes off: 

“Well, let me tell you something. One day, it’s all gonna go downhill, buddy. Your life will be so pathetic, you’ll attend high school reunions because you know what? Nothing else is ever gonna happen for you in your entire life. Yeah, you won’t even have a dog!”

If that isn’t a great roast, I don’t know what is.

The aesthetic is also pretty cool. The show references to its predecessors and includes references and fashion, and I am here for it.

I really liked the last episode, the show builds one conflict the entire series, and the payoff is so satisfying. Will Syd follow the same patterns her father did? Will she break the cycle and use her powers for good? The hooded figure shocked me to the core. I expected Syd to end up alone. He seems pretty helpful, but he could be a secret villain. Both of those sound fantastic. He probably knew her father and holds similar powers and realizes that she needs someone to help her learn to control them. Sydney needs a guide to help with her powers, beyond Stan’s comic books, which are appreciated but not necessarily helpful when you just blew a guy’s head off at homecoming. At least she doesn’t have to process this alone.

Most of the show is Syd slowly realizing her powers. This is a huge event to grapple with clearly, and the stakes jump when someone shows up to help. The balance is pretty good at the beginning too. She gets angry and intense, and then we have teen drama or iconic moments.

The Show’s Portrayal of Theaphy

I have a kind of criticism. The story begins with Syd’s therapist telling her to keep a journal, and her narration is in a journal format. I was kind of surprised that therapy was not very present in Sydney’s story since it began with a therapist. Sydney sees a therapist at her school as she processes her father’s death. But she does not talk to her therapist much except to get the journal. Syd has to deal with her emotions alone so, she lashes out and boom powers. She would have to keep her powers a secret to a therapist unless she chose to tell them. A few recent shows portray characters going to a therapist and benefiting from talking to someone, and this show felt kind of regressive on the topic.

In This is Us and Never Have I Ever the therapists are characters of their own. Both Devi and Randall talk to someone to help process loss and trauma. Sydney’s therapist was pretty bad, but there are bad therapists out there. I guess it feels stereotypical. Syd has a bad therapy experience that says write your feelings down and, it will all be okay. I am going on a side rant, but it is a valid criticism of the show. Plot-wise, I get that she needed to be alone to go full telekinesis mode. Perhaps, they could have developed this more next season. Sydney could have used therapy to help process her father’s death and her emerging powers, even if she did keep them a secret.

Dina and Sydney a Complaint/Critique

I loved this story. The amount of character development and plot was paced well in such a short season. I also loved Stan, he was hilarious. I enjoyed all his scenes. I was disappointed that Sydney and Dina didn’t have more scenes together. We get to know Stanley Barber more than the girl Sydney is in love with, and I wish it could have been different. I guess I just wanted to see more of them. The scenes we saw were great, so showing her more would have made it better.

I wish Stan would have not had a crush on Sydney either. I loved his character and I wish he could have happiness at the end, whether he meets a new love interest or is happy another way– I wanted more. The cliche where the guy likes his best friend and she doesn’t like him back feels a little cliche. Haven’t we seen enough Ducky and Andies and Steve and Robins to last a lifetime? I didn’t mind this too much, and it made sense to the plot so this is a relatively minor complaint. It can be realistic, for sure. But just generally, close male and female friendships without romantic feelings would be great to see.

Overall Thoughts

 I Am Not Okay With This has a promising first season to what could have been a fantastic supernatural show. The ending has so many unanswered questions; there are so many ways this story could go next. How many other people have powers? Who was the hooded figure on the roof? Why do Sydney’s powers only come from anger and anxiety? Is getting revenge on people who do wrong ex: Brad, using her powers morally okay? There are so many ways this story could go.

I wanted to hear more about Sydney’s father and his life and how he discovered his powers. I wanted a happy ending for Sydney, Dina, and Stan, and it was, but there were so many unanswered questions. Diana and Sydney just started talking about their relationship. They had such potential to grow as a couple and Dina was hilarious. Where did her positive attitude come from, when did Sydney and her meet for the first time? Did Sydney like her right away? They could have been so good together.

I wanted to hear more Stanley Barber lines too, and maybe for him to find happiness–whether that be in a romantic relationship or whatever. So many of Sydney’s problems are left in the open. Like, how does she even process what happens next? The end was okay, I guess. I am not okay with how it just left me on a cliffhanger. I’m not okay that these characters’ lives are on a permanent hiatus and I will never know what happens to them. We’ll never know if that stranger was there to help and where Sydney goes moving forward. The portrayal of her mental health struggles was well done, and her performance felt real in a way I haven’t seen in too many shows like this. Another season where Sydney is processing through these events with the support of others could help many teens feel seen. Seeing her get out of a place of isolation and anger could have been an uplifting story.

I am disappointed yet again that Netflix canceled a great show. Although it was short, I enjoyed the first season and watched it all in one day. I recommend I Am Not Okay With This to anyone who loves the 80s and 90s aesthetic, dark comedy, family drama, and superhero stories. It’s a good show to watch on a break or in a day because it is so short. It flies by, but you will not regret watching. I am Not Okay with This takes place in the same universe as End of the F***** world, which could also be cool to check out if you are left wanting more. I’m watching it right now, and the humor is similar and dark. The review for season one might come out at some point.