Updated: Feb 4
One of my favorite spaces on the Internet is the The Cut's search results on its Fixation section. Endless articles promise ruminations such as "I Think About This a Lot: Michele Bachmann Claiming Her Favorite Food is Celery" or "I Think About This a Lot: The Time Robert Pattinson Blatantly Lied on the Today Show". There's no one article that I favor to the rest of them ((okay maybe "I Think About This a Lot: Dina Lohan Getting Her Carvel Card Revoked" which has a special place in my heart)). Each one is a tiny brilliant masterpiece about how certain media moments burn an inexplicable hole into our brains, getting stuck on infinite loops that in no way bring us to any kind of catharsis or grand realization. Maybe they'll just result in a funny article or at least, a conversation with a friend who is tired of hearing of your ravings on 90 Day Fiancé. This phenomenon is why niche podcasts exist and I for one adore it.
My brain is a constant alphabet soup of Reductress tweets, poorly reviewed indie movies, and Hallmark movie plots so ridiculous, I truly envy the mind that thought them up. Unemployment during the pandemic has only exaggerated the "rejected Buzzfeed article" bin that is my attention span. I have a summer before law school to spend emptying out my brain to finally fill it with useful information so I have just let my pop cultural prowess wild.
Here's some of the wild garbage I can't stop thinking about if you've ever once thought "what the heck is Maggie doing if she can't even text back AFTER TWO WEEKS WE KNOW YOU'RE NOT REALLY DOING ANYTHING, MAGGIE!":
Hate-Bingeing "Welcome to Plathville"
TLC has done it once again. They scoured America and finally found the weirdest, conservative cult-like family possible that somehow combines the Duggars with Kenneth Parcell from 30 Rock. The family of 9 kids led by a what looks to be a normal suburban mom and a Jeff Warrens-looking patriarch live in rural Georgia and are sheltered so much, they make Kimmy Schmidt's bunker look favorable. Their flaxen-haired brood (who low-key resemble Hitler Youth, sorry but it's true) take pride in not knowing who Tom Brady or Spiderman are and yet....are starring in their own TV show? It makes no sense whatsoever and I couldn't get enough.
The underlying drama of the seemingly plotless show is that their older kids are leaving home, getting married at 20 (ew) ((jk my brother got married at 20 and I come from a family of 8 kids so like glass house, I know)), and are introducing ideas to the family that the parents are adamantly against (drinking a glass of beer at 21! Trying out Coca-Cola! Going to college!). There is something universal though about their kids struggling to make boundaries, the parents struggling when the world they made come crashing down, and introducing spouses to a family structure that resembles more of a clan. I relate to all of that. But then the Plath kids will earnestly say something like "in California, we learned about the gays!" or "I heard my first curse word at 18", and I'm like, nah bro.
There are so many interesting elements that the show does its absolute best not to explore. Is it actually loving to shelter your kids from modernity or is it a disservice? Does family unity mean conformity? How do you leave the nest well? Do the Plath parents expect their children to be stunted adult virgins who all sleep in bunk beds the rest of their lives??? I'd totally still watch that show tbh.
Compiling As Many Substitutes for "Fleabag" Possible
Like every other millennial brunette, Fleabag shifted something in me. There was BPWB (Before Phoebe Waller-Bridge) and After. This is how I write dates now, thank you very much. Fleabag left a gaping abyss in my life after its perfect two-season run. Just like Jesus' short time on earth, it did what it needed to do and for divine purposes, left us to our own devices.
Luckily sardonic British TV shows about powerful, flawed heroines is its own genre...right along with mild, well-mannered Brits doing handicrafts in a field and complimenting each other's work. That entertainment RANGE, honey! Just so you don't have to do the long hours of research in a dark room at 2 a.m. like me, here are all the joyous substitutes you can binge if Fleabag was just not enough (in order of most recommended): This Way Up, I May Destroy You, Killing Eve, Chewing Gum, Crazyhead, and Crashing.
Finding New Covers of "Crimson and Clover" to Play on Repeat to the Absolute Chagrin of My Housemates
After watching Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution on Netflix, a must-see documentary about the civil rights movement spearheaded by the special needs community ((Judy Heumann, you are my everything)), I got super into 70s summer camp bops. Specifically Tommy Jones and the Shondells' "Crimson and Clover". It's simple, dreamy, utterly romantic, and an absolute jam. The guitar sleepily strums and then picks up into a ferocious rock and roll only to lazily switch back. The chorus of shaggy-haired hippies singing "la la la" only to be replaced by a weird alien voice singing "crimson and clover, over and over" OVER AND OVER is what I want to be buried to. Dark? Whatever.
I've been streaming the song on repeat as much as possible but to give my roommates a break, I've tried to incorporate covers. I'm most partial to Joan Jett and the Blackhearts' sultry and smokey electric guitar version, but enjoy Prince's entirely Prince-like bubblegum take. Basically every single genre from reggaeton to screamo to Dolly Parton has a cover and I injested all of them obsessively and weirdly have yet to burn out on it.
Obsessing Over Who The "I" in "I May Destroy You" Is
UGH, society, it's time to give Michaela Cole her dues. She should be getting just as much acclaim as Phoebe Waller-Bridge but without the unfair comparison. They are both incredible creators and actresses who deserve EVERY OPPORTUNITY possible! Why are there even white, straight male showrunners anymore? Only Jake Johnson should exist and that's it.
Okay, okay, sorry, I'll step down from my soapbox...my beautiful soapbox from a brand that doesn't sell whitening products abroad like D*ve and Ol*y.
Michaela Cole wrote and acts in I May Destroy You, a series that explores the murky area of sexuality, sexual assault, and the myriad of people those vague lines affect. In the show, consent is so much more than a YES/NO question, while "does this count as a sexual assault?" should be as black and white as yes or no, but unfortunately, sometimes is not.
So who is the titular "I"? Is it our plucky heroine if she reports and may cause legal/social/moral reprecussions for her assailant/s? Is it the men who commit assualts without any hesitation to someone's personhood just because "they seemed into it at the time"? Is it the trauma resulting in sexual assault, or even, the lack of trauma as we all become numb in our postmodern hellscape? Is it our post-#MeToo insatiable hunger for personal trauma to be regurgitated into inspirational content? Is it the show itself convincing me yet again that I could pull off a completely shaved head?!! MICHAELA COLE, YOU BRILLIANT GENIUS, I WILL CONTINUE TO PONDER THIS IN THE SHOWER FOR MONTHS TO COME!
Perfecting My Moira Rose "Bébé" Impression
It's on its way. It's no way as strong as my "ew, David!" but much better than my "A Little Bit Alexis". I tried to get my family onto Schitt's Creek all the way back when it was a one-season weirdo Netflix find. This is because I believe my grandfather, Donald Fisher, is actually Eugene Levy. They both have iconic eyebrows and a heavy-jawed accent, and I have never seen them in the same room together.
Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara have been my #couplegoals since they starred in the deadpan mockumentary Best In Show. I first watched that movie at 14 and yes, did wonder what it meant that this show made me cry-laugh but I thought The Proposal was one of the most unfunny movies ever created, while my peers inhaled it. Whatever. All those same people are now on the Schitt's Creek boat, so they got there in the end.
I'm a dramatic Enneagram 4 so of course I resonate with Moira. She's the worst behaved, theatric diva version of me I wish I could unleash always. And those WIGS tho!
Watching As Many Mulaney Musical SNL Sketches On Repeat
John Mulaney is...well he's my how Oprah describes Gale. I adore him. And his musical sketches whenever he hosts are *mwah* *chef's kiss*. In each unique one, Pete Davidson commits a cardinal sin (ie. ordering a lobster from a diner, buying airport sushi, or asking for a bodega bathroom key). This opens up the bizarre wonderland-esque musical comedy that surprises, disgusts, and delights. Every weird theatre kid comes alive to a lobster's moving rendition of "Who Am I" from Les Mis or a bodega Virgin Mary candle's stirring "Memories" from Cats!. I believe these may cure the coronavirus. My anti-depressant medication recommends watching at least one a night. Truly.
Did this post make you concerned about my sanity? What are the media moments you can't stop fixation on these days? And most importantly, do you have a "Crimson and Clover" cover for me by your garage Fleetwood Mac tribute band?!