The Great Indoors & Millennials

Author: Mary Grace Donaldson, Entertainment

From the opening scene of The Great Indoors, viewers are subjected to negative millennial stereotypes. Jack (Joel McHale) enters an office for the outdoor magazine that, we find out, he helped build and currently reports in the field for. He is greeted by a dog-wielding twenty-something.

Jack questions the receptionist by asking, in essence, “why the dog?” Immediately, the receptionist accuses Jack of giving into millennial stereotypes and unintentionally offers the information that the dog is an “emotional support” dog.

We move into the back office, where we meet employees Clark, Emma and Mason – all sketches of stereotypical millennials. It is later disclosed that Clark and Mason run a podcast together, and Emma hardly looks up from her job duties as the company’s social media coordinator.

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Which brings me to my first issue with the series…within five minutes of the opening, we meet four characters (technically five if you count the employee who works from inside a tent whose name I can’t even remember, even after looking up the cast on IMDB), who all fit that “ugly” vision of millennials. The characters are caricatures, from first impression to the small details.

Clark is extremely eager to meet Jack, to the point that he exudes nerves at the first conversation yet still manages to cite him as “the reason” he got into outdoor journalism.

Now, I don’t know about you, but if I met my inspiration for the first time, I’d be nervous. And I’m willing to bet that anyone in the previous generation would feel the same. Sorry, but that’s not a millennial “thing.” And the fact that Clark showed Jack the “wrong” picture on his tablet is just stupid – for anyone, of any age.

All three employees truly have important jobs in today’s digital space, but Jack, who is accustomed to the print nature of a magazine, cannot wrap his head around their jobs and refers to Clark as having a “made up job title.” He turns his nose up when Emma announces to the room that he “doesn’t exist” because he doesn’t have a Twitter or a LinkedIn account. And he is later referred to as the “human version of dial-up” when Clark brings Jack’s website – circa 1996 – up on the office slide projector.

While it is easy to see why Jack may be humiliated by the wisecracks, it is essential to have a digital footprint in today’s media world, and Jack’s younger employees have a point. The magazine needs to appeal to a millennial audience, and in order to do so, it needs to be represented on social media both as a magazine – and by the man who founded said magazine. Clark takes the step of setting up a personal Instagram account for Jack…which I hope he thanks him for in a later episode.

In the next scene, Jack’s boss delivers the news that the magazine is moving away from print issues to digital-only website editions, citing Newsweek as an example of a successful model. To put it kindly, Jack is crushed and enters panic mode over the next set of news: he is now the supervisor of the millennial employees he just met (except, he refers to them collectively as “Digital Day Care”…).

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Jack makes several more condescending references to millennials throughout the rest of the episode, not to mention the dialogue he has with the bartender at the bar next to the office in which they ask the following hypothetical question: “when are millennials not offended by something?” News flash for the writers: we’re not all easily offended. Some of us are calling attention to very important social justice issues when you accuse of us of being offended.

The episode continues with Jack ending up in the human resources department not once but twice, for making employees feel badly about themselves and creating a “hostile work environment.”

I could go on for at least another page about how the first episode of this comedy – that will no doubt be popular with millennial haters – is one huge generalization, but it’s probably best that I draw this rant—uh, review, to a close. So, here are a few takeaways:

  • Millennials are still being stereotyped as crybabies. We aren’t all that way.
  • No matter what members of the previous generation may think, a digital footprint is very important. In fact, we’ve written about how to make yours better through your personal brand. We wouldn’t write about it if it wouldn’t help the careers of our readers.
  • Sure, there are millennials out there who fit these caricatures, but the same could be said for caricatures of people of any generation. Did the same conflict of ideologies not exist between our parents’ generation and our grandparents’ generation?
  • All of that said, I am going to try to follow this series (I’ve said before how I’m awful at following weekly TV shows). I hope to see Jack accept his new employees, and I hope that they can learn a lot from him both about journalism and about the ideologies of the previous generation. They may be fictional characters, but I want to see them have a respectful dialogue.

TV Review: The Great Indoors

Author: Mary Grace Donaldson, Entertainment

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From the opening scene of The Great Indoors, viewers are subjected to negative millennial stereotypes. Jack (Joel McHale) enters an office for the outdoor magazine that, we find out, he helped build and currently reports in the field for. He is greeted by a dog-wielding twenty-something.

Jack questions the receptionist by asking, in essence, “why the dog?” Immediately, the receptionist accuses Jack of giving into millennial stereotypes and unintentionally offers the information that the dog is an “emotional support” dog.

We move into the back office, where we meet employees Clark, Emma and Mason – all sketches of stereotypical millennials. It is later disclosed that Clark and Mason run a podcast together, and Emma hardly looks up from her job duties as the company’s social media coordinator.

The-Great-Indoors-CBS-Comedy-Gets-Attacked-By-Millennial-Media.png

Which brings me to my first issue with the series…within five minutes of the opening, we meet four characters (technically five if you count the employee who works from inside a tent whose name I can’t even remember, even after looking up the cast on IMDB), who all fit that “ugly” vision of millennials. The characters are caricatures, from first impression to the small details.

Clark is extremely eager to meet Jack, to the point that he exudes nerves at the first conversation yet still manages to cite him as “the reason” he got into outdoor journalism.

Now, I don’t know about you, but if I met my inspiration for the first time, I’d be nervous. And I’m willing to bet that anyone in the previous generation would feel the same. Sorry, but that’s not a millennial “thing.” And the fact that Clark showed Jack the “wrong” picture on his tablet is just stupid – for anyone, of any age.

All three employees truly have important jobs in today’s digital space, but Jack, who is accustomed to the print nature of a magazine, cannot wrap his head around their jobs and refers to Clark as having a “made up job title.” He turns his nose up when Emma announces to the room that he “doesn’t exist” because he doesn’t have a Twitter or a LinkedIn account. And he is later referred to as the “human version of dial-up” when Clark brings Jack’s website – circa 1996 – up on the office slide projector.

While it is easy to see why Jack may be humiliated by the wisecracks, it is essential to have a digital footprint in today’s media world, and Jack’s younger employees have a point. The magazine needs to appeal to a millennial audience, and in order to do so, it needs to be represented on social media both as a magazine – and by the man who founded said magazine. Clark takes the step of setting up a personal Instagram account for Jack…which I hope he thanks him for in a later episode.

In the next scene, Jack’s boss delivers the news that the magazine is moving away from print issues to digital-only website editions, citing Newsweek as an example of a successful model. To put it kindly, Jack is crushed and enters panic mode over the next set of news: he is now the supervisor of the millennial employees he just met (except, he refers to them collectively as “Digital Day Care”…).

New-on-CBS-The-Great-Indoors.jpg

Jack makes several more condescending references to millennials throughout the rest of the episode, not to mention the dialogue he has with the bartender at the bar next to the office in which they ask the following hypothetical question: “when are millennials not offended by something?” News flash for the writers: we’re not all easily offended. Some of us are calling attention to very important social justice issues when you accuse of us of being offended.

The episode continues with Jack ending up in the human resources department not once but twice, for making employees feel badly about themselves and creating a “hostile work environment.”

I could go on for at least another page about how the first episode of this comedy – that will no doubt be popular with millennial haters – is one huge generalization, but it’s probably best that I draw this rant—uh, review, to a close. So, here are a few takeaways:

  • Millennials are still being stereotyped as crybabies. We aren’t all that way.
  • No matter what members of the previous generation may think, a digital footprint is very important. In fact, we’ve written about how to make yours better through your personal brand. We wouldn’t write about it if it wouldn’t help the careers of our readers.
  • Sure, there are millennials out there who fit these caricatures, but the same could be said for caricatures of people of any generation. Did the same conflict of ideologies not exist between our parents’ generation and our grandparents’ generation?
  • All of that said, I am going to try to follow this series (I’ve said before how I’m awful at following weekly TV shows). I hope to see Jack accept his new employees, and I hope that they can learn a lot from him both about journalism and about the ideologies of the previous generation. They may be fictional characters, but I want to see them have a respectful dialogue.

Once Your Heart Gets Involved, it All Comes Out in Moron: Dating Advice From the Gilmore Girls

Author: Alli Jean, The Dating Game

**Warning: spoilers herein if you haven’t seen Gilmore Girls seasons 1-through-7. If you haven’t, order a pizza, get candy and junk food and coffee and start watching NOW**

It’s fall, so tis the season for apple picking, pumpkin spice lattes…and Gilmore Girls, the iconic WB turned CW dramedy that ran from 2000-2007 and starred Lauren Graham as Lorelai, the flawed, witty and always relatable 32 year old mother of 16 year old Rory, the type-A bookworm with a heart of gold.

Set in fictional Stars Hollow, Connecticut, Rory and Loreai’s stories of steadfast friendship, quirky town traditions, academic pursuits, struggles for acceptance (with their parents and grandparents), and tales of dating, love, and loss resonated with viewers. Although the true #relationshipgoal of this show was to have a relationship with your mom as devoted and realistic as Rory does with Lorelai, that didn’t stop viewers from having fervent opinions about the “Gilmore boys,” who waltzed in and out of the lives of our heroines.

Whether you were Team Dean, Team Jess, Team Logan, Team Luke and/or Team Chris, the Gilmore girls and their various love interests over the years taught us some valuable lessons about dating, loss and love.

Don’t be afraid to say I Love You
For Rory, Dean was the perfect first boyfriend. He was thoughtful, he made her feel special and he respected Lorelai. However, on their three-month anniversary, after a romantic dinner (that yes, involved Rory bringing home a meatball in a reference to Lady and the Tramp), Dean took Rory to show her the car he had been hand-building her, and dropped a bombshell: he said ‘I love you.’

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While Rory was flattered and cared about him a lot, she couldn’t reciprocate by saying it back to him, causing him to break up with her. In the midst of allowing herself to wallow, Lorelai told Rory that if she genuinely didn’t feel the same way that’s fine, but after struggling with maintaining relationships for years, she “hoped she didn’t raise a kid who couldn’t say I love you.” Shortly after, Dean shows up at Rory’s private high school and after fighting in front of everyone, Rory finally shouts “I love you, you idiot” (a line, I might imagine many of us have been attempted to use at one time or another).

Communicate
Despite their fast-paced talking and topical pop culture references, when it comes to relationships and dating, communication is a frequent issue for the Gilmore girls. Early on, Lorelai dates Rory’s English literature teacher, Max Medina, and they eventually get engaged (after he proposes with a thousand yellow daisies, of course). However, Lorelai breaks it off the morning after her bachelorette party, when she realizes she has unresolved feelings for Rory’s father, Christopher, that she has been unable to relay (quick background: when Lorelai got pregnant at 16, Christopher wanted to get married but Lorelai knew they were too young. Christopher has been an absentee father at best ever since but tries to make amends once Rory is in high school).

Speaking of Lorelai and Christopher, things start to heat up for the pair when Christopher starts to regularly visit Stars Hollow. The two finally sleep together the night before Lorelai is due to be the maid of honor in her best friend Sookie’s wedding, when Christopher learns that Sherry, his girlfriend he has just separated from for Lorelai, is pregnant. Since he wasn’t around while Lorelai raised Rory, he doesn’t want to repeat his mistakes and goes back to Sherry. However, neither Lorelai nor Christopher convey how heartbroken they are, which will create unresolved emotions down the line.

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Things between Rory and Dean were going well until Luke’s rebellious, literature enthusiast nephew, Jess, arrived in Stars Hollow. Luke’s attempts to turn his nephew’s life on the straight path were fleeting at best, but it was Rory’s intellect and beauty that captivated Jess. Sharing a love of classic and beatnik literature and sense of humor, Jess quickly became the most popular of Rory’s boyfriends among fans.

However, Jess’s teenage angst and tumultuous past made him wary of getting too attached to anyone, even Rory. Jess’s inability to deal with his emotions gets the better of him, he skips out of being her prom date, doesn’t graduate, and takes off to meet his biological father as Rory celebrates being valedictorian at her high school graduation. After she goes to Yale, Jess finally admits how much he loves her and suggests they run away together, but Rory turns him down. Their story isn’t quite finished though, and Jess comes to town on his independent book tour (you wrote a book!) and gives Rory the wakeup call she needs to turn her life around after she has dropped out of Yale. Will the Gilmore Girls revival bring Jess into Rory’s life again? We’ll have to wait and see…

Perhaps there was no bigger struggle to communicate than between Lorelai and Luke, the curmudgeon diner owner who held a torch for Lorelai for eight years, who saw her go from Max to Christopher, to Alex, to Digger (insert collective groan, please). They were a constant source of comfort to each other. Luke was a surrogate father for Rory, he made her coffee cake on her birthday and sobbed at her high school graduation and showed up at the hospital when Lorelai’s father had a heart attack. After dodging questions for years from the gossiping residents of Stars Hollow and Lorelai’s mom, Emily, finally, finally after years of being with the wrong people, Luke and Lorelai made it work…for a while.

In the midst of being in a fight with Rory, Lorelai proposed to Luke, but he couldn’t commit when she wanted to leap forward. Then, through a divisive move from the writers, Luke discovers he has a 12 year old daughter, April, who Luke accepts into his life with open arms while simultaneously keeping Lorelai at a distance. Even a ballad from Fiddler On the Roof couldn’t make Lorelai and Luke communicate what they needed…at least not then. Oy with the poodles!

You Can’t Help Who You Love/It Won’t Necessarily Be the Person Everyone Expects
This message culminates when after her relationship with Luke, a heartbroken Lorelai sleeps with Christopher, dates him, and goes with him to Paris, where they elope. Now, Christopher and Lorelai knew each other since they were teenagers and had Rory, and finally, it seemed as though the timing was right for them to get together. Even after Rory accepted what was happening, Lorelai knew it wasn’t right and tearfully claimed to Chris “you’re the man I want to want.” But he wasn’t.heart

Even though he was Rory’s father and they had so much shared history and they came from the same background, it wasn’t right. Luke was right, it was always Luke. And even though her parents couldn’t necessarily see it and even though it took them over ten years to get together (with a little help from Lorelai singing I Will Always Love You at karaoke night), at the series finale, they finally got their happy ending after Luke worked with the entire town of Stars Hollow to throw Rory a goodbye party before she left Stars Hollow for her first real journalism job.

As Lorelai once proclaimed, “you can’t help who you fall for, Angelina and Billy Bob are a great example of that.” Okay, so they are maybe not the best example but we can only hope that Lorelai and Luke are thriving when we go back to Stars Hollow in a few short weeks.

Yada, Yada, Yada: Dating Advice as Told by Seinfeld

Author: Alli Jean, The Dating Game

If your family was anything like mine, there was one TV show in the 1990s that stood apart from the stale family dramas and programs depicting unrealistic expectations of adult friendship. I am of course talking about Seinfeld, the “show about nothing” that quickly became a water cooler gold mine, and a pillar of pop culture after first airing in 1989.

One over-arching theme of the series was the constant missteps and amusing tribulations of the dating lives of the four New Yorkers we all came to love: Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer. Far from romantic, Seinfeld was more of a lesson in what not to do than a guide to pursuing a successful and meaningful relationship. From the vault, here are a few lessons learned:

The “will they, won’t they, why do we care?”

One of the first sitcom stereotypes broken by Seinfeld was how the show’s writers dealt with the constant pressure from fans to push Jerry and Elaine into a romantic relationship. At the beginning of the series, it was explained that the pair had previously dated, but they were now just good friends.

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However, by the end of Season 2, network executives and fans were anxious to see the witty banter and playfulness between the two culminate in romance. Jerry and Elaine discreetly consider the idea, while insisting that their friendship is very important and that nothing should change that. They simply want to take “this” (their friendship) and add “that” (sex); essentially asking if friends with benefits can work long-term. And in order to do so and maintain their friendship, they develop a set of rules, including no phone calls the next day, and that spending the night after having sex is optional.

While George is initially very impressed, he predicts that Jerry will get greedy and that there’s no way this arrangement will last. In a rare moment, George is right and after the rules fail them, Elaine proclaims that she wants “this,” “that” and “the other” (romance). Although they initially break up after the rules fail them, by the end of the episode Jerry and Elaine are together in every sense and at least temporarily seem to have “this, that and the other.” However, they are so nauseating about it that Kramer proclaims “you know, I liked you two a lot better when you weren’t a couple.” Apparently the fans and critics agreed because by the start of Season 3, there was no more mention of them dating.

Lesson learned: men and women can have a platonic friendship.

The Setups

Setups occur multiple times on Seinfeld, always with hilariously disastrous results. Perhaps the most well-known instance of a setup occurs when Jerry and Elaine are discussing the fact that they each have a friend (George, and Elaine’s friend Cynthia) who has nearly given up on dating altogether – and Jerry and Elaine set them up.

Both George and Cynthia are hesitant at first, and when the idea is proposed to each of them, George is primarily concerned about the looks of his potential date (does her cheek have a pinkish hue, a must have), her personality, and finally, what she does for work. Cynthia however, immediately asks what George does for work and is disheartened to discover he is unemployed.

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Despite initial chemistry between the two, Cynthia is…late (due to George using a defective condom given to him by Kramer), thus ending their courtship. George is set up again shortly after he begins wearing a toupee and therefore feeling more confident. He is ironically horrified to discover he is set up with a bald woman.

Jerry also sets Elaine up with one of his good friends, Phil Tuttola – who Jerry claims he respects more than most of his other friends, and could actually see Elaine dating. The two have a great first date, but as Elaine conveys to Jerry the next day, Phil “took it out” and thus ended her interest swiftly. Jerry is horrified and Elaine sarcastically inquires “got any other friends you want to set me up with?”

If these stories tell us anything, it is that often times, despite your good intentions, setting up friends does not always work out for the best – for anyone involved.

Other Random Observations

  • Be aware of your dancing ability. If your moves are similar to “the little kicks and the thumbs” Elaine is so famous for, have a little self-awareness of how you’re coming across.
  • Try to split costs evenly. No one person should have to pay for everything, yet don’t be cheap. Don’t skimp on things like wedding invitations. We all know how that turned out (RIP Susan Ross).
  • Breaking up is difficult. You either have to go all-in and end a relationship like ripping off a band aid, or like trying to push over a coke machine, rock it back and forth a few times.
  • Honesty is always best. Whether it be about your occupation, how bald you are, your living situation, whether you accidentally dropped your partner’s toothbrush in the toilet, yada, yada, yada. yada

These ere just a few of the takeaways from the disastrous love lives of our favorite New York comedian and his three closest friends. While they might not be the best role models in terms of striving for healthy relationships, their trials and tribulations are certainly relatable nearly 30 years later.

How House M.D. Changed My Life

Author: Mary Grace Donaldson, Entertainment

The year was 2007. I’d recently graduated from high school – and if I’m going to be honest with myself, my senior year was a very difficult year for me (but more on that in a later issue). I also found myself anxious about going away to college and being on my own for the first time.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but my worldview – and my view of people – was changing quicker than I’d wanted it to. I realized that most of the people I’d been friends with in high school (except for Gauri!), as a result of a series of unfortunate incidents, wouldn’t be my BFFS 4 LYFE! As a member of a small school environment since age five, that was a hard pill to swallow (although in retrospect, I wish I hadn’t worried so much). And I didn’t want to be right about how I was feeling.

A few weeks after graduation, my parents, Gauri, another friend and I embarked on a road trip to my favorite place in the world, Walt Disney World. And both friends decided that we would watch DVDs of House M.D., for the entirety of the trip – a series I’m sure many fellow millennials are familiar with.

I am notorious for my lateness to the party on most TV shows, but House was only three seasons old by this point. I had no idea what I was getting into. In the past, I’d never been a fan of medical dramas.

It took me just a few episodes in the first season to realize that Dr. House was different – and he was a very special character who would end up lighting the way for me to come to terms with my newer view of people while simultaneously giving me hope for humanity. After all, isn’t that the reason for fictional characters? Aren’t they supposed to be relatable?

everybody-liesFrom the pilot episode, Dr. House tells his colleagues and patients that “everybody lies”– and it’s a theme any avid fan of the show will come to know (I may or may not own a t-shirt that reads “Everybody Lies”). It spoke to me as it felt as though many of my classmates lied to me for 13 years – and some of my teachers had, too. I didn’t want it to hit home, but I also couldn’t deny that it did.

The feeling gave me a strange sense of comfort, as I felt I wasn’t so alone in my feelings of betrayal by people who had been part of my life for a long time. I didn’t know the details of what brought Dr. House to believe what he believed, but if he were a real human being, I had a feeling we could talk for a long time.

But Dr. House’s life philosophy on how there is not a single human being who consistently tells the truth was not the standout for me. Dr. House was a character who – regardless of what others thought – stayed true to himself and his (albeit warped) character. He believed in his brilliance with each patient he healed, stood up to the audience of doubters, and proved them wrong nearly every time.

And so began my love affair with the Good Doctor – as well as his wit, his facetiousness, his good looks (I know, I know, he’s 50) and his remarkable ability to save a life when all seemed lost. I also learned more about British actor Hugh Laurie (who, for those who don’t know, portrayed Dr. House) and the fact that he developed an American accent for the role.

By the time I left for college that September, I had watched every episode of seasons one through three at least twice, thus cultivating my preference for the series’ “old team” of Dr. House’s medical fellows: the lovesick Dr. Cameron, the stupid Dr. Chase and the workaholic Dr. Forman. I also identified with Dr. House’s boss, Dr. Cuddy, and cheered on their obvious sexual tension (which would finally come to fruition and then fade a few years later). And of course I loved Dr. Wilson, Dr. House’s thrice-divorced best friend, who couldn’t solve his own problems but served as the voice of reason to Dr. House.

I felt as though they all came to college with me. On the ride up, I watched episodes over again. I introduced my roommate to the series and found myself hoping that someone I met would also be a fan of the series. By the time the season four premiere rolled around, I was ecstatic.

And thanks to Dr. House, I was learning how to be myself at college – and not care what anyone else thought.

With Season 4 came the WGA Writer’s Strike, which resulted in only 16 episodes being produced. But it also brought us House fans a number of new characters, who were all relatable in different ways. I kept on watching over the course of my college years, but fell behind as a result of night classes and other obligations of college life.

All the while, I still carried a torch for Dr. House. I wrote my senior undergraduate thesis fighthepoweron the series and how the fandom became such a part of my life. I cried when he finally got together with Dr. Cuddy and broke up with her what felt like a minute later. I watched as Dr. House checked himself into rehab and sought help for his addiction to prescription pain medication – and made sure to tune into the series finale in 2012.

On the night of the series finale, I wrote a Facebook status about how these characters changed my life. At this point I’d graduated from college, but still stand by the fact that I’ve never had a fictional character speak to me to this degree. I don’t consider myself to be like Dr. House per se – but I learned a great deal by the way he lived, saved lives, stood up for himself and put up a tough exterior when he was actually afraid but didn’t know how to voice that feeling.

House M.D. changed my life. In a world in which everybody lies, you can still make a difference in someone’s life, even if it’s just one life.