Music: “10 Mile Stereo” by Beach House

Hello, hello!

Feels good to be back. There has been a lot of amazing things going on in my life for the past few weeks. I’ve been too drained to write, because all of my energy has happily been put into living life and getting my career and academic priorities in line. But alas, I am back to doing some serious writing damage! Are y’all excited? I’m excited.

I’ve missed writing and “reviewing” (re: going on a tangent) about the things that I love the most: television, music, and film. I have a ton of tv and film reviews that I am working on, but I usually do the music ones on a whim, because I’m constantly listening for inspiration. So here’s a song that has been a beautiful muse for a few years now.

I first heard “10 Mile Stereo” my freshman year in college. So it’s been maybe 4 or 5 years ago now. I went to school in Austin, TX so the indie music scene is bananas. And this was before I found out about SXSW and ACL. I was already an alternative rock fan, but living in this city just jolted my music taste and broadened my music horizons on so many levels. I honestly can’t really put into words the kinds of music I discovered and how I discovered it. The moments were just so darn transcendent. I would be walking downtown, passing some random bar and it would be playing a ‘cover’ of a song that I had never heard of. I would walk in to check it out, and it would be the actual band playing their own music during happy hour. People would just be sitting having business meetings and studying. Then I’d see some of them look up and nod their heads in solidarity and absolute awe of the music.

For this song in particular, I was walking down my school’s shopping street, The Drag, and was passing an Urban Outfitters. I just happened to walk in because the music was amazing. After browsing the racks – not really intending on buying anything, because college had me broke like no joke. The cashier was like, “check out this playlist of free music. What’s your email and we’ll send you the link.” So yeah, got to my dorm and checked out the music. There were a lot of amazing tunes that obviously caught my ear, because I always had a knack for realizing good music. No seriously, my music taste expands across the genre boards. When it’s good, it’s good. Most of the tunes on the list were indie/alternative with a natural Austin-y sound. ’10 Mile Stereo’ quickly became a favorite and I haven’t looked back since.

The song would go on to help induce content inspiration for several of my most enduring papers and projects. It also helped me sleep during those times when finals slapped me around and spartan kicked the wind out of me. Then there would be days where walked to class and needed a little soundtrack to get my mind on track. ’10 Mile Stereo’ never let me down and created a whimsical atmosphere – putting some pep in my step.

There reason I am writing this is because the track played in my shuffled iTunes library as I scrambled to do some reading for grad school prep. I paused, smiled, and here I am…

Thanks Beach House and quirky cashier at Urban Outfitters.

‘Til next time.

 

Happy New Year!

Hi everyone!

I’m a few weeks late, but I just wanted to check in to wish you all a wonderful new year! I’m very optimistic that this year will be full of possibilities and opportunities for you all and myself. I had such an amazing time really getting my blog up and running last year and letting you all get to know me and my taste in television, music, and film…especially television.

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I’m working on a couple of posts now to get out soon and I want to keep the momentum going. I love talking about the things that I love and I am glad that some of you have reached out and shared your own tastes in tv, film, and music. It’s a great community to be a part of and we’re only going to get better. Once again, thank you all for sticking around and let’s continue to keep the conversation going!

Here’s to one of my favorite New Year’s Eve television moments brought to you by The OC.

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‘Til next time!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Hello everyone!

It’s been such a great year and I just want to wish everyone a great holiday season! Spend it with your family, your friends, and with those that make you feel absolutely happy and amazing. Life’s too short to drain your energy trying to please those that just aren’t wired to be pleased. I’ve spent a bit of my time this year trying to love those that just do not deserve all of my time and energy. And it’s not selfish to say that I’ve given up on trying to be a person that others love to be around. I’m just trying this new thing called ‘loving myself’ and trying my best to be happy. Genuinely happy. If that means that I make others happy in the process, well more power to me!

With all of that said, I made a list of some of the ways that I’ve found happiness this holiday season. Because, you know, the holidays are stressful and the time when a lot of people begin self-evaluating whether or not they are pleased with the way that their life has been going. Evaluating all of the things that they could do better going into the new year. It can be tough, but honestly be happy with yourself and the rest will follow suite. I’ve gone out of my way to do a few things that I know makes me happy.

So here’s my list.

Quality time with family 

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My family is not the close-knit type of family. We argue and fight a lot and disagree on some of the dumbest things. Most of the time it’s a power struggle to see who can go the longest without having to need the other. There’s a lot of huffing, pouting, and crossing arms in my house. But then again, we love each other enough to the point that we at least make an attempt to spend time with one another. Even when we honestly don’t want to. We compromise on doing things that we can all benefit from – like shopping or seeing movie.

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We bicker and sometimes I think that we’re better off  just separating from the ties that bind us. Spend enough time apart to find our individual selves. But my family is a part of me and I’m a part of my family. We always get pulled back into each others graces and when the holidays are over, we start the bickering all over again.

Reconnect with friends

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Do you realize how ridiculous you look?

I rarely get to spend time with my actual friends throughout the year, but when I do, it’s always amazing. We laugh. We cry. We drink a little. We dance. We act like children. We envision our futures. We get sort of depressed about how old we’re getting. Then we drink a little more and we laugh some more. It’s great. We tease each other, because we’re all moving at different paces throughout the year and sometimes we get ourselves into some weird situations that become the best stories shared over a bottle of Merlot and holiday cookies.

Get into the holiday spirit

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I totally look like Santa, right?

Put on a Santa hat and study up on your religion or spirituality during the holiday season. Think about what the holiday really stands for rather than all of the commercial propaganda (which is nice given its limits).

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Honestly, my family is huge on celebrating Christmas, but I’m diving more into Kwanzaa territory this year. I mean, why not? Whatever holiday that you celebrate, really get into it. Bring out the ugly Christmas sweaters, the eggnog, the platters of food, and 90’s Mariah Carey tunes. But also remember or learn about your roots and think about why you’re even celebrating the holidays in the first place.

Switch up the food

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So for the past six (maybe seven) months, I have been vegetarian. Well, actually more so pescatarian, if we’re into labels. It’s been great in terms of how I feel about my body and health. Unfortunately, the holidays bring on a lot of anxiety in the food department. It’s mostly due to all of the family traditional recipes and lack of effort to adjust to everyone’s individual diets. There’s a ton of meat and heavy calories being served up at my house, but I have put in the effort to include the foods that work for me so that I won’t feel guilty or frustrated about the food that I am/not eating at the table.

Be appreciative of your work and coworkers

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I work with a variety of people and personalities and I love it. Sometimes I forget to stop and appreciate those around me and those that support  the work that I do. My coworkers and I truly are a team, though. Getting out of bed to come do our jobs keeps the system flowing nicely and the work spread in our different departments and positions. At the end of the day, we’re all just people with our own lives. Stopping to say thanks or taking a few holiday pictures with each other really adds depth to the relationships that we keep at work.

Share some mistletoe

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It’s no secret that the holidays bring out the romance in the best of us. Whether or not you’re married or in a committed relationship, spend some time under the mistletoe and embrace the love in the air. Seriously though, what is it about the holidays that make us all lovey-dovey? My friends and I joke that the holidays should be called ‘cuddle season’. A force to size-up Valentine’s Day.

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And even if you’re single, there’s no shame in appreciating the sense of kindness that seems to be a special ingredient in the hot cocoa that we’re sipping on. Spread the love.

*Just a note that David is in both of the photos above. Sigh. He understands what I’m talking about.*

Happy holidays guys! ‘Til next time.

Music: “Ride” by Cary Brothers

Guys, I love this song. I am in love with it. And you know how you love a song and you play it repeatedly until you get sick of it? Well, according to my iTunes, I’ve played this song at least 373 times. And that’s just on iTunes and I’ve rebooted my library a few times so…I’ve listened to this song A WHOLE LOT. It’s amazing really and I’ll tell you exactly why it’s amazing.

First of all, I heard it on One Tree Hill and the scene is one of my all time favorites. There’s so much emotion and nostalgia (from me and the characters). Simply put, Lucas Scott (the main character) is getting married and he realizes that the beautiful, smart, and amazing woman in front of him is not his true love. Well, what actually happens is that SHE realizes that she is not his true love, because of an epiphany and semi-memory that she has from reading his sorta-auto biography / love letter. He’s a writer and she’s his editor, by the way. Then, we get a flashback and boom, it hits us too that she’s not the one. She’s wonderful, but not the one.

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This hurts me as much as it hurts them, because I’m rooting for them and their love. Lucas had been through a lot and if you’ve watch the series – you can agree with me 100%. Anyways, the song is playing and emotions are swelling and we see Peyton (Lucas’s ex) sitting in the audience (with Brooke, who’s also Lucas’s ex) watching Lucas get his heart massively broken as Lindsay (the woman in the wedding dress) gives Lucas back the ring and runs off in her beautiful dress. It hits me, because I love Peyton and I know she loves Lucas and she is saddened and elated to witness this scene. But she would never wish Lucas to be in so much pain. What’s going through my head (as well as I imagine Peyton’s) is – Peyton can get Lucas back. They can be together! Peyton keeps it together with so much grace during this entire wedding / would be wedding.

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Peyton, you’re a trooper.

Then, as I see Lucas’s face and him falling to the floor as if his world is crumbling beneath him and he’s gone numb, and seeing his friends and family also witnessing this – I don’t want Peyton with Lucas. I want him to run after Lindsay. I want Lucas to get what he wants. It’s time to grow up and leave the past in the past. What if Lindsay really is his true love? Anyway, there are so many mixed feelings. The scene is my favorite in the series and I love all nine seasons.

“Ride” is actually on the DVD version of the episode (season five – ‘Hundred’) and I don’t understand why it wasn’t used in the original broadcast. It makes the scene all the more blissfully hypnotizing. The entire episode is just a stomach-twister, because it’s lovely and oh so sad. Some weddings are like that though, especially when the one you love is marrying someone else or your marriage is falling apart, etc. etc.

Wow, I really meant to write more about the song rather than a OTH review, but I think that’s why I love the song so much. It added so much weight to a moment in one of my favorite series. I hear music everywhere and I love when I hear a great song on a great TV show during a great moment.

Check it out for yourself. The song is also featured in one of my favorite films “The Last Kiss” starring Zach Braff, who always has the best soundtracks in his films. I’ll write a post on the film in the future!

‘Til next time!

TV: Supernatural

Music Recommendation: “Space Oddity” by David Bowie

I’ve watched this show since day one. I still remember the premiere night on The WB. All of the advertisement / promos (2:38) had me at Two Brothers, Saving People, Hunting Things. I was even more sold when I noticed that the two brothers were Jared Padalecki (Dean from Gilmore Girls) and Jensen Ackles (Jason from Smallville). It was like fulfilling a The WB fan’s ultimate wish of having actors from two of their favorite shows team up for a whole new show. I was ready to see some references to the other shows (and Gilmore Girls was actually mentioned as an early meta-moment on the series) and I was just excited to see the actors become two new characters.

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You guys don’t know it yet, but there’s a long road ahead of you.

So, I don’t watch horror movies. I get the most intense nightmares and my body physically and mentally start to shut down if I see a horror movie character that’s utterly frightening and nightmarish. However, I grew up with family members that love horror movies. So unfortunately due to this – I’ve actually seen a few of them. Who wants to sit in a room by themselves when everyone else is in the living room watching scary movies?

The volume is turned up and the walls seem to close in on you. I decided I’d rather sit in the living room with them. At least they were there to protect me. Sometimes I would just cover my eyes while still hearing everything. Other times I would just watch the movie and pray that I wouldn’t dream about Leprechaun, Freddy, or Pennywise (I only lasted through the first 2-5 minutes of ‘It’, before I was like hell no). This was basically me.

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That was scary!

Fortunately, there were some movies that were less horror and more supernatural like The Craft, Blade (trilogy)The FacultyUnderworld (all of them)Interview With A Vampire, The Mummy (first two), and many others that I found intriguing and fascinating. I was drawn to the mythical worlds and ‘other-worldly’ phenomena. The supernatural. Witches and vampires were my favorite to watch. There was just something about magic and (and even science) that has always kept me glued to the screen and buried in the books.

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With that, I was attracted to seeing a TV series about urban legends, dark fairytales, magic, and other-worldly stories. The premise of Supernatural seemed to keep all of the ‘supernatural stuff’ somewhat grounded in reality. When it came to all of the religious tropes, legends, and characters, I was fully invested. I felt like the show was truly teaching me something. I’m not even all that religious, just more so spiritual. I like to think I am as rational as they come, but uniquely open-minded at the same time. I’d say something like, maybe witches do exist – but they certainly don’t fly on brooms or have talking black cats. Or, if there are fairies in this world, they certainly don’t have wings.

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I think that’s why these types of films and television series (Charmed, Smallville, Angel, Buffy, Roswell, etc.) have always had a special place in my heart. Clearly, I don’t see this type of stuff everyday, so my eyes are wide open to seeing what types of paranormal things can happen on screen. Maybe some things hit closer to reality than others, like practicing voodoo (and witchcraft) and biblical protests and outcry. But other things like  vampires, werewolves, leprechauns, fairies, The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and angels and demons are all far out there. Though, I enjoy each incarnation of the stories as I can take from literature, cinema and television.

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Must be that evil spirit broad that we’re gunning for.

It really helps that Sam and Dean are human (at least for the most part during the earlier seasons) and they walk into these situations ready to kick some butt. I like to think that I view all of this madness through them instead of all of the victims in the series, because Sam and Dean know what to do and how to make these creepy things go away. And the victims – well, they’re victims. I don’t want to be them.

So, let’s talk Supernatural.

Dean Winchester

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You can’t be a SPN (Supernatural) fan without loving Dean Winchester. He is just a damn good character. I was partially excited about seeing Jensen in this role because of watching him on Smallville. So I was already invested in what he could bring to this new series. And there’s so much depth to Dean that I don’t even know where to start.

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Hmm…

First off, who doesn’t love a guy that can kick some demon a**, eat a whole pie, polish up his whip (um, his car), play some sweet classic rock tunes, battle with himself about how he could do better at saving his brother from the dark side, bromance with his favorite angelic amigo, woo the ladies, bicker with his little bro, bicker at imminent victims when they’re just asking for it or at guys that actually go chasing after the paranormal (Ghost Facers, vampire fans, etc.), and can eat a greasy burger and fries from the nearest whole-in-the-wall diner joint before the day’s over with? And there’s actually so much more to all of this.

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Dean is just so relatable and believable in terms of all of the crap that he, Sam, and co. have to put up with. He’s the macho guy that will definitely scope out the ladies in the room during an interrogation. He spends most of his time of the road – with his brother – so there’s no shame. He’s just so rock ‘n roll. And if scoring a few phone numbers doesn’t pan out, there’s always the menu.

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In all seriousness though, Dean has been through a lot on SPN. Literally going to hell and back in the past decade and some change. He’s hit those points where he’s like why do I even keep trying? Sure, he kicks some butt, but there seems to always be something bigger, badder, or just more annoying and cunning around the corner to screw with him!

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Really? I just saved the damn world!

So when it’s all said and done and you can’t catch air with your bare hands (because that’s how I see Sam and Dean’s plight to saving the world) you have to think about all of the good in the world and all the better things that you could be doing or eating like…

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Then you have all of the classic hits rock out to, because what’s better to listen to on the road than some Queen, Zeppelin, KISS, and even some Asia. Demons, you may be taking over the world. And angels, you may be as corrupt as the demons, but damnit I still have my Bon Jovi.

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Even when Sam is busy losing his soul (oh, and I haven’t forgotten that Dean becomes Dean-mon [get it] in season 10 – I’m just using my selective memory here) or sleeping with a demon or being possessed by a rogue angel, Dean fights for those moments where he can just be with Sammy, his little…

dean's reply

Sam Winchester

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Alright, alright. So I came to this show for this face. For Jared Padalecki. For that innocent grin / moody-brooding lovable face. I loved him in Gilmore Girls and I was ticked that he was leaving the show, but I was stoked that he had his own show coming with another The WB star. I was also excited that Jared was playing the younger brother and the studious type, because Gilmore Girls basically had him as an average Joe. Smart, but not the genius and studious type like Rory. Anyway, this was a whole new show giving Jared a whole new attitude. I couldn’t be more ready to watch.

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While I’m discussing Sam, I loved pre-season four Sam with his short shaggy hair and his lanky physique. I don’t know if his physical appearance coincided with his character’s demeanor and personality, but he was just so adorable during the earlier seasons. And he also really emphasized how much he struggled to be in the family business vs. rather being in law school and having a normal life. The thing is, when you live in the world of SPN, and you’re 100% aware of all that goes bump in the night, there’s no way that you can just go to law school and be normal. Because law school isn’t normal.

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No more Mr. Nice guy.

So, Sam had to buckle down and hop on the bandwagon with Dean and poppa Winchester, because there’s no point in wanting a normal life when there are so many forces making sure that you can’t. You have to fight for the life that you want and fight for those that are oblivious to all of the evil in the world (or at least in Midwest America).

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And In terms of his family, yeah, Sam had some issues with John and the fact that Dean was kind of following in John’s footsteps. Sam was the sensitive one, thinking about how the forces of evil robbed his opportunity to ever be a normal guy. To spend time with his family during a normal holiday or bring home his girlfriend to meet them. Demons had a way of taking away the women in Sam’s life (his mom and Jess) so if anything, he just regretted that this was the life for him. Being a hunter. He foresaw beautiful things in life that he could never have. Or, he would have to spend a long time fighting to have.

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Does it ever stop?

I felt for Sam. I really did. He loved his big brother and wanted his dad to be safe, but he hated that he had to give up so much more. A life. The irony is, Sam was the good son, but somehow was destined to be evil or to go dark (first). His story in the first few seasons seemed to come full circle. Finding out that he had demon blood and was chosen to lead a demon army, splitting up the two Winchester brothers and choosing the least suspected one. Even I didn’t see that coming. I also didn’t see this coming…

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Because wow, Jared Padalecki was filling out and he was definitely not skipping arm, leg, chest, or back day. Sam had become a beefcake. Like, I couldn’t take him seriously as the little brother anymore and was (still am) torn on how I felt about that. He could throw Dean around a few times without breaking a sweat (and did when they were pitted against each other). Sam could also handle his own now. If he wanted to go rogue – he could and I wouldn’t worry about him easily dying (or not coming back). But, I would worry about him coming back evil, because an evil version of this fitted guy – whoa. Trouble. I just miss the times where he was sweet and adorable and calling Dean a…

sam's response

The Family Business

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The show begins with Sam and Dean following in their father’s, John, footsteps to solve some of the supernatural cases across the (mostly Mid-West) country. As boys, John prepared them to be aware and cautious of things that go bump in the night, especially since their mother was killed by a supernatural force. Some time down the line, John decided to go solo on a “hunting trip”. It had been years since all three of them went on a case, with Sam leaving the family business and going off to Stanford University. Dean shows up and warns Sam that John is missing and it’s time to get back into action. The first season centers around Sam and Dean looking for John while using his journal to solve cases that aren’t suited for regular investigators or FBI agents.

And did I forget to mention that [older] John Winchester was played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan? Guys, I have the biggest screen crush on JDM. Even before I started watching Grey’s Anatomy, I was in love with his mug. His eyes. His smile. His charm. He just exudes charm. Even on Supernatural as the gritty, broody John Winchester, I found him absolutely dashing. He’s got that whole kill ’em with kindness appeal. It’s also amazing how much he and Jensen Ackles favor each other. Great casting.

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The whole find John storyline in season one was fantastic. The boys were following in his footsteps and using his clues to all of the evil crap out there and the ways that they could fight said evil crap. The human element to all of this was that their dad was missing and possibly dead. But, he was kind of like a Mufasa (in theory) to the boys. Guiding them to their destiny. Or, leading them to where he was waiting for them. Because John had all of the answers.

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Finding him didn’t necessarily mean that they could just hug it out and slap backs telling funny stories about their journey along the way. No. Hell no. The boys were pissed, because John was actually alive and well. Oh and he was on a hot trail to the thing that killed their mother, Mary. He could have let them know that he was alive or that he was on a trail or that he didn’t want them in the line of fire. But, weren’t they always going to be in the line of fire?

The fact of the matter is that they pretty much thought  that John was dead. That they were orphans. So, they were pissed that they had to believe and feel this. Then, poof, no just kidding. Then, you know they were ready and willing enough to face the thing that killed Mary. It’s a family matter and they should all go down swinging in their mom’s honor. How dare John go at it alone? It’s the FAMILY business. Yeah, I’m not completely irrational. I understand that John had his reasons. He just seemed a little too suicidal for my liking. Even if he was doing it for Mary.

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I really do appreciate the time traveling / alternative realities where we get to see what was and what could have been – in terms of the Winchester family. It’s a powerful thing to start a series off with a loving parent and having that parent die during the first few minutes of the first episode. Guess that’s why I love super hero legends as most of the time, the super heroes begin their quest after the catalyst of losing parents / family.

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Flashbacks and Throwbacks.

I love that Sam and Dean were given opportunities to see their family when they were around their own ages. Young, fresh – beginning this good vs. evil fight. Sam and Dean were given the time to spend with their folks after losing the both of them in their actual reality. There’s something about being able to see so little of John and Mary as their older selves (even less of Mary) and then getting to go back in time and see them in another time, being oblivious to the future and to the fact that the two grown men in front of them are their children. And that their children have been through a whole lot. Though, the look on young Mary’s face in the above picture just hints at her actual awareness that something is not right and of her hunter capabilities. She doesn’t trust so easily as the hunter life has hardened her. I love the twist that her family was the hunter side and that she became a hunter long before John did.

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Idjits!

Bobby. Dear ol’ Bobby. I really miss having him around. He was definitely the father figure that the boys needed after John passed. He took care of the more below the line necessities in the hunter life. Like making sure that everyone had fake identities to fly under the radar as well as having an adequate amount of books and lore on the evils and whatnot. He also represented history and proof that a hunter could live at least until their 50s. Not bad?  Bobby had been around the block a few times and could pick up on cues to what evil was making a return or what felt familiar and how it could be stopped. Things were less of a surprise to him and more of an opportunity to teach the next generation. I definitely saw Bobby as the parent-type, figuratively (and literally?) paying bills and keeping up shop while the kiddos went off and did their work…hunting. Bobby taught them a thing or two and kept them together, as a family. Because the hunter life is hard-knock life.

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Squad.

And Bobby was just one pivotal part of the extended Winchester family. Ellen and Jo fulfilled the strong women roles in the boys life, because you got to have that woman’s touch. I’ll say more on that in a bit. But just looking at the image above, I think Sam and Dean were at their happiest and most whole when they had their makeshift family: an actual angel as a close friend, two hunter ladies that understood the lifestyle – one being a mother figure and the other a possible romantic figure for Dean – and of course, Bobby. Good times.

Bros Over Demons

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Ever since they were boys, Sam and Dean have had to stick together no matter what. Their blood always pulled them back together despite situations that would easily tear any other relationship apart: like going to hell, losing a soul, etc. A brilliant aspect of the show is the emphasis on family and brotherhood through thick and thin. These guys literally went to hell and back and the #1 thing that they care about and hold dear is saving one another. Keeping their family alive. Keeping them out of harms way.

As the older brother, Dean had to look out for Sam and for the most part, he wanted Sam to stay pure. To somehow not let the darkness consume or eat away at him. The business is a hard life and though we see that Sam is capable of kicking some butt and taking some names, his heart was never fully into being a hunter. Dean’s destiny seemed to be following and becoming John. But, with Dean desiring to keep Sam and hunting at arms length, he also needed him to have his back. He needed Sam to want to find John. He needed Sam to save him. So, they were bound to bump heads on a number of occasions.

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And something that I find ironic, and you probably do too if you’ve been keeping up with the series, is that Dean seems to be the most pure from the evil that tries to change and corrupt them. Sure, he keeps his feelings bottled up until he just can’t anymore. Sure, he’s the macho one that tends to easily get pissed off. Sure, he’s the oldest with the most responsibility. But with all that said and done, his mission has always been clear: Keep Sammy alive. Keep his family together. Fight the good fight.

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As the series progressed, Sam seemed to be the easy target and the easiest to be swayed or corrupted. He never really seemed to have Dean’s back as much as Dean had his. I think I lost faith in Sam after he came back from hell without his soul in season six. From then, I just didn’t trust him. No matter how much Dean ‘forgave’ or trusted him when he got his soul back. Sam just wasn’t the kid brother / innocent one anymore. Not in my eyes. I missed when he had his little shaggy hairdo and served as the shy/research wiz.

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Just look how cute Sam was.

The show tried a ton of things to re-humanize Sam and put the brothers back on track, but I just didn’t see the same relationship that the boys had in the beginning. Too much had happened. Too much had changed the both of them. They continued to love and save each other, but there seemed to be a thick glass wall between them. It doesn’t help that they’re constantly pulled apart due to different alliances.

I Think I'm Gonna Like it Here

And speaking of brothers, will we ever see or hear about this guy again?

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They left me in hell. How rude!

Castiel 

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The angels have landed. Season four was quite the surprise for me. I spent the end of season three basically holding my breathe as the concept of hell was being more and more depicted and the boys, at least one of them, would be heading there fairly soon. We’ve seen the possessions and black eyed demons consume a number of victims, but hell being an actual place and destination – kind of twisted my stomach into knots.

For me, the scariest seasons will always be seasons 1-2, with season 3 still being one of my favorite in terms of when it was just Sam and Dean being the main characters. There’s just that core premise that I cherish of the story being about two brothers. Nevertheless, season four was dope! I mean come on, angels? Really? In this dark world of SPN? I was excited just to see how they would be depicted based on what we’ve seen as the evil in the SPN universe. And the fact that they even existed in the SPN universe after having seen all for the crappy things that had happened to Sam and Dean. Like seriously, we could have used an angel or five back in seasons one, two, and three.

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But I’ll never forget the experience of seeing Castiel introduced on the show. His entrance is one of the best of the new characters (after Lucifer’s). There were just so many feelings happening as I was seeing the portrayal of an angel on this show. Sure, I had seen angels before on screen – I’m a huge fan of Nicholas Cage’s City of Angels.

It was just that angels existed in the SPN world. It seemed like the show was steeping into new territory and the boys only slightly alluded to actually believing that angels existed in the previous seasons. I guess it all made sense seeing as Dean was dragged to hell at the end of season three. The show was getting more into religious lore / myth and I couldn’t help but be excited to learn what ‘characters’ would be introduced that I could reference back into biblical study. To see a future portrayal of God or Lucifer actually frightened me, but I was more curious than anything else.

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After a an exceeding amount of [corrupt] angels (no, seriously, most of the time the angels were causing more harm than the demons) and I couldn’t help but sigh and roll my eyes every time they showed up with their questionable and dry antics to stop the other side or teach Sam and Dean a lesson. I mean, at least the demons were humorous at times and rightfully made a mess of things. I understood that they were the bad guys and that they understood their place as well. But the angels were becoming too self-righteous and I absolutely did not understand how they were supposedly the good guys. How were they even angels? But you know, it’s television and if the angels came to save the day, what would Sam and Dean have to do?

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With my whole lack of faith (pun intended) in the angels on the show though, I enjoyed seeing Castiel constantly getting stripped of his powers and his character becoming more humanized. His dry arrogance become more of a gag to have him learn how to ‘come down to earth’ and be a regular guy and learn the basic nuances of us human folk.

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What better way to humanize Cas than to have him tweeting and being really excited about indulging in social media? Because yeah, we live in those times. Season six’s The French Mistake episode really caught me off guard (in a good way) and I saw the show through this new lens of the characters actually being characters and the actors should be given so much credit for their portrayals of them. Misha Collins exceeded my expectations in his portrayal of…Misha Collins. I don’t think I ever laughed so hard watching the series.

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Also, the beauty of having Castiel on the show alleviated some of that need to see Dean trust and bond with someone other than Sam – as their relationship was changing. Castiel being the one to pull Dean out of hell and give him further purpose to fight the good fight all the more sealed his pivotal presence in Dean’s life. Someone else besides Sam was important enough to fight and sacrifice for. And don’t get me wrong, I love Sammy, but sometimes I just don’t believe in his efforts.

I enjoy seeing the bromance between the guys, but Castiel and Dean can really tug at my heart strings. I personally love seeing Dean’s emotional and vulnerable side, so the fact that Castiel can push him to that level makes him a no-brainer choice addition to the cast.

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Even though Castiel is the powerful divine-being of the trio, he constantly puts his own faith in the Winchester brothers. He believes that they are more than just two humans throwing punches – but two of God’s sons that are equally in this world for the right reasons. It’s also nice to have him around when demons decide to pay a visit. I love seeing Cas’s nonchalant smiting.

The Ladies

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Excuse us?

So, being a chick and watching this show as a teenager – I couldn’t help but desire to see some tough women on the series. Like, sure I loved the eye-candy and seeing all of the macho-macho manly creature butt-kicking, but I was about ready for the show to represent my own gender. No, I didn’t need the show to turn Sam and Dean into boyfriends and have their girlfriends become the focus of their motivations and our attention. But, I did want to see some femininity and see the lifestyle of female hunters. Because – they existed. They had to.

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Indeed, I was really happy to meet hunter Ellen and her daughter Jo. Two kicka** ladies with some history with John Winchester. Not only did they exceed at challenging the boys, but they added depth to Sam and Dean’s characters and to the series in general. I touched on their family-oriented relationship with the boys, but that’s just the surface. With their association with John and the hunter community, I was really hoping that Ellen and Jo wouldn’t be revealed as John’s mistress (Ellen) and illegitimate daughter (Jo). I just didn’t want their characters to go in that direction, because sure I loved Ellen’s mother figure role – and even though Jo was like a sister to the boys, I held out hope that Jo and Dean would fall in love.

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I know, I know, I’m chasing my tail here as I just said that I didn’t want the boys to have girlfriends. But, Jo genuinely brought something out of Dean. To have Dean be a protective boyfriend and have him be attracted to Jo, but at the same time enjoying their old married couple bickering that he would be too embarrassed to let her know that he thought she was hot. Did that make sense? Basically, Jo was much more than a damsel and more of an equal to Dean. She kept him on his toes and biting his tongue.

They battled with each other, because there was some realness to their budding romance. I was heartbroken when Ellen and Jo didn’t make it and we had to see Dean’s heart broken. I don’t think he ever honestly cared about any other romantic partner the way he could’ve loved Jo (Not even that one chick he shacked up with when Sam went to hell). I also loved how Sam would be in the background, trying to stay out of the way of the heated bickering. Like, sorry Dean, you’re on your own. Jo’s just that scary. Maybe the scariest thing Dean has/will ever encounter. True love.

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Speaking of Sam and love – this guy made some questionable choices in the ladies department. But he and Jess seemed like the cutest and most comfortable couple. Just look at how nice the two paired off. Totally hate that we lose Jessica at the very beginning, but I think Sam’s loss jump started his tainted decisions in romance. He basically cuts off his humanity toward the next few ladies that he gets with, because Jess holds a special place in his heart and no other seemed to replace her.

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Off of the top of my head, Sam ends up hooking up with a werewolf, being swayed by a demon (Meg), becoming buddies with another demon (Ruby) and later hooking up with said demon (but played by a different actress). I’ll call her Ruby 2.0. There are other ladies also in the mix, including that one chick who’s husband returned. I wasn’t interested or invested in watching that ordeal. And yes, I do remember that Dean hooked up with a fallen angel and an Amazon that got pregnant with an rapid-aging daughter. Both Sam and Dean permanently scarred me with their romantic decisions.

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I’m the other Ruby.

And I hated Sam’s relationship with Rudy 2.0, because it just seemed so uncharacteristic (well, actually not because Sam and Dean don’t know how to choose the right ladies) of a Winchester. But, I thought Sam was suppose to be a the smart one. The fact that he was knowingly sleeping with the enemy just kind of upset me and made me more distrustful of him. He definitely wasn’t the Sam from the previous seasons. I thought that he was becoming a little twisted and basically gave up on caring to be the good guy. Plus, Ruby 2.0 bored me to tears. She just didn’t command my attention like the Ruby played by Katie Cassidy (thankfully we can now see her kicking butt on Arrow).

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Yawn.

I could talk about all of the other ladies on the show, most of them being redheads. Seriously, is there something about redheads that the show runners find symbolic to the show, or is it just a coincidence? In any case, after Ellen and Jo died, I lost interest in the female dynamic of the series.

Going Undercover 

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I have so many questions about the boys’ FBI / pastor / health coach / gym coach / whatever else disguise necessary for the case. First off, why is it so easy for the guys to just assume federal identities when there are sometimes other cops and officials casing out the scene? And in the earlier seasons, the guys just flashed a badge and weren’t even in ‘costume’. Like, who’s going to believe that they are FBI? They could’ve be in on the crime as far as the official investigation goes. I mean, they do know a lot about some of the incriminating details – wouldn’t they be able to help out some of the cops who are just doing their job to save the day? Maybe?

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And then it starts to get ridiculous with the quick flashes of the badge and their interrogations to know more details about the strange cases. Wouldn’t victims and witnesses be just a little more on their toes about talking to just anybody? Badge or no badge. I guess that’s where Bobby came in with all of the phone lines and whatnot. But seriously, when Cas gets in on the disguises it’s just even more unbelievable.

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Am I doing this right?

I do love when the guys dress in their suits though. Dean is good at interrogating while Sam is the sympathetic one. Basically – bad cop and good cop, respectively. I don’t even know what I would call Cas. If he isn’t appearing to be absent-minded or stand-offish, he’s just plain ol’ goofy. Back in seasons two and three, the guys were made and their identities were no longer so secret. The show really let them have it in terms of what could happen when the real cops could lock you up for impersonating cops, or for withholding information on cases, being too close to the case that you actually appear guilty, or for just getting involved in places where ‘normal’ people shouldn’t be sticking their noses. Like, who gave them special permission to solve the gruesome murders and unusual activity? After all, being a hunter is unofficial business.

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Another question that I have is, why don’t the guys let the cops know who they are and what they do? Let them in on the supernatural world with some proof. Maybe they could become liaisons with all of the official crime investigators. I think that would save them a lot of trouble with the cops arresting them or having to have fake phone lines and get cheap suits. Maybe the guys could earn some extra dough and be official. Not having to scramble up news clippings or do all of that extra research. With funding from the government, hunters could have top-notch research equipment at their fingertips. Though, that path could go sideways in so many ways. I guess you can’t put a price on saving the world, huh? *But who pays for all of their weapons and their clothes? Food?

Seriously, what if the FBI had a demon-specialist division or protocol on what to do when Lucifer ascends? Hospitals could be on stand-by waiting for all of the victims stabbed after possessions. If I was a normal human in the world of SPN, I would want to be informed that demons, angels and the paranormal walked among us. There could be special training in exorcisms and how-to-guides on what to do when you come across a Wendigo. Sam and Dean and hunters in general could make a fortune. They could also reduce the amount of lives taken. Just give them clearance at the FBI and special forces. Because they specialize in supernatural forces.

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But we would miss out on seeing this.

Diners and Motels

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If we’re talking earlier seasons before Sam and Dean had the Men of Letters fortress, which is basically an actual place to call their own, we could relish on the goodness of having the guys utilize diners and motels as their places of business and residence. Some of my favorite situations took place where Sam and Dean were getting a meal and going over the case. It’s the sense of travel and being on the road that I found uniquely interesting about Supernatural. Even though they seem to choose the same types of places to go over pivotal information, they are constantly moving and allowing us to see them surrounded by normal people going about a realistic routine like eating…

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Cas and his awkwardness / Sam and his salads

…and sleeping. They guys may be super heroes in their own rights, but they are firstly people and they need their cups of coffee, a daily shower, some food, and a bed to lay their head at the end of the day. A lot of other shows have their central and recurring meetup places like Central Perk (Friends), P3 (Charmed), The Peach Pit (Beverly Hills, 90210), The Crashdown (Roswell), etc. Supernatural uniquely has recurring places, but at the same time the guys are always somewhere different. Even in later seasons, the guys still move around and travel to cases rather than only sticking around situations that are conveniently close to their Men of Letters fortress.

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The guys are regular rolling stones.

The Music

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And speaking of rolling stones, the music in SPN cannot go unnoticed. I wonder how much the show-runners pay just for the rights to use most of the music. The music isn’t just the Top 40 “hits” like many other shows use, but some of the best classic rock tunes from the 70s, 80s, and even early 90s. The soundtrack adds to the authenticity to the characters and geography. To their family’s history and life occupation. Their lives are gritty and poetic. Very much rock and roll. You can’t help but turn up the volume when something largely exciting is moving the story forward and Bon Jovi is playing or when Dean is dancing to Eye of the Tiger in his impala. I’ve discovered so much good music on this series. Music that I knew, but just didn’t have saved in my iTunes library. Best believe I have my own Supernatural playlist now. Here’s one of my favorite music moments.

Dean and His Baby (Impala)

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Also supporting this story and making the nature and characters of the guys more believable is Dean’s 1967 Chevy Impala. Because, what other type of vehicle would be used to drive the story forward? Dean loves his car, nicknamed ‘Baby’, and he gets seriously butt hurt when something happens to it – which is basically all of the time.

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And Dean likes to be the one in charge of all things Baby, including driving her and choosing what music to listen to. He drives Baby as if he’s Batman driving the Batmobile. She gives him major demon hunting street cred.

As many times as Sam and Dean have died and come back, Baby herself has been resurrected quite a bit. She looks the same as the first time we saw her and we’re on season eleven. After she’s been wrecked or totaled, Dean makes it his mission to restore and bring her back to life. She’s basically a symbol for his own life and she represents this timeless connection to the Winchester family.

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The best moments with Baby are when the boys are driving down long roads and trying to figure out where they stand – with each other and with the season’s big bad. Baby keeps the boys moving and is just as much of a hero herself. She stands in for comedic moments as well, because the bad guys know that to get to Dean, all they have to do is mess with his Baby.

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SON OF A…

The Things That Go Bump in the Night

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I think the moments when Sam and Dean hunt down the baddie of the episode and figure out how to take it down are some of the most interesting segments in this series. We get to know how the baddie operates by way of the carnage from the victims and then we have Sam and Dean (and Cas) swoop in to case out the place where the baddie was last seen. As someone who doesn’t like scary movies, I sure did allow myself to be scared early on watching this show. It’s mostly due to Sam and Dean being there to explain what was causing all of the havoc and how they were going to stop it.

I have to give props (pun definitely intended) to the costume, special effects, and writing and research teams during the early seasons. I found comfort seeing Sam and Dean recite exorcisms, use rock salt to create barriers and use other charms and spells to attack and take down the creatures and baddies. Sometimes they would be so nonchalant about their job that the episodes were funny.

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For me, the scariest and coolest of the baddies include:

  • Reaper (season one’s Faith)
  • Bloody Mary (season one)
  • Hookman (season one)
  • Scarecrow (season one)
  • Djinn (season two’s What Is and What Should Never Be)
  • The Clown / Rakshasa (season two’s Everybody Loves a Clown)
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“Look mommy, another clown.”
  • Throat slashed spirit/ghost (season two’s The Usual Suspects)
  • Vampires (especially season two’s Bloodlust)
  • Werewolves (especially season two’s Heart)
  • Wendigo (season one)
  • Evil Santa and Mrs. Clause / pagan gods (season three’s A Very Supernatural Christmas)

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And the boys usually have a black and white sort of perspective in terms of what should and should not be killed. A perfect example is spirits, because no matter who they were when they were alive and how much they meant to you – they should stay dead. Bringing them back would not be bringing them back, but something hollow and virtually evil.

Also, the creatures that look human and that claim to be ‘good’ or promise to find an alternative way to live (no eating humans, drinking blood, etc.) sometimes make the boys debate on their perspective of good and evil. Because, if we’re getting philosophical – some humans are actually bad. Does being born or created into something inhuman (werewolf, vampire, whatever the heck Jewel Staite’s character was) automatically mean that you’re evil? Think about vampire Benny and werewolf Garth. Plus, what about all of the time the guys allowed Crowley to tag along. He’s the freaking King of Hell.

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The Comedy and (Meta-Situations)

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With Supernatural being a show about creatures and demons and the endless battle between good and evil, the show certainly knows how to poke fun at itself on multiple occasions. The show gives us a break from the blood and gore (to an extinct) every once in a while with an episode being meta-aware of the characters and actors in the series (Jensen being in a soap opera, Jared being in House of Wax and Gilmore Girls), making fun of the series itself with the Ghost Facers, exploiting Sam and Dean’s life with fan fiction and graphic novels written by a prophet, or having commentary on horror and supernatural films like The Exorcist and Twilight.

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I particularly love the moment at the end of The Usual Suspects (season two), when Dean asks Sam if the female detective looked familiar to him. The detective was played by Linda Blair, the star of the original The Exorcist. Dean then jokes that he’s in the mood for pea soup. Very funny.

And Supernatural didn’t shy away from dissing Twilight, which was much appreciated. I still don’t understand how millions of people were persuaded to obsess over a series with vampires that sparkled. I unfortunately got caught up in it myself, mostly because Harry Potter was ending and I wanted to continue to fangirl with the lot. Now, I would like to blackout that entire portion of my life. Like a bad dream.

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Vampires don’t sparkle!

The most notable episode that is hyper meta is season six’s The French Mistake where Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles play Sam and Dean pretending to be Jared and Jensen playing Sam and Dean. Yeah, I know. It’s the most hilarious situation ever.

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Sam pretending to be Jared acting as “Sam”.
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Dean pretending to be Jensen acting as “Dean”.

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There you go, folks. That’s about all my head can take when trying to think about my love for Supernatural. And I have to admit, while typing this post, I’ve noticed that I have no patience for the later seasons. Particularly seasons seven – eleven. Things and plot points just don’t stand out the way they did in the earlier seasons. But, I’m a loyal fan so I’ll stick around.

I’ve even been to two Supernatural conventions and got to see the cast really engage with their fans, most of them being really young or new to the series. I’ve been with the guys since day one and I am just in awe that they’re still on the air and the oldest show on The CW. They’re also the only show left from The WB. Amazing. Check out the series if you haven’t. It’s got the drama, and the horror, and the comedy, and just great chemistry between the cast and characters. I’m going to stick with it to the end.

Here’s one of my favorite season promo trailers.

 

‘Til next time.

Happy Thanksgiving!

I’m truly grateful to be alive this year. With all that’s going on in this world and with all of the people who are sad, sick, away from their loved ones, angry, confused, etc – I am happy to wake up and say thank you to whoever that’s watching over us. Just to be alive and well.

We live in times where we can easily let the minutes just fly by and forget how precious they are. I say this because this is what I used to do with television. I’d use it as a tool to forget that I am a part of this world and that I am important. That I matter. I used it to mask my true feelings about various situations. I used it to move along the time until something BETTER would come up.

Nowadays, I am realizing that I am not hiding from anything, but rather enjoying television because I love it. Because it actually makes me feel alive and important. It’s truly a growing and changing medium and has a special connection to billions (maybe trillions of people). It’s what keeps many of us together. It’s what keeps me motivated to be better and do better things. Hopefully one day I will have much more control over/with the growth of this amazing medium.

With all of that said, I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving! I see it not as a day of all of the food that we can consume without blinking (I’m the only vegetarian in my family so – not much anyway). But, I see it as a day of reflection. To mark the opportunity to say thanks – for whatever we’ve accomplished. For whatever that makes us happy.

If you’re in the mood for television, like I aways am – watch episode “Pangs” from the fourth season of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer. It’s truly hilarious and a great holiday special. I have a whole blog post coming up on Buffy early in the new year! So stay tuned!

‘Til next time!