Monday, June 16, 2014

5 (or really, 8) Great TV Characters

I love scripted TV shows - it's a quick break from reality, and if you're lucky, you get interesting stories an compelling characters in one package. Characters are important for me, because if I can't believe them or care enough invest my time in them, why bother? (I have a hard time with reality TV for this reason. I also fell out of love with Glee for this reason, though there are many other reasons for that.)

In no particular order, these are ten TV characters I love most:

1. Temperance Brennan, Bones
Brennan and Sheldon Cooper have several things in common. They prefer all things rational over emotions, and neither really understand social conventions or people. The difference between the two is where Sheldon's lack of tact toward people sometimes come from the belief that he's the genius thus he's the most important person ever, Brennan is often just stating a fact in order to correct someone else. She cares, she's just sometimes at a loss as to how to express that emotion. It's been fabulous to watch her growth through the seasons, and I love her both when she excels with the bones and when she struggles to understand living people.

"Two plus two equals four. I put sugar in my coffee and it tastes sweet. The sun comes up because the world turns. These things are beautiful to me. There are mysteries I will never understand, but everywhere I look I see proof that for every effect there is a corresponding cause. Even if I can't see it. I find that reassuring."

2. Felicity Smoak, Arrow
Felicity was the first person to draw a genuine smile out of the scarred, stoic Oliver Queen. That's a pretty big deal, and says a lot about the brightness she brings to the show. She's intelligent, but she's not just the brain; she's also funny (though she probably doesn't intend to be sometimes) and compassionate. Without her, Oliver would be a killer, not a hero.

3. Juliette Barnes, Nashville
I tried, and I couldn't think of another character I both hate and sympathize with in equal proportions. Juliette drives me nuts with her diva attitude, self-destructiveness and generally terrible choices, but then we got to know her past and why she's become this person, and I understood. I wouldn't defend her actions, but I understand why and I want her to grow. In my book, that makes her a good character.

"I think when I feel like somebody is going to hurt me, I just make sure that I hurt myself first and worse. Burn the house down while I'm still in it."

4. Emma Swan, Once Upon a Time
She's the saviour, but it took her three seasons to stop feeling like a lost girl. She should've been a fairytale princess, but instead Emma grew up in the foster system. She's self-sufficient, street smart, and realistic to the point of pessimistic. I've enjoyed watching her struggle to not just accept the fairytales, but also that she belongs somewhere.

"The only one who saves me is me."

5. The House Husbands, House Husbands
So I'm cheating and choosing four instead of just one, but I think the characters work best together even though they're strong individually. Lewis, Mark, Kane, and Justin - they're at different stages of their lives but are all well-meaning fathers doing their best. I like that with them, the focus isn't about whether men should stay home and look after the kids or not; it's that they can, but just like with stay-at-home mums, it won't be without challenges.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

10 Songs to Give You ALL. THE. FEELS.

Whether it's feelings of despair and heartbreak, content, anger, or even the warm and fuzzy kind, these 10 songs will:
a. start the ugly crying, b. remind you of the good old days, c. make you feel infinite (for all of you Charlies ;) ) and d. all of the above

1. Jack's Mannequin - The Resolution
I remember reading somewhere that Andrew McMahon, lead singer of Jack's Mannequin, took his last cancer medication ever with a shot of J├Ągermeister. With lyrics like "I'm alive / I don't need a witness to know that I survived / I'm not looking for forgiveness", it's not hard to know what the song is about. It's also not hard to feel this great sense of victory when the chorus came up. Whether it's a break up, an illness, or a dark period of life that you have overcome, this song celebrates those mini or major triumphs and it celebrates them well.

2. Coldplay - Magic
There are 2 good things that came out of the whole Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin divorce debacle. One is the term "conscious uncoupling" and two is the album Ghost Stories. Magic just oozes heartbreak in the best possible ways. It ticks all the boxes of a good heartbreak song and more. Still pining over your ex - yes. Not wanting to move on from him/her - yes. And that little line in the end - "And if you were to ask me / After all that we've been through/"Still believe in magic?"/Well yes, I do" - is just the nail at the moving-on coffin.

3. The Juliana Theory - We're At The Top Of The World
This is pretty much what falling in love sounds like. Imagine a late Sunday afternoon and you're in a car with that special person and feeling like everything you could ever need is in the palm of your hand. "We're at the top of the world / You and I / We've got a lot of time and it sure feels right" 

4. Relient K - I Don't Need A Soul
There's nothing more empowering and exhilarating than realising that there is a future after a breakup and realising that life continues on and it will continue on being beautiful. This whole song is basically a big "F you" to the concept of needing a girl/boyfriend or a "soul"mate to be happy and just being happy with you and yourself. "But I don't need a soul / Oh, I don't need a soul to hold / Without you I'm still whole / You and life remain beautiful"

5. Jimmy Eat World - 23
I've already talked about my moment of musical healing in this post at great details, but I can't stress just how much this song means to me. It's about letting go of your ideals and living life for what it is and living it to the fullest potential.

6. Death Cab For Cutie - You're A Tourist
Ever feel like you just want to pack up your whole life in a suitcase and just travel the world and immerse yourself in its beauties and oddities? Or maybe to pick up a new instrument / change jobs / find new friends and get out of a rut? This song just captures the whole essence of being inspired and will leave you feeling like you're ready to tackle on the world after a listen. "And if you feel just like a tourist in the city you were born / Then it's time to go / And define your destination / There's so many different places to call home"

7. Tom Odell - Another Love
Tom Odell is English, moody, and writes one of the most heartbreaking songs I have ever heard. You can literally pick any moment in this song and hear the pain in his voice and the music. Yet the song is so catchy that anyone who's been letting the pain of past relationships get in the way of a current one can't help to sing along and mean. every. word.

8. Jimmy Eat World - Dizzy
I just love Jimmy Eat World so much that I have to include them in again. Dizzy is a song about the failure one has in accepting that a relationship has ended. I dare you to try and sing the bridge without shedding a tear. "Oh, oh take it all back, take your first, your last, your only / Oh, oh take it all back, take it all back / Everything you showed me / Oh, oh, this must be how it feels when the feelings goes"

9. Band of Horses - No One's Gonna Love You

I think most people don't realise that being in a relationship is a choice as much as it is a commitment. To me, the song is about taking in all the bad things in a relationship and realising that although things are somewhat awful, no one else is more perfect for you and choosing to work on the relationship instead? And to me, it's such a wonderful part of a relationship that not many songs explore. Fun Fact: Drew Barrymore used this song for her first dance on her wedding day.

10. Jack's Mannequin - Dark Blue 
I need to close the list with another song by Jack's Mannequin. Can't really say much about the lyrics other than the fact that the music just makes me feel so excited and all giddy inside. Favorite line has got to be "Have you ever been alone in a crowded room? / Well, I'm here with you  / I said the world could be burning till there's nothing but dark blue"