Amy Poehler

Fasting on Yom Kippur - "It's the holiest day of the year." - Sarah Pfefferman, Transparent

This past week was Yom Kippur. It's the Jewish day of atonement, and the end of the Days of Awe. That's that week in between Rosh Hashanah, our new year, and Yom Kippur, when the Book of Life is open. We're supposed to think about the people we've hurt over the past year so we can atone for it, and then our names will be written into the Book of Life for the next year to come, and it is closed and finalized at the end of Yom Kippur. And while most of this time is generally joyous, celebrating the sweetness of life and the excitement of a new year, we're supposed to fast on Yom Kippur itself, to reflect on who we are and what we've done.

I'm a pretty bad Jew. I've never fasted on Yom Kippur. At least not before this year.

Honestly, I'm not sure I could tell you exactly why I chose to fast this time. It's not like anything in particular happened to make me understand that fasting would actually have meaning for me this time around. I've been connecting more and more to my Judaism and my faith/spirituality, but that's been an ongoing process for a couple of years now, I didn't start fasting when I started that. It was just a few days before Yom Kippur, and I realized that I was going to do it.

(Thank god I managed to give away my shift at my day job. Sure, it's about denying yourself the pleasure of food to think about what you've done, but I don't think whatever higher power there is meant for us to do that while working in a restaurant.)

I went about my day almost as normal. I slept in way later than I normally would, but I still volunteered at the New York Film Festival that evening, and I didn't go to services or anything. That didn't stop me from reflecting pretty much all day, though. And there were two things I was particularly thinking about.

One is that I never realized just how much my schedule and my life revolves around food. Not just my day job, but when I started to plan my day and I had to deliberately leave out a lunch break. Or when I thought I might be early to the NYFF, so I figured "I'll head down there, and if I'm too early, I'll just stop by Starbucks" before I remembered "no, I won't." When I started to run low on energy and I figured I'd just get a snack. And then at the festival, realizing that I would have to decide at 6pm between seeing a movie and breaking the fast. (Good thing for me that 6pm movie was also showing the next day at 9pm, so I just saw it then! Before I found that out, I was really, legitimately struggling with the decision.)

But more importantly, I was thinking about the people I've hurt and disrespected. And I realized that I haven't hurt that many other people. In fact, I go way out of my way to make sure I don't hurt others, and everybody likes me. I'm sure there are people I've hurt that I don't realize, but I'm also sure that they all know me and they know I didn't mean to hurt them.

The person I have disrespected is myself. Yes, I know, that's pretty self-serving for a holiday about atonement towards others, but by going so far out of my way to make sure the people around me are happy, I've put my own self at less of a priority. As if I'm not as important as my peers. I'm happy to help my friends where I can, but I also have to start looking out for myself more. I have to start demanding the things that I want, because if I don't, I'm not going to get them. And that's probably going to make me come off as a bit of a "bitch." But I have to stop caring about that, too. Besides, like Tina Fey and Amy Poehler have said, bitches get stuff done. And I have a lot of stuff to do.

I have lost out on too many things that I've wanted this year so the people around me could like me more and I would hurt them less.

I then broke the fast by going to Indie Food and Wine in Lincoln Center, getting a soup, two sandwiches, as well as popcorn and lemonade from the concessions stand at the Walter Reade theater... and then I went to Gourmet Garage, bought a pint of Ben and Jerry's, and split it with a couple of other NYFF volunteers. Because it's also possible to get what I want AND make the people around me happy.

Is all of this the point of Yom Kippur? I don't know. Probs not. But it's the spiritual experience that I had, so it's valid, too.

Heart and Brain in Film - "Writing is easy. You just open a vein and bleed." - Paul Gallico? Red Smith? I Dunno Who Said It, Really

I don't have a lot of time today, so this is gonna be a hella short post, but I've been thinking a lot over the past week about what makes a movie smart, and why is that good.

Spotlight won the Best Picture Oscar on Sunday, which people tell me was an upset. These are primarily people who had put money down on The Revenant winning Best Picture. (I didn't post my predictions here this year, but I definitely had Spotlight and I wish I had bet on it, myself.)

But I really wasn't surprised because it was just such a smart movie. But what is it that makes it so intelligent? Is it having smart characters? Does that always coincide with having intellectual characters? It oftentimes seems to, especially with Oscar winners, but there were Oscar nominees that don't.

And, at a time where films like Zoolander and Dumb and Dumber are incredibly popular and get at least one sequel, is intelligence the most important thing in making a good movie? Do these count as good movies? They may not have smart characters, but they're made by smart people, they make smart people laugh, and they have tons of heart.

I'm not even gonna try going into what it means to have heart. That's a discussion for a different day/blog post. But what means more? And how is that meaning shown? Through box office returns, or awards? And what about films that get neither of those things, like Steve Jobs? What about films that have both, like The Martian?

At the end of the day, there really ought to be films across the board with characters of all kinds of intelligence, just like there ought to be characters of all kinds of different genders, sexualities, cultures, races, et cetera. That's certainly the moral answer. And it's not untrue.

But (personal opinion time) I think intelligent characters are the best because they make the most interesting decisions. It's harder to put them into comedies, but that makes it all the more impressive when someone can. (I'm looking at you, Mean Girls, 30 Rock, and anything produced by Michael Schur and/or Amy Poehler.) And I think interesting decisions are what really hold us with a good movie. Not random ones, but interesting ones.

And now, to end this blog post, I have to nerd out at least a little bit over the Oscars.

I'm so excited for Leonardo DiCaprio winning his first Academy Award!! I know, me and the rest of the internet. But it's been a long time coming, and I'm psyched for him.

Gerda was not a supporting character. But since no one was ever going to beat Brie Larson for Best Actress, I was really rooting for Alicia Vikander to win Best Supporting Actress for The Danish Girl. Also, I'm so happy The Danish Girl got at least a little Oscars love.

Mark Rylance one billion percent deserved Best Supporting Actor award.

A year ago, even though I'm a film score nerd, I couldn't have told you who Ennio Morricone is. Now I have such insane respect for him. He's incredible. And it's even more amazing that this is his first Academy Award as well!!

Go Mad Max for practically sweeping the production categories.

...Oops. Remember that time this was supposed to be a short blog post?

Emmy Wrap Up - "You cannot win an Emmy for roles that simply are not there." - Viola Davis

Hey guys, remember how for the Golden Globes I was gonna go award by award and talk about my predictions vs. who actually won, and then said "lol nope" when I realized how long it would take?

GUESS WHO IS A DAMN FOOL AND SURE IS DOING IT NOW FOR THE EMMYS?? (It's me.)

Outstanding Drama Series
My prediction: Mad Men
Who actually won: Game of Thrones

My mother nearly threw her tablet through the TV screen when Mad Men kept losing categories to Game of Thrones. And while I sympathize (I thought Mad Men would clean up the drama Emmys, myself), I still think it's wonderful. I think that it shows that the Emmy voters in the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences are starting to skew a little younger, with slightly more open minds about the validity of fantasy as genuine art. Which is awesome.

Outstanding Comedy Series
My prediction: Parks and Recreation
Who actually won: Veep

And now here's the thing I don't like about the way the voters of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences vote: They vote for their friends. And their friends don't change on a year to year basis. Which is why you get the same shows winning some of these awards year after year. A few years ago, it was Modern Family. And now it's Veep. Don't get me wrong, I think Veep is a wonderful, intelligent, interesting, and hilarious show. It's not that I think it doesn't deserve Best Comedy. I just think it won Best Comedy last year. And Parks and Recreation deserves way more recognition than it got. (Which, at the Emmys, was no recognition at all.)

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
My prediction: Mad Men - Jon Hamm as Don Draper
Who actually won: Mad Men - Jon Hamm as Don Draper

There's no analysis that needs to be written here. We all saw this coming from a mile away. Well deserved. So instead, I'm just gonna include a gif of when Jon Hamm rolled on stage to accept it. Please do enjoy the view.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
My prediction: Orphan Black - Tatiana Maslany as Sarah, Alison, Cosmia, Helena, Rachel, and Krystal
Who actually won: How to Get Away With Murder - Viola Davis as Annalise Keating

Tatiana Maslany will get her turn for her incredible performances in Orphan Black. But Viola Davis was the right choice. I didn't even realize beforehand that this made her the first black woman to win the lead actress Emmy. (Shows how far I need to check my own privilege.) Now there's nothing I can say that she can't say better herself. So I'm just including her acceptance speech. This is required viewing.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
My prediction: Transparent - Jeffrey Tambor as Maura Pfefferman
Who actually won: Transparent - Jeffrey Tambor as Maura Pfefferman

If this is at all puzzling to you, you haven't yet seen Transparent. And that's all I have to say about that.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
My prediction: Parks and Recreation - Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope (although I highlighted everyone)
Who actually won: Veep - Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Selina Meyer

I suppose this was slightly wishful thinking on my part. But Julia Louis-Dreyfus is a class act, and this was a crazy strong category this year. I just wish it meant that I didn't know she is now going to win just about every year for the rest of Veep's run. I think she's wonderful. I just think the other comedic lead actresses are wonderful, too.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
My prediction: The Good Wife - Alan Cumming as Eli Gold (although I highlighted Game of Thrones - Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister)
Who actually won: Game of Thrones - Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister

I'm not really sure why I picked Alan Cumming, to be honest. He's quite good, but I knew from the start that Peter Dinklage is the best in this category. So I'm just going to copypaste my analysis from my Emmy predictions post, and we can all laugh at what an idiot I am.

Alan Cumming has been consistently nominated for this role. And this year The Good Wife got mostly snubbed. And the Emmys don’t really have love for high fantasy. Alan Cumming has been pretty present in the culturally conscious mind after his run with Cabaret earlier this year, and then co-hosting the Tonys with Kristen Chenoweth. There’s no one in this category I’m especially excited about, aside from Peter Dinklage (who would really be winning more for his performance last season than this one; he was excellent this season, but he just shone last year in the trial and the finale especially) so... it’s pretty much just that it’s Alan Cummings’ time.
— Me being dumb

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
My prediction: Orange is the New Black - Uzo Aduba as Suzanne "Crazy Eyes" Warren
Who actually won: Orange is the New Black - Uzo Aduba as Suzanne "Crazy Eyes" Warren

I like being right. Sometimes I like being right more than others. Watching Uzo Aduba make history as she won Emmys in both drama and comedy for the same role, and seeing how much it means to her, is one of those times I especially like being right.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
My prediction: Veep - Tony Hale as Gary Walsh
Who actually won: Veep - Tony Hale as Gary Walsh

Not gonna lie, this one was pretty arbitrary. So it's just cool that I got it right. Yay Barrow Group alumni!

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
My prediction: Transparent - Gaby Hoffman as Ali Pfefferman
Who actually won: Mom - Allison Janney as Bonnie

My takeaway from this award is that I should probably be watching Mom. Like, full disclosure: I've never seen it before. And I thought I had an idea as to what it's about and the feel of the show. I was clearly quite wrong. And Allison Janney is so, so classy.

Outstanding Variety Sketch Series
My prediction: Inside Amy Schumer
Who actually won: Inside Amy Schumer

Dude. Go Amy Schumer. She's awesome.

Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series
My prediction: Transparent - Bradley Whitford as Marcy
Who actually won: Transparent - Bradley Whitford as Marcy

Transparent. Is. A. Gift. To. Us. All.

Outstanding Main Title Design
My prediction: Manhattan
Who actually won: Manhattan

Yooooo this one I knew next to nothing about any of the other nominees I just wanted to highlight the one category in which Manhattan was actually nominated for an Emmy and it totally won that's awesome. (I really, really like Manhattan, you guys.)

...Looking over my predictions post, it seems I didn't make writing predictions. That's weird. But I certainly would've gotten them wrong, as I would've picked Transparent and Mad Men, not Veep or Game of Thrones. You guys fantasy is so legit now it's awesome.

See you all next time in Oscar season!! I mean, also many times before that. But definitely then as well. What I'm trying to say here is I'm a huge sucker for awards shows.

EMMY NOMINATIONS!!

Emmy nominations are out!! So... that means it's time for me to post all of my predictions! I won't bother writing out a whole introduction. You know what the Emmys are. If you're new to me and you're just joining from Telemazing, then you should know that some of my predictions will have analysis underneath and some won't. Also I'm mostly just doing the biggest awards (series, lead and supporting actor and actress, all in both comedy and drama), and a select few other categories that just interest me. So. Yeah. Let's do this!

Things in Bold Italics are the Categories
Things in normal text are regular nominees.
Things in italics are my winner predictions.
*Things with an asterisk are series/people I don't think will win because of industry politics or some other reason, but are good enough that they should.

Outstanding Drama Series
Better Call Saul
Downton Abbey
Game of Thrones
Homeland
House of Cards
Mad Men
Orange is the New Black

I feel like this one is pretty obvious. It was Mad Men's last season, and the Emmys love giving awards to shows as they're on their way out. It's all about examining a Complicated White Male (which the old, white, male Emmy voters love) in the sixties and seventies (which the old, white, male Emmy voters miss). Add that to the fact that the finale was a huge television event that is still discussed so it's pretty present in the average culturally educated mind, and it makes Mad Men a pretty clear choice to win.

Outstanding Comedy Series
Louie
Modern Family
Parks and Recreation
Silicon Valley
Transparent
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Veep

Similar to Mad Men winning Best Drama, this is Parks and Rec's last chance, especially since it has never won for Best Comedy! It's also a show that's all about love and friendship while still having something to say about politics and domestic and foreign policy, and the Emmys love a show that has an opinion on something outside of its own overall plot arc. Besides, it's a show that just has tons and tons of heart. I think that Veep and Louie are also excellent series, Modern Family has won pretty much every year for the past several years, and Transparent is straight up a gift to us all from the TV gods (aka, Jill Soloway). But Transparent, Louis, and Veep will be back again next year, Modern Family has had it's due, and now it's time for Parks and Rec to get the recognition it deserves. (And if you've also read Yes Please, by Amy Poehler, then you'll understand why I really want her to get her pudding.)

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Better Call Saul - Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill
Bloodline - Kyle Chandler as John Rayburn
House of Cards - Kevin Spacey as Frank Underwood
Mad Men - Jon Hamm as Don Draper
The Newsroom - Jeff Daniels as Will McAvoy
Ray Donovan - Liev Schreiber as Ray Donovan

Did you know that Jon Hamm has never won an Emmy for his portrayal of Don Draper in Mad Men, even though it's a career making, and beyond that, iconic performance?
If you've read any of my analyses in this post before this, you already understand why I don't think that'll be the case anymore after September 20th.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Empire - Taraji P. Henson as Cookie Lyon
Homeland - Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison
House of Cards - Robin Wright as Claire Underwood
How to Get Away with Murder - Viola Davis as Annalise Keating
Mad Men - Elizabeth Moss as Peggy Olson
Orphan Black - Tatiana Maslany as Sarah, Alison, Cosmia, Helena, Rachel, and Krystal

Does this really need analysis? The pretentious elite (of which I fully admit that I am a member) that make up the Emmy voters (of which I fully admit that I am not) have finally discovered Orphan Black, and now Tatiana Maslany is going to get her dues.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
black-ish - Anthony Anderson as Andre Johnson
Episodes - Matt LeBlanc as Matt LeBlanc
House of Lies - Don Cheadle as Marty Kaan
The Last Man on Earth - Will Forte as Phil Miller
Louie - Louis C.K. as Louie
Shameless - William H. Macy as Frank Gallagher
Transparent - Jeffrey Tambor as Maura Pfefferman

Between how Transparent just cleaned up at the Golden Globes earlier this year, and the fact that the show is literally just a gift to us all from the TV gods (aka Jill Soloway), while it may not win Best Comedy, it can certainly give this award to Jeffrey Tambor, who plays Maura with grace and humanity, and not a shred of the self-righteousness that comes with an actor who is trying to Make a Point instead of tell a story.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
*The Comeback - Lisa Kudrow as Valerie Cherish
*Grace and Frankie - Lily Tomlin as Frankie
*Inside Amy Schumer - Amy Schumer as Amy
*Nurse Jackie - Edie Falco as Jackie Peyton
Parks and Recreation - Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope
*Veep - Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Selina Meyer

Guys, this one was actually really, really difficult. Literally any of these women could win, and I would totally understand it, and there would be a part of me that agrees with it. I actually came really close to choosing Edie Falco to win this one as Nurse Jackie is also ending and it's one of those comedies that is really more of a dramady than a comedy. But... she's also won the award for this role already (not to mention previous wins for The Sopranos) and I really think this is the time for Parks and Rec. But really. This is such an over-the-top strong category this year with each of these actresses turning in strong, heartfelt, moving, and hilarious performances. This pick was really, really difficult.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Better Call Saul - Jonathan Banks as Mike Ehrmantrout
Bloodline - Ben Mendelsohn as Danny Rayburn
Downton Abbey - Jim Carter as Mr. Carson
*Game of Thrones - Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister
The Good Wife - Alan Cumming as Eli Gold
House of Cards - Michael Kelly as Doug Stamper

Alan Cumming has been consistently nominated for this role. And this year The Good Wife got mostly snubbed. And the Emmys don't really have love for high fantasy. Alan Cumming has been pretty present in the culturally conscious mind after his run with Cabaret earlier this year, and then co-hosting the Tonys with Kristen Chenoweth. There's no one in this category I'm especially excited about, aside from Peter Dinklage (who would really be winning more for his performance last season than this one; he was excellent this season, but he just shone last year in the trial and the finale especially) so... it's pretty much just that it's Alan Cummings' time.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Downton Abbey - Joanne Froggatt as Anna Bates
*Game of Thrones - Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister
Game of Thrones - Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen
The Good Wife - Christine Baranski as Diane Lockheart
Mad Men - Christina Hendricks as Joan Harris
Orange is the New Black - Uzo Aduba as Suzanne "Crazy Eyes" Warren

I know I just said that the Emmys doesn't usually have love for the Emmys, but dude, Cersei's walk of shame. That's the kind of scene that'll be shown in Lena Headey's lifetime achievement awards. I also want you to believe me when I say that it hurts me physically to not be putting an asterisk next to Emilia Clarke's name because she is my khaleesi but for this specific season there are other performances that are stronger than hers. Not to say that hers isn't wonderful and strong. Just that there are others that are stronger.
And yet you'll notice that my choice to win wasn't either of those two, but Uzo Aduba. And there are two reasons for that. First and foremost, because she deserves it. Her Crazy Eyes is touching and heartfelt and painful to watch because it's so personal, real, and you can't help but feel for her. I want to make it clear that this is the primary reason. Because she's really good. Also because the other reason is you'll notice how all of my other picks so far have been white people. I genuinely do believe that I picked the actors who had the best performances in their categories, but especially since this one is a pretty tight race, I think the Emmys will want to avoid the bad press that the Oscars got from having a whitewashed list of winners and make sure to have at least a little diversity there.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Andre Braugher as Captain Ray Holt
Girls - Adam Driver as Adam Sackler
Key & Peele - Keegan-Michael Key as Various Characters
Modern Family - Ty Burrell as Phil Dunphy
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - Tituss Burgess as Titus Andromedon
Veep - Tony Hale as Gary Walsh

The pretentious intellectuals who vote for the Emmys love Veep. And Tony Hale is an alumnus of the acting school I currently attend. (Yay The Barrow Group!) But... I couldn't give you a real reason I chose him over any other actor here. There are pretty much an even number of reasons why each actor here would or wouldn't win. Andre Braugher is excellent, but the show overall is more about laughs than getting deep at any point about people and the human condition. (And I say that as a huge, huge fan of Brooklyn Nine-Nine.) Adam Driver is having an excellent, public spotlight-y kind of a year, but nobody is really talking about Girls, specifically. Keegan-Michael Key does really intelligent, interesting sketches on Key & Peele, but sketch performers almost never win outside of a variety series category. The Emmys usually love on Modern Family, but maybe people are just too sick of it winning everything for it to win anything this year. Tituss Burgess has created a colorful, complete character in Titus Andromedon, but not necessarily a complex one. I just... can't think of a reason Tony Hale  wouldn't win. So... he's my pick to win.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
The Big Bang Theory - Mayim Bialik as Amy Farrah Fowler
Getting On - Niecy Nash as Denise "Didi" Ortley
Modern Family - Julie Bowen as Claire Dunphy
Mom - Allison Janney as Bonnie
Saturday Night Live - Kate McKinnon as Various Characters
Transparent - Gaby Hoffmann as Ali Pfefferman
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - Jane Krakowski as Jacqueline Voorhees
Veep - Anna Chlumsky as Amy Brookheimer

Transparent. Is. A. Gift. To. Us. All. From. The. TV. Gods. (Aka Jill Soloway).
Don't get me wrong, I love Allison Janney in anything and everything she chooses to do. Same goes for Kate McKinnon. And Jane Krakowski never won an Emmy for Jenna Maloney on 30 Rock, so I think she should get one for Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Next season. But right now. Transparent is a gift to us all from the TV gods (aka Jill Soloway).

...This, by the way, is the point where I'm just going to go and bring up a few select categories that particularly interest me for whatever reason. Just so you know.

Outstanding Variety Sketch Series
*Drunk History
Inside Amy Schumer
Key & Peele
Portlandia
Saturday Night Live

So the asterisk this time doesn't mean that I think Drunk History should win over Inside Amy Schumer... it's really more my way of calling attention to what an awesome series it is, especially if you're a fellow history nerd.
But I think this is really where the fact that Amy Schumer is this year's "it" girl is super gonna come in clutch. You know, that and the fact that the show has been insightful, clever, and feminist as well as funny.

Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series
The Comedians - Mel Brooks as Mel Brooks
Inside Amy Schumer - Paul Giamatti as Juror #10
Saturday Night Live - Bill Hader as Host
Saturday Night Live - Louis C.K. as Host
Transparent - Bradley Whitford as Marcy
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - Jon Hamm as Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne

Well, by this point you already know that Transparent is a gift to us all et cetera. But I also want to throw out there that watching Bradley Whitford in anything is just an incredible lesson in acting. So watching Bradley Whitford in Transparent... guys, he's incredible. I wanted to stay away from opinions in my analyses because saying that actor in a particular role is "good" or "bad" is subjective and almost never helpful to true understanding of a someone's position. So I will also say that his portrayal of Marcy is subtle, funny, eye-opening, and heartbreaking. Even as we watch his scenes from Maura's (Jeffrey Tambor) point of view, he slowly brings the audience along to experiencing his world through his eyes as well. It's big and bright and exciting and quiet and intellectual and new. And guys, he's wonderful.

Outstanding Main Title Design
American Horror Story: Freak Show
Bosch
Halt and Catch Fire
******Manhattan
Marvel's Daredevil
Olive Kitteridge

I haven't seen all of these series, and so I haven't seen their opening titles. I haven't picked a winner here because I'm just straight up not qualified to pick a winner among all these shows I haven't seen. In fact, you might even say that I've only seen one out of the six shows listed here. I just really like Manhattan and wanted to point out the one category in which it was nominated for an Emmy.

Okay, this blog post took me literally three hours to write up. I nearly did it last night after I got home at one in the morning from seeing Me and Earl and the Dying Girl before realizing what a dumb idea that would be. (That movie, incidentally, totally wrecked me in the best possible way.) So now I'm just gonna stop.

But what do you think? Do you agree with me?? Why???

(Guys, I'm really excited about the Emmys.)

Actually Seeing Personal Heroes - "Thank you, Stu Johnson!" - The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

Within the past week and a half, I've seen three people in person who, at some point or another, I've basically wished I could be. Or people with whom I've at least wished I could spend the rest of my life. Not even necessarily in a romantic, let's-get-married kind of a way. I just always want to know what they think about everything.

Not this past Tuesday but last Tuesday I went to a book launch event at my acting school, The Barrow Group. One of the co-artistic directors, founders, and excellent teachers, Seth Barrish, was having his book, An Actor's Companion, published by the Theatre Communications Group! And there were tons of fellow Barrow Group students there, as well as Barrow Group alumni. There was a talk with Seth moderated by his friend and comedian Mike Birbiglia (maybe you've heard of him) and there was another famous alumna there: Anne Hathaway. Guys, in case you couldn't tell, she's a pretty big inspiration for me. When people ask what role in movies could I see myself playing, my answer is always Mia Thermopolis from The Princess Diaries. And, you know, you've gotten to know me pretty well over the course of this blog so far. You know by now that I'm pretty outgoing, and I am very proud of being a New Yorker. And New Yorkers do not freak out over celebrity. But... I couldn't talk to her. I couldn't form sentences. I was just thrilled to be breathing the same air as her. One day I'll talk to her, when I've gotten further in my career and I can be... not an equal, perhaps, but something only a few levels below that.

This past Sunday I was texting a friend of mine when he reminded me that he was working UCB's Del Close Marathon, and he could hook me up. So, you know, who am I to say no to an offer like that? I had a busy day - worked on material for an audition, shot an episode of Telemazing - but then I headed over to FIT, met my friend, and he let me into the standing room at the back of the theater. I was watching some excellent improv ("Oh no, it's Schlomo, the bad boy from Hebrew school!" "I cut class... every once in a while." "What a reasonable level of anarchy.") and I recognized Matt Walsh by his mustache and that was cool. And there was a woman performing on stage and I thought "wow, she sounds just like Amy Poehler." Until slowly I realized that the show featured most of the founding members of UCB. And that the woman who sounds just like Amy Poehler really was Amy Poehler. (And, I assume, she still is her.) For the next show (with some help from my friend) I managed to make it up to sit in the very front of the theater, and I saw the Del Close Marathon's final show, Asssscat with said founding members as well as several other big names in comedy, but most importantly I was 20 feet away from Amy Poehler less than a week after finishing Yes Please and it was amazing. I literally cried from laughter. It was amazing.

And then there was two days ago. A day for which I had planned and worked hard and got very lucky. On Tuesday, June 30th, 2015, I saw the taping of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

(Two photos from my seat in the studio... one nice one, and one that came out with a bit too much of what happens when you're too excited for a photograph: crazy eyes.)

Guys, I love Jon Stewart. You already know this. I've written academic papers (plural) about him. I was at the Rally to Restore Sanity. I saw Rosewater in theaters. I've written blog posts about him on this very website. I was going to reiterate everything that he means to me, but... screw it, I just linked to that blog post. Suffice it to say he is an incredibly important person to me. And I've always wanted to see the show live. And on Tuesday I did it! I was fluttery all day! I made friends with other Jon Stewart fans while waiting (for five hours) in line to actually get my tickets! I had ticket #13! I laughed like an asshole and cheered loud and long and, while nobody else would pick it up, I can hear myself in the end broadcast. (If you really listen, I'm the one with the really long, really high pitched "woo" who is almost always the last one to stop doing it.) And it was magical just to be in the studio.

As usual in my posts, I'm not sure I have a point that I'm going for here. I wanted to maybe talk about what they all have in common? But that's not really it. They're all very much themselves, and that's one of the things that we all love about them. I might've talked about charisma, and how they all have it, and how that's what separates the personalities we all love from the ones who we all love to hate? But that seems like such a dry analysis for such extraordinary people. (Don't get me wrong, they are all incredibly charismatic, but that's really not what I want to go for here.)

So I guess the main point of this post is just... to brag about how many amazing people I got to see in the past week. Oops. Sorry, not sorry at all.

(And seriously, if you ever get the chance to see The Daily Show with Jon Stewart before August 6th, you should absolutely take it!!)

Parks and Recreation Finale - "Turns out that passion can heighten things in the same way that conflict does. And that delights me." - Tim Carvell, about Parks and Rec

I watched all of Parks and Recreation prior to this season in a binge watch session of about two months. I know this because I started watching it in late-August just after I finally got around to seeing Guardians of the Galaxy, I was well underway with my binge watch by late-September when I couldn't not post about it in my third ever post here, and I finished catching up by late-November, which is when I started watching The West Wing.

Let me tell you, following Parks and Recreation with The West Wing really does make for a very strange Rob Lowe experience.

Two weeks ago, I took a fictional holiday from Parks and Rec, Galentine's Day, and I really celebrated it with friends. Along with enough other people that #GalentinesDay started trending. It was wonderful.

And tonight, I cried at the series finale in the best possible way.

I typed out a whole essay about how great Leslie Knope is as a character, and why this show is beautiful, and how I think it's exactly what we needed in our cultural landscape. But it was very sloppy, not very well thought out, certainly not worthy of Leslie Knope and the Pawnee Parks Department, and derivative of pretty much everything everyone else in a position similar to mine will write about this show tonight. So I deleted it.

And then I typed out a whole other essay about how this ending was just a perfect way to bookend our experience of our characters, and didn't try to do too much... and then I was going to go into other series finales that have disappointed me. But spreading a sentiment like that is the opposite of the point of Parks and Rec, and one of the things this show has given me the most is a solidification of the fact that that's not the person I want to be. I want to be passionate, loving, and eager, not cynical and bitter. I want to be like Leslie. She would never write something like that. So I deleted that, too.

I'm not sure I can properly summarize my feelings for this show or give it a proper tribute in the kind of feelings-vomiting-onto-my-screen blog post this is becoming.

So I'll just say that I'm so glad we had a beautiful, fitting ending to this wonderful show that has more heart to it than any other I've seen. It makes people happy. It certainly made me happy. And I know it will continue to make me happy every time I see it. I'm sure I'll see it a lot.

More than that, I can't wait to see what comes from the legion of people inspired to be more like Leslie Knope! Those beautiful land mermaids will literally be nothing short of extraordinary.

Parks and Recreation themed recipes!! (I can't think of a particularly appropriate life hack or fun fact, so I'm just going to do a recipe for all of the main characters because food seems like  a particularly good way to deal with my sadness at the show ending.)

Leslie Knope: Belgian Cookie Dough Waffle with Chocolate Whipped Cream. (Is it just like the waffles at JJ's Diner? No. Does it still look amazing? Hell yeah.)

Ben Wyatt: Roasted Garlic & Sun Dried Tomato Calzone.

Ron Swanson: Grilled Meat. Also, the Ron Swanson Turkey Burger.

Ann Perkins: Waffle Iron Cinnamon Rolls. (Again, not exactly a recipe, but damn, do you know how hard it was to come up with a specific food for Ann?? If anyone has any better ideas, please do share them!)

Chris Traeger: The Green Machine Smoothie.

Donna Meagle: Treat yo self.

Tom Haverford: The Tom Haverford Cocktail. (Also, if you ever need to know this proper name for something, this is your go-to site.)

Andy Dwyer: Andy's Mouth Surprise.

April Ludgate: "Thank you, alcohol."

Gerry Gurgich: Bacon, Egg, and Toast Cups.

"Do the stars gaze back? Now that's a question." - Stardust (2007)

I was listening to a compilation of movie soundtrack romantic themes because I am a ball of mush the other day, Tristan and Yvaine's theme from Stardust came on, and I was seized by the most incredible urge to rewatch the film.

(For the record, this is that theme. It's gorgeous and definitely makes me want to be in love just to play this in the background whenever I'm with the person for whom I have theoretically fallen.)

As I was watching it, I also thought about a question I was asked while at NYU the other day: "What kind of career do you want to have?" At the time, I answered that I want to be a Tina Fey-Amy Poehler hybrid who has the lead role on a show that is like Scrubs in that it's hilarious until it rips your heart out but unlike Scrubs in that it isn't exactly Scrubs and that's the only way that it's different. A pretty specific answer, I know, but hey, I'm a woman who knows what she wants!

The thing is, this film reminded me about how I don't just love comedy, but I also love romance. You know, if that wasn't already obvious by the fact that I listen to romantic film scores in my free time. But I also love adventure. Even in my real life, my friends are used to me saying on an ordinary evening "let's go out and adventure and find people!" (Those adventures may be much smaller than the kind of adventure Tristan and Yvaine experience in tardust, but I still like to think that they're legitimate!)

And while I'm absolutely certain that the filming of such a movie is very different from watching it - it'd be difficult for a person to literally shine like a star - I still think it'd be such an amazing, thrilling kind of role to play! And I guess what I'm saying is that if I had a career like Claire Danes' instead of what my answer above was, I'd be totally satisfied with that.

...Of course, I'd also love to play any other role out there. That's kind of what comes from loving acting so much. I'll have to refrain from making a similar post about roles in biopics when I finally see The Theory of Everything this week, for instance. Or another similar post about literally any other movie I see.

But you guys. I really do love Stardust. I love it a lot. Like, still just listening to the whole score on loop now kind of love it. And if you haven't seen it yet, you should get on that! It's good for anyone and everyone. Unless, of course, you don't like joy. Then you probably shouldn't watch it.