House of Lies

house of lies

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This ain’t your regular show about management consultants.

no ma'am

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I’ll admit I used to see this show pop up on my Netflix, and I’d always skip over it until my good friend Connor Wielgosz told me I would love it.

I hate it when he’s right.

The characters on this show are such jerks to each other – it’s impossible to look away.

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One screen at a time, please.

 

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When I was 12 I got the best gift a 12-year-old could get: a TV for my room. My parents got me a silver, 13-inch Insignia television with a built-in DVD player.

For some reason my dad wasn’t able to hook up cable to my room. I didn’t mind, though, because I started collecting the Friends seasons on DVD. And that’s all I watched on that TV for years. I would spend Saturdays sitting on my bed watching Chandler, Monica, Rachel, Phoebe, Ross, and Joey for eight consecutive hours.

Yeah baby

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I was riveted by each second of each 22-minute episode even though I’d already seen them ten times.

Then I got a cell phone.

It started gradually – my decreased attention span. I was spending less time with Friends and more time texting. I got my first cell phone when I was 14. It was a two-sided phone Beyonce endorsed. One side had a microscopic screen with a keypad, and the other side had a touch screen that didn’t work.

I still watched my little TV, but I was becoming more interested in MSN Messenger and choosing a ringtone for my cell phone.

Then came unlimited data.

I got a Blackberry when I was 16, and with that came endless possibilities. I could be on Facebook wherever I wanted – Even on my bed watching Friends on my TV.

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It became harder to sit still for 22 minutes and watch an episode. Any time a show slowed its pace, I’d look down at my Blackberry and see what was going on somewhere else. Somewhere not on my beloved TV screen.

Now, between my iPhone 6, my 15″ MacBook Pro, and my iPad Mini 2, I’m barely looking at my TV screen – even though I claim to be watching it.

TV is one of my biggest loves, which you probably already know from this blog, and I’ve neglected it for a long time. My poor little TV was sitting in front of me trying to bring me entertainment, but I was ignoring it.

Rossss

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I tell most people about my  love of watching TV – which isn’t accurate anymore. If I’m being honest, I now love sitting in front of the TV, looking up occasionally from my phone or computer screen. Or both screens at the same time.

I think most of us are overwhelmed by screens.

We have shorter attention spans because we get bored of one screen too easily, so we look to the next one for something more interesting. Usually we don’t find that something. Then we repeat.

Phoebe

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I know I’m talking about TVs like they’re good for you. Yes, people should spend less time on every screen and just go outside and get some damn fresh air.

But we’re in pretty deep.

It’s more realistic to set goals to focus on one thing at a time. If you need to send a text, send that text. But don’t do it while also taking a quiz on BuzzFeed (which I’ve been guilty of).

I’m setting goals to sit down and watch 22 minutes of uninterrupted TV on my little Insignia. I want to make time for my old Friends.

Yes, I’m still turning my brain off by consuming entertainment through my television, blah blah blah. But at least I’m trying to keep my attention on one thing for longer than the time it takes to watch a Snapchat.

stefan

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Reservations

This past Tuesday I went to see a play called Reservations put on by Theatre Projects Manitoba at The Rachel Browne Theatre. The play was 125 minutes long, split up into two different play by a 15-minute intermission.

The first play was about a farmer deciding to give away his land to the Siksika First Nation. His actor daughter is upset because she wanted the land as an inheritance. The play circles around the father and daughter arguing what should be done with the land.

The second play is about a foster family dealing with Aboriginal Child and Family Services. The Aboriginal CFS has a policy of taking indigenous foster children for visits to their home reserves, including this particular family’s foster children. The foster mother, Jenny (Sarah Constible), doesn’t agree with this policy.

I did enjoy watching this performance, though it didn’t feel much like a play. Overall, I feel like the writer had a strong message and wanted to get it out there. I feel that Steven Ratzlaff had information as a priority, and entertainment lower down on the list. Not that I wasn’t entertained – there were some parts where I was very engaged with the action – but I felt like I was being taught something. It felt more like a lecture than an entertainment piece. Had I still been in university and studying philosophy and rhetoric, I probably wouldn’t have seen any problems with this piece.

Now that I’m studying how to communicate in a concise, clear way, I found the dialogue to be unrealistic. There were some very academic words inserted into heated arguments, and I don’t think everyday people can think of words like that when they’re in a heated argument – let alone think clearly. Sometimes I even found it to be a bit condescending to the viewer. There were times where I was sitting in my seat feeling guilty about all of the privileges I have – which could have been there intent. And I’m all for recognizing my privileges and the lack of privileges others have. It’s good to make people more socially conscious, but it got to a point where it was just too much. A part of the second play was a mock lecture directed at the audience, talking about Heidegger (a German philosopher) and indigenous peoples. The lecture was informative, though I thought it was taken too far for a play. When Denise (Tracey Nepinak) was discussing how we have become people dependent on unnecessary things, I found it to be preachy. I think there is a way to be smart and entertaining at the same time, and Reservations just wasn’t quite there.

I think the strongest part of this performance was Sarah Constible in both plays. She conveyed so much emotion in both characters. Her character, Jenny, while maybe a bit ignorant, was the one character that (for the most part) reacted like a human being. Some of her dialogue was jargon-y, but she was the character with the most true emotion. The other two actors (Steven Ratzlaff and Tracey Nepinak) seemed too calm and collected at times where most humans wouldn’t be so.

What really surprised me was the adult language in the play. F-bombs and c-words flew around, which I’m sure happens in arguments and fights,, but it felt weird mixed with academic language.

Another great part of the performance were the visuals and sounds. The set backdrops and dramatic sounds were soothing and created the theme of the play more so than the writing did.

Neither plays ended with a conclusion, which I actually appreciated. I think it matched the issues each play dealt with. It left me to come up with my own interpretations of what would end up happening. During the talkback sessions, Ratzlaff said the choice was intentional. Besides that, I didn’t find the talkback sessions very helpful. It was hard for the people on the stage to hear the audience questions, which turned the questions into more of a philosophical debate between people in the audience.

I would still recommend you go see this play, it really makes you think about a lot of important issues. But prepare to be informed, not entertained.

 

 

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Brooklyn nine-nine

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For those of you who haven’t been lucky enough to watch this show yet, Brooklyn Nine-Nine is missing from your life.

It’s the best cop show out there because you can be interested in the action, but also laugh at the inter-office antics. More cop shows should have comic relief.

Watch this video to get to know some of the characters and see if this show is for you. Hint: it is.

Oh Mindy, Oh My 

  

The Mindy Project is one of the best shows on TV. 

Oh wait, it’s NOT on TV anymore because life is unfair. Thankfully, Hulu and Netflix have saved the day for season four.

This is one of the funniest shows I’ve ever seen. I realize I may use this term loosely, but I mean it for Mindy. 

Mindy Kaling is a wicked actress and even more wicked writer. There is no wasted dialogue in the show, every line is perfect. 

The Mindy Project is about a doctor name Mindy Lahiri and her team of doctors and nurses who help her navigate through her crazy, romantic-comedy inspired life. 

Here’s a clip. I dare you not to laugh.
 http://youtu.be/nT_ia2pBkU8 

Fiddling Around

*Not a post about underrated TV, but a journalism assignment about a great event*

Earlier today I attended the fiddling contest on the last day of Festival du Voyageur. For those of you non-Winnipeggers, Festival du Voyageur is a 10-day winter festival celebrating French Canadian, Métis, and First Nations culture. The fiddling contest was amazing. Kids of all ages were playing the fiddle better than I could ever dream to. Parents were running up to their kids after they performed, hugging them and telling them how proud they were. People in the crowd were bopping their heads to intricate fiddle notes. The judges couldn’t help but smile in awe and tap their feet. Stella’s Café & Bakery catered the contest, serving authentic voyageur eats like poutine loaded with cheese curds, tortière with maple syrup and crème fraiche, and pea soup. Every banquet table in the room was scattered with empty plates. People were happy, full, and excited to hear some good old-fashioned fiddling. It couldn’t have been more voyageur.

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A full crowd gathered to watch the fiddling contest in the CCFM building at Festival du Voyageur Sunday./COURTNEY BANNATYNE

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Miguel Sorin smiles as he plays his first song of the day./COURTNEY BANNATYNE

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Erin Okrainec woos the crowd with her enthusiastic playing and smile./COURTNEY BANNATYNE

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Judges Michael Audette, Émilie Chartier, and Denis Enconte (from right to left) listen intently as the kids in the seven and under category play./COURTNEY BANNATYNE

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A young girl watches the awards for the children and youth categories of the fiddling contest./COURTNEY BANNATYNE

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Alexandre Tétrault smiles at his silver medal in the 11-13 category./COURTNEY BANNATYNE

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The finalists of the eight to ten category. Malachi Hiebert (second from the left) placed first./COURTNEY BANNATYNE

We want more Gilmore 

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Gilmore Girls does not get the recognition it deserves. Sure, the show does have a dedicated following, even after nine years of being off the air. But many people don’t give it enough credit.

There are so many things that make Gilmore Girls a memorable show. The setting – Stars Hollow, Connecticut – is nostalgic, quirky, and makes you want to be part of their community. Rory and Lorelai’s relationship is the envy of every daughter and mother. The quick wit and obscure references are what make the show so original.

If you live under a rock and know nothing about the plot, this is for you:

Lorelai had Rory when she was sixteen, and has raised her on her own in the charming little town of Stars Hollow. Lorelai wants the best for her daughter/best friend, and when a prestigious private high school accepts Rory, Lorelai needs to come up with the money. She reluctantly calls her wealthy parents, whom she hasn’t had a relationship with since she moved out after having Rory. Borrowing money from her parents comes with a catch, though, forcing both Rory and Lorelai into a new, odd relationship with them.

Don’t let the quick dialogue annoy you. Embrace it. You will end up loving it and become just as addicted as I did. Every season of  Gilmore Girls is on Netlfix, so binge away!

I hope you’ll be as excited as I am for the recently announced reunion.

Now watch this cheesy trailer to see if this is something you’d like!

http://youtu.be/Ac47mma8XRA