Content Analysis: How I Met Your Mother

*NOTE: This analysis was done as a project for my Race, Gender and the Media class this fall. It ends abruptly because I wanted to cover the topic thoroughly and didn’t have much room in four pages for a solid conclusion. 

I created an entire spreadsheet on the girls Ted Mosby has dated, including their length of relationship, # of episode appearances, hair and eye color, and profession. If you’d like this data, shoot me an email at hollycnorris@icloud.com*

HIMYMHow I Met Your Mother, one of CBS’ most popular sitcoms in recent years, ran for nearly nine years before its series finale in March 2014. Centered around die-hard romantic Ted Mosby and his four friends’ exploits in New York City, How I Met Your Mother (or HIMYM, as it’s often abbreviated) was nominated for 28 Emmy Awards during its’ run, and the finale episode had over 12.9 viewers (Hibbard).

While HIMYM is praised as being a time capsule of American culture, documenting the lifestyle, clothing and technology of the mid 2000s to early 2010s, in the same way Saved By The Bell iconized the 1980s, it’s safe to say that the show does a fairly poor job of representing the true cultural demographics of the time, especially in a city as diverse as New York. Over nine seasons, the show does show a good cross section of different races and sexualities. However, as a whole, HIMYM is fairly white washed from every aspect, and goes to extremes to stereotype characters, including the five protagonists.

Ted, our main character, is a white, middle-class, Ohio native (meant to represent the “every man”) and architect turned professor in later seasons, who is incredibly naïve and goes through a hero’s journey of sorts, spending most every episode looking for the future mother of his children while never really encountering many large-scale problems that aren’t romance related.

Ted’s best friend since college, Marshall, a lawyer, is a complete stereotype of the white Midwestern male, hailing from Minnesota with a large family (both in number and size) who all talk primarily about the Vikings. While Marshall does encounter some adversity throughout the show, it’s more due to his family and romance with Lilly than his actual identity.

Lilly, Marshall’s long time girlfriend-turned-wife is another characterization of the born-and-bred New Yorker. She is a kindergarten teacher, and is terrified of living outside of the city, having real problems when she does so in later seasons. However, Lilly is one of the only five to really branch out from her stereotype with sexually ambiguous tendencies, often making remarks about Robin, the second female in the group, along with other females as they come along. While it does add to the humor, it plays into the stereotype that Lily, like many girls who stay with their college sweetheart, long too “experiment” before settling down.

Barney, the third and final male of the Barney-how-i-met-your-mother-33067021-750-595group is the epitome of a womanizer (see – hot vs. crazy scale, right). We’re never really clear what is actual occupation is, though he works for a large financial institution in an executive position. Midway through the show, he has slept with over 200 women, most of whom were one night stands he tricked into sleeping with him using his “Playbook,” which he later discards after deciding to marry Robin. His mother was promiscuous and therefore he and his brother, who is black and gay, have two different dads.

Robin is the last to join the group, having moved to New York shortly before the show began. She is a broadcast journalist originally from Canada, and as the stereotype would hold, loves guns, cigars, maple syrup and uses lots of Canadian phrases and talks about locations the rest of the group doesn’t understand as if it’s every day jargon. In severe contrast to Lilly, Robin is the female of the group that doesn’t want to get married, doesn’t want to have kids, and in later seasons, when she finds out she can’t have kids at all, is devastated.

While none of the five primary characters were multicultural in appearance – though both Robin and Barney shared Canadian ancestry – the few characters they did bring in of other races, such as Barney’s brother, James, an African American, or Ted’s one time date, Janet, also African American, they are either incredibly accomplished, incredibly annoying, and/or never seen again. James and his Hispanic husband, Tom, are some of the only recurring characters that aren’t white or straight, in a city where, according to 2014 US census data, only 56.5% of the population reports being white (non-Lispanic/Latino). This is with the exception of Bangladeshi taxi driver Ranjit, who is often used as comedic relief and has appeared in more episodes than “The Mother.”

UntitledAside from the five primary characters and their interactions, the stories that get the most screen time tend to be those surrounding Ted’s love life. While the show is formatted around future Ted, telling the story of “how I met your mother” to his two children in the year 2030, he spares no detail in describing sexual exploits with no less than 35 women who were actually named and appeared on screen, and at least five more who were never shown/named.

Looking at the bigger picture, it’s easy to see why critics have also claimed that the show is white washed outside of the main cast. Of the 35 women Ted dated on screen, 30 of them appeared to be Caucasian, American in nationality and only one was sexually ambiguous, Rachel, having (presumably) participated in a threesome with Ted and her college friend Trudy. Trudy was the one love interest who appeared Hispanic, and the actress who portrays her is actually primarily of European descent.

And of all the love interests Ted had, only two weren’t from the U.S. One was a Canadian named Robyn, a setup by Barney to get over the real Robin, and the other was a Russian woman looking to get married so she could stay in the country – another stereotype not only sitcoms, but most shows today love to play on. Some of this could be blamed on Ted having a “type,” but it could be a casting choice as well. While the appearance of the girls in the show may not be incredibly diverse, the professions of Ted’s love interests vary widely. Of the 35 on screen romances, 15 of the women’s occupations are unknown. Of the 20 that are known, two are journalists, two are chefs, two are full-time activists and one is a marine biologist.

How I Met Your Mother has seen its fare share of criticism for not accurately depicting a racially diverse nation, and some of that criticism is completely founded. However, looking at the women Ted has dated and some of the professionals they hold, as well as the tertiary characters that round out the show’s family aspect, How I Met Your Mother does have its redeeming qualities.

ANDDDDD In case you forgot this happened:

References:

(2014). How I Met Your Mother and the ideology of sexism in the media. Media and Cultural Analysis, Spring 2014 (Blog). Retrieved from: http://www.karanovic.org/courses/mca008/archives/1073

U.S. Census Bureau. (September 30, 2015). Quickfacts beta: New York. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved from: http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/36000.html

Sunrider, V. (September 4, 2012). How I Met Your Mother season 8 promo spot. Filmofilia. Retrieved from: http://www.filmofilia.com/how-i-met-your-mother-season-8-promo-spot-114334/

Hibbard, J. (April 1, 2014). ‘How I Met Your Mother’ series finale sets ratings record. Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved from: http://www.ew.com/article/2014/04/01/how-i-met-your-mother-series-finale-sets-ratings-record

Love the Way You Lie

So. Things got pretty interesting in my Race, Gender and the Media class. I’m not quite sure what to take of it.

One of our assignments was to watch Eminem and Rhianna’s “Love the Way You Lie” music video, as seen below.

The topic of the class was media and violence, and boy, did it spiral. The discussion was pretty well balanced, as it usually is in that class. That is, until two males, in their comments, said in not so few words that there are certain situations in which women provoke men, and therefore, it was excusable to for men to hit women in those situations.

Basically, all hell broke loose. I have a number of incredibly opinionated females in my class who, thankfully, stood up for the other side of the argument, but the discussion got pretty out of hand. It got to the point where one girl stood up in class and left crying, and two guys got fairly emotional as well. We were dismissed early, but it left a lot of us wondering: is violence against women still such a normalized idea that these guys thought it was okay to just dismiss it as part of life? And especially in such an open space, where it was very clear that the majority of the room was going to be upset by their statement.

I was very blessed to have grown up in a family that didn’t believe in violence as punishment, and violence against women was not a part of my every day life. But even for those who grow up around those kinds of relationships, you would think that they would be exposed to enough non-violent relationships to see that those are not the norms.

Hearing the opinions of my classmates on a weekly basis always gives me something to think about. This time was the first time I’ve ever really felt a disconnect from the students in that class.

Sometimes it sucks being so opinionated.

She’s a Leader, Not a Loudmouth

I rarely rant on here anymore. There were days, long ago, when I used my blog as a platform to blast my personal opinion. But since my career in DECA and more professional fields began, I try to keep things as subtle as possible for the sake of being seen as a neutral party, especially since I now coach students.

However, I think this one has to be discussed.

This has been a hot topic of discussion for a while, particularly since Sarah Palin’s 2008 VP nom, but why is it that women and men, are taught so differently about how to be a leader, and are subsequently covered in the media in two very contrasting lights?

e5a380df3cda6fe4a58c641fefacb1c7

I think what’s fueled this fire recently is the mid-September news story of a Frisco ISD (TX) elementary school that decided to separate out their 4th and 5th grade boys and girls with school councelors to teach them each different life lessons each month. A newsletter sent to parents was not very clear, and made it seem like the topics each month were ONLY going to be taught to the boys or girls of that grade, and would not then be shared with the other groups.

The first two topics? Career and college prep for the boys, and confidence building and relationships for the girls.

While a corrected newsletter was sent out clarifying to parents that all groups would be taught the same topics of career prep the first month, and in later months would learn the same topics in different orders, the story picked up national coverage (SEVENTEEN MAGAZINE, of all publications, did a story on it, questioning why the school felt the need to separate the groups in the first place, and who decided that those two topics couldn’t be taught at the same time to both the boys and girls.

My question, though, is why is it not the norm to teach girls leadership skills in the first place?

As someone who has served in leadership positions since high school, I would be lying to say there have been times when people have assumed my male counterparts were the president when I was, or, more recently, that I was a high school student when in reality I was actually their coach – an assumption that I’ve noticed is less often made when men my age are in suits.

But the other thing I have noticed is much more common is that when women serve in leadership positions, and they do begin to delegate tasks or assert their power as a leader, they’re not seen as a boss – they’re seen as a bitch.

And while this may be something that has to do with the short time it’s been since women were allowed to hold executive positions – only in the last 100 years did we attain the right to vote, much less hold office or have a corner office – but it’s an issue that has to change.

One of my favorite quotes on the topic is from a female executive who’s been making waves the last few years: Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.

729063d2bb3c6d03b37de9446772c6bb

Today, we associate bossy and feminine as negative – and that’s not going to change until our view on women in power changes first.

Just some ranty food for thought for the evening.

Achievement Unlocked: MY POTTER PODCASTING DREAM

So.

A while back I did a post on podcasts, and I bragged on one of my favorite shows, Alohomora!, and how awesome they are.

After the ups and downs of the last few months, I wasn’t sure how much more I could handle, and I got home a few weeks ago and received an email response to my audition to guest host that I submitted a while back asking me to come on their next episode.

I LITERALLY SCREAMED AT THE TOP OF MY LUNGS DID A HAPPY DANCE IN THE MIDDLE OF MY LIVING ROOM THAT WAS SOMEWHERE BETWEEN THRILLER AND THE MACARENA. It was epic.

dancingawkwardly

But I digress. After some minor scheduling issues, we were able to record and I’m SO happy to say that the episode, where we discuss Deathly Hallows Chapter 2 “In Memoriam,” is up and ready for your listening pleasure.

Listen Now:  | Download (Right Click, Save As) | Open in iTunes

It was SUCH a fun experience, and the hosts were so great to work with. We discussed Deathly Hallows, my experience with the series (which you can read more about here), and SO much more. I’m really excited to participate in the TWO live episodes they’re planning for the Deathly Hallows movie watches as well and will hopefully get a chance to call in to discuss those.

If you are a Potter fan and aren’t already caught up on Alohomora!, I highly recommend doing so – their back catalog of episodes is extensive (6 books worth!) and hilarious to listen to on long commutes, like I do.

VIDEO FOR TODAY (in case you needed even MORE nerd):

Motivation

I had a great discussion last week with a new friend about motivations. How every person has one core value that motivates them in life. Power. Money. Gratitude.

For me, it’s always been likability. I was fine with not sleeping, frying my hair and compromising my personal sense of style for YEARS as long as people liked me.

I will go to the ends of the earth just to make ensure that those around me are happy, and like me (which, I know, is really stupid – if they don’t like me, why are they in my life?). And if I think someone has a reason not to like me? I will break down completely and do whatever it takes to make that person like me.

In high school, I was MUCH more of a Pollyanna character than I am today. I would never say what bothered me, I went with what everyone told me to do – all to ensure that everyone liked me. But as I got into college, I was no longer serving in officer positions and really had no one to please but myself – so I got back into the habit of saying no. And while the motivation of having people like me never went away, I still had the respect of a lot of people because of my accomplishments, and I was okay with that.

But saying no is a dangerous thing once you become the international face of a student organization. So as soon as I began my journey with the Collegiate team, I switched back into Pollyanna mode…and completely lost myself again.

It’s funny, when you think about how things can change in a year. And after a year of always saying yes, of kissing butt and taking names, of schmoozing to business people at luncheons and trying to put into layman’s terms that, yes, I am this young and yes, I have done all this stuff, and sure, I’ll come speak at your event that ends ten minutes before my first class starts, I am really, really tired.

And I will be the first person to tell you I put myself in this situation. I always have. I love having the opportunity to do the things I do, and I wouldn’t take back the positions I’ve held for the world, nor would I discourage anyone from running for them. But after years of putting others before myself, and trying to maintain an image of perfection when sometimes, all you want to do is fall apart, I’ve recently begun to think it’s about damn time I start doing things for myself for a change.

So that’s exactly what I’ve been doing.

The first thing I’ve done is gone away with the extensions and given myself a hair makeover. I wanted to wait until the end of my term to completely nix the length- I started my term with them in, I wanted to finish them that way too. But now that I haven’t worn them since the end of Faire back in May, my hair feels so much healthier and it’s SO much easier to get ready in the morning.

In addition, I visited an actual salon for the first time since I went brunette in the 8th grade. So it’s been 7 years since I’ve had my hair professionally cut and colored. And guess what? I WENT BRONDE.

 

Today, I felt like I should go swing dancing. 💃🏻 | new hair, new skirt

A photo posted by Holly (@hollycnorris) on

 

The second thing I did, if you can’t tell by the picture above, is go back to my roots of retro. Long ago in a far away land, I ran a blog called Sophomore Year of Style, where I wore a different outfit every day during my sophomore year of high school to see how creative I could get while channeling the women I still hold to this day as my fashion icons: Audrey Hepburn, Betty Draper and Blair Waldorf.

Okay, so the last two are TV characters, but you get the picture.

Regardless, it’s been a long time since I’ve worked at a place or been in a position image-wise where I was able to dress like that, primarily because college students just don’t wear nice clothes to class. But recently, I’ve been able to dress up more for work, and I forgot how empowering it is to wear a nice outifit and feel great in how you look. And I think, to me, that’s one of the things that makes me happy on the inside, and if I’m happy, usually the people around me are happy too.

Overall, I’m beginning to find myself again, and it’s a great feeling.

It’s been a long time since it’s been just Holly, not “Holly and…,” but for some reason, I’m starting to feel okay with that. Right now, I’ve got two great jobs that I love, working with people I adore, and friends I wouldn’t trade for the world.

Something tells me that that’s all the motivation I need.

 

 

NEW FEATURE: I’m going to try and include one song per post that I’m currently rocking out to…today’s is this new fun track featuring one of my favorites, Meghan Trainor. Warning – this video features a lot of high school style PDA. (*Giggle-snort*)

The Plans I Made

If there’s one thing people forget about the end of a relationship, it’s the plans you’ve made.

It’s the list of fun to-do’s sitting on a secret Pinterest board only the two of you can see. It’s the care packages you’d already planned out for each month they’d be away at school. It’s the shows you’d queued together on Netflix to someday get to. It’s the times you imagined after you were both free from the world of academia – much further than they could ever imagine, it turns out.

A month ago, these things were such fleeting thoughts, so normal and a part of my life for so long that I didn’t think much of them except how much I looked forward to them.

But now, having spent a weekend away from the world, staring at the sun as it set over a beach with, not the person I’d imagined completing all these plans with, but my incredible, amazing mother who’d whisked me away after three days of not really knowing what to do with myself, following the complete and utter dismantling of my imagined future, I’ve had some time to think about not what could have been, but what there was.

11011739_10206376986720392_4406884633095194268_o

There are so many things that were left unsaid, so many things left undone, but in the end, sometimes, you realize what’s best for the other person, and in some small, painful way, even you as well, is parting ways.

And as much as that hurts, as much as my heart ached every time the conversation in the car ride to the ocean drifted in a direction that led me to, almost automatically, mention the name that was still a fresh wound in my chest, I know that in the end, you learn something from every person that comes in and out of your life.

I’ve said the phrase “if you know me” many times before on this blog, and I’d hope that some of the people reading this actually do know me. If you do, you’ve probably heard about some of the “friends” I had throughout my childhood and even into high school. The ones who’s bullying led me to transfer schools, the ones who’s rumors forced me to escape to the career center.

From those friends, I learned tolerance. From those friends, I learned to see people’s motivations before jumping to conclusions about their actions. And because of those friends, I moved to the school, and escaped to the career center that eventually led me to join DECA, which, if you haven’t figured out by now, is probably the best thing that ever happened to me.

This latest person to come into my life was, yes, at times, naïve, and I was okay with that, because the trade off was getting to watch someone grow into the individual they are now. They stood by me while I was away for nearly a month, made me laugh during some of the hardest times in my life, and was, for lack of a better phrase, a completely unexpected surprise from the moment we met. And while I’m sure there are things we both regret, there are things I’m sure we don’t regret, either.

5c357f03049c27d7eba740a256d1bb1a

And while it’s unfair to hold them accountable for the plans I’d made (that, unfortunately, they’ll never get to hear about), or the plans we’d made, now that things have changed so much since we first met, it doesn’t lessen the hurting. But at least I know that now, we’ve learned a few things from each other.

From this person, I learned to smile more. From this person, I learned that being a Ted Mosby isn’t a bad thing, even if it winds up breaking your heart in the end. From this person, I learned that sometimes, it’s okay not to plan out everything in your life, and that the moments you don’t plan can result in some of the best memories you have.

So here’s to the plans I made, the plans we made, and the plans we never got to make.

And thank you for letting me be a part of them.

The Sound of Your Own Voice

Everyone loves it. You have to admit it. Even you do.

If you know me, or you’ve heard me speak (in which case, I apologize), you know I’m a fast-talking sometimes babbler who gets her point across in most often the most complicated way possible. I like using big words. I like run on sentences. I like repeating myself to make a point.

I will admit. I, too, like the sound of my own voice.

And the voices of other funny, nerdy people. Especially those on my favorite podcasts.

I’ve loved podcasts since middle school. When most of my friends were downloading “Hey There Delilah” on their new iPods, I was listening to new episodes of MuggleCast, Imprint and Smart Mouths, Potter, Twilight and Pop Culture podcasts respectively, run by the same crowd of podcasters that started on MuggleNet’s original show.

podcastcollage1

Obviously Potter is a big thing in my house, but these shows led me to value multitasking – doing laundry, scrolling Pinterest, cleaning out my garage – all while listening to a batch of hilarious people talk about my favorite topics.

Over the years all three shows ended, and my podcast listening died for a bit, save the occasional live show MuggleNet put on every once in a while. But my tastes have yet to change on one front (no, not Twilight). I have always and will always be a die hard Harry Potter nerd, so when I heard that some of the MuggleNet staff was in the midst of a global re-read of the series called Alohomora!, what did I do? I listened to the backlogged 40 or so episodes in less than a month to catch up, of course.

Six books later, and my love for podcasts has DEFINITELY re-ignited, and I’ve found a few new shows along the way.

podcastcollage2

Alohomora is already on book 6 of the Potter series. The middle show, Bonnie and Maude, is a fem-centric film podcast that focuses on the female perspective of various movies and pop culture pieces, which is AWESOME. And on the right, we have Read it and Weep, a “good podcast about bad books, movies and TV.”

Oh, Read it and Weep, where do I even begin? The amount of times this show has saved me from falling asleep on long drives back from school, or to Florida, or made me laugh awkwardly in a public place because of some well-timed joke that this cluster of comedians and their guests/significant others (yes, I’m referring to you, Tanya) came up with.

In fact, I liked this show so much that I became one of their monthly sponsors, lovingly referred to as a Meat Buddy (still not 100% sure how that name came about, and I’ve been listening to the show for almost two years now). One of the best things about being a Meat Buddy is that you are literally written into one of their sponsorship skits, and boy, did mine aim to please. According to the lovely people at Read it and Weep, “Holly” is the world’s best fiddle player who single handedly defeated the devil while defying the show’s biggest villain.

You can listen to the skit, and their latest episode, centered around the hit reality show “The Voice,” here.

But I digress. All this listening to podcasts has definitely made me more interested in being involved in one, especially one that covers topics I’m interested in. As some of you may have seen, I’ve recently been a part of the Stephen Perkins Program, hosted by my long time DECA friend who’s much more tech and politically savvy than I’ll ever hope to be.

Stephen-Perkins-Program-featured-750x410

I know, all he’s missing is a bottle of Lone Star and a loaded shotgun.

My first episode was a little shaky, to say the least. I wasn’t sure what to say and I was awkward as hell, but it was fun to get to talk shop with my friend and yes, I let him embarrass the crap out of me with some 50 Shades talk before I went to see the movie in theatres. You can take a listen with the player below.

But then, Stephen moved to a new network – his own network, Outset, that now hosts two podcasts in addition to his own, and I was invited back. For more 50 Shades talk, of course. And some politics, which was fun, because the research alone meant that I was more informed and was able to have a pretty decent discussion about the candidates so far for the first time in forever.

11188200_10205710791185920_3106463497127325724_n

Stephen re-building his second mic for me after attending CPAC. Yeah, he’s kind of a big deal.

So this, my friends, has lead me to a question: what is the next step in my information sharing? Could this new fun pastime of mine, outside of writing, lead to something a little more…auditory?

I like sharing my opinions, even if they’re not always well received. I like sharing my finds, my facts, my food (in case you can’t tell, I’m kind of a foodie).  And even if I do babble on, most of the time, that’s when things get funny.

I think only time will tell, but in the mean time, I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and start listening to podcasts if you don’t already. There are THOUSANDS of them out there just waiting for you to press play, on every possible topic imaginable.

In the mean time, lovelies, here’s something fun to leave you with in honor of Pitch Perfect 2’s release today (and my little sister’s birthday – I CAN’T BELIEVE SHE’S 18 THIS IS NOT OKAY).

Not Goodbye, Simply See You Later

It’s hard to imagine what life will be like when something you’ve been striving towards for six years is over. But here it is, staring me in the face: free time.

My term as a Collegiate DECA Executive Officer came to a rousing close last month in Orlando, with a 20 (yes, 20) day trip to Florida that had it’s highlights, it’s low points and memories I hope I’ll never forget.

2014-2015 Collegiate DECA Executive Officer Team | "Not Goodbye, Simply See You Later"| An Executive Officer Farewell | A Darling Disaster

My Boys! From left: Matt, me, Daryll, Johnnie, Jared

While I did get a few days of vacation in before the conference madness started, the trip was basically three straight weeks of late nights, early mornings and lots of hard work, but it was SO worth it in the end. Serving as an Executive Officer has opened so many doors for me, some of which happened while I was in Florida, and I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity.

First Ever Collegiate DECA MDA Fun Walk | "Not Goodbye, Simply See You Later" | An Executive Officer Farewell | A Darling Disaster

First EVER Collegiate DECA MDA Fun Walk!

Our ICDC had lots of firsts – first MDA fun walk, pictured above, first partnership with Disney at the Collegiate Division, first time more than the US anthem has been played at opening session (WOOHOO, Canada and China!). But it was also full of the DECA tradition, the family, the camaraderie, the love that I’ve come to appreciate from this amazing organization.

It was with LOTS of tears that we said goodbye that Tuesday night, but as Johnnie said in his speech, it’s not goodbye, but simply a see you later!

2014-2015 Collegiate DECA Executive Officer Team | Not Goodbye, Simply See You Later | An Executive Officer Farewell | A Darling Disaster

Yes. That is an Olaf balloon. It’s a long story.

Every year, it’s a big deal when the outgoing officers become what’s part of the HBO’s, or “Has Been Officers.” It sounds like a snide comment but for us, it’s a group of friends who come together at conferences and reminisce over a shared experience – one only we really understand.

HBO Picture at the 2015 Collegiate DECA ICDC | Not Goodbye, Simply See You Later | An Executive Officer Farewell | A Darling Disaster

This year’s HBO group.

My mentor from when I first began my leadership journey was amongst this group, and it was a great experience finally joining the ranks. And of course, we’ve got the newbs to wrangle in. This year, we added four new fantastic leaders to the Executive Council, and I’m really excited to see what they do this year.

Collegiate DECA Teams 54 & 55 | "Not Goodbye, Simply See You Later" | An Executive Officer Farewell | A Darling Disaster

From left: Daryll, Matt, Jared, Me, Johnnie, Jaimie (new President), Aura, Savannah, Matt (yes, ANOTHER one!).

Collegiate DECA Teams 54 & 55 | "Not Goodbye, Simply See You Later" | An Executive Officer Farewell | A Darling Disaster

These ones.

So what’s next? Well, if you know me, you know that I’ll never be completely done with DECA. It runs in my veins, it’s made me who I am, and just because my time as a student leader is over, I will NEVER turn my back on this organization that’s given me so much. But there are avenues I can take, roads I’ve not yet looked down that will allow me to not only give back, but also help the next generation of leaders, like my mentors did for me.

So not goodbye, simply see you later. And that’s how it should be.

"Not Goodbye, Simply See You Later" | An Executive Officer Farewell | A Darling Disaster

How Glee Defined A (My) Generation

There are many things that could be said about a TV show that lasts six seasons – it’s a hit, a phenomenon, a spectacle that’s dissected and recreated and copied and fan-fictioned until it’s a part of people’s lives so intensely that no one wants it to end.

After nearly six years, 121 episodes and 728 performances, that’s what Glee was – is – to me. A phenomenon; a hit; a part of my life that’s been around since a plaid-skirted Rachel Berry put her first gold star on the glee club sign up sheet in May of 2009.

"You might laugh because every time I sign my name I put a gold star after it, but it’s a metaphor, and metaphors are important. My gold stars a metaphor for me being a star." | How Glee Defined A (My) Generation | A Darling Disaster

“You might laugh because every time I sign my name I put a gold star after it, but it’s a metaphor, and metaphors are important. My gold stars a metaphor for me being a star.”

My generation is a weird one, to say the least. We grew up with ever-changing technology, and a society where norms were constantly in flux, as the children of a generation who experienced things like the civil rights movement and the invention of the computer and mobile phones. Our generation, like our parents’, has become accustomed to things that our grandparents and their parents may have gasped at. And Glee, like so many advantageous shows before them, saw that, and ran with it.

The powerhouse that is Glee has has one big ticket to success in its six seasons: a cast of characters that, while somewhat fluid and always doing something different, has stuck to its core strengths in relating to the major problems teenagers and young adults today face. Like the most successful shows do, Glee’s cast’s grew in time with the generation who’s attention they grasped with their first rendition of Don’t Stop Believing, and kept up with current issues and topics through the dynamic characters Ryan Murphy and his incredible team created years ago.

The feels. The feels are real. | How Glee Defined A (My) Generation | A Darling Disaster

The feels. The feels are real.

There was always someone to relate to on Glee, whatever you were going through in life.Whoever you were, whoever you are, in the generation Glee focused on you had a place to call home. I was, for sure, a Rachel Berry. But she gave me, and every other ambitious, in your face girl (or guy!) watching, hope that being annoying wasn’t always a bad thing if it got you what you want in the end. There were also times when I felt for other characters, like Sam’s family’s financial struggles, or Mercedes’ dieting habits – the amazing writers and actors behind these characters had me hooked from season one until the finale Friday night.

Coming home one last time. | How Glee Defined A (My) Generation | A Darling Disaster

Coming home one last time.

Glee tackled so many issues in six years – bullying, gay rights, divorce, and even death when they lost one of their own in 2013. They handled the issues with taste but also in ways that did not by any means leave the characters unchanged – the episodes built on each other and made better characters out of the circumstances they faced.

Literally the worst. | How Glee Defined A (My) Generation | A Darling Disaster

Literally the worst.

But more than the issues, Glee also tackled real life dreams and ambitions. Because while it was a show about a high school Glee club filled with awesome performers, not every character wanted to, nor eventually became, a star, though those who really fought for it did. Glee showed that striving for what you want, whatever that may be, can get you places, and that people can have talents in all sorts of manners, and exploring all your options may lead you to what you really want.

Let's not forget that awesome first performance at Nationals! | How Glee Defined A (My) Generation | A Darling Disaster

Let’s not forget that awesome first performance at Nationals!

What made me really love Glee over other generational shows, like, for instance, Degrassi (is Degrassi still a thing? I remember when it was a big thing), is that for the most part, it stuck with the same characters and really dug in deep with their motivations and struggles, instead of just moving on to a new set of freshman every year. There was some turnover, yes, but there always is in show-business. I firmly believe it speaks to the quality of the show and the team behind it that they were able to keep such a big-ticket cast coming back to do more appearances as time went on.

Because nothing beats this promo.| How Glee Defined A (My) Generation | A Darling Disaster

Because nothing beats this promo.

So, as I sit here wiping away all the feels, because yes, the finale had me feeling ALL OF THEM, I am totally crushed that this show is over. But I also know that it did its job – Glee defined our generation, creating this perfect time capsule of our music, our issues, the personalities and stereotypes we see walking the halls of every high school and college in America. Glee let us sit down in front of a TV once a week and let the rag-tag group of misfits and popular kids who secretly loved to hang out with them sing their hearts out and work towards a common goal, while living life and facing issues we ourselves faced every day.

It’s over, but it’s not the end. Glee’s time has ended, let’s see what the next generation’s got to offer.

"AAAAMAZING!" | How Glee Defined A (My) Generation | A Darling Disaster

“AAAAMAZING!”

 

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary

Period dramas have become my thing. It’s no secret that I thoroughly enjoy all things regarding history, particularly the history of Europe (more specifically the UK), so my watch lists as of late have, unsurprisingly, have included shows like Outlander (omg), The White Queen (o.m.g.) and CW’s Reign (OMG).

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary | A Darling Disaster

 

While Outlander and White Queen are both adaptations of novels (also on my long list of things to experience), and therefore had a dedicated fanbase that would probably have rioted had anything been different, Reign is the creation of CW, and therefore had no pre-existing storylines except, uhm, HISTORY.

Outlander, with very little ties to events in history other than the time periods and both wars mentioned in each one respectively, is easy to fall into as relatively accurate. As someone who’s fairly well versed in Scottish history, especially, this series makes me happy because everyone involved did a LOT of research into making the show as realistic as possible.

Though White Queen is a fictional series based on the historical events of the War of Roses, it is clearly an attempting to be as faithful as possible to the cultural and visual traits of the time (minus that one scene where the ancient castle outdoor steps has a modern safety handrail, and the occasional use of witchcraft, but we’ll forgive that).

Reign, on the other hand, really makes no attempt at historical accuracy in any sense. It’s got magic in most major plotlines, the events in nearly every episode follow no historically based fact, and for the love of all things holy FRANCIS DIES AT 16. THEY WERE LITERALLY KING AND QUEEN FOR LESS THAN TWO YEARS.

But I digress.

The biggest thing about Reign that bothered me, at first, was the costuming. I’m well aware, it bothers a lot of people. I’ve read a TON of hilariously rant-tastic articles on it, namely here and here. Because, while Outlander and White Queen aren’t exactly historical reenactments, they’re a decent attempt at re-creating the looks that were common during the periods they are set.

And don’t get me wrong, Reign has had its moments of costuming GLORY. Like, I would die to have these dresses at Faire.

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary | A Darling Disaster

 

But let’s take a moment to inspect some of the less…respectable moments of costuming in this particular show.

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary | A Darling Disaster

 

Oh, the mermaid dress…the costumers from the show have said a few times since its premier in the fall of ’13 that they are not trying to focus on being historically accurate, but more on taking the “feeling” of the time and translating that with more modern pieces. Obviously, you can see that, on the far right.

There have been moments, however, when I’ve been less hateful of some of the more modern outfits – when they’re genuinely a more modern translation of a REAL look of renaissance women – something that covers more, doesn’t show every crurve and is still fashionable.

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary | A Darling Disaster

 

Angry Mary is angry. With good reason. Francis is kind of a jerk most of the time.

Again, I digress.

So, today, I was tasked with reading one of my writing pieces for a final presentation in my Creative Writing class. This one, from the perspective of a Scottish noblewoman. Of course, being me, I wanted to read it in dialect (accent), but I wanted to take it a step further.

Obviously, I couldn’t exactly walk around campus looking like this.

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary | A Darling Disaster

 

I mean, I could. But I didn’t have the stormtroopers on hand. And let’s be honest, did I really want to be that girl that wore a hoop skirt to class? I’d be lucky if I could find a chair to sit in.

No, I couldn’t do that. So, I did something I never thought I would do. I took a page from Reign‘s book, and mixed Renaissance sensibilities with modern fashions.

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary | A Darling Disaster

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary | A Darling Disaster

I must say I had many weird looks, but it went so well with my presentation and recieved a LOT of compliments as I went about my day as usual.

I think I need to start dressing like TV characters more often.