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Weekly New Release Thread - November 20th, 2020

2020.11.20 10:19 Psycho697186 Weekly New Release Thread - November 20th, 2020

Albums

Bearings - Hello, It's You
I Am The Avalanche - DIVE
Seahaven - Halo of Hurt
Silverstein - Redux II
Boys of Fall - Distance
A Loss For Words - Motown Classics
Lydia - I Was Someone Else
ManDancing - The Good Sweat
Bilmuri - EGGY POCKET
You vs Yesterday - You vs Yesterday
Chamberlain - Red Weather
Faith Holt - The Difference
Partner - Never Give Up
Tired Lion - Breakfast For Pathetics
Aviations - Retrospect
Doghouse Rose - The Harder the Fall
Phoebe Bridgers - Copycat Killer (EP)
Refused - The Malignant Fire (EP)
A Boy Named John - This Is Loss and It Will Pass (EP)

Singles

A Day To Remember - Brick Wall
Bayside - Light Me Up
The All-American Rejects - Me Vs. The World
Less Than Jake - Anytime and Anywhere
Anti-Flag (feat. DE'WAYNE, Marcia Richards, Jordan Montgomery, Tom Morello) - A Dying Plea Vol. 2
Dashboard Confessional - Blue Christmas (Elvis Cover)
Red City Radio - Apocalypse, Please!
Can't Swim - Casey
The Dirty Nil - One More and the Bill
Julien Baker - A Dreamer's Holiday (Spotify Singles) (Perry Como Cover)
Luca Brasi - Every Time You're Here (I'm Gone)
Overgrow - Say Nothing
The Sonder Bombs - The One About You
Worst Party Ever - Star 67
Field Medic - TRANQUILIZED (Gia Margaret Remix)
Cloud Nothings - The Spirit Of
Figure Eight - solace
Wild Pink - You Can Have It Back
Headstrong (feat. Jacob Wilkes) - Detached
Mokita (feat. Stand Atlantic) - I'm Sorry
KennyHoopla (feat. Travis Barker) - ESTELLA//
The Moore Family Band (feat. Jeff Rosenstock) - Yelling out of Tune
City Mouth - Fall Songs
ANSON - Tightrope
Rome Hero Foxes - Without You
Signs of Progress - Bones Exposed
Nautical Mile - Purgatory
Berried Alive - Grape Digger
Conversing with Oceans (feat. Vinnie Caruana) - 439
Drones (feat. Ren Aldridge) - Our Hell Is Right Here
Bleacher Days - Imbalanced Chemicals
The Maysides - Any Girl
The New Models - At Least I'm Known for Something
Talk Show Host - This Monologue
Flight Paths - Say It Again
Radkey - Underground
ERRA - House of Glass
Speak for the Silent - As Long As You Love Me
The Rumjacks - Sainted Millions
NOAHFINNCE - Life's A Bit
[spunge] - Just Sayings
shame - Water in the Well

Other

Megan Thee Stallion - Good News (Album)
BTS - BE (Album)
French Montana - CB5 (Album)
Jeezy - The Recession 2 (Album)
Powfu - some boring love stories pt 5 (Album)
The Cribs - Night Network (Album)
Something For Kate - The Modern Medieval (Album)
Anna McClellan - I saw first light (Album)
Emily Edrosa - Another Wave Is Coming (Album)
Lisa/Liza - Shelter of a Song (Album)
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard - K.G. (Album)
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard - Live In San Francisco '16 (Album)
Mamalarky - Mamalarky (Album)
Cabaret Voltaire - Shadow of Fear (Album)
Killer Be Killed - Reluctant Hero (Album)
Fuck The Facts - Pleine Noirceur (Album)
Lindstrøm & Prins Thomas - III (Album)
Liturgy - Origin of the Alimonies (Album)
Mumford & Sons - Delta Tour (EP)
DaBaby - My Brother's Keeper (Long Live G) (EP)
Keeley Forsyth - Photograph (EP)
Azure Ryder - Crazy With The Light (EP)
Routine - And Other Things (EP)
October and the Eyes - Dogs and Gods (EP)
Hannah's Little Sister - EP.mp3 (EP)
The Postal Service - The District Sleeps Alone Tonight (Live) / Natural Anthem (Live) (Singles)
Bleachers (feat. Bruce Springsteen) - chinatown (Single)
Shawn Mendes & Justin Bieber - Monster (Single)
Miley Cyrus (feat. Dua Lipa) - Prisoner (Single)
Arctic Monkeys - 505 (Live At The Royal Albert Hall) (Single)
Morgan Wallen - Somebody's Problem (Single)
Grouplove - Wildflowers (Single)
Run River North - Lonely Weather (Single)
Fickle Friends - Million (Single)
James Blake - The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face (Single)
Mat Kearney - Can't Look Back (Single)
Dirty Heads - For What It's Worth (Acoustic) (Single)
Mike Mains & The Branches - Briggs (Cinematic Version) (Single)
Lowertown - Tourist Trap (Single)
Todd Carey (feat. Sara Bareilles) - Smile (Single)
Charlie Simpson - I See You (Acoustic) (Single)
The Night Game (feat. Elle King) - Companion (Single)
Panama Wedding - Fly to Panama (Single)
girl in red - two queens in a king sized bed (Single)
Valtari (feat. Kicksie) - Witchcraft (Single)
iann dior - Holding On (Single)
Deafheaven - Glint (Live) (Single)
God Is An Astronaut - Burial (Single)
Jimkata - Blessings in Disguise (Single)
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2020.11.01 09:17 BruteSentiment It's been 1 year since Apple TV+ began, and I have watched every one of their shows (except the kids stuff)! Here's my ranking...[No Spoilers]

In one year, Apple TV+ has released a pretty solid slate of original material. Not including children-oriented content, Apple TV+ has released 20 series, 3 miniseries, 9 movies, and 2 talk shows. From the start, Apple has said that the goal of the content is on quality, not quantity. But…has it lived up to that?
34 - Greatness Code - Documentary
Summary: Each episode features a different athlete talking about a key moment in their careers. The show features athletes from many different sports, including basketball’s LeBron James, soccer’s Alex Morgan (sorry…footballer Alex Morgan), snowboarder Shaun White, sprinter Usain Bolt, swimmer Katie Ledecky, surfer Kelly Slater, and (American) footballer Tom Brady (who is a co-producer).
My Take: This is the easy winner for the worst thing on Apple TV+. The only good thing about this “show” is that the episodes are usually no more than 10 minutes long. The monologues by the athletes are…fine. There’s nothing you haven’t really heard before here. The problem is that the special effects take away from actually seeing the athlete in action. Almost every bit of action has some animation or filter or something over it, so we almost never actually see the events being discussed. It’s pretty ridiculous. After watching this, I genuinely wondered if this series was intended to be part of Apple TV+’s children’s offerings, because that is the only level where it could at all seem “great”.
33 - Oprah Talks Covid-19 - News (Miniseries)
Summary: Not long after the COVID-19 pandemic started major lockdowns across the United States, Oprah quickly began to do online interviews with people who she hoped would bring perspective and uplifting messages, from celebrities to pastors to nurses to people who had experienced isolation in prison and the holocaust. This series ran for nearly a month from mid-March to mid-April in 2020.
My Take: One of Oprah’s three series, this one is the lowest ranked just because much of the information within it is out of date, and is aimed at people at a certain time, which was months ago. But in a way, it’s a bit of a time capsule of the early parts of the pandemic in the public eye, which is interesting. It’s almost as interesting to see the production value (or lack there of), as the majority of the episodes are screen recordings of online interviews. It’s perhaps only worth watching now for being a curiosity, but Apple and Oprah did good getting something up in a timely fashion.
32 - Amazing Stories - Adventure
Summary: An anthology series executive produced by Steven Spielberg, the show brings back the “Amazing Stories” brand with five independent stories about incredible adventures that play with sci-fi and fantasy about regular people put in amazing situations.
My Take: Amazing Stories was to be one of Apple TV’s tentpoles for the summer. Unfortunately, the series landed flat, and is by far the biggest disappointment. It’s yet another TV series that original co-Producer Bryan Fuller left. The show was originally to have ten episodes, it ended up with just five. The stories were not very groundbreaking, though they were beautifully shot. It might be worth checking out for Robert Forster’s last project before he died (Dynoman and the Volt), and for the touching “The Heat” about high school runners from Oakland.
31 - Home - Documentary
Summary: As you might imagine, this documentary series is not just about the architecture of a house, but about the people behind building and designing them. Each episode features a different house and story, with houses chosen from around the world, from urban environments like Chicago and Hong Kong to remote locations in Maine and Bali.
My Take: Although cable and streaming is littered with television programs about houses and architecture, this show passes on the drama, which helps Home become a documentary, and not a reality show. The cinematography is predictably beautiful, but the pacing is slow, and it’s very hard to really get into. It doesn’t help that a couple of the home builders behind the stories are honestly not very likable. The final episode of the first season is really good, but ultimately, this show is a bit of a snooze beyond the real enthusiasts.
30 - Dads - Documentary (Movie)
Summary: Directed by Bryce Dallas Howard, this movie looks at fathers across the many levels of fatherhood, anchored by Howard’s own relationship with her father, actodirector Ron Howard, and her grandfather Archie, as well as Bryce’s non-celebrity brother who is an expecting father. The movie shifts to stories about fathers from around the world, and back to the Howards, to celebrate the ever-shifting role of fatherhood in modern society.
My Take: This documentary is a sweet, if simple, tribute to modern fatherhood. There’s nothing special here, it does exactly what you would expect it to. It has cameo interviews from comedian fathers, interspersed with random recordings of fathers from home movies and social media, and stories of fathers in different situations. There’s nothing bad about it, but it’s pretty dry overall. It’s not a waste, but it’ll probably end up being the thing you see in the list and say “Oh, I’ll watch that another time…”, which might as well be next Father’s Day with your dad.
29 - Dear… - Documentary
Summary: A documentary series that details the history and life of various individual celebrities, and uses letters written by people they have affected to frame those celebrities’ impact on people and society.
My Take: Apple has used the advertising method of using letters written to Apple or Tim Cook about how things have changed their lives (particularly the Apple Watch), and in that context this series feels like, well, advertising. Not to take anything away from the celebrities involved, but the marketing push feels very heavy here. And, of course, one of the celebrities featured is Oprah, who is a big presence in ATV+. It also gets absurd with one episode around Big Bird (in character); of course, the Muppets have a spin-off in the kids section of ATV+ called Helpsters. It’s best with the smaller names, where even I learned a little bit. It’s a decent feel-good if that’s what you’re looking for.
28 - Long Way Up - Documentary (Miniseries)
Summary: The third docu-series by Ewan McGregor and his best friend Charley Boorman as they take a long road trip by motorcycle. This trip, they are traveling from the southern tip of South America up to Los Angeles, and are doing it (almost) entirely on electric vehicles. The series highlights both the places they visit along the way, and the travails (and successes) of using these new, custom-made electric motorcycles. (The other two series Long Way Round and Long Way Down have also been added to ATV+, though they are not ‘Apple Originals’.)
My Take: I’ve got to be honest, it’s hard to get into watching others take a road trip. It’s nice enough. The footage is beautiful, as they use everything from GoPro helmet cams to drones to capture the scenery. But the major source of tension here is Range Anxiety, and the biggest drama is in whether or not they can do it all on electric bikes. Still, it’s interesting to see parts of South America many aren’t familiar with, including deserts and the vast Patagonia. And Ewan does seem like someone that would be a great bloke to be mates with. Some people will really enjoy this, I’m just not one of them.
27 - The Elephant Queen - Documentary (Movie)
Summary: Narrated by the soft-spoken Chiwetel Ejiofor, an elephant herd must navigate the climate of the savannah to survive. Led by the matriarch, they must migrate before the dry season hits to stay around water, and then return to their normal grazing land. Along the way, we meet the many other creatures of the savannah and face the changing climates and droughts that get in the way of these pachyderms.
My Take: A documentary much in the style of the old Disney documentaries, the Elephant Queen does a lot of anthropomorphizing its subjects, who range from elephants to dung beetles, and follows them through a difficult season. It is borderline kids-oriented, but adults might enjoy this as well. It’s not afraid to delve into some sad situations, and there is an overriding theme of what happens in droughts that can not be ignored. A sweet film, perhaps a bit saccharine.
26 - Hala - Drama (Movie)
Summary: Hala is a Pakistani-American teenage girl and her trying to balance her family and cultural pressures with being a teen in America. She longs to be out of the pressures of her family’s culture as she interacts with friends and teachers outside of the home. When she does try to act out, she begins to discover more about her family, both discovering secrets and sides she never knew about, as she discovers more about herself.
My Take: Apple TV+’s first fictional feature film release, this coming of age film is never really surprising, but it is a well made film that hits all the right nuances in trying to share Hala’s experience. It’s not a perfect film, as there are some shifts in tone and character that are rather sudden and jarring for the viewer, though all things considered, that’s probably what writedirector Minhal Baig was trying for. The emotions shift quickly and non-family characters disappear quickly, as it’s clear that this is Hala’s story, and not anyone else’s. It’s a solid watch.
25 - Trying - Comedy
Summary: A British couple, Nikki and Jason, have decided to adopt when they have trouble conceiving. They struggle with the truly difficult process of adopting, as well as insecurities about whether or not the two (who could be called slackers) are truly ready to be, or even worthy of being, parents.
My Take: This is a British comedy co-produced by BBC that is about an intensely serious subject. If you know British humor, you know that it will be very intentionally awkward, and this series can definitely hit that mark. While the show is certainly has about its two main characters (Rafe Spall and Esther Smith as the couple), it has a surprisingly large cast of supporting characters, but with only one star most Americans would know (Imelda Staunton as the most unintimidating social worker ever). It’s an interesting concept, and it finds some sweet moments, but not as many funny ones. It’s not bad, but is just okay.
24 - Oprah’s Book Club - Talk Show
Summary: This was the first Oprah show to appear on Apple TV+, serving as a cross-section of Apple services (which advertises Books and Podcasts), and the only one that got to meet the pre-pandemic style of Oprah’s shows. The idea was that Oprah would interview authors and let an audience ask questions. But the series also shows the effects of the pandemic. Once the pandemic hits, the audience is gone, and it becomes direct virtual interviews for a couple of episodes before Apple and Oprah find a way to have a virtual audience.
My Take: I admit, I didn’t read any of the books selected for this list. I still got something out of these shows, but more of an analysis of Oprah than the books. It did show off one of her worst traits, which is how she answers for an interviewee when they were slow to find a point, and she talked over a lot of people. But you could also see her energy change when she had a live audience versus online interviews, and even different with a virtual audience. You could also see her energy change about what books she is passionate about versus those less so. So this wasn’t a waste, but I wasn’t enthusiastic.
23 - Truth Be Told - Drama
Summary: Poppy Parnell (Octavia Spencer) is a true crime podcaster after a successful career as an investigative reporter, but she comes to dwell on the first case that made her famous, where a teenager was put away for murdering his neighbor. Now an adult (played by Aaron Paul), Poppy begins talking with him to see if she made a mistake. Meanwhile, the victim’s family is forced to revisit the crime, including twin daughters (both played by Lizzy Caplan), and Poppy’s family confronts her for supporting Cave, who has joined a white supremacist gang in prison.
My Take: This show has an incredible cast, with Michael Beach, Mekhi Phifer, and Ron Cephas Jones in big supporting roles. Race is an unavoidable part of this story, but so is culture, as Poppy is split between her family’s blue-collar roots in Oakland, and the Silicon Valley lifestyle she now lives with her husband across the bay. The Bay Area setting of this series is a big part of the symbolism. The problem is that the mystery viewers came for was never really important. This would’ve been a good third season of a show, once a status quo for these characters had been found, rather than a confusing first season with lots of subplots.
22 - Central Park - Animation
Summary: Animated by the people behind Bob’s Burgers and created in part by Josh Gad, Central Park is an animated musical. The show revolves around the family of the manager of Central Park (Leslie Odom Jr.), and the villainous hotel owner (Stanley Tucci) who wants to undermine the park to buy it and develop it. Gad plays the busker at the park who serves as the audience’s narrator, and it plays like musical theater, with songs written by a range of artists, including Fiona Apple, Sara Bareilles, Cyndi Lauper, Aimee Mann, Alan Menken and Glenn Slater, and Meghan Trainor, among many others.
My Take: The show is silly, but not always in a funny way. The music is reminiscent of the irreverent nature of Avenue Q, and has some star power behind it, though a lot of the music is just meh. I’m not surprised my favorite song, “Spoiler Alert”, was cowritten by Alan Menken of 90’s Disney musical fame. The story, however, very often deviates from the main thrust of the plot and doesn’t seem like it’s going anywhere at times, as it’s more bothered with the humor in ridiculous situations, like the park manager’s son being obsessed with the villain’s dog Champagne. Ultimately, though, the show is just meh. The humor is fine, the story is barely relevant, and the majority of the music will not be found on many people’s playlists going forward, although of course you can find it all on Apple Music.
This show has been one of Apple TV’s only controversies, however. The cast is made from many of Gad’s friends. That led to some controversy, as Gad chose stars before choosing parts. Kristen Bell was put into the role of a bi-racial character, and the two villainous women in the series were played by men (Stanley Tucci and Daveed Diggs, though it’s hard to fault either performance). The controversy was first brought up over the winter. After the summer’s social upheaval, Bell stepped down from the role and her former character will be played in season 2 by Emmy Raver-Lampman. Bell will return as a new character in season 2.
21 - On The Rocks - Comedy (Movie)
Summary: Laura (Rashida Jones) is worried that her husband Dean (Marlon Wayans) may have gotten bored in their marriage and having an affair with a coworker. Laura’s father (Bill Murrary), a charming and unabashed ladies man, tries to help her figure out her suspicions as they follow Dean around.
My Take: Well, Apple TV+ paid for a Sofia Coppola film, and boy, did they get one. What this means is that this is a movie where the plot is less important than the conversation, and in particular, this might as well be a 2-person play between Jones and Murray. Murray is charming as basically a more chauvinistic version of himself, and Jones deadpan is the perfect counter. Ultimately the conversations are predictable, and the very obvious plot takes away any suspense. This lets the movie’s most emotionally revelatory scene go almost completely under the radar. Ultimately, it and any lessons from this film get lost in conversation. Luckily, though, Murray and Jones are enough to carry the film and stop it from becoming just plain lost.
20 - See - Drama
Summary: In the future, the world was hit with a virus that made all humans blind, and predictably led to a societal downfall. The remains of civilization live either in a world wildness has mostly reclaimed, or the ruins of what once was. The story centers on a family where two children have been born with sight, and their adoptive father (Jason Momoa) and their mother (Hera Hilmar), with friends, try to find others with sight, while being chased by a religious monarch and her soldiers, trying to rid the world of the sin of sight.
My Take: One of Apple TV+’s first showcase shows, with a bankable action star in Jason Momoa and a huge budget, See ended up as one of the platform’s disappointments. The show suffers because it’s trying to world build throughout its first season, but is constantly changing the status quo of the world through its first season. Time flies for the characters, as the kids born in the first episode are teens in 3 episodes. Supporting characters are set up and then lost in the shuffle. The show does a fantastic job putting together a realistic world of how the sightless would build a civilization, but it’s not enough to make up for a plot that barely sets a status quo before blowing it up for a new quo.
19 - Bruce Springsteen’s Letter To You - Documentary (Movie)
Summary: A documentary recorded while Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band recorded their first studio album since 2012, Letter To You was inspired as Springsteen lost a former bandmate from The Castiles, his band in the 1960’s. The documentary goes between the band playing the songs, and talking about themselves and their history.
My Take: This is a solid musical documentary, but there’s nothing groundbreaking here. It was filmed in 2019, when Springsteen was 70, and there’s no avoiding that this is and old white rocker feeling nostalgic and sharing wisdom and concerns of a life having survived rock and roll. Filmed in black and white, the documentary is comfortable and the music is nice, but it kind of fades into the background even while people are talking. Bruce and 80’s rock fans will love this. Others might turn it on and forget it’s playing.
18 - Little America - Comedy
Summary: A serial about the immigrant experience, Little America tells different stories about the immigrant life in America, from different time periods and different original countries. Whether it be a child prodigy who is left behind when his parents are deported, an African immigrant interested in becoming a cowboy, or a silent retreat where language is not a barrier, this serial tries to tell stories from every background
My Take: With Executive Producers Kumail Nanjiani and Emiliy V. Gordon as the true star power, this anthology series looks at eight different stories about immigrants living in America, all inspired by real life stories. Quality varies per episode, and sometimes it gets a little predictable and repetitive. Still, it has enough high points to work overall. My personal favorites were “The Manager” and “The Grand Prize Expo Winner”, the latter doing an amazing job of humanizing an often-mocked stereotype in media.
17 - The Oprah Conversation - Talk Show
Summary: Oprah’s intended talk show to bring in celebrities and experts and talk to them, but because of the pandemic, it is without a live audience. However, Oprah brings guests in remotely with huge and small screens that feels futuristic, not limiting in the way many pandemic shows have been. Oprah and the guest are in separate spaces but both are professionally filmed, and the limited audience members are present like portraits on the wall in a gallery.
My Take: Of the three Oprah shows, this feels most like “Oprah”. Due to the timing of the show after social upheaval, many episodes take on the subject of race and race relations. But others are oddly promotional, like Mariah Carey (who coincidentally has a holiday special coming with Apple TV) and Matthew McConaughey (and his new book). The episodes about race are particularly worth watching (as a white man, who is often uncomfortable talking about race). This is definitely peak Oprah.
16 - Little Voice - Drama
Summary: Sara Bareilles, Jordy Nelson, and. J.J. Abrams are the powerhouses behind this series, a sweet but not exactly groundbreaking story about a singer-songwriter trying to make it in New York. Bess (Brittany O’Grady) is a songwriter with anxiety about performing, despite a father in the business. As Bess tries to overcome her anxiety, she has to deal with her autistic brother (Kevin Valdez, an actor who is actually on the spectrum), her roommate/best friend, a coworker at the bar who wants to be her manager, a new musician partner, a potential love interest or two, and her alcoholic father and absent mother. That’s all.
My Take: It works on the back of star Brittany O’Grady, and a compelling cast of people around her life, especially Valdez’s performance, which is one of the most realistic portrayals of autism you’ll find. Bareilles wrote the music, which is beautiful as usual. Where the show falters is that it seems like it’s trying to do every single possible story at once, and every episode feels manic. It almost seems to exhaust every possible plot point and stumbling block in one season. But O’Grady and the music help you keep watching.
15 - The Banker - Drama (Movie)
Summary: Inspired by a true story, this movie follows Bernard Garrett (Anthony Mackie), an African-American prodigy, as he makes himself a success in Los Angeles real estate in the 1950’s and 60’s, and tries to move into banking in his home state of Texas. He and his wife (Nia Long) partners with businessman Joe Morris (Samuel L. Jackson) and white front-man Matt Steiner (Nicholas Hoult) to try and succeed in two racist industries.
My Take: One of Apple TV’s first movies, The Banker has big name stars in Avengers stars Mackie and Jackson and a big-time story. The movie is fast paced and at times feels like skimming a book. It doesn’t skimp on laughs in the first half (with Jackson providing his own laugh track), but it does get much more serious in the second half as it and the characters directly address the racism around them. This is the first Apple TV+ movie that feels distinctly “Hollywood”, both in style in structure. That helps raise ATV+’s profile, but it puts limits this film as well. It’s a good story and worth watching, but is not ground-breaking, and clearly is not an in-depth or entirely accurate look at the story.
It was also a source of a major controversy, as the movie’s release was delayed by allegations of childhood sexual abuse were levied against Bernard Garrett Jr., the son of the main character and a producer on the film, by his half sisters and their mother.
14 - Tehran - Thriller
Summary: An “Apple Original” in title only, this show was made in Israel for their public channel Kan 11, and Apple purchased the international rights. It follows Tamar Rabinyan (Niv Sultan), a young Jewish spy who was born in Iran, as she is inserted into Tehran to try and neutralize Iran’s air defenses so Israel can bomb their nuclear plant. The plot is foiled in the first episode, and Tamar is sent on the run in an enemy city, pursued by the head investigator of the Revolutionary Guard Faraz Kamali (Shaun Toub).
My Take: In many ways, this is a fairly standard spy thriller. There’s a mission, it goes wrong, and everyone is sent scrambling. Tehran gets points, from this American viewer, for exploring the largely unexplored environment of urban Iran (albeit filmed in Athens). The characters switch between Hebrew, Farsi, and English very quickly, which is challenging to hearead. But ultimately, this is a personal spy story of pawns in a bigger war, as the scope grows with each episode. There’s plenty of grey in every side of this conflict. Even with the scope, Tehran gets bogged down and the middle episodes feel filled with filler. Ultimately, it’s solid, and does feel different than most spy shows. And though we get a satisfying resolution, the door is left open for season 2, which is as yet officially unannounced (but reported that they are signed on for two more seasons).
13 - Boys State - Documentary (Movie)
Summary: Every year, young men are brought together in the Texas State Capitol for what is basically a political science camp, where they are broken into their own political parties, and must come up with a platform and compete in an election for roles inspired by state government. During it, these 16-18-year old boys must work together while competing against each other, and learning what politics are.
My Take: A documentary about young men’s mock political competition in Texas, you’ve probably just envisioned something about what this looks like, and no doubt, you’ll probably see exactly that in this documentary. But this Sundance Documentary-winning film doesn’t quite go the way you think, but also close enough that it might not matter. These teens have more nuance than I would’ve expected, and I wish adults had in politics. But it has too much nuance to be received well, I think. Still, if you want a reason to watch this, I’d put money that at least one of the featured boys in this becomes a politician of note in the near future. Also, I am interested in seeing a documentary about the same event for girls, Girls State.
12 - Tiny World - Documentary
Summary: Narrated by Ant-Man’s Paul Rudd, Tiny World takes a look at the world of small animals living in diverse natural habitats around the world. Ranging from the African savannah to the Australian outback to the north American backyard, the show features animals from monkeys that can fit in the palm of your hand, down to the ants that are ever-present.
My Take: Nature documentaries are everywhere, but the cinematography on this is mind-blowing to the point you truly wonder how some of this was shot. Clearly, a large amount of it was manipulated, with rare parts where the CGI shows through, but it doesn’t take away from just how beautiful the shots are. With Rudd’s occasionally wry narration, it makes this a nature documentary that competes with the best stuff on Netflix. The nature never gets too gory, but it does deal with the life and death (sometimes brutal) of tiny nature. And it’s even a great follow-up to the movie “The Elephant Queen” because the first episode features what could be the same dung beetle that featured in that movie! (The movie and this series were not done by the same company, though, so it might just be a look-alike dung beetle they hired.)
11 - Beastie Boys Story - Documentary
Summary: A telling of the Beastie Boys career, by the surviving members Mike “Mike D” Diamond and Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz themselves. Directed by Spike Jonze, this documentary is shot as the two tell their story to a live audience in a theater, alternating between them on stage laughing and joking around, and video sequences they narrate about their career, and their friends, especially the late Adam “MCA” Yauch.
My Take: This is such an unusual format for a documentary, and it works so well. It allows for some of the goofing off that one might expect from the stars, but it’s still coherent and interesting, especially for me as a casual fan of the band growing up. On a service with a lot of traditionally-made documentaries, this stands out because of both its style and its quality, and if you like pop music at all, you should enjoy this.
10 - For All Mankind - Drama
Summary: An alternate history series based off a simple question: What if the Soviet Union beat America to the moon? From Battlestar Galactica’s Ronald D. Moore, the answer is that the Americans, more competitive than ever, try to push for more ambitious goals than just landing on the moon and leaving.
My Take: One of the first Apple TV shows, it is a sometimes nerdy but very interesting look at the space race. It balances fictional characters with real life figures (sometimes making interesting decisions when changing their fate), and really tries to focus on the science side of science fiction. The show jumps across years of development, so it’s not as tedious and slow as it could be. It hasn’t captured fans’ imaginations as much as it obviously has its creators’ imaginations, but it’s a quality drama that could get better in future seasons, although it is clearly now swerving to the fiction side of science fiction.
9 - Home Before Dark - Drama
Summary: Hilde Lisko (Brooklynn Prince) is a 9-year old daughter of a journalist who wants to do what he does. When her family moves from New York to her father’s small hometown in Washington, she stumbles onto a mysterious death and does what any reporter would do: writes about it in her blog. But as the mystery expands to her father’s past, she challenges an entire city’s reluctance to face up to a tragedy from decades ago, in the name of journalism.
My Take: A dark horse series that did not get much press, Home Before Dark seems like a show for kids, but is a show is made for adults, with a mystery of twists and turns more like Gone Girl than any children’s show. Prince is the star of this show and keeps viewers attached, even as the mystery’s twists get harder to follow. The show is vaguely inspired by a real life young journalist, but realistically is not at all the same story. It doesn’t matter, as this is as much about family and youthful stubbornness as anything else.
8 - Dickinson - Comedy
Summary: A historical comedy-drama about the life of poet Emily Dickinson (Hailee Steinfeld), this show follows her as a modern-thinking woman in a restrictive 19th century setting, growing up as a teenager. It shows both what’s going on around her, and into her imaginative flights of fancy as she deals with romantic trysts, less-than-friendly friends, and restrictive parents (notably Jane Krakowski as her mother Emily).
My Take: One of the first series from Apple TV+, Dickinson is an ambitious series, but shifts between being a period piece with setting-appropriate acting, and characters acting like modern people but set in the past. As great as parts are, it does struggle with focus and tone, particularly John Mulaney’s guest role as Henry David Thoreau, which feels better suited for a Will Ferrell absurdist comedy than what this show is trying to be. Steinfeld shines in the lead role, but Ella Hunt as Dickinson’s best friend Sue and Jane Krakowski as her mother both are fantastic. The relationship between Dickinson and her best friend Sue, and hints about Dickinson’s deteriorating mental health, are both handled very well. This is a show that has a chance to really find its footing in future seasons.
7 - Greyhound - Action (Movie)
Summary: Captain Ernest Krause (Tom Hanks) has been given command of a destroyer, and a convoy of supply ships to cross the U-Boat infested Atlantic early in World War II. Without air cover, he spends days awake, attempting to outmaneuver an enemy he can not see, or even count. As ships in his convoy are attacked one by one, he must save as many as he can before getting back under the protective air cover from Great Britain.
My Take: A movie that really was meant for the big screen, Greyhound is not interested in your character development or subplots or mandatory romances (mostly). After an initial scene introducing Krause in the lone bit of character development, this movie is about the tense travel of the Atlantic with submarines hunting you. It never shows the human villains, only the occasional peak at the metal beasts when they surface. It also doesn’t jump between ships on this convoy. Strictly a single viewpoint, which makes for a fascinatingly and a little fatiguingly tense film that is shorter than it feels (only 91 minutes!) because of the thrills. This movie is a fantastically different take on the war films we know, and especially for those with military experience, a strong film.
6 - Servant - Drama
Summary: Without significant spoilers, the show focuses on a couple who recently suffered the loss of a child, and have undertaken a real doll therapy, where they take care of a doll to help the psychological effects of losing a child, and go so far as to bring in a mysterious young girl to be the doll’s nanny. Over the span of the series, secrets about the nanny, and the troubles of the couple themselves, slowly leak out.
My Take: M. Night Shymalan’s first television show is a return to the Shymalan of his early years. With the space of a series instead of a movie, Shymalan has the room to explore each character: the almost-grieving mother (Lauren Ambrose), the disaffected and disbelieving husband (Toby Kebbell), the mysterious nanny (Nell Tiger Free), and the doubtful brother of the wife (Rupert Grint, Ron from Harry Potter), who acts as an outside world anchor. By the end, it feels a bit as if the original mystery has become a subplot, but it’s left on a cliffhanger the will leap the plot forward. And throughout the series, Shymalan allows food to be a visual cue and cinematographic toy, setting the mood. This ranks as one of Shymalan’s better stories from his long career.
5 - Visible: Out on Television - Documentary (Miniseries)
Episodes: 5; Stauts: Completed
Summary: A documentary series about how all facets of LGBTQ people have been represented on television, from the 1950’s through today. As a series, the documentary takes time with many the facets of every letter in LGBTQ, and all the letters hidden within it, talking about struggles of people of color. With interviews and clips, it takes it’s time with different eras and weaves it all together. And it’s all done with an undertone of how storytelling works, and the tool that television is, both for misinformation but also for connection.
My Take: Making this a series really allows the time to give this topic the time to really explore it. It’s an engaging documentary, especially for anyone who’s spent any time watching television. There’s nuggets of memory for all of us, where we can connect to the shows we used to watch, both their flaws and triumphs. Certain critics might point to this as Apple trying to force representation down our throats, but this documentary is excellent at telling a compelling story with both history and context.
4 - The Morning Show - Drama
Summary: Apple TV+’s centerpiece, with superstar stars Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, and Steve Carrell, and yet a scene-stealing supporting cast of Gugu Mbahta-Raw, Billy Crudup (who won an Emmy for his role), Mark Duplass, and Jack Davenport (who is never not good), the show is about a, believe it or not, morning show whose male lead is fired in a sexual misconduct scandal and the after-effects. Witherspoon’s character is unexpectedly brought in to replace him, as power battles go on behind the scenes with everyone from the network head down to the assistant producers, as the secrets spill out about the truth.
My Take: What could be a preachy show about the MeToo movement never gets that way, and attempts a nuanced discussion about the less clear-cut issues. It’s not done perfectly, as some conflicts from the episodic storyline seem to disappear in the next episode, and Mitch is frustratingly (and probably intentionally) likable even as he is hate-able, with Carell showing his range. One flaw of this show is that the extremely likable supporting cast pulls attention away from Aniston and Witherspoon, the former being appropriately lauded with praise but not getting enough to win awards, and the latter getting a little stuck in her character spot. The season finale flurry hits hard, even if it doesn’t feel completely earned, but this show has definitely become the first bankable piece ATV+ has.
3 - Defending Jacob - Drama (Miniseries)
Summary: A boy is murdered, and after an investigation, suspicion falls on one of his classmates, Jacob, who is the son of Andy Barber, one of the assistant district attorneys (Chris Evans). Andy and his wife Laurie (Michelle Dockery) must do their best to defend their son, investigating other leads, but also facing the possibility that their son is guilty, and hiding family secrets.
My Take: Starring Captain America’s Chris Evans, Defending Jacob became the summer hit for Apple TV+, drawing viewers in. The tension between Andy and his wife Laurie, and their slightly creepy son Jacob (Jaeden Martell) as the teen is accused of murder, is filled with tension and, unlike many of the series on Apple TV, comes to a full conclusion in one season. Fans of mysteries like Gone Girl will appreciate this series. Although it can feel slightly stretched, this series hits hard and makes the most of its star power.
2 - Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet - Comedy
Summary: Mythic Quest is an online game akin to World of Warcraft, and it’s launching a new expansion to keep its fans engaged. The studio is led by a charmingly sycophantic designer Ian (pronounced EYE-an, played by Rob Mcelhenney), and lead engineer Poppy (Charlotte Nicdao). With a staff of obsessive assistants, disinterested programmers, earnest game testers, snippy game streamers, and an elderly lead writer lost in technology, the show hops along the daily struggles of keeping a game going and its fans happy.
My Take: An absolute home run of a show, as one would expect from the team behind It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Mythic Quest is absurdist comedy at its best, with McElhenney and a breakout performance from Nicdao. However, it’s also an ensemble cast with no weak spots, and a wonderfully obvious premise that is contemporary. It is at its best in two standalone episodes. The first comes out of nowhere, not featuring the main cast but instead acts as a “How the Game Industry Got Here” prequel in heartbreakingly personal fashion. The second is a special Quarantine episode that was perhaps the best quarantine-focused special episode done anywhere.
1 - Ted Lasso - Comedy
Summary: An American Football coach is inexplicably hired as a Soccer…er, real Football coach in the Premiere League in London. The titular Lasso is genuine and earnest, openly saying he doesn’t think winning has to do with the score, and he faces a soccer world where the opposite is true. He faces disbelieving players, abusive fans, unsure team staff, and a devious owner, but he barely blinks in the face of it all, and tries to keep his team from relegation…once he learns what that means.
My Take: An absolute surprise of a show, based on NBC Sports comedy promos, that has no right to be so great. Ted Lasso is on its face a fish-out-of-water sports show about an American football coach going to Europe to coach football/soccer. But it’s really a movie about a polite man in an impolite world, and bending rather than breaking, and sticking to your principles. It’s not laugh out loud funny, but it is surprisingly emotional. It’s also a show that champions maturity in a way that hits harder in a 2020 world, and so it’s also very well-timed. The only problem with Ted Lasso the show is that even though it gives Apple TV+ a recognizable character to market, it’s not a must-subscribe show. But it’s unquestionably one of Apple TV+’s best.
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2020.11.01 09:17 BruteSentiment It's been 1 year since Apple TV+ began, and I have watched every one of their shows (except the kids stuff)! Here's my ranking... [No Spoilers]

In one year, Apple TV+ has released a pretty solid slate of original material. Not including children-oriented content, Apple TV+ has released 20 series, 3 miniseries, 9 movies, and 2 talk shows. From the start, Apple has said that the goal of the content is on quality, not quantity. But…has it lived up to that?
34 - Greatness Code - Documentary
Summary: Each episode features a different athlete talking about a key moment in their careers. The show features athletes from many different sports, including basketball’s LeBron James, soccer’s Alex Morgan (sorry…footballer Alex Morgan), snowboarder Shaun White, sprinter Usain Bolt, swimmer Katie Ledecky, surfer Kelly Slater, and (American) footballer Tom Brady (who is a co-producer).
My Take: This is the easy winner for the worst thing on Apple TV+. The only good thing about this “show” is that the episodes are usually no more than 10 minutes long. The monologues by the athletes are…fine. There’s nothing you haven’t really heard before here. The problem is that the special effects take away from actually seeing the athlete in action. Almost every bit of action has some animation or filter or something over it, so we almost never actually see the events being discussed. It’s pretty ridiculous. After watching this, I genuinely wondered if this series was intended to be part of Apple TV+’s children’s offerings, because that is the only level where it could at all seem “great”.
33 - Oprah Talks Covid-19 - News (Miniseries)
Summary: Not long after the COVID-19 pandemic started major lockdowns across the United States, Oprah quickly began to do online interviews with people who she hoped would bring perspective and uplifting messages, from celebrities to pastors to nurses to people who had experienced isolation in prison and the holocaust. This series ran for nearly a month from mid-March to mid-April in 2020.
My Take: One of Oprah’s three series, this one is the lowest ranked just because much of the information within it is out of date, and is aimed at people at a certain time, which was months ago. But in a way, it’s a bit of a time capsule of the early parts of the pandemic in the public eye, which is interesting. It’s almost as interesting to see the production value (or lack there of), as the majority of the episodes are screen recordings of online interviews. It’s perhaps only worth watching now for being a curiosity, but Apple and Oprah did good getting something up in a timely fashion.
32 - Amazing Stories - Adventure
Summary: An anthology series executive produced by Steven Spielberg, the show brings back the “Amazing Stories” brand with five independent stories about incredible adventures that play with sci-fi and fantasy about regular people put in amazing situations.
My Take: Amazing Stories was to be one of Apple TV’s tentpoles for the summer. Unfortunately, the series landed flat, and is by far the biggest disappointment. It’s yet another TV series that original co-Producer Bryan Fuller left. The show was originally to have ten episodes, it ended up with just five. The stories were not very groundbreaking, though they were beautifully shot. It might be worth checking out for Robert Forster’s last project before he died (Dynoman and the Volt), and for the touching “The Heat” about high school runners from Oakland.
31 - Home - Documentary
Summary: As you might imagine, this documentary series is not just about the architecture of a house, but about the people behind building and designing them. Each episode features a different house and story, with houses chosen from around the world, from urban environments like Chicago and Hong Kong to remote locations in Maine and Bali.
My Take: Although cable and streaming is littered with television programs about houses and architecture, this show passes on the drama, which helps Home become a documentary, and not a reality show. The cinematography is predictably beautiful, but the pacing is slow, and it’s very hard to really get into. It doesn’t help that a couple of the home builders behind the stories are honestly not very likable. The final episode of the first season is really good, but ultimately, this show is a bit of a snooze beyond the real enthusiasts.
30 - Dads - Documentary (Movie)
Summary: Directed by Bryce Dallas Howard, this movie looks at fathers across the many levels of fatherhood, anchored by Howard’s own relationship with her father, actodirector Ron Howard, and her grandfather Archie, as well as Bryce’s non-celebrity brother who is an expecting father. The movie shifts to stories about fathers from around the world, and back to the Howards, to celebrate the ever-shifting role of fatherhood in modern society.
My Take: This documentary is a sweet, if simple, tribute to modern fatherhood. There’s nothing special here, it does exactly what you would expect it to. It has cameo interviews from comedian fathers, interspersed with random recordings of fathers from home movies and social media, and stories of fathers in different situations. There’s nothing bad about it, but it’s pretty dry overall. It’s not a waste, but it’ll probably end up being the thing you see in the list and say “Oh, I’ll watch that another time…”, which might as well be next Father’s Day with your dad.
29 - Dear… - Documentary
Summary: A documentary series that details the history and life of various individual celebrities, and uses letters written by people they have affected to frame those celebrities’ impact on people and society.
My Take: Apple has used the advertising method of using letters written to Apple or Tim Cook about how things have changed their lives (particularly the Apple Watch), and in that context this series feels like, well, advertising. Not to take anything away from the celebrities involved, but the marketing push feels very heavy here. And, of course, one of the celebrities featured is Oprah, who is a big presence in ATV+. It also gets absurd with one episode around Big Bird (in character); of course, the Muppets have a spin-off in the kids section of ATV+ called Helpsters. It’s best with the smaller names, where even I learned a little bit. It’s a decent feel-good if that’s what you’re looking for.
28 - Long Way Up - Documentary (Miniseries)
Summary: The third docu-series by Ewan McGregor and his best friend Charley Boorman as they take a long road trip by motorcycle. This trip, they are traveling from the southern tip of South America up to Los Angeles, and are doing it (almost) entirely on electric vehicles. The series highlights both the places they visit along the way, and the travails (and successes) of using these new, custom-made electric motorcycles. (The other two series Long Way Round and Long Way Down have also been added to ATV+, though they are not ‘Apple Originals’.)
My Take: I’ve got to be honest, it’s hard to get into watching others take a road trip. It’s nice enough. The footage is beautiful, as they use everything from GoPro helmet cams to drones to capture the scenery. But the major source of tension here is Range Anxiety, and the biggest drama is in whether or not they can do it all on electric bikes. Still, it’s interesting to see parts of South America many aren’t familiar with, including deserts and the vast Patagonia. And Ewan does seem like someone that would be a great bloke to be mates with. Some people will really enjoy this, I’m just not one of them.
27 - The Elephant Queen - Documentary (Movie)
Summary: Narrated by the soft-spoken Chiwetel Ejiofor, an elephant herd must navigate the climate of the savannah to survive. Led by the matriarch, they must migrate before the dry season hits to stay around water, and then return to their normal grazing land. Along the way, we meet the many other creatures of the savannah and face the changing climates and droughts that get in the way of these pachyderms.
My Take: A documentary much in the style of the old Disney documentaries, the Elephant Queen does a lot of anthropomorphizing its subjects, who range from elephants to dung beetles, and follows them through a difficult season. It is borderline kids-oriented, but adults might enjoy this as well. It’s not afraid to delve into some sad situations, and there is an overriding theme of what happens in droughts that can not be ignored. A sweet film, perhaps a bit saccharine.
26 - Hala - Drama (Movie)
Summary: Hala is a Pakistani-American teenage girl and her trying to balance her family and cultural pressures with being a teen in America. She longs to be out of the pressures of her family’s culture as she interacts with friends and teachers outside of the home. When she does try to act out, she begins to discover more about her family, both discovering secrets and sides she never knew about, as she discovers more about herself.
My Take: Apple TV+’s first fictional feature film release, this coming of age film is never really surprising, but it is a well made film that hits all the right nuances in trying to share Hala’s experience. It’s not a perfect film, as there are some shifts in tone and character that are rather sudden and jarring for the viewer, though all things considered, that’s probably what writedirector Minhal Baig was trying for. The emotions shift quickly and non-family characters disappear quickly, as it’s clear that this is Hala’s story, and not anyone else’s. It’s a solid watch.
25 - Trying - Comedy
Summary: A British couple, Nikki and Jason, have decided to adopt when they have trouble conceiving. They struggle with the truly difficult process of adopting, as well as insecurities about whether or not the two (who could be called slackers) are truly ready to be, or even worthy of being, parents.
My Take: This is a British comedy co-produced by BBC that is about an intensely serious subject. If you know British humor, you know that it will be very intentionally awkward, and this series can definitely hit that mark. While the show is certainly has about its two main characters (Rafe Spall and Esther Smith as the couple), it has a surprisingly large cast of supporting characters, but with only one star most Americans would know (Imelda Staunton as the most unintimidating social worker ever). It’s an interesting concept, and it finds some sweet moments, but not as many funny ones. It’s not bad, but is just okay.
24 - Oprah’s Book Club - Talk Show
Summary: This was the first Oprah show to appear on Apple TV+, serving as a cross-section of Apple services (which advertises Books and Podcasts), and the only one that got to meet the pre-pandemic style of Oprah’s shows. The idea was that Oprah would interview authors and let an audience ask questions. But the series also shows the effects of the pandemic. Once the pandemic hits, the audience is gone, and it becomes direct virtual interviews for a couple of episodes before Apple and Oprah find a way to have a virtual audience.
My Take: I admit, I didn’t read any of the books selected for this list. I still got something out of these shows, but more of an analysis of Oprah than the books. It did show off one of her worst traits, which is how she answers for an interviewee when they were slow to find a point, and she talked over a lot of people. But you could also see her energy change when she had a live audience versus online interviews, and even different with a virtual audience. You could also see her energy change about what books she is passionate about versus those less so. So this wasn’t a waste, but I wasn’t enthusiastic.
23 - Truth Be Told - Drama
Summary: Poppy Parnell (Octavia Spencer) is a true crime podcaster after a successful career as an investigative reporter, but she comes to dwell on the first case that made her famous, where a teenager was put away for murdering his neighbor. Now an adult (played by Aaron Paul), Poppy begins talking with him to see if she made a mistake. Meanwhile, the victim’s family is forced to revisit the crime, including twin daughters (both played by Lizzy Caplan), and Poppy’s family confronts her for supporting Cave, who has joined a white supremacist gang in prison.
My Take: This show has an incredible cast, with Michael Beach, Mekhi Phifer, and Ron Cephas Jones in big supporting roles. Race is an unavoidable part of this story, but so is culture, as Poppy is split between her family’s blue-collar roots in Oakland, and the Silicon Valley lifestyle she now lives with her husband across the bay. The Bay Area setting of this series is a big part of the symbolism. The problem is that the mystery viewers came for was never really important. This would’ve been a good third season of a show, once a status quo for these characters had been found, rather than a confusing first season with lots of subplots.
22 - Central Park - Animation
Summary: Animated by the people behind Bob’s Burgers and created in part by Josh Gad, Central Park is an animated musical. The show revolves around the family of the manager of Central Park (Leslie Odom Jr.), and the villainous hotel owner (Stanley Tucci) who wants to undermine the park to buy it and develop it. Gad plays the busker at the park who serves as the audience’s narrator, and it plays like musical theater, with songs written by a range of artists, including Fiona Apple, Sara Bareilles, Cyndi Lauper, Aimee Mann, Alan Menken and Glenn Slater, and Meghan Trainor, among many others.
My Take: The show is silly, but not always in a funny way. The music is reminiscent of the irreverent nature of Avenue Q, and has some star power behind it, though a lot of the music is just meh. I’m not surprised my favorite song, “Spoiler Alert”, was cowritten by Alan Menken of 90’s Disney musical fame. The story, however, very often deviates from the main thrust of the plot and doesn’t seem like it’s going anywhere at times, as it’s more bothered with the humor in ridiculous situations, like the park manager’s son being obsessed with the villain’s dog Champagne. Ultimately, though, the show is just meh. The humor is fine, the story is barely relevant, and the majority of the music will not be found on many people’s playlists going forward, although of course you can find it all on Apple Music.
This show has been one of Apple TV’s only controversies, however. The cast is made from many of Gad’s friends. That led to some controversy, as Gad chose stars before choosing parts. Kristen Bell was put into the role of a bi-racial character, and the two villainous women in the series were played by men (Stanley Tucci and Daveed Diggs, though it’s hard to fault either performance). The controversy was first brought up over the winter. After the summer’s social upheaval, Bell stepped down from the role and her former character will be played in season 2 by Emmy Raver-Lampman. Bell will return as a new character in season 2.
21 - On The Rocks - Comedy (Movie)
Summary: Laura (Rashida Jones) is worried that her husband Dean (Marlon Wayans) may have gotten bored in their marriage and having an affair with a coworker. Laura’s father (Bill Murrary), a charming and unabashed ladies man, tries to help her figure out her suspicions as they follow Dean around.
My Take: Well, Apple TV+ paid for a Sofia Coppola film, and boy, did they get one. What this means is that this is a movie where the plot is less important than the conversation, and in particular, this might as well be a 2-person play between Jones and Murray. Murray is charming as basically a more chauvinistic version of himself, and Jones deadpan is the perfect counter. Ultimately the conversations are predictable, and the very obvious plot takes away any suspense. This lets the movie’s most emotionally revelatory scene go almost completely under the radar. Ultimately, it and any lessons from this film get lost in conversation. Luckily, though, Murray and Jones are enough to carry the film and stop it from becoming just plain lost.
20 - See - Drama
Summary: In the future, the world was hit with a virus that made all humans blind, and predictably led to a societal downfall. The remains of civilization live either in a world wildness has mostly reclaimed, or the ruins of what once was. The story centers on a family where two children have been born with sight, and their adoptive father (Jason Momoa) and their mother (Hera Hilmar), with friends, try to find others with sight, while being chased by a religious monarch and her soldiers, trying to rid the world of the sin of sight.
My Take: One of Apple TV+’s first showcase shows, with a bankable action star in Jason Momoa and a huge budget, See ended up as one of the platform’s disappointments. The show suffers because it’s trying to world build throughout its first season, but is constantly changing the status quo of the world through its first season. Time flies for the characters, as the kids born in the first episode are teens in 3 episodes. Supporting characters are set up and then lost in the shuffle. The show does a fantastic job putting together a realistic world of how the sightless would build a civilization, but it’s not enough to make up for a plot that barely sets a status quo before blowing it up for a new quo.
19 - Bruce Springsteen’s Letter To You - Documentary (Movie)
Summary: A documentary recorded while Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band recorded their first studio album since 2012, Letter To You was inspired as Springsteen lost a former bandmate from The Castiles, his band in the 1960’s. The documentary goes between the band playing the songs, and talking about themselves and their history.
My Take: This is a solid musical documentary, but there’s nothing groundbreaking here. It was filmed in 2019, when Springsteen was 70, and there’s no avoiding that this is and old white rocker feeling nostalgic and sharing wisdom and concerns of a life having survived rock and roll. Filmed in black and white, the documentary is comfortable and the music is nice, but it kind of fades into the background even while people are talking. Bruce and 80’s rock fans will love this. Others might turn it on and forget it’s playing.
18 - Little America - Comedy
Summary: A serial about the immigrant experience, Little America tells different stories about the immigrant life in America, from different time periods and different original countries. Whether it be a child prodigy who is left behind when his parents are deported, an African immigrant interested in becoming a cowboy, or a silent retreat where language is not a barrier, this serial tries to tell stories from every background
My Take: With Executive Producers Kumail Nanjiani and Emiliy V. Gordon as the true star power, this anthology series looks at eight different stories about immigrants living in America, all inspired by real life stories. Quality varies per episode, and sometimes it gets a little predictable and repetitive. Still, it has enough high points to work overall. My personal favorites were “The Manager” and “The Grand Prize Expo Winner”, the latter doing an amazing job of humanizing an often-mocked stereotype in media.
17 - The Oprah Conversation - Talk Show
Summary: Oprah’s intended talk show to bring in celebrities and experts and talk to them, but because of the pandemic, it is without a live audience. However, Oprah brings guests in remotely with huge and small screens that feels futuristic, not limiting in the way many pandemic shows have been. Oprah and the guest are in separate spaces but both are professionally filmed, and the limited audience members are present like portraits on the wall in a gallery.
My Take: Of the three Oprah shows, this feels most like “Oprah”. Due to the timing of the show after social upheaval, many episodes take on the subject of race and race relations. But others are oddly promotional, like Mariah Carey (who coincidentally has a holiday special coming with Apple TV) and Matthew McConaughey (and his new book). The episodes about race are particularly worth watching (as a white man, who is often uncomfortable talking about race). This is definitely peak Oprah.
16 - Little Voice - Drama
Summary: Sara Bareilles, Jordy Nelson, and. J.J. Abrams are the powerhouses behind this series, a sweet but not exactly groundbreaking story about a singer-songwriter trying to make it in New York. Bess (Brittany O’Grady) is a songwriter with anxiety about performing, despite a father in the business. As Bess tries to overcome her anxiety, she has to deal with her autistic brother (Kevin Valdez, an actor who is actually on the spectrum), her roommate/best friend, a coworker at the bar who wants to be her manager, a new musician partner, a potential love interest or two, and her alcoholic father and absent mother. That’s all.
My Take: It works on the back of star Brittany O’Grady, and a compelling cast of people around her life, especially Valdez’s performance, which is one of the most realistic portrayals of autism you’ll find. Bareilles wrote the music, which is beautiful as usual. Where the show falters is that it seems like it’s trying to do every single possible story at once, and every episode feels manic. It almost seems to exhaust every possible plot point and stumbling block in one season. But O’Grady and the music help you keep watching.
15 - The Banker - Drama (Movie)
Summary: Inspired by a true story, this movie follows Bernard Garrett (Anthony Mackie), an African-American prodigy, as he makes himself a success in Los Angeles real estate in the 1950’s and 60’s, and tries to move into banking in his home state of Texas. He and his wife (Nia Long) partners with businessman Joe Morris (Samuel L. Jackson) and white front-man Matt Steiner (Nicholas Hoult) to try and succeed in two racist industries.
My Take: One of Apple TV’s first movies, The Banker has big name stars in Avengers stars Mackie and Jackson and a big-time story. The movie is fast paced and at times feels like skimming a book. It doesn’t skimp on laughs in the first half (with Jackson providing his own laugh track), but it does get much more serious in the second half as it and the characters directly address the racism around them. This is the first Apple TV+ movie that feels distinctly “Hollywood”, both in style in structure. That helps raise ATV+’s profile, but it puts limits this film as well. It’s a good story and worth watching, but is not ground-breaking, and clearly is not an in-depth or entirely accurate look at the story.
It was also a source of a major controversy, as the movie’s release was delayed by allegations of childhood sexual abuse were levied against Bernard Garrett Jr., the son of the main character and a producer on the film, by his half sisters and their mother.
14 - Tehran - Thriller
Summary: An “Apple Original” in title only, this show was made in Israel for their public channel Kan 11, and Apple purchased the international rights. It follows Tamar Rabinyan (Niv Sultan), a young Jewish spy who was born in Iran, as she is inserted into Tehran to try and neutralize Iran’s air defenses so Israel can bomb their nuclear plant. The plot is foiled in the first episode, and Tamar is sent on the run in an enemy city, pursued by the head investigator of the Revolutionary Guard Faraz Kamali (Shaun Toub).
My Take: In many ways, this is a fairly standard spy thriller. There’s a mission, it goes wrong, and everyone is sent scrambling. Tehran gets points, from this American viewer, for exploring the largely unexplored environment of urban Iran (albeit filmed in Athens). The characters switch between Hebrew, Farsi, and English very quickly, which is challenging to hearead. But ultimately, this is a personal spy story of pawns in a bigger war, as the scope grows with each episode. There’s plenty of grey in every side of this conflict. Even with the scope, Tehran gets bogged down and the middle episodes feel filled with filler. Ultimately, it’s solid, and does feel different than most spy shows. And though we get a satisfying resolution, the door is left open for season 2, which is as yet officially unannounced (but reported that they are signed on for two more seasons).
13 - Boys State - Documentary (Movie)
Summary: Every year, young men are brought together in the Texas State Capitol for what is basically a political science camp, where they are broken into their own political parties, and must come up with a platform and compete in an election for roles inspired by state government. During it, these 16-18-year old boys must work together while competing against each other, and learning what politics are.
My Take: A documentary about young men’s mock political competition in Texas, you’ve probably just envisioned something about what this looks like, and no doubt, you’ll probably see exactly that in this documentary. But this Sundance Documentary-winning film doesn’t quite go the way you think, but also close enough that it might not matter. These teens have more nuance than I would’ve expected, and I wish adults had in politics. But it has too much nuance to be received well, I think. Still, if you want a reason to watch this, I’d put money that at least one of the featured boys in this becomes a politician of note in the near future. Also, I am interested in seeing a documentary about the same event for girls, Girls State.
12 - Tiny World - Documentary
Summary: Narrated by Ant-Man’s Paul Rudd, Tiny World takes a look at the world of small animals living in diverse natural habitats around the world. Ranging from the African savannah to the Australian outback to the north American backyard, the show features animals from monkeys that can fit in the palm of your hand, down to the ants that are ever-present.
My Take: Nature documentaries are everywhere, but the cinematography on this is mind-blowing to the point you truly wonder how some of this was shot. Clearly, a large amount of it was manipulated, with rare parts where the CGI shows through, but it doesn’t take away from just how beautiful the shots are. With Rudd’s occasionally wry narration, it makes this a nature documentary that competes with the best stuff on Netflix. The nature never gets too gory, but it does deal with the life and death (sometimes brutal) of tiny nature. And it’s even a great follow-up to the movie “The Elephant Queen” because the first episode features what could be the same dung beetle that featured in that movie! (The movie and this series were not done by the same company, though, so it might just be a look-alike dung beetle they hired.)
11 - Beastie Boys Story - Documentary
Summary: A telling of the Beastie Boys career, by the surviving members Mike “Mike D” Diamond and Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz themselves. Directed by Spike Jonze, this documentary is shot as the two tell their story to a live audience in a theater, alternating between them on stage laughing and joking around, and video sequences they narrate about their career, and their friends, especially the late Adam “MCA” Yauch.
My Take: This is such an unusual format for a documentary, and it works so well. It allows for some of the goofing off that one might expect from the stars, but it’s still coherent and interesting, especially for me as a casual fan of the band growing up. On a service with a lot of traditionally-made documentaries, this stands out because of both its style and its quality, and if you like pop music at all, you should enjoy this.
10 - For All Mankind - Drama
Summary: An alternate history series based off a simple question: What if the Soviet Union beat America to the moon? From Battlestar Galactica’s Ronald D. Moore, the answer is that the Americans, more competitive than ever, try to push for more ambitious goals than just landing on the moon and leaving.
My Take: One of the first Apple TV shows, it is a sometimes nerdy but very interesting look at the space race. It balances fictional characters with real life figures (sometimes making interesting decisions when changing their fate), and really tries to focus on the science side of science fiction. The show jumps across years of development, so it’s not as tedious and slow as it could be. It hasn’t captured fans’ imaginations as much as it obviously has its creators’ imaginations, but it’s a quality drama that could get better in future seasons, although it is clearly now swerving to the fiction side of science fiction.
9 - Home Before Dark - Drama
Summary: Hilde Lisko (Brooklynn Prince) is a 9-year old daughter of a journalist who wants to do what he does. When her family moves from New York to her father’s small hometown in Washington, she stumbles onto a mysterious death and does what any reporter would do: writes about it in her blog. But as the mystery expands to her father’s past, she challenges an entire city’s reluctance to face up to a tragedy from decades ago, in the name of journalism.
My Take: A dark horse series that did not get much press, Home Before Dark seems like a show for kids, but is a show is made for adults, with a mystery of twists and turns more like Gone Girl than any children’s show. Prince is the star of this show and keeps viewers attached, even as the mystery’s twists get harder to follow. The show is vaguely inspired by a real life young journalist, but realistically is not at all the same story. It doesn’t matter, as this is as much about family and youthful stubbornness as anything else.
8 - Dickinson - Comedy
Summary: A historical comedy-drama about the life of poet Emily Dickinson (Hailee Steinfeld), this show follows her as a modern-thinking woman in a restrictive 19th century setting, growing up as a teenager. It shows both what’s going on around her, and into her imaginative flights of fancy as she deals with romantic trysts, less-than-friendly friends, and restrictive parents (notably Jane Krakowski as her mother Emily).
My Take: One of the first series from Apple TV+, Dickinson is an ambitious series, but shifts between being a period piece with setting-appropriate acting, and characters acting like modern people but set in the past. As great as parts are, it does struggle with focus and tone, particularly John Mulaney’s guest role as Henry David Thoreau, which feels better suited for a Will Ferrell absurdist comedy than what this show is trying to be. Steinfeld shines in the lead role, but Ella Hunt as Dickinson’s best friend Sue and Jane Krakowski as her mother both are fantastic. The relationship between Dickinson and her best friend Sue, and hints about Dickinson’s deteriorating mental health, are both handled very well. This is a show that has a chance to really find its footing in future seasons.
7 - Greyhound - Action (Movie)
Summary: Captain Ernest Krause (Tom Hanks) has been given command of a destroyer, and a convoy of supply ships to cross the U-Boat infested Atlantic early in World War II. Without air cover, he spends days awake, attempting to outmaneuver an enemy he can not see, or even count. As ships in his convoy are attacked one by one, he must save as many as he can before getting back under the protective air cover from Great Britain.
My Take: A movie that really was meant for the big screen, Greyhound is not interested in your character development or subplots or mandatory romances (mostly). After an initial scene introducing Krause in the lone bit of character development, this movie is about the tense travel of the Atlantic with submarines hunting you. It never shows the human villains, only the occasional peak at the metal beasts when they surface. It also doesn’t jump between ships on this convoy. Strictly a single viewpoint, which makes for a fascinatingly and a little fatiguingly tense film that is shorter than it feels (only 91 minutes!) because of the thrills. This movie is a fantastically different take on the war films we know, and especially for those with military experience, a strong film.
6 - Servant - Drama
Summary: Without significant spoilers, the show focuses on a couple who recently suffered the loss of a child, and have undertaken a real doll therapy, where they take care of a doll to help the psychological effects of losing a child, and go so far as to bring in a mysterious young girl to be the doll’s nanny. Over the span of the series, secrets about the nanny, and the troubles of the couple themselves, slowly leak out.
My Take: M. Night Shymalan’s first television show is a return to the Shymalan of his early years. With the space of a series instead of a movie, Shymalan has the room to explore each character: the almost-grieving mother (Lauren Ambrose), the disaffected and disbelieving husband (Toby Kebbell), the mysterious nanny (Nell Tiger Free), and the doubtful brother of the wife (Rupert Grint, Ron from Harry Potter), who acts as an outside world anchor. By the end, it feels a bit as if the original mystery has become a subplot, but it’s left on a cliffhanger the will leap the plot forward. And throughout the series, Shymalan allows food to be a visual cue and cinematographic toy, setting the mood. This ranks as one of Shymalan’s better stories from his long career.
5 - Visible: Out on Television - Documentary (Miniseries)
Episodes: 5; Stauts: Completed
Summary: A documentary series about how all facets of LGBTQ people have been represented on television, from the 1950’s through today. As a series, the documentary takes time with many the facets of every letter in LGBTQ, and all the letters hidden within it, talking about struggles of people of color. With interviews and clips, it takes it’s time with different eras and weaves it all together. And it’s all done with an undertone of how storytelling works, and the tool that television is, both for misinformation but also for connection.
My Take: Making this a series really allows the time to give this topic the time to really explore it. It’s an engaging documentary, especially for anyone who’s spent any time watching television. There’s nuggets of memory for all of us, where we can connect to the shows we used to watch, both their flaws and triumphs. Certain critics might point to this as Apple trying to force representation down our throats, but this documentary is excellent at telling a compelling story with both history and context.
4 - The Morning Show - Drama
Summary: Apple TV+’s centerpiece, with superstar stars Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, and Steve Carrell, and yet a scene-stealing supporting cast of Gugu Mbahta-Raw, Billy Crudup (who won an Emmy for his role), Mark Duplass, and Jack Davenport (who is never not good), the show is about a, believe it or not, morning show whose male lead is fired in a sexual misconduct scandal and the after-effects. Witherspoon’s character is unexpectedly brought in to replace him, as power battles go on behind the scenes with everyone from the network head down to the assistant producers, as the secrets spill out about the truth.
My Take: What could be a preachy show about the MeToo movement never gets that way, and attempts a nuanced discussion about the less clear-cut issues. It’s not done perfectly, as some conflicts from the episodic storyline seem to disappear in the next episode, and Mitch is frustratingly (and probably intentionally) likable even as he is hate-able, with Carell showing his range. One flaw of this show is that the extremely likable supporting cast pulls attention away from Aniston and Witherspoon, the former being appropriately lauded with praise but not getting enough to win awards, and the latter getting a little stuck in her character spot. The season finale flurry hits hard, even if it doesn’t feel completely earned, but this show has definitely become the first bankable piece ATV+ has.
3 - Defending Jacob - Drama (Miniseries)
Summary: A boy is murdered, and after an investigation, suspicion falls on one of his classmates, Jacob, who is the son of Andy Barber, one of the assistant district attorneys (Chris Evans). Andy and his wife Laurie (Michelle Dockery) must do their best to defend their son, investigating other leads, but also facing the possibility that their son is guilty, and hiding family secrets.
My Take: Starring Captain America’s Chris Evans, Defending Jacob became the summer hit for Apple TV+, drawing viewers in. The tension between Andy and his wife Laurie, and their slightly creepy son Jacob (Jaeden Martell) as the teen is accused of murder, is filled with tension and, unlike many of the series on Apple TV, comes to a full conclusion in one season. Fans of mysteries like Gone Girl will appreciate this series. Although it can feel slightly stretched, this series hits hard and makes the most of its star power.
2 - Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet - Comedy
Summary: Mythic Quest is an online game akin to World of Warcraft, and it’s launching a new expansion to keep its fans engaged. The studio is led by a charmingly sycophantic designer Ian (pronounced EYE-an, played by Rob Mcelhenney), and lead engineer Poppy (Charlotte Nicdao). With a staff of obsessive assistants, disinterested programmers, earnest game testers, snippy game streamers, and an elderly lead writer lost in technology, the show hops along the daily struggles of keeping a game going and its fans happy.
My Take: An absolute home run of a show, as one would expect from the team behind It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Mythic Quest is absurdist comedy at its best, with McElhenney and a breakout performance from Nicdao. However, it’s also an ensemble cast with no weak spots, and a wonderfully obvious premise that is contemporary. It is at its best in two standalone episodes. The first comes out of nowhere, not featuring the main cast but instead acts as a “How the Game Industry Got Here” prequel in heartbreakingly personal fashion. The second is a special Quarantine episode that was perhaps the best quarantine-focused special episode done anywhere.
1 - Ted Lasso - Comedy
Summary: An American Football coach is inexplicably hired as a Soccer…er, real Football coach in the Premiere League in London. The titular Lasso is genuine and earnest, openly saying he doesn’t think winning has to do with the score, and he faces a soccer world where the opposite is true. He faces disbelieving players, abusive fans, unsure team staff, and a devious owner, but he barely blinks in the face of it all, and tries to keep his team from relegation…once he learns what that means.
My Take: An absolute surprise of a show, based on NBC Sports comedy promos, that has no right to be so great. Ted Lasso is on its face a fish-out-of-water sports show about an American football coach going to Europe to coach football/soccer. But it’s really a movie about a polite man in an impolite world, and bending rather than breaking, and sticking to your principles. It’s not laugh out loud funny, but it is surprisingly emotional. It’s also a show that champions maturity in a way that hits harder in a 2020 world, and so it’s also very well-timed. The only problem with Ted Lasso the show is that even though it gives Apple TV+ a recognizable character to market, it’s not a must-subscribe show. But it’s unquestionably one of Apple TV+’s best.
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2020.10.10 03:13 Rexyggor An Analysis of the Season 3 opening theme.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HXXuk6k07j8
^I think this link is legal?
So obviously. I'm like... somewhat atypical in the sense that Abed is. I have openly admitted to a coworker that I enjoy music from TV shows a lot more than actual music. The funny part is I have a music degree. But I digress.Honestly, this post is long and it helped pull me out of a bad funk this week doing this.
So I think about the lyrics in TV songs a lot. And I know Dan Harmon is one of those people that inputs really cool hidden easter eggs in his work. Particularly the cleverness of Rick and Morty that keeps continuity (and the other EEs I see on the internet.) Even in Season 3, there is a small scene, I think a credits scene, where Britta asks the group to take a test for her class, and then that small scene becomes the driving force of the Halloween episode.
And overall... This is.. dependent if the entire season was written before this was filmed. And I wouldn't believe so, but I think the writers had at least written rough season arcs. Like going into it, it seems like it would be obvious they knew no paintball, and Chang taking over and such.
I was listnening and thinking, and I first thought about a couple of things from the song. A lot of the lyrics are mentioned and shown in various ways throughout season 3 specifically.
  1. I dont necessarily believe all the lyrics have absolute meaning. Particularly the final verse for the final pose. Cause they have to finish the song somehow. I may think about it a little later
First I thought of was:
1.Abed and Troy sing "We're gonna get more calm and normal. We're gonna fix our state of mind."
And I immediately think of episode 3.11 where Shirley is getting married, and the duo attempt to be normal. Obviously it doesn't stick.Troy's line, may not directly be related to him (though I can pull some strings) but it can also relate to Abed in episode 3.16 when Annie and Abed are in the Dreamatorium. For Troy, it could also mean state of mind being that he doesn't get stuck denying his gifts: Air Conditioner Repair school. Which he then learns he can manipulate by being the Truest Repairman and accepts his identity to help re-align the school's sanity and ego. I know.. reaching. Also Troy's push to be seen more of an equal to Abed (Pillows and Blankets)Other thoughts could include the Batman hijinks. The group therapy (but I'm getting to that later). Britta's psych test (only one of them is sane).
2. Hey episode 3.19, the group therapy episode.
Shirley sings "We're gonna stand holding hands in a brand new land far away from the borderline!"
So this obviously talks about them leaving Greendale TOGETHER. Doing something. The episode I mentioned, they didn't let Abed go to therapy alone. They specifically went together to support him (holding hands). In addition, you could say that Pierce inviting his 7 closest friends to acquire his inheritance is showing support for him (off campus), and Troy and Abed's new apartment with Annie's move. Even rescuing the Dean. Jeff mentions without Pierce, but the Pierce is actually a part of the plan.
The only other time we see them all together off campus is when they do the doppleganger episode. Coming next. We can also comment that when they travel to Earth 2 with the Model UN competition.
3. The Dean comes in and says "We're gonna seem like a mainstream dream!"
There are two things to note. His words AND his costume. Yes, Craig is known to wear a menagerie of fantastical outfits, so he would probably wear something like this.
First his words. Mainstream Dream, meaning the episode they get to film a new commercial for the school. This hereby giving them more publicity.This could also take some precedence with Advanced Gay, where Hawthorne wipes are so beloved by the Queen and LGBT+ community.We can also include Subway partnering with the school to boost the freshness and the capitalism instinct to appeal to new students.
Now I note the clothing particularly. This purple sequin dress.
I havent exactly pinned down the reason why Shirley would be wearing this costume while everyone else so far is in regular clothing. Possible to announce the grandeur of her being married again and seemingly getting her life back on track. She is also the first we see in disguise when rescuing the Dean. (also Christmas Queen I think? :D)
However, the fact that the Dean wears it symbolizes just the fact. He is copying her. He is pretending to dress in a similar outfit, Which will mark the doppledeaner to take his place in the future.
4. Chang comes out, also in a specific costume, a money suit, and say "and be appealing to all manki-i-i-ind!"
I think this symbolizes his abuse of money. His entire arc in the season revolves around being broke, and gaining status to become the ruler of Greendale. He uses the school's money for his own personal gain, and he appeals to the School Board in thinking he is a great leader of the school and they have a decent "friendship." They also show a "wonderful greendale" thanks to Chang on a [new] commercial, so that they have a positive view from the greater local area with cable, rather than the crumbling dynasty it really was.
5. "And we're gonna live forever!"
Well... There are many things here I think.First off, they are in a TV show. This media is now documented and will forever be available for those who want to watch it.
But, there are character moments that also show this.
Chang wants to "live forever" in a sense while being the dictator of Greendale.
Dean wants to be understood as a human being, not just the Dean. Hoping people see into his soul, rather than just his job. (thinking commercial episode)
Oh. Yeah. THe commercial. Immortifies them on TV for some years.
Pierce's video game, where they are immortalized in that medium.
"Pocket full of Hawthornes!"
Tweeting #AnniesMove
Shirley's Sandwiches!
Attempt on the world record for Pillow or blanket fort.
There are finally nicknamed as "The Greendale 7"

6. "We're gonna have more fun and be less weird than the first two years combined!"
I think this more symbolizes character growth. Rather than strictly staying in their typical tropes. For the short version
Jeff becomes more helpful to others and puts them before himself.
Britta starts opening up herself to others and creating meaningful relationships with the group
Abed starts communicating and acting in a more human way around others to start understanding them
Troy, as before, focuses on his individuality and pursues his own destiny
Pierce is becoming mroe open and willing to grow in acceptance (don't use gay as a derogatory term!)
Shirley is able to start piecing her life back together
Annie is becoming more loosey-goosey and less uptight.
Chang really pushes for himself to seem responsible and actually has plans and goals for himself
Craig is more up in the air. I think just the fact that he became a regular and got more airtime and character development says a lot in itself.

7. The song in a whole is a play I think with the Holiday episode. Cause when they do become a part of the glee club, their demeanors change, as if they are just happy all the time. and they will be "Fine" because music! The final verse fits in here and mentioning of the most used word.
BUT
Jeff doesn't like Glee. And the apparent distaste for the Glee Club and being in it are contradictory to Jeff wanting that to happen in his mind. There is such a irony to this song too because obviously season 3 ends in a very.. crazy and weird and almost "not fine" way.
which leads me to Britta
8. "we're gonna be more happy!"
So first, Britta is saying this. And so it's going to mean the opposite of what she says (see point 7). But, if we think about it ina more straight forward manner, maybe it just means that Britta will be more happy because she will reconnect with herself, and have meaning doing what she loves and who she is with. She reconnects with her war against the machine while the others are in their model UN-off. She starts more actively pursuing her psych major (I don't remember when she said she'd declare it, but Season 3 was really her push to become more active in her major), and she starts to connect with Troy in a meaningful way.
But yeah, she'll britta things up a lot. Like the tests, and they realize, that most of them are in fact, not fine (again, point 7)
9. Annie: "We're gonna be less crazy"
Which... is hard for me to decipher, because Annie... still acts... crazy. Her Model UN meltdown, he meltdown with the bedroom scenario, Pillows and Blankets, Her darkest Timeline character literally goes crazy. They seem crazy to join glee club again. I think the idea is more closely connected with point 6, which represents that Annie is going to force herself to become more mature and adult-like. This will obviously cause friction and craziness.
But I think it also reflects what many people say about life.. Right before major growth, you have immense struggle, which seems like a step backwards. Kinda of like you're being pulled backward in a slingshot, reliving the crazy, and difficult stuff, and then you shoot out of the slingshot with exponential growth. And to be honest, many of the moments I just mentioned show large growth to the members of the group. They become less selfish, and willing to adapt.
In addition, Episode 3.03 suggests that the craziness is not always meant to be. Because Abed ultimately catches that die and none of the shenanigans we saw come to pass.
10. "We're gonna fly to school each morning. We're gonna smile the entire time!"
This one is hard for me. I think it ultimately premises the fact we are in dream sequence, but trying to figure out the meaning kinda is hard for me without pulling MAJOR strings.
Fly to school each morning, meaning they want to just succeed at school. Jeff particularly just wants to go, get his degree and leave. But maybe he's admitting that it's a little fun too. The Flying thing has got me confused. They don't do anything of that sort in the season. I kinda grasped with fly meaning "to work successful; win popular acceptance (That won't fly with me!)
But also maybe he's being forced to smile? To fake his happiness because he doesn't want to seem "uncool" That could be a self-conscious narrative to himself for his anxiety, which he will then talk to his shrink about. He wants to fit in, but is too nervous.

Which leads us to the elephant in the room.
11. "and we're gonna sleep together!"
So... I think it's kinda declared that Annie and Jeff don't actually do anything from S1 finale to S6 finale. All other instances of real intimacy they have, it is either fabricated (Thanks Sara Bareilles' "Gravity"), or occurs in a state that is not real.
Again, kinda grasping. There is a moment where we could maybe think this did happen. Regional Holiday Music. Annie sings her song to Jeff. First off, it's overtly sexual. So duh.
Boopy doopy doop boop sex!
So.. When she finished, Jeff is not really buying it. And then we cut to Shirley and Britta. So.. What did it? Why did he suddenly change his mind? Maybe she offered... sex? I'm sure Mr. Rad would tell her to get him by any means necessary. It would also help note why he had a wardrobe change so fast. Pierce had yet to change when he got Shirley. I like to pretend that his hair is just a little extra disheveled, but it wasn't very neat to begin with and Annie does grab it during the song. I couldn't figure out another spot where they might've done it on my recent rewatch.
Edit: There is a conversation in the series finale where Jeff and Annie talk about how they haven't done anything with each other. Makes them strong. yatta yatta.
However, if they did do it with these.. Glee-personas, maybe they forgot about it.
Something along the lines of Glee club amnesia, because they group honestly doesn't remember how they acted when in the Glee club "last time", so maybe they block it out of their memories.

So that's it. I just made this a lot cooler for you, or I ruined it completely. I still enjoy the musicality of the song, so I like it!
Thanks for coming to my Not Ted Talk. Also It's just a fun thing I think about to pass time while at work doing a mindless job
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2020.07.13 21:46 fioraflower The Family Jewels Rated and Discussed

Hi! I’m bored as hell during quarantine, and after seeing someone rate all of Marina’s studio albums after hearing them for the first time, I wanted to go through and rate virtually all of her songs. I’ve seen complaining about so many tier lists, but I like to think this is a more analytical and thought-provoking idea and I wanted to share some of my thoughts and appreciate her discography as a whole. Even if no one reads or if everyone hates my opinions, it was fun for me to go through her music with a more critical lens. Now, I’ve been a Marina fan for years. I first heard her music when I was 11 I think? And I’m 19 now. These songs have marinated in my brain for much of my life, so these aren’t hot takes for me. Fair warning: This is long, and I am incapable of being concise, but I like to elaborate my feelings on the lyrics, vocals, and production of Marina’s songs and all the quirks that make her music amazing. It's also the first time I've made an actual thoughtful, long post on Reddit. Sorry if I made any Reddit etiquette faux pas. Here’s The Family Jewels, along with brief reviews on a few bonus tracks/unreleased tracks related to TFJ. Enjoy, and tell me if you agree or have different takes on some of the songs!
Are You Satisfied?
Rating: 8/10
One common theme I think I’m going to find as I review TFJ songs is that the verses typically excel the chorus in terms of quality, especially lyrical content. The first and second verses of Are You Satisfied? are definitely some of the most memorable and relatable for me out of Marina’s entire discography. I really love the fast pace of the verses and the rapid “up and down” of the pitch for her vocals, which sound raw and almost guttural, which is pretty unique to this album because of her youth. The chorus feels slightly overproduced and while I think the slightly slowed pace complements the verses well, it still takes away from the song’s momentum. The harmonies in the bridge are beautiful, and her head voice sounds gorgeous as always. Lyrically, it sets the tone for the album excellently - these songs are going to be about her uncertainty with her future, her insecurities about self-worth, and her desires for success.
Shampain
Rating: 6.5/10
Shampain doesn’t generate that much buzz, even though it’s a single with a music video. This is partially due to Marina rarely performing it live; it relies pretty heavily on belting in the verses, and Marina has stated that she simply can’t belt like that anymore, which is why she sticks to head voice for higher notes a lot more than most artists. Lyrically, it’s pretty detached from the rest of the album, since it’s basically just about the misery that comes with drinking out of despair. Sonically, it’s very unique, and I love the retro sound of it. It’s a really fun, high-energy song, and her vocals sound very raw and powerful. Other than that, though, it’s not an incredibly remarkable song, and I feel like if songs had to be cut from the album, this would be one of the first two that gets chosen.
I Am Not a Robot
Rating: 9.5/10
I have a bit of personal bias with this song. It was the first song I ever learned on piano, and I listened to it maybe a million times when I was 12 and 13 to master it. And even with my bias and with it being one of the most famous songs from TFJ, I still believe that both I and the fanbase underrate this song. We know Marina’s voice stands out compared to other pop singers, but Robot showcases some of the most unique vocals in her entire career. The pre-choruses are actually my favorite; I love the way her voice subtly shakes on the words “vulnerable,” “lovable,” and “trouble,” and she does this a lot during the second verse as well (I don’t know if it’s considered vibrato, it sounds more just like an added vocal embellishment). I love how the song starts off quiet with simple piano chords, and as it carries through, more instruments flow in. The strings sound amazing throughout the song, especially in the second pre-chorus and the outro (the outro instrumental is beautiful, and adds more to the song than I initially realized). Each chorus sounds different, with the first being a little quieter and more subtle, the second one being stronger and more belted, and the last being all-out and powerful. As someone who has a lot of trouble showing vulnerability, this song speaks a lot to me.
Girls
Rating: 6.5/10
Girls is a fascinating song, albeit a bit dated, which Marina has recognized. She kind of blames the media, but also women as a whole, for cultural setbacks women face. Which, while there can be some discourse even within the feminist movement (TERFs being an obvious example), it’s a bit foolish to act like women are their own worst barrier against progress in the modern day. The song also suffers from “I’m not like other girls” syndrome, which is an inherently sexist idea that Marina has clearly since grown out of. That being said, this song is a banger. Her voice sounds amazing, and the rasp in some of her vocals is just hot. It’s one of the best produced songs on the album, and has a bit of a dark, sexy undertone, even if that contrasts with the song’s theme. The sassy, semi-ironic tone is unique and enjoyable, and the bridge is fantastic. Sonically and vocally the song is top tier, but lyrics mean the most to me when consuming music, and they have fallen a bit short.
Mowgli’s Road
Rating: 9/10
This is definitely a grower. I’ll be honest, it took awhile for me to go from skipping the bridge to genuinely enjoying it. I completely understand if it turns off people from the song, because it’s very much “out there” and could do without the monkey cackles in the background. Other than that, this song is an absolute masterpiece. It’s excellently produced, her vocals are fantastic, the verses, pre-choruses, and chorus are all great and don’t outshine each other. The “cuckoo” adlibs and frequent references to cutlery are quirky gimmicks, but they’re more endearing to me than offputting, and the cutlery metaphors actually add a lot to the meaning of the song in a peculiar fashion. I love how her insecurity and uncertainty in this song is a direct lyrical contrast to Oh No, and the album wouldn’t be the same without this song.
Obsessions
Rating: 8.5/10
Have you cried recently? If not, Obsessions would like to change that. It’s one of the only songs on TFJ with love as a lyrical focus, but it still connects back to the album’s themes of insecurity and self-worth brilliantly. The verses have a very indie feel of packing pretty blunt lyrics into a small amount of time, and it gives a little taste of the pre-TFJ Marina which I adore. Anyone who has had occasional self-destructive tendencies or a mental disorder that ruined something good in their lives can relate deeply to her message. This song also showcases the shaky vocal embellishment I loved in Robot. However, the two fairly long interludes after the second and third choruses take away some of the song’s momentum. I wish the last chorus led straight into the final lines of the song without another break. I can also distinctly remember the music video more than most of her others, which is probably due to its cute, impactful simplicity. I’m sad that it’s outshined by most of the other TFJ singles.
Hollywood
Rating: 7/10
I don’t have a ton to say about Hollywood. It’s simultaneously a criticism and an anthem towards American culture. Songs about Hollywood are a dime a dozen, but I do like how she takes an unorthodox approach to an unoriginal topic by not straight-up bashing Hollywood as a trashy cesspool or propping it up like it’s an opportunistic utopia. Its iconic and memeable lyrics probably carry the song a bit more than usual, since it’s pretty middle of the road when it comes to vocals and production. I do like how the chorus actually sounds almost like if a rose-colored Hollywood romcom was put into like 20 seconds of music. A solid bop overall.
The Outsider
Rating: 5/10
I find it funny that Marina recorded almost 100 vocal takes for this song - the most out of any song on the album - when it’s the least remarkable track on the album for me. She does sound great, but nothing about the production stands out, and it’s not that compelling lyrically. The chorus’ instrumental is pretty interesting, but lyrically and vocally, the chorus is underwhelming. The delivery on “I’m a fucking wildcard” is great, but that’s really the only standout moment of the song. Even the outro sounds like she didn’t really know what to do with the song and just had to cap it off.
Guilty
Rating: 7/10
This and The Outsider are probably the least talked about songs from what I’ve noticed, which is odd because Guilty is wacky as hell. This is the second song I’d think would get cut before any others, because it is so lyrically detached from the other songs on TFJ. It’s about a dream where she killed a dog… and that’s kind of it. People try to make the song out to be a bit more than it is because of the line “I was just a kid and all I really wanted was my father” but that’s the only intriguing line with any depth in the song to me. That being said, the production is excellent and conveys an appropriately dark and disturbing tone. I think this is also the first song on the album that mentions the strained relationship with her father, which is a theme throughout some of her early discography. Guilty is intriguing, but sort of takes away from the continuity of the album.
Hermit the Frog
Rating: 9/10
This song is so weird in all the best ways. While the lyrics are bizarre, the meaning is actually pretty relatable to a lot of people. Many of us have been romantically or sexually involved with someone who betrayed our expectations and turned out to be a giant douche, and this song basically chronicles that relationship. This also brings in the album’s theme of self-worth, with Marina wondering how much of this relationship’s outcome is her fault. Many times, toxic relationships are a two-way street, and she owns that respectfully. This has some of the most clever songwriting in any of Marina’s music, and coupled with the unique but enthralling production of the song, you have an excellent standout track.
Oh No!
Rating: 8.5/10
My first Marina song! I gotta give a big shoutout to Just Dance for including this in one of their games, which led me down the Marina rabbit hole. It’s just so fun, and while I love the deeper, introspective songs on the rest of the album, this powerful, borderline superficial anthem for success. I relate to the song a lot, too. I’m an ambitious person who is constantly craving for success and adventure, and Oh No makes me feel like a badass who can live up to those aspirations. The song also showcases some of the downsides of a perfectionist mentality, though, like occasional bouts of self-loathing, isolationism, and detachment. Her soft vocals on the bridge sound beautiful and contrast well with fast and hard verses and deeper harmonies in the chorus. This song radiates TFJ to me, and I am very happy it exists. If I remove my bias towards it, though, I feel like it ranks just under my true favorites on the album.
Seventeen
Rating: 8.5/10
This song is an angsty rant against her father, and I love it. I have a pretty similar relationship with my father, so I resonate with the angst, but I still feel like it’s written in a more mature way than a simple “I hate my father :(“ which allows me to still enjoy the song as I leave adolescence. At face value, it can also be used as a diss against a manipulative partner, which adds an extra layer of relatability to the song. It’s cleverly written and the more simplistic production allows for her emotive vocals and lyrics to shine. The outro is beautifully sad and revealing, as well. One thing that benefits Seventeen is how easy it is to sing along to, too. I think that’s an underrated or unnoticed aspect of song enjoyability. For example, another one of my favorite singers is Sara Bareilles. But have you ever tried to sing Brave? It physically hurts and you’ll never sound nearly as good. But Seventeen has a pretty easy range while still remaining vocally compelling, and I love playing the song on my keyboard and angrily singing it out to the world.
Numb
Rating: 9.5/10
Numb is a fantastic closer. Marina sounds angelic, the harmonies are gorgeous, and the chorus is so powerful and moving. Although it’s a minor detail, I like how the chord progression changes frequently, as it allows different lines and verses to subtly increase their impact. The slow buildup in the bridge as it reaches a beautiful crescendo into the chorus is great, and while the outro really should sound repetitive, it never did to me, which is probably due to the excellent production throughout the song. Numb takes the ambition from Oh No and ties it in with the darkness of Are You Satisfied, showing the dark reality of ambition by detailing how easy it is to lose touch with what’s important and become desensitized on the quest for success. Is it all really a reasonable sacrifice? I love the line “I got dark only to shine” and the double meaning it has. Sometimes a bit of suffering is required to find success, but is there really a point in shining if you have to go through a really dark period to get there? Yes, I think it is, and I think Marina agrees too based on the hopeful ending of the song, even if the song has a bit of an unreliable narrator (i.e. saying all she cares about is being #1). It’s good to have aspirations, but it’s good to stay grounded in your values and not to get tunnel vision while you follow your dreams.

Average Song Rating: 7.88/10
Personal Album Rating: 8.5/10
An album can be greater than the sum of its parts. The Outsider is fittingly the biggest outlier in terms of my opinion on the album, but I still enjoy the song enough to not skip it if I want to listen through the album. I have a lot of personal attachment to this album, and I felt like I grew up next to Marina’s discography, so this album impacted me a lot from the age of 11-14 and is still easily enjoyed now. It’s definitely Marina’s most alt studio album, and it’s interesting to see how that’s developed into full-fledged pop with Love+Fear. That being said, I don’t need nor want another album with this sort of style, because I feel like I got just enough of a taste of alt from Marina, and the style fit the TFJ themes better than any theme she’d want to write about at this point in her career. I’d say it’s probably my second favorite album of Marina’s, and my third favorite era (her unrelreased music before TFJ ranks slightly above this).
Bonus:
Rootless
Makes sense why this song didn’t make the full cut. It’s still a good fun song, but writing metaphors over and over again doesn’t make for compelling songwriting. I love the dark tone, and it fits well in terms of album continuity, but it definitely didn’t need to be fully on TFJ.
Rating: 5/10
The Family Jewels
I WISH this song was fully on the album, as her vocals are incredibly fun and the lyrics would’ve been the most blunt diss at her father, and I definitely channel this energy a lot. With more attention towards production, this could’ve been a standout track.
Rating: 8/10
Sinful
I love the retro vibes in this song and it gives me Shampain vibes but to an even greater extent. The second verse hits me like a truck. It’s pretty simple in terms of structure, though, so I see why it didn’t make the cut.
Rating: 7/10
Like the Other Girls
The wiki says this was gonna be on a repackage of TFJ, which intrigues me, because it sounds nothing like the other songs on the album. It’s a fun song, but it doesn’t fit TFJ, and the really long outro takes away from it. It’s interesting how this sounds incredibly similar to another unreleased Marina song; I like how she doesn’t completely abandon unreleased projects.
Rating: 6/10
Bad Kidz
An underrated bop. It definitely doesn’t feel like a studio song, but I’m happy it was still “technically” released so we have a high-quality recording of it. It radiates strong pre TFJ vibes, especially with the more quirky intonation, angry lyrics, and fun backup vocals.
Rating: 8/10
Simplify
Simplify easily could’ve been on TFJ, just in terms of lyrical content and the chord progression. The question is: should it have been on the album? I’d say yes, if it was just a little longer and more produced. It’s really similar to Seventeen but not where it feels like the same song. I think it could’ve easily replaced one of my lower ranked songs on the album and it would improve the album’s continuity.
Rating: 7.5/10
Edit: forgot simplify’s rating
submitted by fioraflower to MarinaAndTheDiamonds [link] [comments]


2019.03.01 08:11 radiofan15 Lea Michele released her debut album, Louder, five years ago

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This year marks the 10th anniversary on one of the biggest pop music phenomenon of the century, and looking back it’s quite interesting to see how relatively poorly has aged, I’m talking of course about the TV series Glee, and I’m not just referring to some of the controversial elements, lack of continuity and seasonal rot, but also to the unfortunate outcome most of its music related elements ended up with: unlike other properties with similar appealing like High School Musical, Victorious and Hannah Montana, this was a show with a decidedly bigger viewership on its prime and with way more musically inclined cast members, so it’s quite surprising how none of them succeeded as musicians during the show’s run or even after that.
Sure, some of them are doing fine in fields outside of music (Darren Criss won recently the Emmy and Golden Globe for the Gianni Versace miniseries, Chris Colfer is a NYT best-selling author, Melissa Benoist is Supergirl, Amber Riley has found her niche playing Effie White on Dreamgirls and Jane Lynch remains an American treasure) but several of the main cast members weren’t able to translate their Glee success to themselves or their aspiring musical careers: Criss himself has seen his cult following as an actor completely overshadow his musical output, Lynch has a Christmas album that you might have first heard about just now, Naya Rivera released an expensive-sounding song called Sorry with Big Sean in 2013 that underperformed and that’s it, Chord Overstreet is a country/folk singer with a decent but small career, Alex Newell has done quite good on its own although he has found way more success (in the UK at least) as a feature, Riley (who is also a member of theatre/pop supergroup Leading Ladies) and Matthew Morrison (whose debut album features Elton John, Gwyneth Paltrow and Sting) got some Glee push to promote their solo careers and the latter even released two albums and an EP during Glee’s run… heck, even He Who Shall Not Be Named And Loved To Think Dirty About Kids released some stuff during the show’s prime. As you can see, lots of them tried, but no failure to launch hurt the most than the highest-profile of them: Lea Michele and her debut album Louder.

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Considering the show’s hectic schedule (choreography rehearsal, soundtrack recording, episode shooting, the habitual promotion and even arena tour… yes, the Glee cast did an arena tour during the show's prime with international dates and everything), its surprising that Lea, the de facto face of the show, found any time at all for doing anything outside Glee. Lea signed a contract with Columbia for the release of Louder on September 2012 and started working on the album the month after, on what she herself described as a slow process while she continued to work on a body of work that she herself described as very pop/rock oriented:
I set out to make a really pop-heavy album that was fun and empowering – I love Katy Perry and Kelly Clarkson! But then I found myself picking and writing these songs that were very emotional and dramatic. Louder has songs that express extreme love and some pain. I look at it and think, 'That was my year.' I didn't record any songs that I didn't completely relate to.
Here is where part of the problem with the album and whole era lies: Michele has a fantastic voice, she is a natural belter with a soprano vocal range spanning 2.7 octaves and one semitone with a great diction and strong technique to complement; however, even the people who praise her vocal chops admit that her voice is way to theatrical and “too perfect” for radio, this might not be an issue for some people but let’s remember this was the period in which even talented vocalists like Lady Gaga and Kesha triumphed on the radio and the charts without using their full vocal power. With Gaga serving as an influence for Louder alongside Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, Alanis Morissette and Kelly Clarkson, a good balance needed to be achieved that could showcase Lea’s vocals in an appropriate setting without neglecting the songs themselves… this balance ended giving us "big, splashy, anthemic pop" tracks with a sound resembling "a cross between Evanescence and Kelly Clarkson without a whiff of a show tune".
This is, of course, not the only issue the album carried with it: Lea is a gorgeous lady with a very classy look but she’s not exactly a sex icon (it feels weird seeing her selling Candies, doing Lolita stuff for GQ and being fully naked for Women’s Health) and seeing her posing in provocative poses for the promotion of Louder felt decidedly uncanny, even if it accomplished that some people separated her from Rachel Berry. Another issue was timing, as the album had been originally finished in June 2013 and planned to release at November of that year but the release was pushed back to March 2014 with some additional songs being worked on for the project as a response to Lea's boyfriend Cory Monteith’s death. By the time the album was released, Glee was in the middle of the worst ratings in its history and Lorde had already dropped the Royals bomb that helped reshape the pop landscape during the course of 2014/15.
With a strong array of collaborators and a somewhat strong promotional campaign that included appearances in The X Factor USA and the Ellen show, Lea seemed poised to become the biggest new pop girl on town… unfortunately for her, Louder was a critical and commercial disappointment, barely selling over 100,000 copies in the US and ending up the year as the second worst reviewed album of 2014 on Metacritic just one point below Robin Thicke’s much-maligned Paula.
Is it really that bad? Not really, but it’s not an unsung masterpiece either.
"It's more than just an album to me […] It's a piece of my life that I'm so glad is here for me to have for the rest of my life. Now that it's coming out, it's unbelievable".

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The album’s opening track is Cannonball, which showcases in its credits the level of talent involved on the record: Sia, Benny Blanco and Grammy winners Stargate; with such a strong team is not surprise that this was the album’s first single and only charting hit, peaking at #75 on Billboard (outselling every other Glee song from 2013 and leading Lea on becoming the only Glee cast member to chart on the Hot 100 as a solo artist) and #56 on the UK. With a video directed by Robert Hales), the track was composed following Monteith’s death and it shows the perfect blend of theatricality and pop sensibilities the team of writers/producers were trying to achieve. Sia’s footprint is very obvious when hearing Michele singing the inspirational lyrics about overcoming obstacles and rising above them set to a nice, mid-tempo beat. It's not too clear why one would want to fly like a cannonball, as she suggests throughout, but the song sounds empowering, and that's the point.

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On My Way is the second track and second single, with writing credits by Ali Tamposi, The Monsters and the Strangerz (who also produced alongside Kuk Harrell) and Fernando Garibay. Another strong team of hitmakers give the summery pop rock bop a much deserved push.
In the song, Michele starts off with a slow, pouty vocal that quickly gives way to another club-oriented track that's about returning to someone who's not right for you, with sobriety and intoxication comparisons to love running rampant throughout, as she belts out that her "heart's too drunk to drive" and she exists in a "blackout state of mind". Despite being promoted in the Ellen show and with a video directed by Hannah-Lux Davis (in which Michele met her boyfriend Matthew Paetz), the song barely charted internationally.

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By the third song, Burn with You, it's easy to tell that Lea has love on her mind, and she revealed that the track was Cory's favorite. Burn with You, which features collaborations from The Messengers) and Sir Nolan, starts off as a soft, folkie number that morphs into a midtempo pop ballad with a slow, warbled beat; the song tells the tale of two lovers who may not be right for each other, with dramatic lines like "I don't want to go to heaven if you're going to hell, I will burn with you." Rachel Berry would be proud.

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Battlefield, co-written by Sia alongside classic jazz musician Larry Goldings exclusively for Michele after Cory’s death and recorded with any vocal editing, properly showcases that ballads are a natural fit for Michele, with her demonstrating vocal restraint when there's often temptation to go big on songs like this, especially with piano-based track as personals as this one. It's another song about falling in love and breaking hearts, where the battlefield is the struggle to let go. It's sappy, but it’s infectious and Michele owns songs like this.

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At first, You're Mine (co-written by Sia) sounds like a low-rent Broadway rip-off, but it quickly turns into one of the more musically complex songs of the album. The foundation is a mid-tempo, hazy beat that pairs well with Michele's soaring vocals and subtle, lush orchestration which is sampled from the Nancy Sinatra song You Only Live Twice of the James Bond movie of the same name. Dubbed by Lea as her and Cory’s song, the track about unconditional love and is a showcase of the better and more fitting direction for Michele’s musical output, and it’s quite a shame there’s not many songs like this on the album

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With the collaboration of (once again) Sia alongside Tove Lo, Thousand Needles is the dark-sounding middle point of the album, starting off with low-key percussion and jumping to an exploding electronic-backed chorus featuring the dramatic image of why losing someone is like "having a thousand needles in my heart". Outside of serving as a midpoint, it also serves as a transition, as every style that the album and lyrics covers is present in the previous tracks and what follows next is somewhat redundant.

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Once again making her presence known, co-writer Sia (alongside Oscar-nominee writer Anne Preven) presents the title track Louder, which is a good resume of the atmosphere of the album, with its deeply enjoyable setup and pseudo-drop at the inspirational chorus in which Michele once again sings about overcoming adversity. Michele told Billboard that the album title was chosen from the song because "It shows off my voice as a singer, which is really important to me. I want to make sure that every song on my record is fun and enjoyable"… and it's fun and light indeed, fitting well on anyone’s workout playlist.

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Cue the Rain finally presents a Michele co-writing credit (it only took 8 tracks to reach this point), and presents a remembrance of an ex while trying to explain where the love that they had went after the relationship ended, doing so with more fire references, more soul-searching and more wrestling with growing apart in a relationship. With a strong midtempo ballad atmosphere, this is the closest Michele comes from channeling Kelly Clarkson, with the whooping “oohhs” in the chorus and everything.

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The ninth track, Don't Let Go, it's another upbeat mid-tempo pop song with rock and synth elements that features very standard imagery about flying high as a kite and holding on tight to present the feeling of falling in love. Although is decidedly catchy , it’s also very average and quite subdued, feeling more assembled in the same factory that gave us very similar and forgettable P!nk and Katy Perry deep cuts from the same era, with everything and a fade out to end it all.

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The penultimate track in the standard edition is Empty Handed, co-written by Christina Perri and ex-Evanescence member David Hodges, which definitely gives to this ballad its rock vibe. Accompanied by an acoustic guitar backup that gives it a very Coldplay vibe, Empty Handed it's a slow-building piano-pop rock tune about letting someone love you, and it's one of the best songs on the album. Some people might find it too similar to The Scientist (especially after the drums kick in after the first chorus) or Perri’s own A Thousand Years from the Twilight Saga soundtracks, but that shouldn’t be a detriment of how great is the track overall.

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If You Say So is the final track on Louder, also is the second song Michele co-wrote (alongside Sia) and deals directly with Monteith's death. It's a devastating piano ballad based around their last conversation and it was the last song recorded for the album, intentionally placed as the closer to contrast with the hopeful atmosphere of Cannonball:
Listening to it, it’s therapeutic and difficult. It will always represent the most devastating thing that’s ever happened to me in my whole life. But at the same time, music is therapy. It’s been therapy for me in the entire grieving process and in my entire life. I’m grateful that Sia collaborated on that song with me and it’s a moment in my life… music has just been so important and so helpful to me this whole year.
It was important to me that the album began with "Cannonball” and ended with “If You Say So.” I have to acknowledge what I’ve been through this year. It was really difficult, which I think is represented in “If You Say So” and a song like “Cannonball” represents finding strength and hope. These are the two sides of my life right now. The grief, but also the search for strength and hope. I really wanted those two songs to bookend the album. Really let everyone know where I’m at.
For an album that intended to introduce an artist’s personal voice and artistry to the mainstream, If You Say So it’s the album only fully revealing and naked moment, with the title referencing the last words Cory said to Lea before his accidental death, and her feelings the week afterwards. It’s definitely the album’s highlight and one of Michele’s finest moments overall, which is saying something.

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In true late-00s/early-10s fashion, there are several configurations of the album with additional tracks… fortunately for completionists, only two additional editions with four extra tracks exists.
The Japanese version of the album includes the Bonnie McKee-penned To Find You, an upbeat ballad with some interesting production elements about going to end of the world to find your loved one… the song is cute and everything, but it’s some stronger percussions away from being another Katy Perry’s Roar/Sara Bareilles’ Brave and that’s not exactly a compliment.
The digital deluxe edition includes three more tracks. The first one is What Is Love?, a sappy and sweeping ballad about her questioning what she really feels for someone who was not what she thought she was.
The second one is the ballad Gone Tonight, co-written by Michele and CJ Baran among others, which deals how every problem Michele has with her partner goes away in a sexy night of hot steamy copulation or something like that… it’s sonically really generic but the implied subject matter is interesting to say at least.
The final track is The Bells, yet another ballad (more upbeat this time) apparently dedicated to Cory, in which Lea mentions how, ever since the love of her life is gone, she still hears the local church bells ringing ever since, an apparent reference to a possible wedding that unfortunately for her never took place. Is decidedly less personal and relatable than If You Say So but it’s not really trying to compete with so it’s still passable.
Louder is a good album, not really deserving of being considered one of the worst mainstream albums of its year, but I can’t blame those who might dismiss it as a collection of really good pop tunes with some filler to complement. Lea Michele, for starters, is not a pop star, she’s more of a Broadway star, a musical starlet or even a balladist… although the pure pop tracks in Louder are not bad at all (some of them are really amazing), they don’t really sound like Lea (and before you attack me, this is a sentiment she agrees with) and is quite a shame that this was the introduction Lea got to the mainstream scene as a solo performer, because it somehow made her indistinguishable of her Glee character (maybe only with some more sex appeal) while also showing her as a one-sided performer (several of the songs are cut from the same lyrical mold) and almost instantly dating the record; during her tenure in Glee, the songs from her that stayed with the fans and audience were the ones in which her voice was given enough and proper space to shine, with the remainder being left aside as mere karaoke covers, and as a proof of her artistry her sophomore effort Places, which unfortunately sold one fifth of what Louder did, is able to do her voice and talent justice by proving she has great potential as a musical force… but not as your standard manufactured pop singer.
SOME LINKS OF INTEREST:

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submitted by radiofan15 to popheads [link] [comments]


2018.09.02 19:13 MirandaTheFilmmaker [Video] Queer TV Creator Made A Show With A Trans Male Lead Actor For PlayStation

Hi all,
My writing partner and I won a contest hosted by PlayStation that allowed us to create a TV series pilot; we were one among 5, and our show, called Two Roads, follows a family in witness protection, as they struggle to adapt to their new life in a small town, while running from the secrets of their past.
Two Roads has 4 leads including a trans man we cast in one of our main roles. Trigger warning: in the pilot, he is misgendered by other characters; this is a choice we made based on our overall premise of - what if witness protection was a place that allowed you to become the best version of yourself? This is the starting point on his journey, but not the end nor how we anticipate he will be treated in future episodes.
We hope if we get future episodes, we'll get to tell the real story of who he is and his journey. But - this is not simply a classic coming out story, both because he's in witness protection (lol) and because we have so much we want to do with this character - romance, friendships, family struggles, drug use, secrets, and more will all be huge factors in conflicts he experiences as the show progresses. We love this character, and hope you fall in love with the actor as we all did, if you get a chance to watch (and yes, for those who love her music, too, Sara Bareilles' sister also is one of our leads).
The show is available here: https://www.playstation.com/en-us/network/playstation-video/emerging-filmmakers/two-roads/ (and yes, there's a poll below the show, if you like it and want to make any comments, but you don't have to!)
Thanks so much to everyone in the community for being an inspiration for me and my writing partner to continue to tell queer stories and try to give these characters their best possible journeys!
submitted by MirandaTheFilmmaker to LGBTeens [link] [comments]


2018.02.10 19:09 jenndesantis (IYL) LGBTQ activism, Rock music videos, and Interracial beauty, (YML)

This original song of mine is a creative blend of unconventional instruments pulled together by my solid lead vocal and piano performance to keep it grounded and original. It is a deep ballet that has an Elton John vibe to it on the piano, a Sara Bareilles mixed with The Cure voice, and a strong, smooth beat. It is also a true story. A year ago, I was still figuring my sexuality and had doubt about my feelings for women due to traditional societal norms. This relationship helped me realize there was something more that I felt with women. My partner at the time came from a non-supportive family. We both ended the relationship out of fear. Fear of society. We should be happy with ourselves before starting a relationship of any kind. Being happy isn’t easy when society shuts us away. Some of LGBT are faced to be homeless and we don’t have the same equal rights as all people. From this relationship, I knew I could actually fall in love with a woman and be happy. She realized to be happy too despite what her family thought. Happiness is the most important thing in life. There are not enough LGBTQ songs + music videos out there, especially portraying interracial couples and the challenges that come with certain cultures. This is a very powerful song that people love to listen to over and over again.
Stream HERE:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/someone-else-single/id1289880708
https://open.spotify.com/artist/6ZNJrFBjtUOrKfd7bERnVo
submitted by jenndesantis to ifyoulikeblank [link] [comments]


2015.10.04 23:18 pointyteeth The Legend of the Karate Kid (x-post from /r/neckbeardstories)

Hey /weeabootales! Today's tales are so ripe with action, it would make Kung Fury tear up with jealousy. It's a bit long because I didn't want to break it into two parts and leave you with a cliffhanger, so bear with me.
Characters-
Pointyteeth: Your not-so-humble narrator. 5'7", 145 lbs, pretty fit. Likes pizza, knitting, Sara Bareilles, and firmly believes that the plural of moose should be meese. None of that was relevant by the way.
Karate Kid. The glorious hero of our tale. 5'10", easily 200 lbs, mainly of flab. His hair was straight, brown, and shoulder length but very thin and wispy which made it seem like he had less than he actually did. He also rocked a neckbeard of the utmost patchiness. Side note: I never actually bothered to remember his name, so I called him Karate Kid in real life too.
Sensei: Our strong and silent black belt jujitsu instructor. 6'0", 220lbs, ex-football player. Despite being gruff on the outside, he really loves his students and genuinely enjoys teaching us jujitsu. He's incredibly levelheaded, fair, and overall a great guy.
So-and-So: I forgot his name within 5 seconds of hearing it. About 6'0" and pretty thin except for a prominent beer belly. I swear it looked like this guy was about to give birth to a 6 pack of Bud Lite.
Let me set the stage for y'all : By the time my final semester of college rolled around, I had been part of the school's jujitsu club for several years and was an active leader in the organization. The club focused on traditional Japanese jujitsu, so they taught you the history of the art and minor Japanese etiquette, but mainly focused on self defense. All the students in the club were required to wear this with varying degrees of belts. It was taught by several black belts like a class. For the first week of each semester, our club would open its doors to recruit fresh new members. Regardless of previous martial arts experience, everybody started off at level 1 because most other martial arts were very different from what we taught. People who already had a bit of background in fighting styles would usually have a slight edge for the first few weeks until other's skill developed and evened the playing field. Primarily for safety reasons, newbies would spend an entire semester separate from the "advanced" students so they could learn from the beginning at a slower pace until they were skilled enough to keep up with the rest of us. I felt like it also gave them a sense of isolation from the rest of the students, so I would often go out of my way to converse with and teach the newbies to help them feel like they're part of a club too. So now that's all said and done, our story begins:
The club met three times a week: Tuesday night, Thursday night, and Saturday morning. Because of college reasons, not a lot of people showed up on Saturdays so the ones that did make an appearance were given a bit more freedom to socialize and practice on their own. For me, this meant that I could interact with the newbies even more. The first hour is pretty structured with a warm up and set exercises we have to do, but for the last hour we were allowed free practice. I saunter over to where the newbies are huddled up and am about to ask if they need help with any of the techniques they're learning, but I notice that they're all listening raptly to another fellow noob. I part the sea of newbies and am bathed in the radiance of our hero in all his glory: the magnificent Karate Kid. Now as I mentioned before, we learn some basic relevant Japanese terms like dojo (where you practice), rei (bow), sempai (notice me), obi (belt) and so on. While most people have trouble remembering the 20 or so terms required for newcomers to advance in rank, it appears that Karate Kid has picked up on these fairly quickly. When I walked into the huddle, he was in the middle of demonstrating how he had already memorized most of the words we use, so I'm fairly impressed. However, this positive impression faded when he goes off script and starts talking about all the other Japanese he has learned from his ANIME/STUDIES. His monologue starts to transition to his extensive knowledge of Japanese culture. I can't remember the specifics, but it was typical weeaboo stuff like how traditional Japan's culture is and how Asian women are better in every way. I jump in before things get too weird and remind the newbies that it's recommended that they practice jujitsu related things. Most of them snap back to reality and shuffle off to continue practicing, but Karate Kid starts talking to me about how talented he is because he's been doing martial arts for years. I'm used to people arguing that their martial art is better, but I humor him and say "It's great that you're involved in other forms of self defense, but there's a good chance you'll still learn something useful or interesting from jujitsu. What other forms do you practice?" He puff out his chest and says "I've been doing karate for 8 years". MFW. I purse my lips in an effort to keep a straight face, but Karate Kid notices and scowls. "You don't think karate is legit?". I was burning to say "Nope", but I instead went with "It's very different from the kind of stuff we do here". This answer doesn't seem to satisfy him.
"I could beat even black belts at sparring in the Karate Club here", he retorts (note: rank isn't always a symbol of skill, so this statement is plausible). He continues on this tangent, slowly exaggerating his combat experience, until I suggest that he and I go at it. In our club, sparring was allowed during free practice time. You and your partner start off a few feet from each other, and then grapple and wrestle each other until somebody taps out. It's fun, physically exhausting, and the best way to learn to use the techniques you know. Obviously there is a certain danger involved so sparring is usually reserved for advanced students who have more control and precision. Humblebrag: after years of doing jujitsu, I was pretty clutch at grappling and wrestling. I also was very good at controlling my body and, through that, the intensity of the fight so figured that I'd hopefully be able to call it off before any serious damage happened. He agreed to spar and he and I took our positions a facing each other. Out of the corner of my eye I see the other newbies stop what they're doing and watch with interest.
Karate Kid drops into a karate fighting stance and jabs, but I shuffle backwards so I'm out of his reach. He jabs again and I hop out of each again. He lunges the third time in an attempt to compensate for the anticipated backstep, but I step forward and his fist sails harmlessly by me. Before he can react, I grab his lapel with one hand, his sleeve with the other, and tip him gently onto the ground. When he's flat on his back, I lean on his chest so he can't get up. This position won't hurt him, but it won't let him do much else either. He struggles violently for two minutes but is unable to get out from under me. Eventually, I release him on my own accord and he immediately pops to his feet and demands a rematch. We spar two more times with the same result: him being pinned to the ground and unable to fight back. After every round, I try to teach him ways he can improve, but he rebuffs my advice. After his third loss, I can see that he's sweating pretty heavily and suggest that we take a break. I hold my hand out and he shakes it begrudgingly. I turn to ask the other newbies if they want me to try to teach them to spar, but as I do I see a flurry of movement from the corner of my eye. Before I can register what's happening, something hard collides with my stomach. I double over in surprise, stumble over my own feet, and trip over backwards. Out of instinct, I do a sort of backwards somersault onto my feet and stand up. I see Karate Kid glaring at me and I put two and two together and realized who had just punched me in the gut. The black belt sensei had seen this and in no time at all he's placed himself between me and Karate Kid. Sensei grabs Karate Kid and starts to lead him away but I take a step towards them saying "Hey wait a wait wait! I just wanna talk for a second". Sensei stops walking and eyes me suspiciously, his body still blocking most of Karate Kid from me. Karate Kid peers around him, looking apprehensive. I, however, have a huge ass grin on my face. "I'm really curious" I say "why you did that. I mean, I just beat you in three consecutive fights and your first thought was to sucker punch me? In front of a sensei? What did you think the best case scenario of that would be? Seriously, tell me." Sensei shoots me a "don't make things worse" look and I stop, but I'm still grinning at Karate Kid who's face flushes as he turns away. I look over at the other newbies and they quickly look away, pretending like they hadn't been staring the whole time. Sensei leads Karate Kid out of the hall, then comes back alone after about five minutes. After class, I ask Sensei what he told him and Sensei replied "I told him that as long as he is unable to act in a mature manner, then he wasn't welcome to come learn with us. I suggested that it might be best for him to try the club again next year". I was hoping that Sensei would strike the fear of god into the bastard, but I guess that works too.
BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE!
Yes my friends, it's not the end of our tale yet. Several weeks go by and I don't see hide nor neckbeard hair of Karate Kid. My final weeks of undergrad were crazy busy. I was constantly stressed with work, clubs, sports, and school and was on the verge of a nervous breakdown 24/7. So it wasn't surprising that I found myself walking home alone from my research lab at around 1:00 AM one night, pretty much dead on my feet. As I approach my building, I notice two people wrestling on the ground under the light of a lamp post. Thinking maybe someone was getting mugged, I pick up the pace as I walk up to them and say loudly "HEY. Is there a problem?" I was expecting one of them to yell "HELP" or something along those lines. What I didn't expect was for both people stop fighting and stand up to look at me. MFW I see that it's Karate Kid. He's covered in dirt and sweat, but smiling widely. It dawns on me that this was the first time I've seen him in something other than the jujistu uniform. He's wearing a black shirt with the some JapaneseIthink writing on it, khaki cargo shorts, and what appear to be white soccer socks. The rest doesn't seemed to have changed much since I last saw him. If anything, his neckbeard looks more pube-y. The kid he was struggling with is about dressed in baggy black pants with metal studs and a Disturbed t-shirt. Karate Kid notices me eyeing him and says "I was just showing So-and-So here some of the moves I learned in jujitsu" as if wrestling outside in the middle of the night is a perfectly acceptable thing that people do. He's still grinning at me, but I don't return the smile. I look over at So-and-So again and he gives a halfhearted shrug, so it's clear that he wasn't in any real danger. "Right" I say and start heading towards the door to my building but I haven't taken more than a couple steps when I hear "HEY POINTYTEETH". I sigh and turn around to face the two of them again. Karate Kid drops into his signature karate fighting stance and points a stubby finger at me dramatically. "I challenge you in order to regain my honor!!!!1!!1!". It takes a second for this to sink in, and then my brain kicks into overdrive.
I don't know how, but this little fucker went and found out where I lived waited until here for me so he could fight me. My eyes briefly flutter towards So-and-So who is still standing a little behind Karate Kid. I was 100% sure that he would join in on the fight if things looked poorly for Karate Kid. The corners of my mouth twitch and my heartbeat picks up. I won't lie to you and say I didn't want it. 2 on 1 would be challenging to say the least, but there wasn't a doubt in my mind that I could beat the ever-loving daylights out of them both. It would be hard, but I was itching to try to put the skills I had spent 3 years developing to the test and my mind was already thinking of different ways I could approach the fight. A distant part of my mind registered the fact that they were both taller and heavier than me, but I didn't care. I wanted to fight. I wanted to tear that stupid smirk off his face. I wanted to get him back for that time he hit me in the gut. I wanted to see the look in his eyes as the false ego he's built up comes crashing down around him. And this setting was perfect too. The area seemed abandoned. No one would intervene.
But then I felt a small tug in the back of my brain. The face of my jujitsu instructor flashed briefly in my head, disappointed that I hadn't used my powers for the forces of good. I thought about the example I would set for all the other kids who looked up to me in the jujitsu club. I thought about the legal repercussions if they went to a lawyer. And I thought about Karate Kid, and how his big boasts and fake ego were all that were keeping him afloat. And when I looked at him again, I didn't see a college student on the edge of adulthood. I saw a dumb little kid living a warped fantasy. Suddenly my excitement fades and I find myself all out of fucks to give.
Mustering every ounce of self control I possess, I stare Karate Kid right in the eyes and say "No. Go home". I turn around and swipe my ID card to unlock the door to my building. He's shouting my name again, but I don't acknowledge him this time. I enter the building and slam the door behind me, hearing the lock give a satisfying click. I walk up the stairs to where my apartment is and enter my room. Karate Kid is still shouting my name in rage, his voice floating through the open window. The shouting persists while I brush my teeth and change into my jammies (they're soft as fuck and I have no shame about it), put some headphones on, and drift off to sleep.
And that's the anti-climactic end to the story. I never saw Karate Kid after that. Maybe he did wait outside my building for me again, but I never ran into him. After graduating, I found out that apparently the karate place he goes to coddles him and gives him new belts regardless of his lack of skill, which seems fitting I guess. I never told any of my friends about the staredown at midnight because I didn't want to get shit for avoiding a fight (you know, typical bro talk), but I still staunchly believe that I did the right thing. Auf Wiedersehen nerds.
submitted by pointyteeth to weeabootales [link] [comments]


2015.10.03 21:15 pointyteeth The Legend of the Karate Kid

Hey /neckbeardstories! Today's tales are so ripe with action, it would make Kung Fury tear up with jealousy. It's a bit long because I didn't want to break it into two parts and leave you with a cliffhanger, so bear with me.
Characters-
Pointyteeth: Your not-so-humble narrator. 5'7", 145 lbs, pretty fit. Likes pizza, knitting, Sara Bareilles, and firmly believes that the plural of moose should be meese. None of that was relevant by the way.
Karate Kid. The glorious hero of our tale. 5'10", easily 200 lbs, mainly of flab. His hair was straight, brown, and shoulder length but very thin and wispy which made it seem like he had less than he actually did. He also rocked a neckbeard of the utmost patchiness. Side note: I never actually bothered to remember his name, so I called him Karate Kid in real life too.
Sensei: Our strong and silent black belt jujitsu instructor. 6'0", 220lbs, ex-football player. Despite being gruff on the outside, he really loves his students and genuinely enjoys teaching us jujitsu. He's incredibly levelheaded, fair, and overall a great guy.
So-and-So: I forgot his name within 5 seconds of hearing it. About 6'0" and pretty thin except for a prominent beer belly. I swear it looked like this guy was about to give birth to a 6 pack of Bud Lite.
Let me set the stage for y'all : By the time my final semester of college rolled around, I had been part of the school's jujitsu club for several years and was an active leader in the organization. The club focused on traditional Japanese jujitsu, so they taught you the history of the art and minor Japanese etiquette, but mainly focused on self defense. All the students in the club were required to wear this with varying degrees of belts. It was taught by several black belts like a class. For the first week of each semester, our club would open its doors to recruit fresh new members. Regardless of previous martial arts experience, everybody started off at level 1 because most other martial arts were very different from what we taught. People who already had a bit of background in fighting styles would usually have a slight edge for the first few weeks until other's skill developed and evened the playing field. Primarily for safety reasons, newbies would spend an entire semester separate from the "advanced" students so they could learn from the beginning at a slower pace until they were skilled enough to keep up with the rest of us. I felt like it also gave them a sense of isolation from the rest of the students, so I would often go out of my way to converse with and teach the newbies to help them feel like they're part of a club too. So now that's all said and done, our story begins:
The club met three times a week: Tuesday night, Thursday night, and Saturday morning. Because of college reasons, not a lot of people showed up on Saturdays so the ones that did make an appearance were given a bit more freedom to socialize and practice on their own. For me, this meant that I could interact with the newbies even more. The first hour is pretty structured with a warm up and set exercises we have to do, but for the last hour we were allowed free practice. I saunter over to where the newbies are huddled up and am about to ask if they need help with any of the techniques they're learning, but I notice that they're all listening raptly to another fellow noob. I part the sea of newbies and am bathed in the radiance of our hero in all his glory: the magnificent Karate Kid. Now as I mentioned before, we learn some basic relevant Japanese terms like dojo (where you practice), rei (bow), sempai (notice me), obi (belt) and so on. While most people have trouble remembering the 20 or so terms required for newcomers to advance in rank, it appears that Karate Kid has picked up on these fairly quickly. When I walked into the huddle, he was in the middle of demonstrating how he had already memorized most of the words we use, so I'm fairly impressed. However, this positive impression faded when he goes off script and starts talking about all the other Japanese he has learned from his ANIME/STUDIES. His monologue starts to transition to his extensive knowledge of Japanese culture. I can't remember the specifics, but it was typical weeaboo stuff like how traditional Japan's culture is and how Asian women are better in every way. I jump in before things get too weird and remind the newbies that it's recommended that they practice jujitsu related things. Most of them snap back to reality and shuffle off to continue practicing, but Karate Kid starts talking to me about how talented he is because he's been doing martial arts for years. I'm used to people arguing that their martial art is better, but I humor him and say "It's great that you're involved in other forms of self defense, but there's a good chance you'll still learn something useful or interesting from jujitsu. What other forms do you practice?" He puff out his chest and says "I've been doing karate for 8 years". My immediate thought. I purse my lips in an effort to keep a straight face, but Karate Kid notices and scowls. "You don't think karate is legit?". I was burning to say "Nope", but I instead went with "It's very different from the kind of stuff we do here". This answer doesn't seem to satisfy him.
"I could beat even black belts at sparring in the Karate Club here", he retorts (note: rank isn't always a symbol of skill, so this statement is plausible). He continues on this tangent, slowly exaggerating his combat experience, until I suggest that he and I go at it. In our club, sparring was allowed during free practice time. You and your partner start off a few feet from each other, and then grapple and wrestle each other until somebody taps out. It's fun, physically exhausting, and the best way to learn to use the techniques you know. Obviously there is a certain danger involved so sparring is usually reserved for advanced students who have more control and precision. Humblebrag: after years of doing jujitsu, I was pretty clutch at grappling and wrestling. I also was very good at controlling my body and, through that, the intensity of the fight so figured that I'd hopefully be able to call it off before any serious damage happened. He agreed to spar and he and I took our positions a facing each other. Out of the corner of my eye I see the other newbies stop what they're doing and watch with interest.
Karate Kid drops into a karate fighting stance and jabs, but I shuffle backwards so I'm out of his reach. He jabs again and I hop out of each again. He lunges the third time in an attempt to compensate for the anticipated backstep, but I step forward and his fist sails harmlessly by me. Before he can react, I grab his lapel with one hand, his sleeve with the other, and tip him gently onto the ground. When he's flat on his back, I lean on his chest so he can't get up. This position won't hurt him, but it won't let him do much else either. He struggles violently for two minutes but is unable to get out from under me. Eventually, I release him on my own accord and he immediately pops to his feet and demands a rematch. We spar two more times with the same result: him being pinned to the ground and unable to fight back. After every round, I try to teach him ways he can improve, but he rebuffs my advice. After his third loss, I can see that he's sweating pretty heavily and suggest that we take a break. I hold my hand out and he shakes it begrudgingly. I turn to ask the other newbies if they want me to try to teach them to spar, but as I do I see a flurry of movement from the corner of my eye. Before I can register what's happening, something hard collides with my stomach. I double over in surprise, stumble over my own feet, and trip over backwards. Out of instinct, I do a sort of backwards somersault onto my feet and stand up. I see Karate Kid glaring at me and I put two and two together and realized who had just punched me in the gut. The black belt sensei had seen this and in no time at all he's placed himself between me and Karate Kid. Sensei grabs Karate Kid and starts to lead him away but I take a step towards them saying "Hey wait a wait wait! I just wanna talk for a second". Sensei stops walking and eyes me suspiciously, his body still blocking most of Karate Kid from me. Karate Kid peers around him, looking apprehensive. I, however, have a huge ass grin on my face. "I'm really curious" I say "why you did that. I mean, I just beat you in three consecutive fights and your first thought was to sucker punch me? In front of a sensei? What did you think the best case scenario of that would be? Seriously, tell me." Sensei shoots me a "don't make things worse" look and I stop, but I'm still grinning at Karate Kid who's face flushes as he turns away. I look over at the other newbies and they quickly look away, pretending like they hadn't been staring the whole time. Sensei leads Karate Kid out of the hall, then comes back alone after about five minutes. After class, I ask Sensei what he told him and Sensei replied "I told him that as long as he is unable to act in a mature manner, then he wasn't welcome to come learn with us. I suggested that it might be best for him to try the club again next year". I was hoping that Sensei would strike the fear of god into the bastard, but I guess that works too.
BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE!
Yes my friends, it's not the end of our tale yet. Several weeks go by and I don't see hide nor neckbeard hair of Karate Kid. My final weeks of undergrad were crazy busy. I was constantly stressed with work, clubs, sports, and school and was on the verge of a nervous breakdown 24/7. So it wasn't surprising that I found myself walking home alone from my research lab at around 1:00 AM one night, pretty much dead on my feet. As I approach my building, I notice two people wrestling on the ground under the light of a lamp post. Thinking maybe someone was getting mugged, I pick up the pace as I walk up to them and say loudly "HEY. Is there a problem?" I was expecting one of them to yell "HELP" or something along those lines. What I didn't expect was for both people stop fighting and stand up to look at me. MY FACE WHEN I see that it's Karate Kid. He's covered in dirt and sweat, but smiling widely. It dawns on me that this was the first time I've seen him in something other than the jujistu uniform. He's wearing a black shirt with the some JapaneseIthink writing on it, khaki cargo shorts, and what appear to be white soccer socks. The rest doesn't seemed to have changed much since I last saw him. If anything, his neckbeard looks more pube-y. The kid he was struggling with is about dressed in baggy black pants with metal studs and a Disturbed t-shirt. Karate Kid notices me eyeing him and says "I was just showing So-and-So here some of the moves I learned in jujitsu" as if wrestling outside in the middle of the night is a perfectly acceptable thing that people do. He's still grinning at me, but I don't return the smile. I look over at So-and-So again and he gives a halfhearted shrug, so it's clear that he wasn't in any real danger. "Right" I say and start heading towards the door to my building but I haven't taken more than a couple steps when I hear "HEY POINTYTEETH". I sigh and turn around to face the two of them again. Karate Kid drops into his signature karate fighting stance and points a stubby finger at me dramatically. "I challenge you in order to regain my honor!!!!1!!1!". It takes a second for this to sink in, and then my brain kicks into overdrive.
I don't know how, but this little fucker went and found out where I lived waited until here for me so he could fight me. My eyes briefly flutter towards So-and-So who is still standing a little behind Karate Kid. I was 100% sure that he would join in on the fight if things looked poorly for Karate Kid. The corners of my mouth twitch and my heartbeat picks up. I won't lie to you and say I didn't want it. 2 on 1 would be challenging to say the least, but there wasn't a doubt in my mind that I could beat the ever-loving daylights out of them both. It would be hard, but I was itching to try to put the skills I had spent 3 years developing to the test and my mind was already thinking of different ways I could approach the fight. A distant part of my mind registered the fact that they were both taller and heavier than me, but I didn't care. I wanted to fight. I wanted to tear that stupid smirk off his face. I wanted to get him back for that time he hit me in the gut. I wanted to see the look in his eyes as the false ego he's built up comes crashing down around him. And this setting was perfect too. The area seemed abandoned. No one would intervene.
But then I felt a small tug in the back of my brain. The face of my jujitsu instructor flashed briefly in my head, disappointed that I hadn't used my powers for the forces of good. I thought about the example I would set for all the other kids who looked up to me in the jujitsu club. I thought about the legal repercussions if they went to a lawyer. And I thought about Karate Kid, and how his big boasts and fake ego were all that were keeping him afloat. And when I looked at him again, I didn't see a college student on the edge of adulthood. I saw a dumb little kid living a warped fantasy. Suddenly my excitement fades and I find myself all out of fucks to give.
Mustering every ounce of self control I possess, I stare Karate Kid right in the eyes and say "No. Go home". I turn around and swipe my ID card to unlock the door to my building. He's shouting my name again, but I don't acknowledge him this time. I enter the building and slam the door behind me, hearing the lock give a satisfying click. I walk up the stairs to where my apartment is and enter my room. Karate Kid is still shouting my name in rage, his voice floating through the open window. The shouting persists while I brush my teeth and change into my jammies (they're soft as fuck and I have no shame about it), put some headphones on, and drift off to sleep.
And that's the anti-climactic end to the story. I never saw Karate Kid after that. Maybe he did wait outside my building for me again, but I never ran into him. After graduating, I found out that apparently the karate place he goes to coddles him and gives him new belts regarless of his lack of skill, which seems fitting I guess. I never told any of my friends about the staredown at midnight because I didn't want to get shit for avoiding a fight (you know, typical bro talk), but I still staunchly believe that I did the right thing. Auf Wiedersehen nerds.
submitted by pointyteeth to neckbeardstories [link] [comments]


2014.10.15 07:59 ohlimey Songs with two-part harmonies?

Hi Reddit, I'm looking for some good duets with two-part harmonies. I'm taking a group singing class, and I'm not sure who I'll be partnered up with yet, but my instructor has asked us to send her a list of our own song preferences.
Last time I took this course, a classmate and I worked on "Winter Song" by Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson, and it was so much fun. I'd really like to continue working on my harmonizing skills this time around, so the more vocal harmony, the better!
Some background: I'm an alto. My tastes generally sit in the pop and musical theater genres, but I'm certainly open to suggestions! Currently on my list are "For Good" from Wicked and "The Sound of Silence" by Simon & Garfunkel.
Thanks in advance!
submitted by ohlimey to singing [link] [comments]


2012.05.27 06:04 notamustache Season 2 Easter Eggs

The old threads have been archived (6 month mark) and you can't comment on them anymore, so here are the new ones. I'm a little behind, so please comment and let me know of any I've missed, or if you've told me about one and I didn't add it. I'll read through all the comments on the old ones once more to see if I've missed any as well. Thanks!
Season 1 Easter Eggs
Season 2 Easter Eggs
Season 3 Easter Eggs
If you find an easter egg let me know in the comments with an accompanied video or screenshot. You can also link to a post made on Reddit before about something I've missed. Thanks!
Last Updated: 3/22/12
2.01 Anthropology 101
2.03 The Psychology of Letting Go
2.04 Basic Rocket Science
2.05 Messianic Myths and Ancient Peoples
2.06 Epidemiology
2.07 Aerodynamics of Gender
2.08 Cooperative Calligraphy
2.09 Conspiracy Theories and Interior Design
2.11 Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas
2.12 Asian Population Studies
2.13 Celebrity Pharmacology
2.14 Advanced Dungeons and Dragons
2.15 Early 21st Century Romanticism
2.16 Intermediate Documentary Filmmaking
2.17 Intro to Political Science
2.19 Critical Film Studies
2.21 Paradigms of Human Memory
2.22 Applied Anthropology and Culinary Arts
2.23 A Fistful of Paintballs
2.24 For A Few Paintballs More
submitted by notamustache to community [link] [comments]


2011.11.14 00:51 notamustache Season 2 Easter Eggs

New Thread Here
If you find an easter egg let me know in the comments with an accompanied video or screenshot. You can also link to a post made on Reddit before about something I've missed. Thanks!
Last Updated: 3/22/12
2.01 Anthropology 101
2.03 The Psychology of Letting Go
2.04 Basic Rocket Science
2.05 Messianic Myths and Ancient Peoples
2.06 Epidemiology
2.07 Aerodynamics of Gender
2.08 Cooperative Calligraphy
2.09 Conspiracy Theories and Interior Design
  • Jeff, Abed, Troy, and Annie are halted in their chase after Professor Professorson because of a crossing Latvian Independence Parade. The episode aired on November 18, the day of the declaration of Latvian independence.
  • Kevin Corrigan's character's name (Professor Professorson AKA Professor Garrity) is a nod to Finn Garrity, who was played by Corrigan in the show Damages. -Thanks Stevethestudent
2.11 Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas
2.12 Asian Population Studies
2.13 Celebrity Pharmacology
2.14 Advanced Dungeons and Dragons
2.15 Early 21st Century Romanticism
2.16 Intermediate Documentary Filmmaking
2.17 Intro to Political Science
2.19 Critical Film Studies
2.21 Paradigms of Human Memory
2.22 Applied Anthropology and Culinary Arts
2.23 A Fistful of Paintballs
2.24 For A Few Paintballs More
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