Fangirls Fall Guide to 2016: Music Edition (and bonus picks!)


Hola Fangirls!  Welcome to part 3 of the Fangirls Fall Guide to 2016, which has been lovingly brought to you by moi (apparently, I’m a bilingual mood this evening) and the uber-talented Amy H. Johnson of fame, the awesome website, where you will also find this series cross-posted.

For those of you just joining us now, so far we’ve talked about TV shows we adore and movies that make us giddy.   So, now, without further adieu, we proudly present our top picks in music for your listening enjoyment. In the words of Billy on the Street Billy Eichner: And away – we – go!

Amy’s Picks

Music you should listen to: I watch a show online called Out of Ireland. I like to save a few episodes and then put them on while I’m puttering around my kitchen on a weekend morning. I pretend I’m in my house that happens to be in Dublin! An episode this summer featured a video by the band Walking on Cars. I didn’t pay too much attention to the visuals as I was doing something domestic, but the song “Speeding Cars” sent tingles along my spine. Then I watched the video which is gorgeous and mystical (although not the visuals you expect for a song about an affair!) Finding their debut CD Everything This Way was difficult stateside and I ended up with an import. But this is the kind of music that gets me in the heart and soul. Driving, majestic, U2-esque melodies and emotional lyrics. I don’t think I singlehandedly am going to make Walking on Cars “happen” in the US, but I highly recommend checking them out on Spotify. Some really beautiful and energetic songs perfectly suited for being heard in a stadium full of chanting voices.

Music I am beside myself excited for: America I will never forgive you for not embracing Robbie Williams. The English mega pop star sells out stadiums throughout Europe, yet I saw him in a club venue in Boston in 1999 which, is likely the last time he ever toured here. Robbie is cheeky and outrageous. His music is often bombastic and ridiculous and he delivers it with such smirk on his face and sparkle in his eye you can’t help but get into it. Plus it’s catchy as HELL. I don’t think anyone captures the ups and downs of fame better in contemporary pop music: the love/hate of adulation, the dangers of temptation and the thrills of celebrity. On one track he’ll tell you, “I am scum”(Come Undone) and the next he’s proclaiming “I’m the one who put the Brit in celebrity” (Handsome Man) He has a new album called The Heavy Entertainment Show coming out on my birthday although sadly, I won’t be in England to get it so I’ll have to patiently wait for my lovely friend Felicity to supply me with a copy which I will play endlessly while proclaiming, “DAMN YOU AMERICA!!!”

Julie’s Picks

Music you should listen to: Meghan Trainor. For those of you out there who may have already written off this young ingénue as a teeny bopping pop star after her first album, which, most notably, included the catchy ear worm “All About That Bass“, and the 50’s nostalgic “Dear Future Husband,” take another look. Meghan’s second album, Thank You is edgy, sassy, mature, and will make you dance uncontrollably, even when you are in places you shouldn’t be dancing (like at work, or on the NYC subway). The song lyrics are just great.

Are you having an off day? Feeling down on yourself? Check out “Me Too(“If I was you, I’d wanna be me too.”), and your confidence will rebounf in no time. Heading for a night out with the girls?  You need to be playing “No,” while you are getting ready. It will make you laugh hysterically, and put you in a great mood just in time to hit the dance floor. (“My name is No. My sign is No. My number is No. You need to let it go.”) Indeed!

Music I am excited to hear: The Weeknd – Starboy It doesn’t take a Nostradamus to predict that this is going to be the album blowing up everybody’s Spotify this winter. Every song these guys put out into the universe almost automatically seems like chart topping gold. And their range is so diverse1 The sultry “Earned It” feels like it comes from a completely different universe from the haunting “The Hills,” and the bass thumping, booty shaking “Can’t Feel My Face.”

Need more evidence? The first single off the album came out on September 28th, less than three days later it had 19 million hits on YouTube. That’s insane! Out: November 25

Bonus! Our fave podcasts for your listening enjoyment!

Amy’s Pick

I have a very particular taste in podcasts. I don’t like anything of the genre I call “Two Guys Pontificating” in which two dudes like hearing themselves talk for over an hour. This is not sexist as I also don’t like “Two Girls Pontificating” either. I prefer my podcasts to have a narrative and structure. I don’t want to spend an hour with two people of any gender basically having an often tedious personal conversation that they somehow believe should be shared with a larger audience. That is why I am such a huge fan of You Must Remember This, which “explores the secret and/or forgotten histories of Hollywood’s first century.” I LOVE The Golden Age of Hollywood and all the stars and scandals so already I was sold on this concept.

But creator Karina Longworth does the work. Every episode is meticulously researched and when she does series, such as “MGM Stories” or the recent “Six Degrees of Joan Crawford” each episode is a chapter that builds on the last and prepares you for the next. Not only is the material fascinating but it is one of the best constructed podcasts I’ve ever heard. If you think the Brangelina divorce is explosive, you should hear what some of the original movie stars were up to behind closed doors in our supposedly “more innocent” history. Recommend: Star Wars Episode III Hedy Lamarr, Frank Sinatra in Outer Space.

Julie’s Pick

Serial, Season 1: Before Making of a Murderer gained a cult following, and took Netflix by storm…before True Crime became as mainstream as reality  television talent shows, there was a much-beloved, but little known by the general public, podcast called This American Life, produced by an enterprising woman named Sarah Koenig, who introduced us to the obsession we now know as Serial.

In 1999, 18-year old Hae Min Lee, then a senior at Woodlawn High School in Baltimore, was murdered. Her body was found in the nearby Leakin Park, hastily buried in a shallow grave. The cause of death: manual strangulation. The chief suspect: Adnan Sayed, also a senior at Woodlawn High School, and Hae Min’s former boyfriend.


There were a number of “bad facts” that pointed to Adnan as Hae Min’s killer. Cell phone towers pinged his location to be close to the murder site around the time the murder was said to have occurred. Witnesses saw Adnan offer Hae Min a ride home from school in his car that day. And, perhaps most damning of all, an associate of Adnan’s Jay Wilds admitted to helping Adnan bury Hae Min’s body.

Adnan was eventually arrested, tried and convicted of Hae Min Lee’s murder. But did he actually do it? Was the trial against him fair? Did he receive adequate counsel from his lawyer, who was disbarred shortly thereafter?

Throughout this binge-worthy series that has spawned thousands of obsessive fansites to catalog and extensively discuss each aspect of the case, Sarah Koenig does an excellent job of exploring and unpacking, what, up until this point, was a locally known “cold case” mystery. Without taking sides or placing blame, Sarah, through her investigations raises some very important questions, about the reliability of eyewitness testimony (especially when most of those witnesses are teenagers) the accuracy of cell phone records, (particularly in 1999, when the technology was nowhere near as advanced as it is now), the necessity of a good defense attorney, and whether the lack of one prevents an accused person from receiving a fair trial. Sarah even interviews Adnan himself from jail numerous times, allowing viewers to judge for themselves whether he is, in fact, guilty.

The popularity of Serial (to date the podcasts have received over 80 million downloads) and its re-invigoration of interest in Adnan’s case, eventually turned the tide of justice, resulting in Adnan receiving a new trial, nearly a decade after his initial conviction. So, if you aren’t one of those 80 million downloads, I highly recommend you jump on this bandwagon and enter the cult that is Series 1 of Serial. I promise you, you won’t sleep until you’ve heard the entire series from start to finish…

Get your tablets and smartphones ready because next time we tackle websites and apps!

For more check out Amy’s book The Fangirl Files: True Tales and Tips from the Fandom Frontlines and Julie’s novels on Amazon.

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Filed under Fall Fangirl Guide 2016, podcasts, Uncategorized

ONCE UPON A TIME Recap: Arrested Development

The following post has been brought to you by Agony


“Does anybody have any TUMS? I’m experiencing a mild to moderate case of heart burn.”

This week on Once, the Beast tries to win back Belle’s heart by incarcerating her. (Hey, it worked last time!) Snow White learns that she’s a terrible teacher, when the subject is anything other than making a birdhouse. The Evil Queen’s kryptonite is finally revealed. And yet another sort-of villain is given a hasty partial redemption arc, before meeting his untimely demise.

Let’s review, shall we?

Beauty is in the Eye of the Beast-Holder


Nothing makes you feel worse about your appearance than staring at yourself in a magnifying mirror. It’s the closest most of us will ever come to knowing how awful we’d look on HDTV.”

Being dumped by Belle (again) has good ole Rump feeling a little down on himself. So, he does what most of us do after a bad breakup. Get drunk on cheap wine. Eat an entire box of Cheez-Its in a single sitting. And watch on repeat that horror movie where a guy who looks like your ex gets brutally murdered in the first half hour. He gives himself a makeover!


Apparently, Rumpel felt as though the root of all his dating problems was that he had longer hair than Snow White. Her being “the fairest one of all” and all that jazz.


But now that the two characters have the exact same haircut, for sure all the ladies in Storybrooke will want to rumble in the sheets with Rumpel! The Evil Queen certainly seems to like her frenemy’s new ‘do.


Then again, she is so gosh darn horny all the time, she’d probably make love to a mop if it fell in her general direction.

Speaking of the Evil Queen, she and her new beau Hyde have come to Rumpel’s store to steal an ugly necklace. And they do it in this super stealthy way. Basically, they stomp into the store and loudly announce, “I’m going to take your ugly necklace.”

No wonder Rumpel’s pawn shop revenue isn’t what it used to be. Security has apparently gotten a bit lax. Shrinkage. It isn’t just what happens when George Costanza from Seinfeld goes for a swim anymore.


Infuriated by the loss of yet another ugly antique, Rumpel tries to Jedi Mind Murder Hyde.

Rumpel fails miserably at this, of course, as he does with pretty much every action he attempts throughout the course of this episode. It’s a wonder the guy was able to cut his hair, without accidentally chopping off his right arm.

Speaking of failures . . .

Those who can, do. Those who can’t . . . SNOW.


Last week, I predicted that Snow would end up being a bad teacher, because she spent twenty eight years teaching the same students how to build a bird house, every damn day, and they still couldn’t do it! It gives me no joy to be right about this. (Who am I kidding? I was thrilled! I’m an awful person, in case you haven’t figured that out by now!)


Oddly enough, since most of Storybrooke’s new homeless population is apparently in high school, Snow has gone from teaching bird house making to teaching physics for REASONS. After seeing Snow suck at teaching (Every single one of her students failed her exam!), her new teacher’s aid, Princess Jasmine, wonders why Snow doesn’t stick to stuff she’s actually good at, like playing with dwarves, and faking sleep so some hot guy will make out with her.

This seems like solid advice from a total stranger. And this is why Snow decides for her next lesson, to take all her students out into the school yard, and teach them how to shoot deadly weapons in each others’ general direction. Public education is the greatest, am I right?

“Anyone who gets accidentally murdered gets an automatic A.”

After class, Jasmine heads off into the woods to meet the girl, who is obviously Jafar in disguise, even though they haven’t officially told us this yet, and asks for her help in finding Aladdin. Because THAT’S not going to end badly at all . . .

You know what else is going to end badly?

Houseboat Arrest


In what will likely be the only non-snarky thing you will hear me say in this recap. I’m totally digging the burgeoning friendship brewing between Hook and Belle, the latter of whom, up until this point, always seemed somewhat separated from the main cast. It’s exceedingly rare for television shows nowadays to showcase a 100% platonic male/female relationship. So, when one appears and it feels genuine, I appreciate it.

I mean, so what if Hook tried to kill Belle a few seasons back? What’s a little attempted murder among pals?

Anywhoo, Hook is moving his stuff off the boat, so he can move in with Emma permanently, when Rumpel comes and puts a spell on the boat so Belle can’t leave it. Rumpel claims that he does this for Belle’s “safety.” Riiiiiiight. Because nothing says safe, like being trapped in a small wood mass surrounded on all sides by water, with no immediate avenue of escape, apart from plunging one’s self into the drink. Has Rumpel never seen the movie Dead Calm or Jaws, for that matter?


“Don’t worry Belle. You don’t have to come to me. I’ll come to you!”

Upon hearing of Belle’s incarceration, Hook, being a swell guy, tries to cheer up his very pregnant pal, by offering her booze and a fake telephone.



Meanwhile, Regina and Jekyll are racing to obtain the serum that will destroy the respective dark sides of their souls, before their sexier, better dressed halves, the Evil Queen and Hyde track it down first.

Of course, this wouldn’t be Once without the bastardization of a well-known classic tale. So, it’s time for a flashback, in which we learn that Hyde is just a misunderstood hipster with a bad case of pinkeye. And Dr. Jekyll is the sociopathic douchebag, “If I can’t have her, no one can,” Guy from every Lifetime movie you ever saw during the 90’s.

The Strange Case of Dr. Jerk-ll and Mr. Hide Me


“Even my sideburns are sad.”

Once upon a time, Dr. Jekyll wanted to be admitted into some fancy schmancy society, and tried to convince his rich lady crush, Mary’s dad, to let him in, by showing the latter his experiments with the duality of the human soul. Mary’s dad is unimpressed, and tells Jekyll his work is too dangerous for recognition by the society. Jekyll is angry, and you wouldn’t like him when he’s angry.


(Actually, he just kind of pouts and throws a tantrum like a baby, but you get the basic idea.) Enter Rumpel, he of the permed hair and glitter-logged face to offer up his episodic dose of bad advice to a suitably naive and desperate party.

Rumpel, who apparently was trying to find a magical cure for his love for Belle, helps Dr. Jekyll to finish his serum, and persuades him to use The Dark Side of His Soul to help him gain entrance into the fancy schmancy society, and get into Mary’s pants.

Dr. Jekyll does is instructed. And Mr. Hyde, upon taking over Jekyll’s body, promptly does exactly what he was designed to do. First, he blackmails Mary’s dad (with evidence that the latter is boning a minor, naturally) to get Jekyll into the fancy schmancy society. Then, Hyde approaches Mary and reveals to her Jekyll’s heretofore hidden affections. Mary predictably has no interest in the milquetoasty Jekyll. But she’s totally bananas for the “passionate and scary, but in a good way” Hyde. (Every girl loves a bad boy, after all!)


Less than five minutes later, these two crazy kids are having sex. And I wish we as viewers got to see it, because I bet it was friggin awesome!

Instead, we find a horrified Mary waking up next to dull as dog poopy Jekyll, and she is understandably freaking the hell out. Jekyll quickly puts two and two together. And, upon realizing that Mary boned the dark side of his soul, Jekyll gets really angry and (accidentally?) throws Mary out a glass window? Oops! Don’t you hate it when that happens?


Jekyll then drinks the serum, so Hyde can take the blame for his murderous actions. And Rumpel appears AGAIN! (You would think a guy who has such great surveillance on the entire universe would be better at securing his personal property and the wife who despises him.)


Rumpel takes one look at the weepy Hyde, and knows instantly that his plan has failed. Hyde, despite supposedly being all dark, twisty, and hipster-like, was apparently just as much in love with Mary as that douchenozzle Jekyll. (I guess: There’s Just Something About Mary!)


And this meant that Rumpel would never be able to rid himself of his feelings for Belle, no matter how inconvenient they might be. Pissed, Rumpel decides to banish both Jekyll and Hyde to the Land of Untold Stories, giving both half-men a vendetta against the Dark One, which was sure to come back and bite him in the ass, by the end of the episode.

Another Two Bite the Dust


Ironically, even though everybody spent the entire episode fighting for this Magical Serum that could supposedly kill Hyde and the Evil Queen, the darn vial ended up being a total McGuffin!

First Hyde uses Dead Mary’s necklace, the one he stole from Rumpel at the beginning of the episode, to track down Jekyll and snatch the serum. Then, Hyde breaks the vial, snatches Rumpel’s Dark One sword, and uses it to control Rumpel, and get him to give up Belle’s location. Now, as we know from earlier in the episode, Rumpel has put a spell on Belle’s boat so she can’t get off it, and Hyde can’t get on it.

Unfortunately, for Rumpel (and Belle, as it turns out), because the spell was (moronically) limited to Hyde, Lifetime Movie Villain Jekyll was able to just waltz onto that boat and attempt to kill Rump’s lady love. Uh oh, Belle! Time to call for help on your fake phone!


I wonder if accidental smashing is covered under the Fake Phone insurance plan . . .

Lo and behold, Hook does actually end up hearing Belle’s cries for help. He magically manifests himself on the boat, and promptly stabs Jekyll to death, which is good! But he also kills Hyde in the process, which kind of sucks, because the latter was actually a fun guy!

In addition to being bad news for Bad Boy, Hipster, and Pink Eye Lovers the world over, the circumstances surrounding Hyde’s demise are also pretty crappy for Regina, who just figured out that the only way she can kill the dark side of her soul is to . . . well, commit suicide basically.


A distraught Regina makes Emma promise to murder her, if things get too tough with the Evil Queen wreaking havoc on Storybrooke.


“Just make sure that my funeral is better attended than the Evil Queen’s otherwise I’ll be super embarrassed.”

Speaking of uncomfortable conversations, how about the one where Rumpel has to apologize to Belle for trapping her and her unborn child on a boat with a total psycho?


Yeah, I think it’s safe to say the honeymoon is pretty much over for these two lovebirds . . .

Until next time, Oncers!

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Binge or No?: Netflix’s Original Series: Easy

(The following post will eventually be cross-posted at Agony  Please check out all the cool movie reviews and TV recaps they have there!)


Given the company’s recent decision to shift their business model away from previously-released films, and toward more original programming, I suspect we will be seeing a lot more “television series” like Easy on Netflix, in the near future. The show itself — an eight-episode compilation of VERY loosely related stories, each involving some aspect of sex and romantic relationships in the 21st century — struck me more as a slyly disguised abbreviated pilot season for the entertainment platform, than an actual comprehensive Season 1 of an ongoing television series.


Each episode features an attractive, more or less likeable, cast of B minus / C+ list Hollywood actors going about the sexy business of their respective upper middle-class lives. Orlando Bloom, New Girl’s Jake Johnson, and Dave Franco are probably the most recognizable faces you will see in Easy, which should give you an idea of the level of “star power” you will find here. Though there are definitely other faces and voices you will recognize. In fact, I think most of the fun of Easy is trying to pinpoint the failed television series or supporting role in a romantic comedy that has caused you to remember the visage of a particular Easy cast mate.


That being said, you’ve got to imagine that the good folks at Netflix created Easy under the assumption that one or more of the episodes would receive a more favorable review by critics than the others, and that cast and storyline can get its own show. (One cast of characters finds themselves at the forefront of two episodes in the series, while the rest of the work-a-day schlubs only get one a-piece). And hey, if none of the episodes end up being well-reviewed, well there is always the option for an Easy: Season 2, with an entirely different cast and story lines.


As for the individual episodes themselves, I found most of them, if not particularly memorable, at least pleasant and inoffensive enough (except for one episode, in particular, which featured, WAY too much female body hair for my liking. But I think that’s just a matter of personal preference. Maybe y’all really like looking at body hair, while sitting on your couch eating your Saturday morning cereal breakfast!) I certainly didn’t despise any of the characters featured in Easy. And there definitely wasn’t an episode of the series I watched, where I found myself saying, “Wow, this is so awful. I have to turn this off.”

If anything, part of me wishes some of the episodes were MORE controversial. I didn’t particularly feel like Easy had anything new and groundbreaking to say about sex and romance in the 21st century. In fact, in a post- Sex and the City age, I feel like most sex-related topics, including many of the topics covered in this series, have become part of the television mainstream.


So what sex topics are covered in Easy? You may be wondering. Well, in one episode, a forty-something husband and father struggles with the fact that his wife has recently become the breadwinner in the family, and that makes him feel sexually emasculated. In another, a lesbian couple tries to navigate a budding sexual relationship, despite the fact that the two lovers have vastly different recreational interests. In a third episode, a happily married couple attempts to spice up their relationship, by using a Tinder-type dating app to find themselves a companion for experimentation with menage a trois. In a fourth tale, a middle-aged graphic novelist famed for detailing his sexual escapades in his works is nonplussed, when his most recent, millennial, lover documents her rendezvous with him in a slightly more modern, and definitely more invasive, form of media. In still a fifth story, one half of a Spanish couple –who speak mainly in subtitles throughout the episode– (GASP!) has an extramarital affair with an old flame.


These are all topics that, had they been featured in a television series, say ten, or maybe even five years ago, may have seemed taboo, or at least titillating, but now, come across as commonplace, at best, and a bit ho-hum, at worst.

Ironically, probably the best story of the bunch, which also happens to be the one featured twice in the series, is also the most chaste, sexually speaking. It’s the one about two brothers, one straight-laced, the other a stoner, who decide to open a bootleg bar and brewery together, much to the dismay of the more conservative brother’s very pregnant wife.



In sum, while I wouldn’t recommend you drop everything this instant, and binge-watch Easy in its entirety (I’m sure you have much more exciting things to do with your Saturday nights, like laundry or toilet bowl cleaning, for example.), it may be worth a try, if for no other reason than to brush up on your character actor recognition skills, and to try and predict which of the eight of the episodes is destined to become Netflix’s next original series . . .


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Fangirls Fall Guide to 2016: Movie Edition


Welcome back Fangirls! It’s time for Part 2 of our Fangirls Fall Guide, which has been lovingly brought to you by yours truly, and my brilliant budding memoirist / blogging pal / fellow Fangirl Extraordinaire, Amy at  Imaginary Men.Net.  If you haven’t had a chance to do so yet, please check out Part 1, our Television Edition first.  Then, come on back, because it’s time to talk movies!

Amy’s Picks

Movie you should see: Earlier this year I saw the trailer for Sing Street in theaters a few times. Each time I would think, “This movie looks made for me! 80s music! Ireland! Cute boys in bands wearing eyeliner!” But for some reason I wasn’t interested and I couldn’t figure out why. Thankfully I ignored myself and watched it on DVD recently and let me tell you, it is delightful. Written and directed by John Carney who did Once (a favorite of mine) it hits all the right nostalgia buttons: teenage crushes and heartbreaks, discovering yourself and defining who you are, losing yourself in music and the connections you make through songs. I flat out loved it and the soundtrack is something that I would have owned in the 80s and will keep you humming the tunes long after the movie is over. Available: iTunes, Amazon, DVD


Movie I’m excited for: Allied. My Girl Crush Marion Cotillard? I’m in. Brad Pitt being dashing? SOLD! But then the trailer came out and it was the first time in a long time that I watched a trailer and got swept away. I watched it several more times. Maybe it was the epicness of it – love and war, intrigue and danger all set in WWII and the post-war era, two movie eras that I adore. It looks pretty grand and it has actual capital M, capital S Movie Stars and there are no damn superheroes to be seen. Pretty people + Gorgeous costumes + War time dangers + Romance + Hot car make-outs in sandstorms = my butt in the theater on opening night! Opening: November 23.


Julie’s Picks

Movie you should see: The Lobster. I’m just going to come right out and say it. This movie is weird. And it’s definitely not for everybody. But it’s the one “new” movie that really stood out for me in 2016, not to mention the one that’s sparked the most conversation amongst my friends and family after viewing.  As a terminally single person, who just plain sucks at relationships, you could bet that I would long ago have been turned into an animal in the fictional world that embodies this film. (I’d choose a cat naturally. I know it’s not the most creative answer, but I happen to think I have a lot of cat-like tendencies.)

The Lobster has plenty of interesting things to say about the way that society pressures us to couple, and looks down upon and/or often vilifies single people. (That episode of Sex and the City, Bay of Married Pigs, comes immediately to mind.) But it’s not all one sided. “The Loners” in this story don’t come off so hot either. Though, to be honest, I’m less certain about what the writers are trying to say about . . . well . . . me. Hence, my endless discussions about the film with family and friends.

Apart from being an interesting social commentary, The Lobster is funny, quirky, and just flat out different than anything I’ve ever seen before. Seeing as we are living in a world that turns out cookie-cutter films like the assembly line at Chips Ahoy, that’s saying something. Available: iTunes, Amazon, DVD


Movie I’m excited for: The Edge of Seventeen. I’ve always been a sucker for a good coming-of-age tale, probably because my level of maturity is irrevocably about on par with most sixteen year olds. Not that there’s anything entirely new or different on the surface, about the story of an awkward, wise-cracking, but intensely intelligent, girl on the outer fringes of the high school social order, trying to survive the sometimes unforgiving, and often ridiculous, world of adolescence. But this trailer made me smile.  Plus, it reminded me of my own best friend from high school, who remains one of my favorite people in the world. Also, Hailee Steinfeld just seems so darn likeable here. How can you not root for her? Opening: November 18th


We hope you have your iPod / Spotify playlist ready because next up — Music!

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Filed under Fall Fangirl Guide 2016, movies, Uncategorized

Fangirls Fall Guide to 2016: Television Edition

(Cross posted at Imaginary Men.Net)

In Amy H. Johnson’s honest, funny and inspiring debut memoir “The Fangirl Files: True Tales and Tips from the Fandom Frontlines,” she embraces fangirling, not just a hobby, but as a way of life.  Whether it’s a favorite band, a beloved book series, an admired actor, or an adored television show, fangirling is a way we define ourselves.  We fangirl both to stand out from a crowd, and to connect with an entire world of people who share similar interests, in ways we never dreamed possible even a decade ago.  Through Fangirling, Amy, like many of us, found solace and comfort, excitement and adventure, independence and self-reliance and a loving extended network of like-minded, who can turn to, not just to discuss the latest Killers album, but to share in all the ups and downs life has to offer.

IG fangirlfiles.comThroughout “The Fangirl Files” Amy details her life from childhood, through adolescence into adulthood, using the various fandoms with which she associated as milestones along her thrilling journey. And this, of course, may lead you to wonder, what is Amy fangirling about now, in the Fall of 2016?

With the help of her fellow Fangirl friend (Me, Julie, naturally), Amy will share with us the things that get her all excited and fangirly right now.

I’ll play as well, because, why not? I’m a Fangirl too, after all.

Coming up we’ll discuss a few of our favorite things in 2016 from a wide variety of pop culture topics including television, movies, music, apps, podcasts, columns, and books. And you can weigh in on whether you agree with us, think we are totally nuts, or have your own recommendations. Because that’s what true fangirling is about, after all . . . . sharing our passion, expanding our horizons, and bonding over the things we all love. Also, let’s be honest, it’s about the cute boys . . . because who doesn’t love those?

Amy’s TV Picks

What I’m watching:

I have been binging on season four of The Americans. Perhaps “binging” isn’t the right word as sometimes an episode is so stressful it takes me days before I feel emotionally ready to watch the next one! I often wonder why this show has never had the same sort of pop culture fixation as other “prestige dramas” like Mad Men or Breaking Bad. It is also filled with conflicted anti-heroes and heroines and is intense, brilliant, suspenseful, heartbreaking and superbly acted (if you ever thought, “Awww, Felicity Porter is so adorable!” Keri Russell will kick the living sh*t out of your memory of her previous incarnation). Plot lines are artfully woven through multiple seasons so things that happened two seasons ago come back to haunt the characters. Under the layers of spy intrigue and danger is the story of a family trying to stay together through the mundane tasks of every day life, and the high stakes secret world of espionage. And it always bears repeating, “POOR MARTHA!” Watch it: Amazon, iTunes.


What I can’t wait to watch:

I’m excited about season three of The Affair. This one is another under-the-radar show that critics and awarding bodies like but is also not part of the “Peak TV” conversation. I think that may be because it can contain some soap opera-y elements although I don’t think that detracts at all from the performances or really deep emotional places it goes to. It is another doozy of a show in terms of stressing me out but this one also makes me cry a lot because at the heart of it is the understanding that relationships­—with spouses, lovers, friends, parents, even enemies—are complex and often overwhelming. The first season featured the POV of the two characters having the affair Alison and Noah. Season two added the views of the spouses they cheated on, Cole and Helen. As we follow the frequently conflicting interpretations of what happened in each relationship, there’s also a central mystery unfolding known as, “Who Killed Scotty Lockhart.” Let me tell you, last season’s finale was a true Gasp-Out-Loud-What-Just-Happened-Holy-Sh*t! Kind of TV moment that made me miss a time when everyone watched TV shows at the same time so we could discuss them right afterwards. Of course the entire reason I even began watching this show was because of my Ultimate TV Boyfriend Joshua Jackson (Pacey 4eva!) who even got his own chapter in my book The Fangirl Files! Watch it: Showtime, November 20th.

If you’d rather laugh:

Try Billy on the Street (Hulu), Parks and Recreation (Hulu, Netflix) or my latest binge, Very British Problems (Netflix).

Julie’s TV Picks

Stranger Things (Netflix)


Admittedly, I was a bit late to the party on this one, if only because I thought it would be too scary for my wimpy, fraidy cat, ass. (Also because I’d heard the ending involved a full-sized slug coming out of somebody’s mouth, which pretty much describes every nightmare I’ve had from the age of six until forever.) If you’re an eighties kid, you’ll love the overload of nostalgia you will inevitably feel for a simpler time, when “fun” for kids involved just riding bikes around town or playing an intense round of Dungeons and Dragons, two activities that involve NO TECHNOLOGY AT ALL. Not to mention the fact that the film is jammed packed with pop culture references from the time: movies (E.T., It, Nightmare on Elm Street), music (Hazy Shade of Winter, Waiting for a Girl Like You); even school supplies (Teen Heroine Nancy owned and promptly displayed her very own Trapper Keeper during the series).

Even those who don’t exactly remember the eighties will still find plenty to love in this super fun series that is filled with action adventure, mystery, humor, horror, plucky characters you will root for, and cheesy special effects that will make you giggle. But most of all, I think Stranger Things is about the enduring nature of childhood friendship. Because when you are eleven years old your best friends are your whole wide world. It’s a feeling you never quite get back, after you inevitably grow into the self-absorption of your teenage years . . . Watch it: Now on Netflix


The Night Of (HBO)

Based on the British series Criminal Justice, this HBO crime procedural / mystery follows Naz, a well-behaved, dutiful Pakistani college student, who gets invited to a party, meets a hot girl, has the best sex of his life, and then proceeds to have the WORST SIX MONTHS EVER! Though its Naz’s plight and the mystery of Who Killed Andrea, that will draw you into the series, you’ll stay for the harrowing portrait of our criminal justice system, and the pressure it puts on everyone from beat cops, to detectives, to district attorneys to judges to arrive at a conviction for violent crimes, even if it means ignoring exculpatory evidence, not to mention the picture it paints of our prison system. The Rikers Island of The Night Of makes the Litchfield of Orange is the New Black look like a trip to the mall.


Also there’s a really cute cat in the series. And I’m just a sucker for really cute cats… Watch it: HBO On Demand


This is Us (NBC)


A husband whose wife is about to give birth to triplets; a Hollywood heartthrob experiencing malaise over the trajectory of his career; an overweight woman struggling to take back control over her life in a society that often obsesses over appearances; a successful businessman who has just reconnected with the biological dad who abandoned him at a fire station 36 years earlier. These are four very different people, with vastly different stories; people who seem to have nothing in common with one another but the date of birth that they share . . . OR DO THEY?

From the first moment of the pilot, this series instantly had me hooked with its cast of likeable, not to mention super attractive characters, their relatable stories, and the unexpected twists the writers seem to enjoy slipping into the end of every episode. And touching . . . man is this show touching. Bring your hankies folks, because if you are in the right mood when you are watching this, you will be happy crying all over the damn place! Watch it: Tuesday nights on NBC.

Stay tuned for Part 2: Movies!


Filed under Fall Fangirl Guide 2016, television, Uncategorized

Once Upon a Time: Cinderella, armed and moderately dangerous!

Cross posted at!cinder-with-a-gun

This week on Once, Cinderella goes POSTAL . . . for a few seconds. Also this week, Hook and Emma get baby fever. Rumpel makes Belle a mix tape. And the Evil Queen comes up with a nefarious scheme . . . to perfect her adopted son’s bad posture.

Let’s review, shall we?

The Hunger Games


Everyone knows that the quickest way to a man’s heart is through his pants stomach. (We’re going to go with stomach here, because it’s an 8 p.m. show owned by Disney.) And this is why both Regina and the Evil Queen attempted to FEED Hyde into giving them information about the town’s new burgeoning population of homeless people. The only difference, of course, is that the Evil Queen arrived first at Hyde’s prison cell with a five-course meal, wine, and a team of set designers from the recently canceled television series, Hannibal. Regina, on the other hand, brought a pan of re-heated microwavable lasagna that she probably re-plated from a Stouffer’s TV Dinner, and the only two members of the town’s Neighborhood Watch, Snow and Charming . . ..


“The carpet in here doesn’t match the drapes. Plus the grass on the lawn is an inch over regulation height. You are going to have to fix that.”

Understandably, Hyde is unimpressed with his new, less than Michelin Star, accommodations, and refuses to give up any hobo gossip to our heroes, unless Regina frees him from the pokey, ASAP. This, Regina cannot do (at least not with Neighborhood Watch literally breathing down her neck).

Maybe Regina should have chosen to make a move on Hyde’s heart through his pants, after all . . .

Baby Steps


I guess it really shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that Hook is good with kids, especially when you consider the fact that, over in Neverland, apart from a few unwashed smelly pirates and a crocodile, prepubescents were literally the only people around with which he could share his Man Pain. Of course, up until this week, Emma has been too mired in her depression, carpal tunnel pain, and endless supply of pillow cases with holes cut in the arms for t-shirts (She wore one AGAIN this week! Why Once Wardrobe Team? WHY?) to notice.

So, Hook, whose sex life this season has consisted entirely of one hastily aborted couch fondling session, sets off on a major campaign to get himself laid more regularly. And that campaign involves him temporarily morphing into the male version of Mary Poppins with anyone under the age of 18 he can find.

father-son-2 father-son

Emma, who sees everyone around her having babies, and then promptly forgetting they exist, when plot dictates that they do so, is super turned on by the notion of “getting a little Hook in her,” both figuratively and literally. The only problem is that she is quite certain she’s going to croak by the end of the season, which doesn’t leave her with much time to get knocked up and carry a baby to term.


“If they bury me in one of those pillow case t-shirts and not my red leather jacket, I swear I will haunt them for all eternity.”

Emma discusses these fears (again) with her shrink, Jiminy Cricket. Jiminy tells Emma to Carpe Diem, basically, because she’s the star of a show where logic, plot and timeline consistency aren’t exactly top concerns. So, if the writers decided they wanted Emma to have a baby with Hook and die by the end of the season, they’d probably get it done in the span of two episodes, via a hastily explained “time jump” or “magic, speed-up-the-birthing-process spell.” (The latter of which, was a plot device that was actually used on this show with Zelena and HER newborn.)


This explanation is good enough for Emma, who, by the end of the episode, invites Hook to move in with her, while evoking thinly veiled allusions to the couple’s shared leather fetish . . .

one black-leather

Once alone, Captain Hook celebrates his good fortune, by twirling his mustache, and laughing maniacally, while shouting at the top of his lungs, “My evil plan worked! She bought it.”

Then, he proceeds to punch a couple of babies in the face, just because he can. Just kidding. He probably did something like this . . .


Now, if only Emma could finally work up the courage to tell the future father of her children / fellow leather fetishist the truth behind her crippling carpal tunnel condition . . .

“Would you believe me if I told you that it’s caused by excessive use of a vibrator?”

The Tale of the Forgotten Stepsister (and the REALLY Forgotten Stepsister)


This week’s Fairytale flashback is a revisit of the same Cinderella story we’ve already seen twice on the series, which makes the season’s promise of “Untold Stories” a bit of a misnomer, at least as far as this episode is concerned. That said, we do get some tweaks to the well-known tale here. One change is that Cinderella leaves the ball, way before midnight, not because she fears her dresses will turn back to rags if she stays, as commonly believed. But rather, because she’s insecure about being poor, and fears that everybody at the ball, the prince included, is secretly laughing at her.


This fear is confirmed for Cinderella, when her Stepmother tells her she looks like a trash bag, and has the same education level of the family’s pet cat. That line itself is really not important to the plot. I just thought it was funny, but also racist / species-ist? against cats. Because some cats I know, like mine, for example, happen to be super educated, just saying.


Harvard Grad, Graduating Class of 9 Lives

But I guess the most important two tweaks to this story, at least for purposes of this episode, are the fact that: (1) Cinderella is so convinced that the prince will never love her that SHE is actually planning to go into the Land of Untold Stories to escape the feared inevitability of her spinsterhood; and (2) it’s actually her “ugly” stepsister Clorinda, who convinces Cinderella to stay in Fairytale land, so that she can be around to accept her Prince’s inevitable proposal.


As luck would have it, Clorinda has also found love . . . SECRET FORBIDDEN LOVE . . . with the prince’s footman, a union of which the Evil Stepmother will never approve.


This gives Cinderella an idea!


Clorinda can escape to the Land of Untold Stories with her Footman, where the Evil Stepmonster can never find them and get in the way of their true love. Everything seems to be going according to plan, until Evil Stepmonster uses Cinderella’s insecurities against her AGAIN, to get the latter to spill the beans on Clorinda’s whereabouts, before she can escape to the Land of Untold Stories with her Footman. As a result, Evil Stepmonster ends up dragging Clorinda into the Land of Untold Stories with HER, while Poor Footman is left out in the cold, doomed to never have a name, or more than one line of dialogue in this portion of the story.

Speaking of no name or dialogue, Cinderella also has another stepsister. But she gets no name, and pretty much stares at the screen dumbfounded for the first half of the flashback, only to be never heard from again shortly thereafter. No one is looking for her. Nobody cares that her entire family abandoned her for another universe. Basically, Evil Stepmonster’s under-achieving cat gets more personality development than this chick. Talk about an Untold Story!

Defeat and Repeat?



Meanwhile, Regina rushes around town trying to figure out a way to defeat her eviler and hornier half. This results in her ultimately hiring Dr. Frankenstein and Dr. Jekyll to cook up a potion that will allow her to kill herself, for lack of a better term. (Let’s hope it goes over better than Regina’s lasagna.) Snow White finds herself to be suffering from a bit of an existential crisis.

And why shouldn’t she? The show has been going on for six seasons now. And every season, Snow has to battle two big bads, one of whom is often someone she’s battled before. In fact, Snow has been so busy battling Big Bads that she hasn’t had time to fix that hideous haircut of hers!


So, Snow tells Charming that she’d like to go back to being a teacher, like she was in season 1. She thought she was pretty good at it. And hey, if you forget the fact that time was on a Groundhog Day-esque loop throughout most of the first season, which meant that Snow pretty much taught the same “How to Make a Birdhouse” class to the same exact students for 28 years, I guess you could say Snow was about average, as far as teachers go.


I wonder if Snow White’s birds get a better education than the Evil Stepmother’s cat . . .

Speaking of students, since Storybrooke’s one kid over the age of 2, Henry, seems to be reaching adolescence, Snow has decided she wants to start a high school. She figures Dr. Jekyll and Dr. Frankenstein can teach there right along side of her, bringing the faculty of said high school up to THREE people. Nevermind, the fact that Dr. Frankenstein also happens to be the ONLY DOCTOR in Storybrooke too . . . (I hope he forms two unions, each including only himself, to fight back against these unfair working conditions.)


Storybrooke’s equivalent of a sweatshop worker.

But hey, I guess when you live in a town where half the population is homeless, and the others are trashbags with the education level of cats, you have to improvise a bit when it comes to job creation.

Follow that Stinky Sneaker!


Back in the Cinderella portion of the story, now that Clorinda and her mother have crash landed in Storybrooke, and joined the town’s excessive homeless population, everybody’s favorite Friend to Rats and Rider of Pumpkins decides she needs to find her stepsister. (Again, Clorinda, not the other stepsister, because no one cares about her.)

Cinderella steals her husband’s rifle in anticipation of this meeting, because nothing says, “I’m sorry I ruined your sex life, possibly for all eternity,” like waving a firearm in their face like a raving lunatic. Cinderella’s husband asks Emma for help, because he’s worried that Cinderella will KILL Clorinda, because the latter said some mean stuff to his wife, back when the two women were teenagers. (As good a reason to commit cold-blooded murder as any.)

In order to find Cinderella, and prevent her from becoming a homicidal maniac (After all, the town’s only jail cell is currently occupied by Hyde, so no one else is allowed to commit crime.), Emma uses her magic to produce Cinderella’s stinky running sneaker, and then follows it’s disgusting aroma to the gun-toting princess’ whereabouts.

In the midst of all this toxic shoe sniffing, Emma and the gang come upon the Evil Queen, who despite living inside the dark part of Regina’s soul for the majority of her life, somehow comes fully equipped with a designer wardrobe, complete with a treasure trove of weaves and hair extensions. (It’s rather impressive, actually. Perhaps, Emma and Snow should consider temporarily moving into Regina’s soul. They could learn a thing or two about fashion.)


Evil Queen, who is in full “throw shade at Emma and make her feel insecure” mode . . .



Thank you, Captain Obvious! I thought the problem with being a Savior is that you have to wear pillow cases for clothing . . .

. . . actually makes some really good points about how she’s just as much Henry’s mother as Regina, seeing as she was hiding out inside her soul, while Regina raised him. (This, bringing Henry’s mommy count up to three, for those of you keeping score.)

She even has some motherly tips for Henry about improving his posture so as to project confidence to those around him. Solid advice that Henry’s biological mother could probably benefit from herself, especially since she’s taken to wearing shapeless white sacks on her rescue missions.

Anywhoo, Emma and Co. eventually track down Cinderella, just as she is falling into a trap set by her evil Stepmother, using Clorinda as bate, to MURDER HER WITH HER HUSBAND’S RIFLE! Families are just the best, aren’t they?

Clorinda kind of wants Cinderella to die too, due to whole “sex life ruining thing,” but then Cinderella reunites Clorinda with her lost love the Footman, and all is cool with them . . . until Evil Stepmother stabs Cinderella in the chest.


Fortunately, Emma’s on hand to save Cinderella’s life. Unfortunately, she has a bad carpal tunnel attack just as she’s about to do it, and Cinderella starts bleeding out right before our very eyes.

But rest easy folks. Cinderella doesn’t die. The writers of this show only like to kill off attractive menfolk. For the most part the ladies are invincible. And so, Emma successfully revives Cinderella, and the latter lives to make exceedingly poor life choices, based on insecurities and a love of assault weapons, for another day . . .

One Track Minds

Speaking of poor life choices, sometimes our fixation on certain aspects of our lives, causes us to act out impulsively, and do things we wouldn’t normally do, in pursuit of one specific goal. This appeared to be the case for the Evil Queen, who let a literal monster out of jail, because she was horny . . . also because he was going to help prevent Regina from killing her, but mostly because she was horny.

For Hyde’s part, he allies with the dark side of Regina’s soul seemingly just because he really likes her cooking, also because he wants to get out of jail, but mainly for the cooking.


Then, there’s Prince Charming, who makes a deal with Rumpel to find out the truth about what happened to his father. And we all know what it means to make deals with Rumpel. Spoiler Alert: Usually it means bad things, very bad things. (Although, in this case, all Charming had to do to get this information was give Belle a mixtape, because apparently Rumpel is a 13-year old boy circa 1990.)


And Belle, well she listened to the mix tape, despite the fact that it was from Rumpel, a man her unborn son had told her was up to know good, in a dream she had, in which said son was totally inappropriately hitting on her, and it was kind of gross. Rumpel . . . a man with dark magical powers, who could have filled that mixtape with evil spells that would make her become his lover again, against her will . . . or worse . . . really bad singing / music. But Belle listened to that mixtape from start to finish, despite the apparent risks, because the thought of having her soon-to-be born child grow up without a father simply seemed to much to bear at the time.

And then there was Snow . . . who believed her husband, Charming when he told her he wasn’t going to seek vengeance against the man who killed his father. She believed him, even though he was staring straight at the camera winking at us, with his fingers crossed behind his back, and rolling his eyes intently, when he told Snow he was going to let the matter drop. She believed it, because she really needs to think that after the Storybrooke crew battles their 12th villain of the series, things will go back to normal . . . She’ll become a teacher again. She will grow out her awful hair . . .

Actually, maybe it’s just me that needs to believe in that last one.


And that’s where we leave our friends from Storybrooke at the end of episode 3, determined, desperate, and clad in some super ugly outfits. Until next time, folks!


Filed under Once Upon a Time, Uncategorized

ONCE UPON A TIME RECAP: Flirting with Vengeance (Ep. 6:2)

(Cross posted at


This week on Once, a sex deprived Evil Queen hits on everyone from a newborn baby to herself. Also, the writers kill another sexy male guest star because, apparently, they hate me; Emma wears her feelings; and we are again reminded that all the characters on this show have SECRETS!

Let’s review shall we?

Blood Magic


“Incest, schmincest. We can’t make a baby together, so it’s absolutely risk free!”

Ever wonder how an Evil Queen and her Wicked Witch sister spend their Saturday nights? Apparently, they toss back a few appletinis (Fun!); and then spend the rest of the night skulking around a cemetery. (Slightly less fun.) Since No-Longer-Evil Regina sealed her Crypt of Hearts and Episodic Deus Ex Machinae using blood magic (Amateur!), the Evil Queen (who obviously has the exact same blood as Regina) is able to easily remove the spell and open the crypt. Evil Queen steals something from the crypt, but we won’t know what it is for another two commercial breaks.

Zelena, understandably, is hesitant about trusting the Evil Queen. Therefore, the Evil Queen tries to earn her sister’s trust, by invading her personal space, speaking to her seductively, and staring for way too long at her cleavage. One of the downsides of spending an entire lifetime as the black half of somebody else’s soul is that you never ever get laid.


“Hello! Anybody out there? Feeling a bit sexually frustrated in here! What’s the devil on your shoulder gotta do to get a back rub around this place?”

In light of that, who can blame the Evil Queen for trying to make up for lost time? So what if some (read: ALL) of her targets are patently inappropriate? Since basically everyone in this town is already related to one another, the definition of what constitutes incest has to be a bit more loosely interpreted . . .

Vengeance: A Dish Best Served Cold (Preferably, with a Side Salad and Baked Potato.)


This week’s flashback involves a new character, who apparently hails from the Land of Untold Stories. It’s the Count of Monte Cristo. He’s very nice to look at. So, I instantly like him and am rooting for him, because I am an extremely shallow person.

The Count is apparently a very rich guy, and he throws an entire ball just to murder this guy, the Baron, who apparently, killed his fiance, got him thrown in jail, and stole all his family’s money. He does this about two minutes into the ball, which causes everybody to leave. Now, I know these people are all obnoxiously wealthy and stuff, but to me, this just seems like a really bad waste of good booze and food. I mean, why let something silly, like a maiming, ruin a good party?


“Party poopers!”

The Evil Queen conveniently shows up after everybody left (possibly to pick up the leftover booze and food, because that’s my girl!). She’s holding a piece of paper with the names of all the other people who screwed over the Count. And she offers to give it to him, if he kills Snow White and Prince Charming for her. That seems pretty risky of Evil Queen, waving her only leverage against the Count right in front of his face, where he can easily grab it and run away. If it were me, I’d at least hide it in my underwear or something. Come to think of it, hiding something a guy wants in her underwear seems right up Evil Queen’s alley . . .


The Count, masquerading as a poor townsperson whose town the Evil Queen burned to the ground, manages to sweet talk his way into a job as Snow White’s and Charming’s wine steward. This means he gets to hang around the castle all day doing nothing, except for the one or two times a day, he has to pour five ounces of liquid into his bosses’ glasses. Nice work, if you can get it!


“Do you provide 401K contribution matching?”

A Case of the Sads


“You get a cardboard box! And you get a cardboard box! And you get a cardboard box!”

Back in Storybrooke, No-Longer-Evil Regina is giving the town’s new excessively large homeless population pep talk about not being afraid of what the future has in store for them. Easy for her to say. She’s not the one who is going to have to sleep in a garbage can, next to a pet rat named Stinky.

Shortly, thereafter, Emma politely excuses herself to attend her head shrinking session with Jiminy Cricket. Emma is obviously super depressed about her recent carpal tunnel affliction, and the fact that SHE’S GOING TO ALMOST, BUT NOT ACTUALLY, DIE IN THE SEASON FINALE. We know Emma is having a serious case of the sads, because she dressed herself in an old ripped pillow case with two holes cut out for her to put her arms through . . .


Well, you won't be a fashion designer.  That's for sure.

Well, you won’t be a fashion designer. That’s for sure.

I think I wore the same costume, when I dressed up as a pilgrim for Thanksgiving in Elementary School. If that shirt is not a serious cry for help. I don’t know what is!

You Can’t Go Home Again


In other sad and homeless news, Belle has dumped Rumpel, because she had a dream that her unborn son told her to do so, before said unborn son made out with her. This means that she, like half the current population of Storybrooke (a place that consists of basically, two houses, a library, a jail, and a diner) is also without a place to hang her hat.

Fortunately, for Belle, Captain Hook feels kind of guilty about that time he tried to murder Disney’s most introverted princess. So, he decides to make up for it, by letting Belle live on his boat. Belle is bowled over by Hook’s kindness and generosity, and thrilled she won’t have to get a pet rat (Though it worked out OK for Cinderella!). As an added bonus, the fact that Belle is now pretty much guaranteed to constantly reek of fish guts will positively ensure that Rumpel never wants to bone her again!


In other home-related news, the Count of Monte Cristo has landed in Storybrooke and has left polite word with Charming and Snow White that he wants to murder them, by way of their grandson, Henry. (Because that’s what all the best hit men do, warn their targets that they are coming by writing them a love note on pretty stationary.)


“If your grandparents could be on time, I’d really appreciate it. Nothing irks me more than when folks are tardy for their own beheadings. So, inconsiderate.”

Upon hearing that the Count wants to kill her parents, Emma snaps out of her doldrums long enough to give mom and dad a ride out of town. Unfortunately, the town now has a spell on it, preventing them from leaving. This is the same spell, which, undoubtedly, the Evil Queen stole from Regina’s crypt earlier in the episode. Emma and Co. are now beginning to suspect the Evil Queen’s reappearance in their lives, if only because the season’s other Big Bad Hyde is holed-up in their only jail cell, nursing a bad case of pink eye . . .

Best Laid Plans


Back in the past, the Evil Queen gives Professional Wine Pourer, the Count of Monte Cristo, poison to put in Snow’s and Charming’s drinks. The Count is about to go through with murdering the couple. Though, of course, we know he won’t succeed. Because, if he did, they wouldn’t be alive to on this show for six seasons. (Way to spoil the ending for all of us, OUAT!)

The reason that the Count ends up not going through with murdering the Charmings is not something honorable, like a crisis of conscience, or something. As it turns out, the Count spares the Charmings’ lives because, if he poisoned them, he’d also have to poison their handmaiden, and she is really hot. (Apparently, like me, the Count of Monte Cristo is also a very shallow person.)

Unfortunately, for the Count, Rumpel is not so shallow, and he poisons the handmaiden, despite her hotness. You see, Rumpel wants the Charmings to live, so the Evil Queen will cast the spell that takes them to Storybrooke and starts the OUAT television series. And in order for the Charmings to live, shallow hot guys like the Count of Monte Cristo can’t kill them.


So, Rumpel, who is no dummy, uses the Count’s soft spot for hot chicks to get what he wants. He tells the Count that the only way the latter can save the handmaiden from dying from the poison is by bringing her through the portal to the Land of Untold Stories, so her “Poisoning Story” stops and she gets to live. Granted, the Count could probably just toss the handmaiden through the portal and get the same result. But that wouldn’t help our plot.

Long story, sort-of short, the Count carries this fellow hot person through the portal to the Land of Untold Stories, where the pair undoubtedly have lots of extremely attractive sex with one another. And Charming and Snow are left mourning the fact that they will now have to pour their own wine and dress themselves (which actually explains a lot about why Storybrooke Snow’s hair and wardrobe choices are so hideous).


“I knew I should have hired an ugly handmaiden!”

Unfortunately, once removed from the Land of Untold Stories, the handmaiden suffers insta-death. The loss of his fellow hot person makes the Count super mad and murderous once again. Then again, maybe he’s murderous because the Evil Queen has his heart and is commanding him to finish the job he started. (Not the wine pouring job, the Snow and Charming murder job.)

OUAT Giveth, and OUAT Taketh Away


Oh, Count of Monte Cristo! You of the fluffy hair, perfectly arched eyebrows, soulful eyes, and questionable moral code. We barely knew ye. (I especially barely knew ye, because I never had to read The Count of Monte Cristo in high school. I did watch the first two seasons of Revenge though. Does that count?)


The Count arrives on the dock to murder the Charmings. But, in his defense, he feels really crappy about it. The Charmings, for their part, try to ward off the Count by . . . recreating a sequence from the hit Broadway musical, Stomp?


And so Regina, who knows the power of musical garbage can lids will not be enough to save her new pals, the Charmings, from an untimely impalement, does the “honorable” thing and impales the Count instead.



R.I.P. Count of Monte Cristo. I’ll never forget you . . . or at least, I won’t forget you until they hire Ryan Gosling to guest star as Count Dracula . . .


“I vant to suck your blood, while showing off my six pack, naturally.”

Seeds of Doubt, Sprinkled Everywhere


Question: When you do sex stuff with a disembodied version of yourself, is it considered incest or masturbation?

Question: When you do sex stuff with a disembodied version of yourself, is it considered incest or masturbation?

Evil Queen conveniently appears just in time to see No-Longer-Evil Regina murder someone hot in cold blood. Apparently, this was her plan all along . . . not for the Count of Monte Cristo to kill the Charmings, but for Regina to kill the Count in their defense, and realize she’s still kind of a crappy person! Murdering the Count makes Regina feel like total junk. But Evil Queen, who lacks social skills, having lived beneath Regina’s breastplate all these years with minimal opportunity for social interaction, misinterprets this as Regina being horny, and hits on her shamelessly.

The Evil Queen then warns that all of our lead Storybrooke characters still have deep dark secrets that the show hasn’t managed to mine in six seasons, but they will all come out now, gosh darn it. Like Rumpel, for example. He has a bondage fetish.


And Prince Charming. He may have killed his own father!!!!! But worse, he collects coins! How nerdy!



And Zelena’s two-month old baby! Well, she surely has the darkest secrets of all!

"What exactly are you hiding underneath that rattle?  Is it crack?"

“What exactly are you hiding inside that rattle? Is it crack?”

With threats of deep dark revelations popping up everywhere as a result of Regina’s sort-of-kind-of-but-not-really self-defense killing of the sexy Count of Monte Cristo, it’s no wonder that Emma is starting to question whether she can really trust Henry’s other mother, especially when Regina was one of the few main characters from the show strangely absent from Emma’s death vision. Could Regina be Emma’s future Almost-But-Not-Actual Killer?



Tune in next week to receive a few more red herrings, but not actually find out.


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