TV Binge: Gilmore Girls (Season 7, 2007)

And we are in the final season of the normal run of Gilmore Girls! Of course, we still have the Netflix one and that is coming up very soon. I know I say it all the time

Gilmore Girls (Season 7, 2007)

Gilmore Girls Season 7

Creator: Amy Sherman-Palladino

Cast: Lauren Graham, Alexis Bledel, Keiko Agena, Scott Patterson, Yanic Truesdale, Kelly Bishop, Melissa McCarthy, Edward Hermann, Sean Gunn, Liza Weil, David Sutcliffe, Todd Lowe, Danny Strong

A dramedy centering around the relationship between a thirtysomething single mother and her teen daughter living in Stars Hollow, Connecticut. – IMDB

The final normal season of Gilmore Girls has its good bit of drama as is expected. We ended Season 6 in somewhat of a bad moment with Lorelai making a decision she needed to do for herself but following up with something she pretty much knew she shouldn’t have done. As for Rory, she has to bid her temporary adieu to Logan as he gets shipped off to London to take on his responsibilities as directed by his father. Separation all around with the Gilmore Girls and its not an easy way to get back into Season 7.

Season 7 takes a turn for a mix of good and bad in my opinion. In one way, I think there were events that had to happen and they did. In other ways, we all knew in our minds who we wanted the Gilmore Girls to be with or where we wanted them to go. After seven seasons, we know these ladies well. We love them for their quirk and their relationship and of course all the crazy people they are friends with whether at Yale or in Stars Hollow. And at certain parts, Season 7 felt tedious. Some things overstayed their welcome and it was hard to not be frustrated at how things were going down. As we barreled towards the finale of this series, there was a lot of unfinished business. Luckily, the series did still have a lot of funny moments in between plus a lot of bonding experiences. At the same time, their crazy friends still managed to keep everything exactly the crazy level we loved to watch. Sure, things don’t always go the way we like, but life doesn’t either so its all good. The season ends and all is relatively right in the Gilmore Girls universe and I think that is what truly matters.

With that said, here’s a few highlights of things I liked:

Lorelai and Chris

gilmore girls

Look, I’m a fan of Lorelai and Luke all the way. But Lorelai and Chris had to happen eventually. She always ran back to  Chris even if he was the immature choice even in this season that he has suffered one failed marriage and is a father and even is loaded. It doesn’t change the fact that he is just a weak character who runs away from a lot of things instead of trying to work it out or talk it through. I have a love/hate relationship with this pairing to be honest. Its necessary because first loves are hard to get out of our systems as lots of TV series and movies like to do. However, they tried it and Chris Hayden is sweet and there was a decent portion here with a lot of lovely moments with them together but they just couldn’t get through the tough times and be it Chris’s character or that Lorelai jumped into this a little too quick, its hard to deny that it was meant to end eventually.

Lucy and Olivia

Gilmore Girls

Rory had to eventually make some new friends especially since her term was ending as Yale Daily News editor and here we are with Lucy and Olivia who pops up in the moments before that happens. Krysten Ritter pre-Jessica Jones days was quite the opposite character in the stuff she did. I do like her quite a bit and Lucy and Olivia had a lot of the artsy and creative indie vibes going on that added a little different to the show. They were unique and it matched well with  how Rory was unique also. They didn’t have to fit with everyone around them. Of course, Lucy’s character also brings in some of its own ghosts from the past in Rory’s life, aka Marty who is the mystery “Boyfriend” reference until things take a turn for the weird when he pretends to not know her and the secret just gets way out of hand. That arc was pretty good and I think it was meant to perhaps fulfill the love that some people had for Rory and Marty as a couple. I do think that Marty would make a good pair with Rory except he loses out on timing a lot and he feels like the nice and supportive best friend and never worked too hard to establish his feelings for her to start.

Lane and her Pregnancy

gilmore girls

My, how everyone has grown up since the first season! It seems the Kim women are known to get pregnant super efficiently. Lane comes back from her honeymoon and realizes she is pregnant and perhaps this is one of those really hilarious stories from this season as she goes from denial and not telling Zach to doubting him and then being scared and fighting her mom for how to raise the child, sorry..children because she’s having twins, then another freakout and of course, the baby shower debacle. The baby shower was probably one of my favorite episodes and moments in this season. It showed the Lorelai Gilmore importance here and the solid friendship between Rory and Lane despite not seeing them together so much. It also worked great to show how dedicated and supportive the town was. Plus, a part of me believes that Mrs. Kim saw a little way to modify her principles towards Lane a little. A love of character development to be seen in that one story throughout the season.

Mia & Emily Gilmore

Gilmore Girls

In terms of wrapping up some relationships back in the first two seasons, the three Gilmore Girls go on a road trip. As expected, it is quite hilarious as they bicker and have their snarky remarks and comments. Emily suddenly ends up being roped into attending Lorelai and Rory’s goal to attend Mia’s wedding. If you don’t remember, Mia was the owner of the Independence Inn and is almost like a second mother/grandmother to them. They owe a lot to her when Lorelai first left home. With that said, Emily has been struggling with feelings towards Mia, feeling perhaps her inadequacy and sadness about the things that she has missed with her daughter and granddaughter. There was a nice reconciliation here where they came to a good understanding about the importance of Emily in Lorelai and Rory’s lives and appreciation for each other.

Paris and Doyle

Gilmore Girls

The odd ball Paris and Doyle are definitely made for each other. Perhaps having some flashback behind the scenes from Paris, she ends up having the opposite of Rory as she approaches the end of university whereas Rory still didn’t have much. For her, she got accepted in everything and then made some decisions about the things she did and didn’t want to give up. Its Paris and she’s all abut business and success so can we really blame her? However, Paris is hard to shake after all the years and what Gilmore Girls season would be complete without some insensitive comment here and there by Paris while still feeling that she somehow does care about Rory and is one of the honest friends and Rory needs in her life.

Rory and Logan

Rory and Logan

One of the big moments of Season 7 had to be Logan’s proposal to Rory. I mean, for the first part of their season (and the past seasons), we’ve seen Logan in all kinds of behavior from jealousy to stupidity. There’s a lot of moments that I don’t like Logan (not surprising why I’m Team Jess). Sure, Logan has some redeeming moments like dropping everything to be with Rory when her grandfather has a heart attack. Then, he has a way with the grandparents and her father and such, but Logan’s also matured a lot in Season 7 because of work and then all the trouble he has gone through and pulled himself out of in some way or another. Is he worthy of Rory? Probably not but Rory sure seems to love him and well, I have to say that without knowing the revival series on Netflix, I would have agreed with her decision. At that point in time, it seemed that it was the Gilmore Girls trait to be strong and independent and Rory needed to have her path before subjecting herself to someone and following someone else’s plans for her. I guess what Paris says sometimes does stick, right?

 

Rory’s Farewell & Stars Hollow

Gilmore Girls

I honestly don’t talk about Stars Hollow enough in these TV binges and it took this final season to realize that if I didn’t talk about now then well, it would be hard to talk about it in the next one. Rory’s sudden farewell and departure from Stars Hollow definitely made an epic finale for the series in whole. It was a new stage for everyone. Perhaps it was at this time that we truly got to see Stars Hollow and how much this little community took care of each other and rooted for each other no matter how quirky or whacky or weird everyone was and just how much over the 7 seasons, its hard to not love each and everyone of them, long time citizens and new additions of course. What a wonderful way to end the Season 7. Sure, no one got a concrete ending to their future about what happens but do we really need to? I don’t think so. We got everything we needed to feel satisfied and we could give these characters a happily ever after in our minds even if Rory doesn’t choose any of the leading men that have gone through her lives but at least she’s able to finally do the thing she loves the most and leave with such a fond memory.

Overall

Season 7 had its ups and downs. Its not the best of the seven season during normal run season on TV however, it did pack in a lot of great moments, witty dialogue and gave all of its characters some form of conclusion and most importantly, development. It wrapped up the loose ends and even gave us something to think about. Seeing as this ended in 2007, no one knew what to expect. If the series were have ended then, I would have been okay with it. With that said, the Netflix revival mini series was a welcome thought.

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TV Binge: On My Block (Season 1, 2018)

I have a ton of TV Binge to review but after finishing On My Block this past weekend (for the second time), I decided to bump this one up so we could look at it a little earlier. I picked this out completely spontaneously and well, lets just say that its worth some talk about and if you haven’t seen it, you probably should. I promise to avoid the big spoilers but if you plan on watching this series, its probably best read only the top portion and not look at the breakdown. I should have a spoiler alert in there just to stop you to from going further.

On My Block (Season 1, 2018)

On My Block

Creator: Eddie Gonzalez, Jeremy Haft, Lauren Iungerich

Cast: Sierra Capri, Jason Genao, Diego Tinoco, Brett Gray, Ronni Hawk, Peggy Blow, Julio Macias, Jessica Marie Garcia

A coming-of-age comedy about four bright, street-savvy friends navigating their way through high school in the gritty inner city of South Central Los Angeles. – IMDB

I’ve talked about my disappointment in teen movies lately on Netflix with F the Prom (review) and #RealityHigh (review) so for me to jump into this one was quite the spontaneous event. I knew nothing about this series beforehand and while it seemed like it was a teen comedy and most of the time, it did maintain the humor throughout because of its charismatic and charming young cast, it still highlighted some of the underlying issues in the neighborhood that they lived in. For example, when they heard gunshots, they would guess casually which type it was. With that said, once the first episode started, it reminded me of my experience watching (and reading) Freedom Writers (review), which happens to be one of my favorite movies and such a powerful movie to say the least. On My Block gave me exactly the same feeling and trust me when I say that its a great compliment from me to the creators and cast of this show.

The structure of the show is also very binge-worthy with 10 episodes of 30 minutes each. It goes for a quick season and just fun little doses of the story which keeps it paced quick enough to understand the situation and the teens. The story itself packs in all kinds of relationships and secrets. Its a coming of age for each of the teens in this group as new people join into their crew and situations occur with family. Everyone has their own story and their own struggle and they are growing and adapting and reacting to everything around them. It keeps the story focused and fun because while they struggle, there is this bond that makes them so special to watch. Not to mention, they have an amazing soundtrack to match up everything here.

The charm of the show does lie in its great writing but also in how Sierra Capri, Jason Genao, Diego Tinoco and Brett Gray take on their roles as Monse, Ruby, Cesar and Jamal respectively. They add a great deal of personality and it gives their characters such a genuine and believable quality to it all. We cheer for them and laugh with them while celebrate their little successes and feel bad for their failures. Life might seem trivial in their eyes but they also have much bigger things to deal with in the background especially with their neighborhood their in. Its a unique (because it is very rarely used at least to my knowledge) setting and I don’t know how accurate it reflects this urban community but its nice to see a show not focused on rich kids with their self-inflicted problems (for the most part). Its  refreshing angle and an intriguing one that has me very excited for season 2, which I believe has been announced since I finished the season.  But then they also have some fun supporting characters that really are incredibly fun as well from Olivia (Ronnie Hawk) to Ruby’s grandmother (Peggy Blow) and of course Spooky (Julia Macias).

On My Block highlights a lot of great themes and packs in some great characters. If you haven’t seen the series, my suggestion is this point forward will have *mild spoilers* as I go into a more in-depth breakdown of different elements.

Friendship

On My Block

There’s something so naive and yet great about this friendship between the four main characters here. Monse, Jamal, Cesar and Ruby.These childhood friends have such a great dynamic despite being different in their own goals and personalities. However, its these differences that compliment each other and make for such comedic moments which gives this story, despite its shadowing difficulties from each character and their backgrounds and situations, a much less intense sort of vibe.

on my block

Along with these childhood friends, Ruby’s house is inhabited by a family friend’s daughter, Olivia. Its the first girl friend that Monse actually connects with. The way that their friendship develops is quite something to be admired. Many shows us boys as a breaking point between girls but these two show genuine respect for each other and put their friendship before other things. Its truly some goals to see happen more in TV series, especially in teen shows.

Love

On My Block

It’s hard to do shows without the love arc and I have to say that this friendship we see is so strong that it’s hard to see that Monse and Cesar have a thing going on in secret. Somehow the being in secret part is also quite apparent so its funny how Jamal and Ruby haven’t seen through it. However, I like this little love story they have going on here. Plus, you add in the fact of finding a balance between a friendship and loving someone. You can totally see their struggle but also fall in love with them a little as well.  On the other hand, we also have the Ruby’s infatuation with Olivia and then Olivia’s obvious attraction to Cesar which takes a general play in the series as well. Ruby does a lot of sweet and corny things but I think its because of these things that makes his character such a memorable one as well.

Personal Dilemmas

On My Block

While the show does pace itself fairly quickly, the four characters each have their own focus. Monse first start with her love issue but then morphs into tracking a lady she brushes by and she suspects is her mother who left her when she was a baby. Cesar has his gang background that he struggles to accept especially as his group of friends tries very hard to keep him as he was before he was jumped in. That part of the story is intriguing especially as we get to see him bond with his brother, Spooky and realize that everyone has their own dreams. Ruby on the other hand maybe is the most fortunate as he turns into the goofy guy who really just wants some privacy and have his own room while balancing out the group but trying to impress Olivia. Finally, Jamal probably has the simplest but also the oddest personal dilemma and goal: the first is to impress his dad and pretend to be in the football team which ends up being some of the most hilarious parts in the story. The comedic moments with Jamal continues as he looks at his dream and belief that takes him on a treasure hunt for what he believes is the RollerWorld money. As crazy as his schemes are and everyone with their own problems and while four characters seems like a lot to track in such a short season run time, it definitely covers what it needs to enough to connect with these four.

Memorable Supporting/Cameo Characters

on my block

There are so many supporting characters here. I can’t quite place whether Olivia is considered a supporting character but she does get a lot of time with the group since she’s the new addition. Possibly the most hilarious one goes to Peggy Blow as Abuelita. She is a quirky one. While she seems like the silly grandma in the background, she also is the one that helps out in the background as well and says some hilarious things. She’s hard but supportive, exactly how I remember my grandparents. She supports Jamal through RollerWorld and helps Olivia and Ruby when they need it even when she feels underappreciated. In many ways, she is more there than the parents and teaches some important values to them. As we go along, this group meets all these colorful characters from the parents of these four to a man who finds company in a garden gnome.

Overall

On My Block is absolutely a great binge. It was so great that I binged it a second time and almost wanted to go for a third time. Great young characters set in a dangerous backdrop which makes a tone change almost halfway through. There’s a lot of personal dilemma and character development. The soundtrack is awesome and well, even in its dangerous and dramatic moments, they have a decent amount of comedy to balance it out. Its tough to find charming and unique teen TV shows nowadays but this one doesn’t only highlight a specific group but also does a great job at it while delivering a fantastic story. Its probably going to be a long wait for Season 2 (hopefully not), but I’m definitely looking forward to see where it goes, especially with the cliffhanger ending of Season 1. I have a few guesses but the creators/writers of the show have caught me off-guard quite a few times so I’m guessing they’ll do something unpredictable as well.

Have you seen On My Block? Thoughts?

TV Binge: Gilmore Girls (Season 6, 2006)

To see the TV binge for Gilmore Girls Season 5, check it out HERE.

Its been a long journey getting these TV binges in. I sometimes feel like it just gave me a reason to watching Gilmore Girls over and over and over again. Not that I need a reason to watch it since its so incredibly feel good and fun. After quite the turn of events that ended Season 5, we start Season 6 with a pretty new type of scenario and perhaps it is what the show needs in terms of change, or maybe not.

As always, if you haven’t seen the previous seasons and there will definitely be spoilers, so consider yourselves warned!

Gilmore Girls (Season 6, 2006)

Gilmore Girls Season 6

Creator: Amy Sherman-Palladino

Cast: Lauren Graham, Alexis Bledel, Scott Patterson, Keiko Agena, Liza Weil, Melissa McCarthy, Yanic Truesdale, Kelly Bishop, Edward Herrmann, Sean Gunn

Season 6 is a really fun ride. On one hand, the changes here work for the better because we truly see Lorelai and Rory apart and the other aspects of their life grow as they focus on other things in each of their lives. On the other hand, their relationship can also be very frustrating especially because Rory always seems to be this less refined version of Lorelai who doesn’t quite find herself and her individuality. However, it gives her character a lot of development as she questions her path eventually.

This season had a lot packed into it. Luke and Lorelai get ready for their wedding while Lorelai and Rory go through half the season separated. During this time, Lorelai gets a dog while Rory serves her hundreds of hours (literally) of community service while working at the DAR and spying as intel and event organizing as well with her grandmother.

Lorelai and Luke

gilmore girls

Talk about a roller coaster ride, right? Lorelai and Luke was in focus the whole season as they go from one obstacle to the next. It seems that they never quite get their break. But then, you could say that its all part of them figuring themselves out and getting their ducks on a row before finally being together, right? In many ways, we got to see how they are at their best and of course, at their worst and how they treat each of these situations.

Paul Anka

Gilmore Girls

Its weird to mention a supporting part like Lorelai’s dog Paul Anka but in the first few seasons, we already knew that Lorelai is not a pet person since she lacks maturity in herself. However, we do see that when she got Paul Anka, just like the quirky name that she chooses for it, he is just as quirky as the Gilmore Girls are and is a perfect fit. Its always a fun time whenever they talk about Paul Anka and just adds on to the awesomeness of the show.

Rory’s Detour

Gilmore Girls

Rory takes a big detour in life and completely changes course from where she wants to go because of one road bump. It is a completely necessary detour because everyone needs to have that at one point or another in their life to realize how the hard times makes you stronger and fight even harder to achieve what you want as it gives you a clearer image of what you want (if that makes any sense). Being away from Lorelai and owning up to her mistakes and seeing what she is capable of doing and what she wants and doesn’t want, its all part of Rory’s character development and this season, there’s a big focus on her character growing up and finding herself in a way. Plus, the part where she comes back and has to embrace the break-up with Logan while going to see the psychologist and see how she just breaks down from everything is hilarious.

Jess’s Cameo

Gilmore Girls

Its no secret at this point if you’ve been following these TV Binges for Gilmore Girls that I love Jess. Its sad to see that his relationship with Rory never got further than it did but he keeps having cameos and thats always a welcome thing in my book. In this season, he gets two cameos which act as something of a wake-up call for Rory in her life choices because Jess knows what she can do and believes in what she can accomplish even when she doubts herself. Even if he is really blunt with his words. But that is the charm of Jess and I’d like to think that we all meet a Jess in our lives who is the person who tells you off when you are doing something dumb or stupid and puts you back into the right path. With that said, its why I love how even without having Jess as a regular but just in cameo and we’ve seen how his character has grown and matured and has turned into a positive influence on Rory’s life.

Lorelai & Emily

Gilmore Girls

Every season of Gilmore Girls has included a ton of great moments with Emily and Lorelai Gilmore as we watch this mother and daughter come back together no matter how different they are. It feels like they’ve never had as much progress as this season as Emily and Richard truly embrace Lorelai’s choice and realize that Lorelai does know best in some situations. It does help that this season included so many situation and rifts that truly pulled them together and Lorelai can’t help but to look to her mother for support by the end.

April

Gilmore Girls

A plot point that truly comes out of the left field is the appearance of Luke’s daughter, April who is a very smart 12 year old who really doesn’t have many social skills. You can take a stab at where she probably gets it from since Luke doesn’t deal well with other people or detecting social cues and such. This does lead to some hilariously awkward moments especially since April is fairly blunt when she speaks. It fits into the tone of the show and her character adds on a new layer to Luke’s character as well. I personally like April quite a bit even if she’s not too frequently there.

Dragonfly Inn Crew

Gilmore Girls

I always feel like I don’t give enough credit to Sookie and Michel which is Lorelai’s great partners in her business. They always retain some great funny moments. Between Sookie’s carelessness and her obsession with cooking and Michel’s feisty and sass and neverending sarcastic comments, its a fun ride with them. Dragonfly Inn takes a big part this season especially when the town events officially affect them especially with the change in street names.

Rory and Logan

Gilmore Girls

Its also no secret that I’m not much of a Logan sort of girl. However, Logan does have his moments even if he makes dumb decisions but Rory is the girl who reforms him to knowing how to be a boyfriend and deal with a relationship because he’s never had one before. Its a learning curve and while their relationship has their ups and downs, Logan’s character also has a lot of growth and maturity when he’s with Rory at least. When she’s not there, well…lets just say he still manages to go back to make dumb life choices. So can you really change someone? The life questions that Gilmore Girls brings up while being entertaining, right?

Overall, that kind of sums up the season except for say Lane and Zach getting married without heading too much into spoiler territory. Now, Season 6 was a true ride. There were some fantastic moments and hilarious ones. It had character development and lots of character cameos and revisits. There was a lot packed into one season. that made it work out in all kinds of ways and I actually love Season 6 quite a bit. Not really as much as Season 3 or 5. This one did seem like too much was going on at times but it spent a lot of time with the relationships here and it all worked together to be a fun watch. The season finale was kind of a bummer though…thats how it gets us to keep going into Season 7 but thats for next recap, coming up hopefully soon. 🙂

TV Binge: Mindhunter (Season 1, 2017)

What do you know? Back to back TV Binges this week! To be honest, I have so many TV series that I finished but never have posted from way back in January so I’m making my way sporadically through it as I see the inspiration to write it up. So here we are with the next one as I finish up a book and get a recipe post together!

Netflix series have been rather fun for the most part and since I love Criminal Minds and the behavior analysis thing, we had our eye on Mindhunter for a while so we finally got through it fairly quickly!

Mindhunter (Season 1)

mindhunter

Creator: Joe Penhall

Cast: Jonathan Groff, Holt McCallany, Hannah Gross, Anna Torv, Cameron Britton, Joseph Cross

In the late 1970s two FBI agents expand criminal science by delving into the psychology of murder and getting uneasily close to all-too-real monsters. – IMDB

Before Criminal Minds hit us with their engaging Behavior Analysis Unit cases, there were these guys here that established the team that opened the path of learning about behavior analysis of the criminal mind. With that said, Mindhunter is one of the most exhilarating, entertaining and impressive shows to be on the Netflix Originals circuit and I’ve been definitely impressed with quite a bit of them. The cast stands out and the way the show is done also works really well. It is very smart to not bombard the show with a myriad of characters and keeping a few main ones so that we can truly see their character development and notice how their relationship, regardless of work or love, does change and grow. While there are cases to solve for this team and it shows up here and there, it never feels like that is the absolute highlight rather than just the way the two FBI agents are approaching each situation that they encounter.

mindhunter

The core characters are the leading FBI agents, Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff) and Bill Tench (Holt McCallany). Part of the show’s dynamic is in this duo. Being least experienced, Holden tends to be more rash and make less thought out decisions while Bill tends to anticipate how to play more with the FBI guidelines and has his own bag of experience to make it work. It is in these clashes of approaches and the desire to achieve the same end goal that fleshes out their characters so well. Especially when other elements are taken here like Holden’s girlfriend Debbie (Hannah Gross) who doesn’t always have the biggest role but challenges him on some of his thoughts and calls out his crap because she doesn’t stand for particularly the change in personality as the show progresses. And of course, another key link is when they bring in Wendy Carr (Anna Torv) who brings another strong character.

Mindhunter

The best part of the show however do go to the duo’s time chatting up with serial killers as they try to get them to talk about their kills and find a connection in why they do it or a pattern of character traits. Its pretty amazing because as they talk to them, you can see a change in personality also particularly with Holden. The credit does go to Jonathan Groff for delivering on the subtle complexities of this character and his development along with a fantastic script for the show. It can’t be denied that the highlight of the show was the conversations with Ed Kemper (Cameron Britton). The depth and unspoken uneasy vibe with this portrayal was so amazing. An absolute showstopper performance.

There’s a lot to love about Mindhunter. Its well-written for starters. Its thought-provoking and deep with its material it tackles. And they get together a great cast that delivers on these complex characters and gives them a lot of meaning development and arcs. We are definitely waiting for Season 2.

TV Binge: Nailed It (Season 1, 2018)

Its a beautiful Sunday (or at least I hope it will be since the posts are written in advance…hooray to organization!) I should be baking this weekend since its my husband’s birthday weekend. Fun fact that our birthdays are literally a week apart. Either way, its time for fun stuff so whats more fun than talking about food. Boy..am I on a roll with food related series! Anyways, I didn’t realize Nailed It was so new until I was looking at the release date on Netflix.

Nailed It (Season 1, 2018)

Nailed It

Hosts: Nicole Byer & Jacques Torres

Guest judges: Sylvia Weinstock, Zac Young, Valerie Gordon, Dave Arnold, Yolanda Gampp, Jay Chandrasekhar

Nailed It is a competition show for amateur bakers who are trying hard to learn how to bake but failing hard. How the show works is that there are three bakers every episode. In the first round, they face-off for a themed baked goods usually the same item but different design and the bakers get to choose whichever they want or end up with if they are too slow. Whoever does the best ends up with a prize and get to wear the gold chef’s hat to flaunt that they are the one to beat in the second round. The second round is a one big cake that they need to replicate. As this is an amateur baking competition, they have a Panic button one lifeline to ask for help where one of the judges will go to help them, while the loser of the first round gets a second advantage of one of the buttons that mess with the other two competitors like Nicole Nags, Freezer Burn or Pardon My  French.  The best of this second round wins the competition and ten thousand dollars.

Nailed It

The first season of Nailed It only has 6 episodes so its quick watch. In some ways, its weirdly satisfying to watch amateur bakers at work. I believe that we learn a lot from our failures. So, there’s this weird connection of being a amateur baker that fails at aesthetics of a baked good all the time that I do understand their struggle and from those elements, I learn a little about the little details that make a difference. While this feels more or less as entertaining than say Zumbo’s Just Desserts (review), there is still a lot to be learned in the baking department because the head judges is Jacques Torres who is a pastry chef and a chocolatier, so he offers some nice advice. With that said, the other person joining him is host Nicole Byer who probably is the life of the show because she talks a lot and is somehow rather entertaining for the most part. Aside from them, each episode has a new guest judge, each knowledgeable in their own respects.

Nailed It

Overall, the season for Nailed It was so swift that there isn’t really much to talk about. Its for the crowd that likes having a good laugh at some of the baking failures and shenanigans that can happen to the amateur bakers who attempt some big projects. As entertaining as it all is, it surprising highlights a lot of the basic mistakes that some people don’t quick get when they first start baking and has a decent educational value as well. Plus, most of the guests are pretty knowledgeable and give some decent advice as well as Jacques Torres. Its a fun little show and I wouldn’t mind seeing a Season 2 as a fun little binge session. I definitely has a good few laughs at some of the turnouts. Honestly, that is all I ask for sometimes when I watch a show. Its not like I’m watching a food documentary series which is meant to be serious which I have a few of those TV binges coming up 😉 Plus, I appreciate that Netflix is appealing to its foodie viewers especially since I don’t have cable so I don’t get Food Network unless I travel and have hotel stays.

Have you seen Nailed It yet?

Valentine’s Marathon & TV Binge: What is Love (2012)

Happy Valentine’s Day! We made it here sadly with very little posts so you will see tomorrow that I will most probably be extending the marathon throughout the month. The stars really didn’t align for us this month with the PC issues and such. However, we will deal with the blog stuff later.

Today, I have lined up such a fitting TV Binge to add into the Valentine’s Marathon and that 2012 Taiwanese drama, What is Love. I just wrapped it up over the weekend and maybe I will even start doing a ranking of Taiwanese series soon. There is an incredibly small amount of photos for this show online since I am working with a computer that can’t read Chinese so I went back to the series to screenshot some pictures. Hopefully you will like it. I apologize if the quality isn’t that great in advance.

Lets check it out!

What is Love (2012)

What is Love poster

Cast: Chris Wu, Jade Chou, Duncan Lai, King Chin, Kimi Hsia, Gina Lim

Thirty-two-year-old Li Yi Hua (Jade Chou) is longing for a romantic relationship and wants to marry a good man. Along comes Bai Zong You (Chris Wu), who breaks women’s hearts with one-night stands. Bai Zong You sets his sights on wooing Li Yi Hua next. What she doesn’t know is that she might have true feels for him. – Wikipedia

I’d like to think that I am fairly picky when I watch Taiwanese series mostly because I have been watching them a long time and with it, comes the expectations that there are so many better ones and hoping to find ones that truly find a nice balance of romance and comedy depending on the story they deliver. Of course, I have also fallen out of the loop for a while since I stopped watching them for a few years until they started appearing on Netflix last year. These series fall into their own tropes but they also have some nice silly bits that usually help with the story. I went into What Is Love having no knowledge of what the story is about and a little bit skeptical on how this would turn out. Let me tell you, it was definitely a very pleasant surprise. There are many plot points here that break the normal perception of what these characters would act and somewhat flips the typical story on its head a little. Plus, it creates a lovely balance of romance drama and romance comedy as well as comedic breaks with both its dialogue and its characters. At the same time, the story never forgets that when the journey of love includes a lot of factors, be it your best friends, your family and all kinds of elements and these characters play a decent role in how these two main characters approach their decisions.

On top of that, this is a completely new cast to myself. The only person here that I wanted to watch was Chris Wu (aka Kangren Wu) who is the main male role Bai Zong-You who was in Autumn’s Concerto which I loved quite a bit as well. You can check out the TV Binge here. In that one, he played the supporting male character which was the total opposite of this role. I have to say, while I liked that role, this role was really fun and matched his handsome and charming appearance.

What I Loved:

  • The Songs and Opening Theme Clip: I usually don’t talk a ton about music around here except for the music obsessions segment but I thought this opening clip was adorable, especially that surf board balancing part. Not just the opening theme clip was really nice but the songs were all very fitting to whatever scene they were playing in.
  • Chris Wu & Jade Chou: Chris Wu (aka Wu Kangren) plays Bai Zong-You, the playboy who becomes mesmerized by the challenge of proving his love to Jade Chou’s character, Li Yi-Hua. A lot of the “romance” is in the beginning because the course of the film is about them both realizing what is love. They are at the opposite spectrums in many sense. However, consider the chase and the enlightening moments for Bai Zong-You being the really great parts, whether he does it through revenge or plotting or slowly finding the way to approach his love interest and acknowledge love with her. At the other end, Li Yi-Hua is one of those rare characters in Asian TV series that really shows a strong sense of a woman that acknowledges her loneliness but will not compromise her love for someone who is undeserving no matter how much pain she feels in having to go through the heartbreak. what is love
  • The Guys: One of the best points of the series is its ability to create a balance of characters. Even if you look at these guys here who are best friends. They have varying personalities as well and their own lessons to learn. Each of them fit somewhere else in how they see love and a lot of the humor is in their silliness. This links heavily to the next point that I liked. 

What is Love

  • The Ladies: Just like the guys, the ladies here are quite fun to watch. Our main character of course has already been talked about before, but her best friends are equally diverse in personality from Xiao Lu on the left who plays a young divorcee with a kid who is really silly to the opposite, Lan Jun who plays the mature friend who reasons and sees through a lot of the bullshit.

What is Love

  • Love Interest: I’ve always been the type that finds it funny how the supporting character that you know the main character won’t end up with is always very perfect and deserving to be loved. Taiwanese series loves to do that and this one honestly gives Yi Hua a worthy man in Shao Qian (played by Duncan Lai). He’s quite the gentleman. what is love

What I Didn’t Like:

  • Too Many Flashbacks: One of the biggest pet peeves I have with TV series, especially of the Korean and sometimes Taiwanese nature is their love for flashbacks. I get flashbacks especially when it helps elevate an emotion but when you get the same flashback every episode just to emphasize on a character’s hooked onto this moment, its okay to drop a few of those.
  • Lengthy Episodes: While this didn’t really turn me off so much as its inconvenient to find a place to stop watching, the 1.5 hour long episodes are quite abnormal to me. I wasn’t sure if it was just a Netflix choice but as I was researching the show, it seems it was aired with that episode length, a little baffling in my mind but what do I know. Since this was quite binge-worthy, I didn’t quite mind the lengthy episode since the power of the pause button and Netflix saves my spot whenever I take a break.

what is love

Overall, What is Love was quite the pleasant surprise. It delivered a really fun story. Not only did it give a rather strong female character with a lot of personality, it also gave an array of cast that were unique in their own way but impacted the story as well to create a nice balance. Taiwanese TV series like these are romantic comedy affairs but somethings it forgets to find that balance and while there were some odd ends here and there that went a little overboard, this one achieved that balance really well. It always remembered to toss in some funny moments to never let the drama last way too long. Plus, just like Yi-Hua needed to learn to accept a playboy and Bai Zong-You had to gain her trust, we saw both sides of the story and was able to at least feel like he could be trusted also. I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of “What is Love” because it differs in so many ways and isn’t always just romantic and this one does tackle all of it. There is no formula but at least, its a really fun journey thats us on a nice ride as the characters all figure out their version of love and thats pretty awesome in my book.

TV Binge: Wolf Creek (Season 1, 2016)

I watched Wolf Creek quite a few years ago. The movie was quite memorable to say the least and one of the highlights of the movie from what I remembered was Mick Taylor, the villain of the movie. Recently we subscribed to Shudder and with it came the first season of Wolf Creek. We had no idea where this would go but just in case, we rewatched the movie as preparation before starting it. The movie absolutely still holds up today. Here’s my original review of it. Now time to take a look at the TV series.

Wolf Creek (Season 1, 2016)

wolf creek

Cast: John Jarrett, Lucy Fry, Dustin Clare

An anthology series which centers on different characters being targeted by crazed serial killer Mick Taylor in the Australian outback. – IMDB

Wolf Creek is one of those series that gave me incredibly mixed feelings. Its really a mini series length which works for what it tries to accomplish. It focuses around a sixteen year old girl Eve whose family gets killed by Mick Taylor on a camping trip in Australia. The reason for the trip was for her recovery from drug addiction, mostly of the pain killer variety and she heads out to track down the killer that she feels is linked to many disappearances in Australia on her own when the police doesn’t seem to be able to help her or believe her. The first season tells the story on her side, the policeman and Mick Taylor’s side as well. The angle they choose is great but the best way that I can describe this series is it felt like a tease and not enough follow through. Don’t get me wrong. The pacing and the length work very well to the advantage of the series. The episodes take place over various areas of Australia and it almost feels like a lethal cat and mouse game except they are somewhat chasing each other while adding in the policeman Sullivan into the equation who tries to follow the girl’s traces.

wolf creek

Other than the beautiful Outback setting here and the road trip style here that works really well, the main characters are all done really well. Eve is played Lucy Fry and she carries herself very well especially as her character is written with a lot of development as she matures and learns from her mistakes over the course of the episodes and her chase of Mick Taylor. She grows tough and learns how to blend in and even cover her tracks a little while picking up a few femme fatale traits. Her vengeful mind and her constant resistance to her addiction takes into an intriguing journey to say the least. The cop here, Sullivan, also sees a side of his story from his personal story to his trail to find out more also makes him a pretty great character to watch. He also gets a good bit of development here however what stands out for him is his rugged personality. Then of course, there’s Mick Taylor, as always played by John Jarrett. I think he’s a great fit for this character and the fact that Wolf Creek has managed to get him to join back in for the TV series is pretty fantastic.

Wolf Creek

With that said, the part which I disliked the most about the series went to all these supporting characters that these characters meet along the way and seem to want to build up and develop halfway and make its audience care and then takes them out of the equation abruptly. I’m not exactly a fan of that. While I understand that TV series will have constant change and each of these characters may have been a little bit of a guiding light and purpose to Eve’s revenge journey, and they can’t always keep everyone on forever, it seems slightly silly to keep removing people out and it somewhat bothered me.

Overall, the first season of Wolf Creek is pretty decent. The main characters do a decent job and the structure of the show works pretty well. I had some minor issues on not letting some supporting characters of bigger roles but then, looking at the show being an anthology style per season, it seems to make much more sense. I do like the anthology idea which seems fitting for the emphasis on Mick Taylor rather than his victims.