Thursday, June 15, 2017

"Scream Queens" Cancellation: My Thoughts and a Brief Review of the Two-Season Series Overall

"Scream Queens" has literally been cancelled for a month now (announced May 15) and I'm just finding out now. lol Last night I tweeted another girl about the show when she tweeted about binge-watching it only to wake up this morning to her response tweet telling me that it has been cancelled. I looked it up and lo and behold found articles about it.

I've been looking it up on and off to see if it had been been renewed, so I'm surprised that I missed this news. This entire time since the Season 2 finale I had been indifferent to whether or not it would be renewed and had planned to be fine with either outcome. The following is why.

I figure that I'd blog about my feelings about this considering how I've dedicated blog posts to it before. This is the first time that a TV show I followed has been straight up cancelled as opposed to simply ending after a lengthy run, like creator Ryan Murphy's other creation, "Glee."

Okay so here are my thoughts.

Murphy says that they told their story, and I agree with him. It ended in a way that was complete, so I wasn't really foreseeing any continuation. There was nothing about the Season 2 finale that told me that any more needed to be said. It's also telling when the main cast starts to move onto other projects that the end is near. The lead female characters all have successful careers and Lea Michele's character, Hester Ulrich (I literally forgot her name. I had to look it up.), the main antagonist of the series, actually ends up scot-free in a relationship with Dr. Brock Holt (John Stamos).

The only thing that threw me was the cliffhanger ending when Chanel Oberlin (Emma Roberts) encountered a Kappa Kappa Tau logo and the Season 1 Red Devil once again in her car, which opened up an opportunity for a third season. It ended much like the Season 1 finale, after all.

But, there isn't a true reason for one. Most of the main characters have died, including fan favorite Chad Radwell (Glen Powell). Some fans, including myself, speculated that maybe Grace Gardner (Skyler Samuels) would return for Season 3 for revenge, considering that she is also still alive and living in an insane asylum, but I guess that isn't coming to pass.

The fact that I had to look up most of these characters and actors' names and forgot that Denise Hemphill (Niecy Nash) survived the series tells me that maybe this show wasn't as memorable as I remembered.

The true stars were clearly the Chanels (which I'm now kinda realizing and understanding how it was a parody of "Heathers"! lol!), particularly Roberts, and Chanel #3 (Billie Lourd) and Chanel #5 (Abigail Breslin).

You know, Season 2 wasn't nearly as interesting as Season 1, and unfortunately plenty of fans felt this way, which probably led to its demise. It lacked the ratings. This is probably because Season 1 was a fresh, new concept and the audience didn't know what to expect, whereas for Season 2, you kinda had an idea. I tuned in, but not as much. What really aggravated me about Season 2 was how early on they revealed the faces behind the Green Meanie, thus making the finale anticlimactic. Once they disclosed to the audience who the three Green Meanies were and all that was left was for the characters to find out, I lost interest. Even Chanel's relationship with Dr. Brock was cringeworthy. I mean, I know Chanel is supposed to be an adult, but it was still so weird for me. She's a girl in her twenties competing with a middle aged woman, Dean Cathy Munsch (Jamie Lee Curtis - I remembered her full name at least!), for a middle aged man's affections (even though, now that I recall, Brock was either younger or older than he appeared, which made him a suspect, or not...See how much I've forgotten about this show??!). I know this was the comedy, and it was unique to say the least, but still...weird, even for "Scream Queens" standards I guess. I also wish they gave Chanel #5 a romantic happy ending. I was getting sick of her being a constant punching bag so I'm actually very pleased with her outcome of finding her purpose working at the hospital with Zayday Williams (Keke Palmer - remembered her too!) and finally away from the two bitches she called friends.

In fact, the only good thing to come out of Season 2 is Billie Lourd and Taylor Lautner's (who played Dr. Cassidy Cascade - I remembered!) real life relationship, which is still going strong!

So, a Season 3 would have been fun and a good number of seasons to flesh out the rest of the series, but definitely not necessary. You don't want to drag something out to a point where the entire series as a whole becomes despicable and you run out of ideas, somewhat like how "Glee" got stale towards the end. But yet that show was regarded very successful and had a very heartwarming series finale. "Scream Queens" has ended on a not high, not bad, but mediocre note.

It normally upsets viewers when a beloved TV show is cancelled after a season ends on a cliffhanger, but for "Scream Queens," it is actually pretty appropriate given the show's theme, and I'm satisfied with the run.

So long, "Screams Queens"! It has been a crazy ride! :)

Friday, June 2, 2017

Stef's "So Good You Can't Put It Down" Book Reviews Summer 2017 Reading Challenges!

I've decided to take on a number of my own personal reading and book challenges this summer and am announcing it now on here to be somewhat held accountable and report on the outcome. lol

The challenges so far are as follows. And of course, they all have female leads.

1) Basement Bookshelf Library

My father Steve and I, both writers and bibliphiles, have accumulated a lot of books into our collections over the years. We have donated some books, and I plan to donate some more, but the time has come to organize the tomes in our home library. Last month we attended the Lacordaire Academy Used Book Sale, which ran from May 18-21, and purchased some new additions, so now we have to figure out how to combine the old with the new (and used.)

2) Beach Blondes: A SUMMER Novel

I'm hoping that this novel isn't as young as it appears because I don't know if I am necessarily in the mood for teenage girl drama, but who cares, right?

I bought this book from Berkeley Heights Public Library (even though it gave off a teenage vibe I was still interested in the plot :P) and am impressed with how thick it is considering it is a member of the TEEN FICTION genre. I mean, it's 721 pages!

Something I like to try is reading books according to setting. For example, I had planned on starting the book November 9 by Colleen Hoover on, you guessed it, November 9, 2016. Unfortunately, this didn't come to pass. I think maybe I was in the middle of another book? I don't know. But I do own the novel, so I will try again this year. :)

As for Beach Blondes by Katherine Applegate, I took notice of it again when I started sorting my book collection and noticed that it is categorized by month, meaning sections dedicated to June, July, and August. Given that June was coming up shortly, I decided that this was the perfect time to take on my setting reading challenge. It is June 2 now and I have to be on page 266 by July 1...

Wish me luck!

3) Comedienne Memoirs

As I have said in my last book post, I have been getting into memoirs, particularly those written by female authors. My dad and I went to Sprague Library at Montclair State University just last night and I, like usual, visited the "Pop Picks" section to see what I could find. As opposed to the rest of the library, these shelves consist of more contemporary titles. They tend to rotate this section every so often too.

There seemed to be an influx of celebrity memoirs/biographies/autobiographies all of a sudden in this section.

The first one that caught my eye was Amy Schumer's The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo. I'm not a huge fan of Schumer's comedy, but I don't totally dislike it either. There are times she makes me laugh with her girl-next-door attitude and I appreciate her as a person. I think I saw an interview with her once when she said that she wanted to stay true to herself and that's all she can do or something like that. Whatever she said, she gained my respect from it. lol

I was a little iffy about this book though because so far she seems to make a lot of vagina jokes, which don't bother me, but I hope it isn't an indication that she provides an overkill of such jokes throughout. Like, a "Look at how progressive and edgy I am! I keep referencing my pussy in my book! Haha!" type thing. One of the first chapters discusses her experience seeing some hot guy at an airport. Her humor in this section drew me in so I decided to check it out.

Before I made this decision, however, I came across Mindy Kaling's Why Not Me? Again, not a huge fan of Kaling, pretty much as indifferent as I am with Schumer. I have come to like her more recently from her voice acting work as Disgust in Inside Out (2015). But when I cracked open Kaling's book, I found myself chuckling at her simple humor. I appreciate how light the book feels in my hands and how short it looks. Both her book and Schumer's have short, quick read chapters, so I think for at least Kaling's I can take it on and manage to finish it. Then I realized that I could apply her story to myself because with this book she intends to convey her tales of finding confidence to be herself. I can always learn that type of lesson. Considering all of these good feelings I have so far toward this book, and even somewhat preferring it to Schumer's, I decided to check this one out as well.

What I noticed so far about both books is that they seem to have the same concept, comedy, and sarcastic tone. I then realized that their writing styles (provided it is their writing styles and not just a ghostwriter trying to emulate their voices lol Kaling says that she is comedy writer, which made me more interested to read her work) are reminiscent of the approach of one such comedienne, Roseanne Barr.

Back in January and February I got sick with a fever and started watching "Roseanne" on Laff. I never really watched the show when it first came out in the nineties, but I had some memories of it and now watching it as an adult I appreciated it even more. I found Barr's book Roseanne: My Life as a Woman, which she claims to have written herself within its pages, at the Lacordaire Used Book Sale and decided to purchase it. I read the same amount of pages in this book I read from the others when I first bought it and sense the same humor.

My plan this summer is to read all three books and compare and contrast the written work and experiences of a white comedienne, a comedienne of color, and a white comedienne from the nineties, who are all fairly successful in their own right, and perhaps apply their advice to my own creative success as a woman. All chapters seem to be short, sweet, entertaining, and interesting.

My Schumer and Kaling books are due back at the library on June 29.

4) Still working on THIS book...

Ugh. I have gotten further with this book since my last book blog post, but I'm lacking interest in it now. I've invested so much in it now that I feel like I've come so far and I don't want to give it up! I want to see what happens now!

It started off good, but now the two main characters Marie-Laure and Joseph keep gushing about how much they love each other and engaging in these cheesy, over the top sex scenes that you just know something bad is going to come across these two. Joseph is betrothed to another woman in an arranged marriage, of course, so that's a typical star-crossed lovers storyline for you. I keep predicting that Marie-Laure is going to get pregnant by him (even though they have been using "sheaths") and because he is an aristocrat and she is a scullery maid, it's going to bring about a scandal and secrets. So cliche. I'm not here for it right now.

I actually ran into Janis at the used book sale and told her about my qualms with this book. She shook her head and understood my woes. lol

So, there you have it. My Summer 2017 Reading Challenges so far! Wish me luck! I'll hopefully be back with updates as my reading progresses! :)

Sunday, May 28, 2017

I Got Quoted for a Buzzfeed Article!!! :D

One of my goals achieved! lol!

They originally asked the Buzzfeed Community "Which Show From Your Childhood Do You Wish Was Never Cancelled?"

I contributed "The Puzzle Place" in the comments and they chose mine!! ​I wasn't sure if they were going to choose my contribution or not, but I really wanted them to and purposely commented to be included. I never really submit comments to Buzzfeed for this intention, but this time I tried it out. It was too perfect of an opportunity. I even carefully crafted my comment to be presentable and especially well written if chosen. Haha! I was thinking maybe they would use mine because it's unique and I provided an explanation.

I make it a habit to deactivate my Facebook account but purposely stayed active until the article was published so that my comment would remain live and I wanted to use my main account for the submission! lol I was determined. I didn't want to take any chances. However, I ended up deactivating my Facebook a bit more again recently because I felt like it (I am way more productive and peaceful when I am not on social media) and was thinking that if they were going to use it, they probably had seen it already anyway or maybe didn't see or maybe decided not use it. lol I was like, "No big deal if they don't."

But tonight when I got home I visited Buzzfeed, as I do, I saw that they had finally posted the article. So I clicked on it and scrolled, wondering if I was going to see my contribution.

I came across "The Puzzle Place" addition, wondered if it was mine (Could it be??), AND IT WAS!

This is so cool! I'm so excited!!!

I may be going a little bit too enthusiastic about this, but it's pretty interesting to see myself and my opinions in a Buzzfeed Community article on a site I consistently visit. I appreciate their nostalgic posts. :) Some of the comments even say that they are glad that someone (me) remembered "The Puzzle Place". :)

You can check out the full article here. It's a list of "25 Shows From Your Childhood That Should’ve Had At LEAST One More Season".

It's a nice list with plenty of great old kids shows acknowledged on there. Number 8 is my personal favorite though. ;)

8 is actually one of my favorites numbers, so I love that about this experience too. lol

If I'm this excited being quoted in a Buzzfeed article, imagine how psyched I am going to be when I'm published in even greater forums. Looking forward to that. ;)

Monday, May 8, 2017

Biblical, Shakespearean, and Other Themes in "Heathers"

Let's celebrate my half birthday by sharing my first analytical blog essay in months! :D

For the past few weeks, I have been on a "Heathers" kick. Heathers was a teen movie in 1988 starring Winona Ryder and Christian Slater and it was remade as an Off-Broadway musical in 2014. I watched this YouTube video one Sunday morning, heard "Dead Girl Walking", liked it, looked it up along with the rest of the musical, and the rest was history.


I had heard about the musical when it came out, but still didn't really think that much about it. Although, I will give its Twitter account credit for being the one Broadway musical account to follow me. ;)

I never really knew what "Heathers" was about, hence my current interest to now delve more into it. All I knew was that it is about a clique of girls all with the name Heather and that this teenage bad boy tries to kill everybody. I always sensed the dark tone, but now I have more of an understanding of the story in general.

For example, I never knew that Ryder's character wasn't named Heather. I always thought that she was the fourth Heather or something. However, high school senior Veronica Sawyer (Winona Ryder in the movie, Barrett Wilbert Weed in the musical) is a teenage nobody who longs for life in elementary school when all of her classmates got along with each other. She hooks up with the awful popular girls, the Heathers (Heather Chandler, the Queen Bee, Heather Duke, the bitchy second-in-command, and Heather McNamara, the one that tags along and has some deep issues of her own), in order to avoid being targeted by the bullies. She becomes attracted to new kid Jason "J.D." Dean (Christian Slater in the movie, Ryan McCartan in the musical) when he is the only one strong enough to stand up to the bullies and wishes for him to protect her. The two develop a sort of flirtation and end up accidentally-on-purpose murdering the mean kids for revenge and framing the homicides as suicides to alleviate the blame, thus launching a whole teen suicide awareness campaign at their Westerburg High School. From this, Veronica's life starts to spiral out of control as J.D.'s true dark colors are revealed and he gets more and more determined to purge the bullies in order to sanctify society.

There are some themes in this plot that I believe are worth noticing, so let's dive right in! :) Incidentally, although I will be talking about both the film and the musical, I'll be going by the musical more. They made some changes from the film for the stage version and I feel more familiar with the latter.

Beware of spoilers and adult language!!!

Sunday, April 30, 2017

I'm Still Here!!!

Hey friends! You might be wondering where my blog posts have been. Well, as I have said in this blog post, once I get busy professionally, I can't really focus as much on this blog. However, that being said, this blog is still a priority that I keep thinking about. I have blog posts to finish and share (especially this year's Women's History Month project, which is almost finished but yet behind...I'm working on it!) plus other things I want to accomplish, so I just wanted to let you know that I'm still here! :) April has been a pretty busy month for me, for I recently started a new freelancing position that has been keeping me hard at work, so I am extremely grateful for that. It's just a matter of me managing my time better and using my free time to work on this blog.

So, there you have it! :)

-Stef :)