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  1. I saw some mixed reviews for season 2, so wasn’t sure what to expect, but I really enjoyed it. I binged the whole thing in two days. As scrb noted, the first two episodes were heavy. And I’d say the overall tone of this season was a bit more contemplative, less laugh out loud funny. I think it worked though. Ramy’s crisis of faith really drives the season, and I thought there was a satisfying narrative arc. Mahershala Ali, as the Sufi sheikh who Ramy looks to for spiritual guidance, was a great addition. Like last year, though, my favorite episodes focused on the secondary characters - his parents and (surprisingly) Uncle Naseem. (I adore the actress who plays Ramy’s mom.) My least favorite was the episode that focused on Steve (actually, the same was true last year) - there was a very extended, and very cringey, sequence that I won’t spoil, but suffice to say I found myself looking away for stretches. I also thought Ep 4 - in which Ramy and the sheik’s daughter visit a wealthy Emirati to seek donations for the mosque - was weirdly surreal in the best possible way. Some other random notes: I enjoyed the show’s exploration of anti-black prejudice among Arabs / the broader Muslim community. And I thought Boomer was incredibly sweet and expressive.
  2. Is it just me or is anyone else finding the judging on this show incredibly mean-spirited? I’m not someone who likes my shows all warm and fuzzy (in fact, I miss the snarkiness of Project Runway’s best judges), but I found some of Heidi’s and Naomi’s reactions incredibly mean and personal, particularly when it came to Troy. Heidi was almost reveling in the fact that she was right to vote to send him home the prior week, and pretty much told him that she can’t see him with a brand. And Naomi attacked him when he said he was happy with his concept and his attempt (given that he only had 7 hrs)... according to Naomi it showed that he was unsure of himself, but if Troy had stood by the garment, they would have torn him apart for being oblivious/lacking judgment. I don’t know, I found the judging almost uncomfortable, and not in an entertaining sort of way. I’m surprised to find myself enjoying (and agreeing with) Nicole Richie the most out of all the judges.
  3. I’m also kind of obsessed with Cameron and Lauren. They’re both really attractive (Lauren reminds me a bit of Issa Rae), but unlike a lot of the other contestants, don’t seem defined by that - they come across as smart, sweet, and kind of goofy/awkward. It’s the only relationship where I feel a genuine connection. And, as a black woman, I’ll admit it’s nice to see a black woman “win” on a dating reality show (I’m looking at you, Bachelor). I don’t really care much about the other couples. I like Mark way more than Jessica (and, while he may not be her usual type, I think he’s really good looking). I thought Diamond handled Carlton’s revelation in a mature and empathetic way. Barnett still seems kind of douchey. And the rest just aren’t that memorable.
  4. I cried too! I thought there was something so sweetly moving about the episode, and the actors knocked it out of the park. It managed to strike a nice balance with the comedic moments too.
  5. Don’t know if that’s an unpopular opinion, but I adore Fleabag, find Maisel very overrated, had a hard time getting into Barry, and have zero interest in Kominsky... different strokes!
  6. I know they’re total long shots, but I’d love for Lupita Nyongo and Florence Pugh to be recognized for their performances in Us and Midsommar, respectively.
  7. I don’t see a general discussion thread for Season 7, so here goes. Not sure if this is a minority opinion, but I loved Season 7 - it may even be my favorite (although Season 4 may edge it out). The ICE storyline moved me in a way I’ve rarely experienced on this show - they really captured the Orwellian nature of the immigration system and drove home the point that detainees are in some ways even worse off than prisoners (no lawyers, no commissary, indefinite detention, etc). Lots of memorable storylines - Karla’s desperation to connect with her kids (her phone call made me bawl my eyes out), Maritza’s discovery that she’s not a citizen and that haunting image of her disappearing on the plane, the Mayan woman getting the abortion pill from Fig, those poor kids in the courtroom, etc . I was a little more iffy on Shani, but even so, it was nice to see Nicky in a relationship with someone who genuinely adored her. It was a depressing season for sure - in addition to the ICE storylines, we had Red’s and Morello’s descent into serious mental illness, and of course Pennsatucky’s tragic fate (the Mountain Dew song was the other moment this season that absolutely wrecked me). But it felt grounded in reality, not just tragedy porn. Series finales are tough to pull off, and I feel like they did a pretty impressive job of providing closure for a wide range of characters. Gloria and Blanca (two of my favorites) are probably the only ones that got genuinely happy endings. But I feel like a lot of other characters ended on a somewhat hopeful note - Taystee finding some purpose in life despite getting screwed over by the criminal justice system; Maria spending time with her daughter and acclimating to Yadriel’s girlfriend; Nicky following in Red’s footsteps; Suzanne learning to cope better with feelings of loss; Cindy reconnecting with her mom and daughter; Caputo on the path of redemption and adopting a child with Fig. Anything too hopeful probably would have felt pat and unearned, so I think the finale struck a good balance. Piper and Alex were the characters that least interested me, both individually and together, but I thought the glimpses we got into the challenges of surviving post-prison were interesting. Other than that, I was pretty meh on their storylines. But I’ve always thought of Taystee, not Piper, as the true touchstone character on OITNB. Overall, I’m going to miss this show, despite only half-watching the previous two seasons. And it was great seeing so many characters make appearances in the finale. I think I’m particularly going to miss Taystee, Gloria, Blanca, Nicky, and Aleida (hilariously awful, but always compelling). One final observation: I thought the music and directing were on point this season. Lots of indelible images. What are others’ reactions?
  8. I guess I'm in the minority because I was mostly happy with the finale. I found it flawed, but ultimately satisfying. I thought the second half - and especially the last 30 minutes or so - was much stronger than the first. I was genuinely affected by Brienne updating Jamie's entry; the reveal of the new Small Council and the exchange between them; and the montage intercutting Jon's, Sansa's, and Arya's respective paths. I thought the montage hit all the right beats (bittersweet, yet hopeful) and included some incredible shots (especially the ones with Sansa donning her garb and being crowned). The first half was less successful, but not terrible. I thought the opening, with Tyrion, Jon et al surveying the damage; Grey Worm killing the surrendered soldiers; and Dany giving her speech (all set against a snowy backdrop); was chilling and beautifully executed (especially the shot of Drogon's wings appearing behind Dany). There was a real mounting sense of dread. The problem, of course, is that Dany's villainous turn over these two episodes felt a bit abrupt. And I really wish they had developed her worldview a bit more - for all the references to breaking the wheel, they never really explain what that means in a context where slavery doesn't exist. I feel like they missed an opportunity to depict a much more morally grey character - e.g., a revolutionary who uses draconian tactics to achieve critically needed social change. Oh well. Jon Snow's killing of Daenerys was handled ok, I guess, but the idea that she would just be wandering around without any protection strains credulity. And don't even get me started on the handling of the POC characters. In particular, I didn't like that Grey Worm was depicted as cruel and vindictive, even though it was totally reasonable to demand justice for the assassination of the Queen. (At least all his glowering was tempered by one sweet moment: sailing towards Naath.) The decision to anoint Bran was... fine. I'm not really sure there was another choice that would have made sense, so I'm willing to get on board, even though it's not entirely clear to me why someone who is a repository for history would necessarily make a good ruler. I was happy to see a few of my favorites make it to the end: Davos, Brienne, and Tormund, in particular. (As an aside, Davos really would have made the best Hand - he was instrumental in defusing the tension between Grey Worm and the others.) And I was happy to see Jon reunited with Ghost, if only because I knew Reddit would explode if Jon neglected to pet him once again. The finale, like the rest of the season, wasn't perfect. But words can't express how much I'm going to miss this show.
  9. I was there too! Great recap by Rinaldo. I love that they packed in so many songs (way more than the televised concert special) and gave supporting characters like George, Jim and Tim moments to shine. Also, the performance of Heavy Boobs, a song I've never really cared for, was pretty epic.
  10. Forgot to say, I was never a Melisandre fan, but I found her death at the end surprisingly affecting (esp after being one of the MVPs of the battle).
  11. That was (largely) incredible. My heart started pounding a minute into the episode, and didn't stop until the end. I think the best parts were the moments of stillness, with the mounting sense of dread. Case in point: the opening, when everyone's just waiting in formation, in silence and darkness. And the eeriest image of the entire episode for me was the shot of thousands of Dothraki soldiers, identifiable only as dots of light, riding into the darkness, and quickly being extinguished. There were two things that bugged me in the episode though: First... the darkness! I know the events took place at night, but I didn't like that I had to spend so much time straining my eyes just to figure out what I was watching. At one point I gave up and just stood a couple of feet away from my tv. Second, the number of times I had to suspend disbelief. I lost count of how many times I saw characters overwhelmed by wights, only to somehow come out of it unscathed. And whenever Dany used dragonfire, it should have also burned her soldiers to a crisp (since it's such an indiscriminate weapon). It was especially egregious when Jon was surrounded, and the dragonfire somehow managed to kill all wights within a one foot radius of him, without Jon sustaining any injuries. (Unless they're alluding to his Targaryen blood giving him some immunity, but I don't think so.) Which brings me to a related point... I'm a little sick of how the dragons have become a bit of a deux ex machina, swooping in at the last moment to save impossible situations. (Of course the one time dragonfire would have made sense - when the Army of the Dead was still en route to Winterfell, and not intermingled with the human population - they didn't use them for some reason.) Anyway, those are minor quibbles in what was an otherwise impressive episode of television. I can't wait to see it again (hopefully with better light). I think the biggest shock of the night for me was Grey Worm surviving. I really want a happy ending for Grey Worm and Missandei, so hopefully those two crazy kids make it. The deaths were otherwise fairly predictable: Theon, Jorah, Dolorous Edd, Beric, Lady Mormont (her death was the only one that shocked me). Did I miss anyone? I didn't see Arya coming at the end. The face-off between Bran and the Night King was so long and drawn out that for a minute I thought Bran was going to warg into him. I'm still processing, but I think I like Arya being hte one to kill the Night King (arguably a bit fan-servicey, but less predictable than Jon). Finally, I don't know what's going on with me, but after shipping Sansa/Theon last week, I'm kind of feeling Sansa/Tyrion this week.
  12. I’m eight episodes in. I thought the first couple of episodes were a bit heavy handed with more obvious jokes, but it gets much, much better. The tone actually reminds me quite a bit of Atlanta (I bet that’s what they were going for - even the episode descriptions are written in a style that’s very reminiscent of Atlanta).
  13. Anyone watching Ramy? It’s a new Hulu show by stand-up comedian Ramy Youssef about a millennial first-generation Egyptian-American grappling with issues around faith, relationships, family, etc. The protagonist’s Muslim identity is a central part of the story, and the show captures a broad spectrum of the Muslim community: Ramy fasts, prays, and abstains from alcohol, but also sleeps around and parties; his uncle is judgmental, without actually adhering to any religious tenets; some of the Muslim female characters wear hijab, while others don’t - and those who do are normalized in a way that’s rarely seen on TV. I just watched an episode where Ramy’s younger sister starts dating a cute white guy at grad school, but when they get ready to have sex, his fetishism comes out in full force. (The sister, completely flustered, says “How about you just role play that I’m a white girl?”) The show Ramy most reminds me of is Atlanta - auteur-driven with a mix of comedy, drama, and surrealism. I found the first couple of episodes a bit heavy handed, with more obvious jokes, but it finds its footing a couple of episodes in. Pretty groundbreaking and enjoyable to boot. It has particular resonance for me as the daughter of Muslim immigrants (albeit one who’s never really practiced), but I think the show would appeal to a lot of people.
  14. Yeah, despite my quibbles, I agree. Vulture's Top 25 is really solid. And the only choice that left me completely befuddled was ranking Feeling Kind of Naughty as the fifth worst song. But most of the other rankings and Top 10 lists I've seen for this show have seemed completely random. This show has done really well by its third-tier supporting characters. Honestly, I like the numbers by Jim ("Don't Be a Lawyer"), Tim ("Buzzing from the Bathroom"), George ("George's Turn" and "What You Missed While You Were Popular"), and White Josh ("Love's Not a Game," if you count that as his) way more than the solo outings from Heather, Valencia, and Daryl.
  15. Vulture updated its ranking of all Crazy Ex-Girlfriend songs. I don’t necessarily agree with it, but I guess it’s a testament to the quality of this show that every list I’ve seen has a totally different song ranking. Every song seems to have its fans. Personally, I think Feeling Kind of Naughty (one of my favorites) is ranked unconscionably low (125 out of 129!). A few others are also severely underrated – e.g., Friendtopia (84), The Darkness (74), I Have Friends (72), West Covina (71), and Love Kernels (40). Math of Love Triangles and A Diagnosis did pretty well (24 and 23, respectively), although I personally think they’re Top 5 material. Conversely, I think several Season 4 songs were ranked too high, including I’ve Always Never Believed in You (47), Time to Seize the Day (31), I Want to Be a Child Star (29), Forget It (21), and Gratuitous Karaoke Moment (16). Maybe they’ll grow on me.
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