8/28/12

How "The Mindy Project" Won Me Over!

I just watched the pilot of "The Mindy Project" and I have to say, I'm pretty excited about it! Between "The New Girl", "Up All Night", "30 Rock" and so many others, it's a really really good season to be an awkward lady. Finally, we have representation in the media! And lots of it. Hurrah! (True story, spit flew everywhere when I read that part aloud to proof it. Gross. But also, proves my point!)

Geez, I guess that was kind of a back-handed compliment to the hilarious writers and performers from those shows. Maybe I shouldn't say "awkward". Perhaps I should say, complex. Sassy? Weird? Varied? "The Mindy Project" was a really solid show. Here are a few reasons why I'll keep watching, and why you should give it a chance. (Remember, in this day and age, if you don't support a pilot you enjoyed, network executives will yank it faster than...I can't come up with a punchline for this right now. Just know, they'll cancel it if you don't support it! So watch people, WATCH!)

1. It's different. Everything from the format to the lead character offers something unique. Mindy's lead character isn't quirky in that "look how QUIRKY our lead is, she's so quirky that she weighs 100 pounds, is pageant-beautiful and she falls down sometimes" way. She drunk bikes herself into a pool and has a conversation with a Barbie doll underwater in the opening of the show for crying out loud. So...yeah. This character has actual flaws. Cloudy judgement. So there will actually be something to watch as the season unfolds! Actual things will happen! Things people...THINGS!

2. I dig that the show is braving the medical genre. I'll admit, I balked at the thought initially. This isn't another "Scrubs" and it isn't trying to be. But they probably knew that setting the show in and around a hospital was a risk. And I like that they took it. I don't know about you, but I'm a little bit burned out on medical shows right now. However, the true genius of them taking that risk is that it makes our leading lady highly intelligent. She's a doctor for crying out loud. This brings balance to the force. A messy personal life? Sure. But don't write her off yet, she's a doctor, so we know she has the potential to pull it together.

3. There's some serious John Hughes-ian heart going on in the writing. The montage of Mindy watching romantic comedies over the years...that was ME! All I did my first year of college was stay locked in my dorm room watching movies while everyone else partied. That tugged at my heart. The very beginning, the few lines right before the title faded onto the screen...kind of made me emotional. And there's a really interesting surprise ending to the episode that opens our leading lady up to some serious judgement from viewers. Like I said in point number one, a lot of shows fall into that trap of trying to make a "quirky" character but really just making them sickeningly perfect with a couple of cutesy habits. That's not quirky. That's sheltered. That's predictable. But like a good John Hughes movie, the really interesting bits of character development almost always center around dysfunction. I like that this show isn't going to back away from that.

I'll definitely be keeping up with this show. If I have one concern, it's that they'll focus too much on the love angle and not enough on Mindy just being hilarious. I think "30 Rock" has proven that not every show starring a woman has to have a love triangle. And I'm not anti-love triangle, I'm just saying, Mindy is more than enough to keep me tuned in.

Relevant Anecdote: I used to stalk the Half-Price Books in Indianapolis. I was there so often the summer between my two years in grad school that I'm surprised they didn't start shooing me out with a broom like one of those sad, pathetic pigeons that somehow gets trapped indoors. I camped out in the "memoir" section because that's where all the books of funny essays by hilarious ladies were. Tina Fey, Laurie Notaro, Rachel Dratch, and yes...Mindy Kaling.

I half hated those books, because I felt like they were stealing my life. My anecdotes. My stories. I wanted my chance to tell my funny stories and it felt like they were beating me to it.

But I also LOVED them, because as I mentioned at the beginning of this blog, they made me feel understood. Represented. Like there was hope for this total lame-o after all. And "The Mindy Project" is sort of like one of those books popped off the shelf and came to life.

And that's a REALLY good thing. I just hope the "funny stories by awkward women" boom doesn't end before I get my stuff together and figure out what to do with my stories.

Anyway, watch "The Mindy Project". Or else!

8/27/12

Dress to Impress...and Imitate Movie Characters

Though money is tight in the Williams' household these days, my sweet husband wanted to take me out to buy a few things for my birthday which is coming up on August 30th. (I'll be 30 on the 30th this year. Isn't that a magical birthday or something? Enchanted? What do they call that? There's a word for it...)

Anyway, I spotted a vintage-looking number on sale at a very fancy boutique called Chez Tarjay. (That's Target to you those of you who simply must pronounce things in the traditional way.)  Though twenty dollars is still pretty steep, I loved this dress, so I snatched it right up.


But I admit to having a different motive. Though it doesn't look like much on the rack, when I tried it on in the dressing room, it reminded me very much of these dresses that left an impression on a certain young movie geek back in her childhood...


A layer of lace over fabric is oh-so-very 1950's and I've never seen a dress like that in a modern store anywhere before, let alone for such a steal. I've done a lot of things because they looked really appealing in movies. Thanks to "Splash", the first time I tried lobster when I was about nine, I tried to tear into that sucker with my teeth. I can safely report that THIS has been a much better experience so far.

Ever bought a piece of clothing because it reminded you of a costume from a movie? (My husband has a handful of very Dude-like shorts and sunglasses because of this little inspirational-buying-streak problem I have.)

8/19/12

Release Your Inner Fangirl! (She'll decorate your house when you're not looking...)

My fangirl energy has been really busy over the last year or so. But all of the sudden, there's time for it to come back into my home life in a big way. We moved into our new apartment a couple of months ago, but I haven't really had time to settle in, until this weekend. These are tiny changes, but they make me feel like I'm at home...

1. I tricked my kitchen cabinets out so it looks like they have their own Nacelle tube. And by "tricked out", I mean that I teetered at the top of a step-ladder and threw blue Christmas lights up there.


Urge to Kill...Fading

I don't now, nor have I ever had, the urge to kill anybody. That's a famous Homer Simpson quote.

I just told you yesterday how I was ready to get MAD. Hulk smash. Let fly with the rage monster! This morning, I woke up completely fine.

Maybe it's the fact that I just needed to be mad for a few days and that got it out of my system. Maybe it's the fact that I had an awesome conversation with my sister for almost three hours last night. Maybe it's the fact that I wasn't as angry as I thought I was. Or maybe it was what I read as I began week three of "The Artist's Way" this morning...

"Anger is fuel. We feel it and we want to do something. Hit someone, break something, throw a fit, smash a fist into the wall, tell those bastards. But we are nice people, and what we do with our anger is stuff it, deny it, block it, hide it, lie about it, medicate it, muffle it, ignore it. We do everything but listen to it."

And then a lot more goodness and then THIS statement, the one that stuck in my craw...

"Anger is meant to be acted upon. It is not meant to be acted out."

8/18/12

Bring the Funk and Get MAD

Let me catch you up. I'm doing Julia Cameron's "The Artist's Way". Today is my last day of week two out of twelve. Week one was "Recovering a Sense of Safety". It was about starting to demolish your self-sabotage, skepticism, etc.

Basically, step one is admitting you have a problem and easing into the process of solving it.

Week two was "Recovering a Sense of Identity". In it, you are meant to shake things loose. Remember that you are an individual and not just a sidekick or a tool in someone else's box or a piece of somebody else's puzzle. Jake and I have also been going through the Bible at home. (Sorry...religion is always an uncomfortable subject.) But we're literally only reading the words of Jesus. If it's not red, we're not reading it. And it may take us the rest of the year to just read and digest all that slowly and research the stuff we don't understand for context.

But to me, using the tool of a self-help book is powerful, but it's not enough. It's not all about me, contrary to my blogging ways. In fact, self-obsession may have lead to some of my creativity and professional problems in the first place. 

Tomorrow I start week three, "Recovering a Sense of Power". And I'm really excited about it. I peeked at the first page. The first topic? Anger. How fitting. Over the last couple of days, I have exploded with anger. I have let it fly. It has taken me completely off guard. I thought something was wrong with me. But I realize, it's all the anger I've been pushing down for the last year or so of my life. 

8/16/12

Imaginary Lives

"Nonetheless, it's a step in the right direction!"
Julia Cameron of "The Artist's Way" says you should be cautious about sharing the intimate details of your homework assignments or journal entries with everyone during your creative recovery. So naturally, I'm going to share some of them on this blog for the whole world to see. But at least I'll be talking about what I want instead of whining about what I don't want. And as Angela Lansbury would say, "It's a step in the right direction."

I've written so much whining dreck over the last year that I came up with a cartoon name for myself. Whiny Tomes. It would be the name of my ghost in the Haunted Mansion. Whiny Tomes needs to go away now. Forever. 

So how do you kill your inner Whiny Tomes and free him to wander his own haunted past? How do you move on when you need to? How do you break through the dark times? Aside from turning to friends and family, God n' Jesus, rest and all of the usual tools, you also return to your imagination. Cameron has a homework assignment called "Imaginary Lives". It's pretty much what it sounds like. You let yourself daydream away, unhindered by time, place or money. You dream of what you might have been in another life. Here are some of mine.

8/14/12

Hooray for Hokum!

From the stunning "Rework"
which I am also reading.
Hi. My name is Audrey and I'm a recovering blocked creative. Again.

I cringe at the words. Let me explain.

A handful of years ago, back when Myspace was a thing (Remember that?) and I was super into it, I used to follow actress Jenna Fischer's Myspace blog. She wrote a fabulous answer to the question so many young and aspiring creatives ask her, "How do I make it?" (I found it, here it is.) Fischer recommended "The Artist's Way". So I bought it. The complete collection. And at the time, when I read the book and did the work that it requires, it opened up a whole new world for me.

It was at that time that I started wearing flowers in my hair (Silly, but kind of a permanent Audrey thing now.), tried playing tennis (Still my favorite way to burn calories and release aggression.) and finally and fully admitted to myself (after years of sporadic publishing) that I wanted to be a writer and therefore enrolled in a graduate program for creative writing. I embraced my inner fangirl. I went for it in every way. The results changed my life.