Monthly Archives: April 2021

The Handmaid’s Tale Season 4 Review

*Warning: the post contains spoilers about the end of the third season. Read at your own risk if you are still catching up.

The anticipated release of a new season of a favorite television series is both exciting and nerve wracking. It has to build on the narrative of the previous seasons while opening the door to wherever the new season may go.

The 4th season of The Handmaid’s Tale premiered on Wednesday on Hulu.

The first episode starts off right where the 3rd season ended. The plane full of women and children has safely landed in Canada. In Gilead, the repercussions of June/Offred’s (Elisabeth Moss) rebellion have created a ripple effect. She has become a Moses like figure to the fugitive handmaids who are desperate for freedom. The authorities in Gilead have a different take on her actions and have deemed her to be enemy #1.

In Canada, Commander and Serena Joy Waterford (Joseph Fiennes and Yvonne Strahovski) are in the custody of the government and bickering. Meanwhile, June/Offred’s husband, Luke Bankhole (O-T Fagbenle) and her friends who are refugees, are dealing with the consequences of her actions from another angle.

So far, the first three episodes are fantastic. It is dark, gripping, and completely intoxicating. Next Wednesday and episode 4 cannot come soon enough.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

The Handmaid’s Tale is available for streaming on Hulu. New episodes are released every Wednesday.

Leave a comment

Filed under Books, Feminism, Hulu, Television, TV Review

The Nanny Character Review: C.C. Babcock

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series The Nanny. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the show. There is something to be said about a well-written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

When we fall in love, we hope and expect that the person we love will love us back. But, that is not always the case. On The Nanny, C.C. Babcock (Lauren Lane) has been romantically chasing her widower business partner, Maxwell Sheffield (Charles Shaughnessy) since the death of his wife. To her chagrin and the delight of Niles (Daniel Davis), Maxwell falls for and marries Fran Fine (Fran Drescher), his children’s nanny.

A socialite and the daughter of divorced parents, C.C. took every opportunity she had as a child to be spoiled. When she enters the Sheffield house, she is greeted by her less than favorite sparring partner, Niles. He takes pleasure in mocking her about her age, her lack of a romantic partner, and most importantly, her numerous failures to turn her business partner into her life partner.

Things change between C.C. and Niles when their game of “top that” insults turn into lust. That lust turns into love, a marriage proposal, and a baby. When we last see C.C., she and Niles follow Max and Fran to California and his new television producing job.

To sum it up: When the one we love rejects us, we have two choices. Choice #1 is to do fight to get them back. Choice #2 is to accept what has happened and move on. Though C.C. eventually accepts that she will never be Maxwell’s other half, it takes her a while to get there.

Which is why she is a memorable character.

Leave a comment

Filed under Character Review, Feminism, New York City

Flashback Friday: The Takeaway (2008-Present)

Sometimes, when the issues we talk about become too emotionally heavy, the best way to bring down the temperature is to have an honest conversation.

The WNYC podcast, The Takeaway, has been on the air since 2008. Hosted by Tanzina Vega, it airs every weekday from 3-4 PM. Bringing on politically and social justice minded guests, the topics center around local and national political news.

I really enjoy this podcast. Though the subjects discussed are the same as other political podcasts, there is a thoughtfulness and an intelligence to the way they are spoken of. It makes me think without making me angry or upset. Which, given the current status of American politics, is sometimes hard to do.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Leave a comment

Filed under National News, Podcast, Podcast Review, Politics, WNYC

Takeaways from the State of the Union

The State of the Union tells us everything we need to know about the President.

Last night was President Biden‘s first State of the Union.

First of all, the fact that there were two women sitting behind him is nothing short of awesome.

If there was one word to describe the speech, it is ambitious. Some might say a little too ambitious, given what Covid-19 has done to us, the only way out maybe to go big or go home. Will it require compromise from both sides of the aisle? Absolutely. Will it be easy? To call the process difficult is an understatement. As corny as it sounds, the path back to some sort of normalcy is working together.

After the President spoke, Senator Tim Scott spoke for the Republicans. If their plan was to use Senator Scott to show how how diverse they are, it fell flat on their face.

The fact that they claimed that Biden and the Democrats are responsible for the political and cultural division in the country is pure bullshit. The cherry on top was the idea that racism is dead in the United States. I have two words for him: Derek Chauvin.

After 4 years of you know who, Biden is a breath of fresh air. Though the work ahead of him and his administration is far from easy, I am confident that America’s future is bright in their hands.

2 Comments

Filed under National News, Politics, Thoughts On....

Throwback Thursday: Israel Story (2013-Present)

When it comes to certain countries, it is easy to get caught up in the flashy headlines and the soundbites on the news. What is harder, but ultimately worth the effort, is to get to know the people and the details behind the headlines.

The podcast, Israel Story, started in 2013. Broadcast across Israel, it was produced by Galei Tzahal, Israel’s national Army Radio Station. In 2014, it premiered in the English speaking world. Hosted by Mishy Harman, it can be found on all podcast platforms and on the Tablet magazine website. Each episode takes the listener on a ride through the country, introducing them to people, places, and events that reveal a deeply nuanced and human view of Israel.

I love this podcast. It is intelligent, thoughtful, and stimulating. If nothing else, it has the ability to open minds and show that the Jewish state is much more than many people would make it out to be.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Leave a comment

Filed under International News, Podcast, Podcast Review, World News

The Parting Glass Book Review

Within an upper-class or aristocratic household, the relationship between a member of the family and their valet or lady’s maid is a unique one. Though they are employer and employee, there is an emotional and physical bond that has the potential to go beyond the traditional bounds of the relationship.

The Parting Glass, by Gina Marie Guadagnino, was published in 2019. In the 1830s, in New York City, Mary Ballard’s job is that of lady’s maid to Charlotte Walden, one of the most sought-after young women in society. But Mary is not who she says she is. Her real name is Maire O’Farren. Maire is an Irish immigrant who was forced to leave her homeland after being caught in a compromising position. On her nights off, she frequents the unseemly parts of the city, where she gets involved with a prostitute and drinks with friends who are part of an underground society.

Maire/Mary is caught in a bind. She is in love with her mistress, who is having an affair with Maire/Mary’s brother. When the shit hits the fan, she has a choice to make, which has the potential to result in heartbreak.

Starts at 13:22

I have mixed feelings about this book. I love the concept of the narrative, blending a traditional historical novel with an LGBTQ protagonist and the reality of what it was to be an Irish immigrant during that time period. Though the middle of the story lags at moments, the ending is fantastic, and the details are nothing short of perfection.

Do I recommend it? I am leaning toward yes.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Review, Books, History, New York City

Bargain Block Review

Anyone in the world of real estate can tell you that having one long standing empty property on a street brings the value of the entire block down. Multiply that by many streets in a neighborhood and a city and that is much bigger issue to contend with.

On the new HGTV series, Bargain Block, the audience follows Keith Bynum and Evan Thomas as they bring Detroit back to life by buying run down homes, renovating them, and then selling at an affordable price.

Starts at :19

Though the format is standard for this channel and this genre, I like that Keith and Evan are giving back to the community instead of just running a business.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Bargain Block airs on HGTV on Wednesdays at 9PM.

Leave a comment

Filed under Television, TV Review

Thoughts On the West Side Story Trailer

Among the thousands of stories that have been written throughout humanity’s history, there is a reason that some have come down through the generations while others have been forgotten. Romeo and Juliet is one of these tales.

On Sunday, the trailer for the West Side Story reboot was released.

I’m not a huge fan of musicals, but this trailer is just what I need to entice me to see the movie when it comes out in December. The colors are bright and inviting. Director Steven Spielberg was wise enough to honor the original 1961 film via some of the visual aspects and hire Rita Moreno, who played Anita. Moreno singing “Somewhere” in the trailer is the perfect link between both adaptations.

If nothing else, the release of West Side Story is timely. Given what is going on in our country and our world these days, we need a reminder that love is possible, if we are willing to do the work.

West Side Story will be in theaters December 10th, 2021.

Leave a comment

Filed under Movies, New York City, Thoughts On....

The Vandalization of Those Synagogues in NYC Will Not Change My Faith

Hate is akin to an insidious disease. It takes over you, changing everything about your world and how you see it.

Over the weekend, four different synagogues were vandalized in the Bronx in New York City.

Whomever these people are, if they think that this act will scare me into changing my faith, they have another thing coming. I could go on, but I am going to let two wise men speak instead. Their truths are more powerful than anything I could ever write.

Pin by Cheryl Harris-dowling on Inspirational quotes | Yoda quotes, Fear  leads to anger, Fear quotes

Though I am sure that the justice system will do it’s job, it may not be enough to change the perspective of the perpetrators. I say, drop them in Auschwitz for a night. Let the spirits of those who were murdered teach the ultimate lesson.

Leave a comment

Filed under New York City, Star Wars, William Shakespeare

Stabler Told Benson He Loved Her: The Jaw Drop Ensues

For the last twenty two years, the partnership of Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Elliot Stabler (Chris Meloni) on Law & Order: SVU (and it’s off shoot, Law & Order: Organized Crime) has been the favorite of fans across the world. Somewhere between being pseudo-siblings and besties, their relationship was reason we came back week after week.

Last week, a bomb was dropped that no one saw coming.

I have no idea where the story is going for the rest of the season, but that moment was one for the books.

Leave a comment

Filed under New York City, Television