Monthly Archives: March 2022

Throwback Thursday: Celebrity Wife Swap (2012-2015)

It has been said that we can never truly know another until we walk a mile in their shoes.

The reality show Celebrity Wife Swap (2012-2015) is an offshoot of another reality television program, Wife Swap. The narrative is the same as its predecessor, the only difference is that the participants are famous. For two weeks, the wives switch families. During the first week, they play by the rules. In the second week, they control how their hosts live. As expected, there is drama and disagreements. After two weeks, the wives return to their homes and reflect on their experiences.

It’s an interesting series. I think what I took from it is that in spite of the money and fame, their lives are for the most part no different than anyone else’s. That being said, it is still within the reality genre and forces the audience to ask what is “real” and what has been added to up the dramatic ante.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Will Smith & Chris Rock: The Slap Heard Around the World

Every major name that makes it in Hollywood has a persona that is instantly recognizable to audiences.

Over the last thirty-odd years, Will Smith has developed a reputation as a genial, friendly, and overall easy-going type of guy. That reputation took a beating on Sunday night during the Oscars. Chris Rock made a joke about Smith’s wife. Jada Pinkett Smith is bald due to alopecia. Without batting an eye, Smith walked up to the stage and smacked Rock across the face.

At first, it looked like it was a joke that had been previously agreed upon by both men. But it wasn’t. Though Smith apologized during his acceptance speech for Best Actor for the film King Richard, it was not accepted. He tried again to confess that he made a mistake via his Instagram account, but it again fell on deaf ears.

As of now, the repercussions of his actions are TBA. While at the time, he may have felt like he was being a man and defending his wife, there is no excuse for what he did. My opinion is that Smith will reap what he sowed that night. Sometimes, the only way to learn is via the hard way. I have a feeling that this will be a lesson he will never forget.

Will Smith Slap GIF by Xavier Degraux - Find & Share on GIPHY

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Why We Argue and How to Stop: A Therapist’s Guide to Navigating Disagreements, Managing Emotions, and Creating Healthier Relationships Book Review

Relationships, whether they are romantic, parent/child, friendships, etc, are not always sunshine and roses. Arguments are bound to happen. What matters is the ability to come out of the disagreement with the connection intact.

Jerry Manney is a therapist with more than thirty years of experience. His new book, Why We Argue and How to Stop: A Therapist’s Guide to Navigating Disagreements, Managing Emotions, and Creating Healthier Relationships, was published this year. The author starts the book by explaining why disagreements occur. He then goes into how we can either put a stop to them or at the very least, turn down the temperature in the room. The chapters end with open-ended exercises, allowing the reader to digest and personalize the content.

There are a number of ways to approach this subject. The easy way to write a self-help book of this nature is to write in either therapy speak or clinical terms that the average person will not understand or relate to. The author writes in a way that the audience does not feel like they are being talked down to. It was as if he was my counselor and I was meeting with him for our usual appointment.

What I related to was the mental health aspect of the subject. When something is left unsaid, it can fester and open the door to words and/or actions that we may come to regret. Opening the lines of communication allows us to not just heal, but to make difficult conversations easier to have.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Why We Argue and How to Stop: A Therapist’s Guide to Navigating Disagreements, Managing Emotions, and Creating Healthier Relationships is available to purchase via the publisher and wherever books are sold.

Thank you to the publisher for the ARC.

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Regency Review Roundup: Sanditon and Bridgerton Season 2 Reviews

*There will be spoilers for Sanditon.

The Regency era is an interesting time in human history. Looking back, it is easy to see that, as a species. we are on the road to the modernity that is life today. But we are also still clinging to the rules and social structure of previous generations.

Bridgerton

After a year and a half wait, season two of Bridgerton premiered last weekend on Netflix. It’s been nine months since the narrative of season one ended. Daphne Bridgerton and Simon Bassett (Phoebe Dyvenor and Rege-Jean Page, who decided to move onto other projects) are happily married and have a baby boy. The oldest Bridgerton son Anthony (Jonathan Bailey) has decided it is his time to settle down. Among the eligible women of the ton, he chooses Edwina Sharma (Charitha Chandran). But before they can walk down the aisle, he has to get through her overprotective older sister, Kate (Simone Ashley). She is tough, smart, and unwilling to compromise on whom she sees as her future brother-in-law. The problem is that there is something between Anthony and Kate that cannot be ignored.

If last season one was hot, this season has the fire of several volcanoes exploding at the same time. The chemistry between Ashley and Bailey is intense. The enemies to lovers/slow-burn narrative is so perfect that I would recommend that anyone who wants to write a good romance novel watch this series. It’s that good.

Sanditon

Its been nine months since the audience has spent time with the denizens of Sanditon. After the death of her first love, Sydney Parker (Theo James), Charlotte Heywood (Rose Williams) has returned to the seaside town and the Parkers. Bringing her younger sister, Alison (Rosie Graham) with her, Charlotte reunites with old friends while making new male acquaintances. Among them are Charles Lockhart (Alexander Vlahos) and Colonel Francis Lennox (Tom Weston-Jones).

With her usual tenacity and intelligence, Charlotte is trying to move on with her life. But she is still grieving (as I suspect the viewers are as well) for what might have been, had things gone in another direction. As much as we all miss Sydney, I feel like this is opening the door for new opportunities for her in both the romantic and career arenas (as much as a woman could have back then). Akin to Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens) dying in a car crash at the end of the third season of Downton Abbey, it was a heartbreaking loss. But I feel like if we look at it from a modern perspective, this unexpected change is normal. Not everyone spends their life with the first person they fell in love with. It sometimes takes a few years and a few relationships to find your other half.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Bridgerton is available for streaming on Netflix. Sanditon airs on PBS on Sunday night at 9PM.

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Filed under Books, Downton Abbey, Feminism, History, Jane Austen, Netflix, Television, TV Review

Outlander Season 6 Review

I apologize for the late publishing of this review. Life got in the way.

Warning: this review has spoilers from the end of season 5. Read at your own risk if you have not seen season 5.

For as much creativity as it takes to start a new narrative, it takes more creativity to continue in multiple segments. The writer(s) must be willing and able to expand their horizons and allow the characters to grow beyond their initial storyline.

The new season of Outlander premiered earlier this month on Starz. It starts not long after the previous season ended. Claire (Caitriona Balfe) is still dealing with the emotional effects of being kidnapped and raped. Up until this point, she has been able to present a strong front and now show any weaknesses. But the experience has started to break down those walls.

In addition to being concerned about his wife, Jamie (Sam Heughan) is dealing with problems from his past and his present. Meeting up with an old rival, Tom Christie (Mark Lewis Jones), and his children Malva (Jessica Reynolds) and Allan (Alexander Vlahos), he comes face to face with a part of his life he would rather forget. While this is happening, the Revolutionary War is slowly getting closer to Fraser’s Ridge, threatening to upend the lives of its residents.

So far, this season has lived up to my expectations and then some. What I love is that the first few episodes have focused on where the characters are emotionally. Add in the clouds of war on the horizon and the reaction will be nothing short of explosive.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Outlander airs on Sunday night at 9PM on Starz.

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One Italian Summer Book Review

The loss of a parent at any age is difficult. It is harder when you are close to that parent.

Rebecca Serle‘s new novel, One Italian Summer, was published earlier this month. After years of battling cancer, Carol Silver has succumbed to the disease. No one is more devastated than her daughter, Katy. They were more than mother and daughter, they were best friends. Carol was the one who Katy turned to when she needed advice and support.

Matters are made worse by the potential cancelation of a trip to the Amalfi Coast in Italy that they had been planning and the possible break up of Katy’s marriage. Needing a break from everything, she decides to make the trip alone. When she arrives at her destination, Katy starts to feel Carol is still with her. Walking in her mother’s footsteps, she visit the same places Carol had been to thirty years ago.

Walking into her hotel one night, she sees her mother standing in front of her. But this Carol is not the woman Katy saw in the hospital bed. This Carol is young and healthy. Katy has to decide if she will only remember the woman she knew or get to know the younger woman who has no clue as to what the future holds.

To say that this book is amazing is an understatement. It’s a story of grief, hope, love, and finding yourself in the midst of the storm of loss. What made it special was the slight but super important science fiction element of the narrative that made it more than just the story of a daughter losing her mother.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

One Italian Summer is available wherever books are sold.

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Andrew Cuomo Has No Place in NY Politics

After a political scandal, the wise thing to do is to keep your head down and hope that in time, you will no longer be front-page news.

Former NY Governor Andrew Cuomo believes otherwise. He has announced that he will re-enter politics, though to what end remains unclear at this point. In his most recent ad, he claims that he made “mistakes”.

What he did was not a mistake. A mistake is accidentally brushing against someone in a crowded elevator. What he did to those women was textbook sexual harassment. This is a moral failing that in my mind, automatically knocks him out of whatever race he intends to run on. What is worse is that there appears to be a growing number of people who are supporting him.

This is nothing but a way to inflate his ego. He knows what he did was wrong. In this #MeToo era, actions like these do not go unnoticed or unpunished. The fact that he is downplaying it tells me everything I need to know about Andrew Cuomo. If he decides to run for office, he will not get my vote. I hope my fellow New Yorkers will do the same.

Mamrie Hart Ego GIF by Rooster Teeth - Find & Share on GIPHY

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A League of Their Own Character Review: Kit Keller

*The schedule for the Character Review posts will be changing to Friday (or Saturday at the latest from now on).

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the movie A League of Their Own. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the movie. 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.

It’s hard to be the younger sibling when your older sibling is perceived as a paragon of perfection. In A League of Their Own, Kit Keller (Lori Petty) feels as if she is in the shadow of her elder sister, Dottie Hinson (Geena Davis). When they are recruited to join the AAGPBL, Kit is eager to sign up, but Dottie would prefer not to. She only agrees to stay on when Kit convinces her to.

Though the sisters start on an equal playing field, Dottie quickly becomes a star. Kit’s insecurities start to get the best of her. The conflict between them starts to affect the rest of the team when Dottie insists that her sister can no longer play. As it was back home, Kit believes that she will never be seen as anything else than Dottie’s little sister. This eventually leads to Kit being traded. At the climax of their dispute, they meet on the ballfield as both the personal and professional issues collide.

The last time we see Kit, she is a woman of a certain age. The strife between the sisters is in the past, their relationship has come full circle, allowing them to regain the bond they had when they were younger.

What I think makes Kit relatable is her insecurities. Regardless of whether we are the oldest, the middle, or the youngest child, it’s difficult to walk your own path when you feel like you are fighting for the spotlight. The only way to move beyond this insecurity is to be bold enough to go your own way. In doing so, Kit finds the courage and confidence to make her own decisions, regardless of what Dottie may say or do.

Which is why she is a memorable character.

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Bel-Air Review

Reboots of 1990’s IPs have become the rage these days. The difficulty is, as I see it, taking what made a particular movie or television show special while making it feel current.

The latest in this long line of re-imagining is Bel-Air. Airing on the Peacock network, it is a revival of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, the narrative of the pilot follows the story of its predecessor. Will Smith (Jabari Banks) is a young man living in Philadelphia with his mother. His future seems to be all set with a basketball scholarship in his sights. That all changes when a fight breaks out and he is thrown in jail.

Upon release, Will is immediately put on a plane to Los Angeles. He is to live with his Aunt and Uncle in Bel-Air. To say that he is a stranger in a strange land is an understatement. This world of wealth, power, and access is far from the city life he is used to. But underneath the shine are rough edges that when revealed, could have dangerous consequences.

I’ve only seen the first episode. I really enjoyed it. There was enough of a skeleton of its predecessor combined with a boost of modern reality to keep me engaged. What I really liked was delving into the larger cultural problems that led to Will’s abrupt change of fate.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Bel-Air is available for streaming on the Peacock network.

The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

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Life After Death with Tyler Henry Review

It’s easy to believe that a psychic is either a charlatan or a con artist, looking to make a quick buck by telling their “clients” what they want to hear.

The new Netflix series, Life After Death with Tyler Henry, follows psychic Tyler Henry as he travels around the country, providing comfort and messages from loved ones who have passed. But his life is not all sunshine and roses. When he returns home, Tyler is faced with a family mystery that has already opened the door to emotional scarring.

I sat down to watch this reality show last weekend. For a few episodes, it was compelling. What drew me in was the family mystery more than his work. The problem is that the program became repetitive to the point in which I was no longer interested in continuing on.

Do I recommend it? No.

Life After Death with Tyler Henry is available for streaming on Netflix.

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