Over/Underrated 2013: Part Six

6 Jan

Overrated

The Royal Baby (Prince George)

— Andrea (@prettyandink)

When Minnesota manages to thaw itself to a temperature reasonable enough for my students to return to school, they’ll be greeted with an assignment asking them to write a persuasive essay on who they thought should have one the Time for Kids (TFK) Person of the Year poll. One of their choices this year will be Prince George. That’s right, folks. Alongside such powerful figures as Pope Francis, Michelle Obama and and Malala Yousafzai sits a baby not yet cognizant of his own existence.

This brings up the question: does a person need to be self-aware in order to be influential? According to TFK, apparently not. The nomination article on the TFK website claims that Prince George is a “fashion icon,” already driving the sales of items like swaddling blankets and christening gowns. Ok, I could maybe buy that the little tyke is influencing the baby product market, but is that really his own doing? I think not. Credit here should go to Prince William and Kate Middleton, or whichever friend was nice enough to buy them such stylish items as a baby gift. Prince George himself is an innocent bystander when it comes to his wardrobe. When it comes to most things, really.

The media coverage leading up to the prince’s July 22, 2013 birth was extensive, to put it mildly. Tabloid magazines and talk shows couldn’t speculate enough. Was Kate at the hospital? Was she at home? Was she having contractions? Was she having William by her bedside? Was she going to take a poop that day? Ok, so maybe I made that last one up, but you get my point. It was as though no other woman in the history of our species had given birth before. Considering I was pregnant at the time, I found this to be particularly annoying. I didn’t need to turn the television on to hear about her swollen ankles. I had swollen ankles of my own, gosh darnit.

The only question I found even remotely interesting regarding Kate’s pregnancy was the question of her baby’s gender. If her child had been a girl, she would have been the first female to sit directly in the line of succession. From a female perspective, that was exciting shit.

Sadly, in my opinion, Kate did not have a girl, so all of that speculation about a female heir to the throne had been for naught. Which brings me to my next point. There are some that might argue that the young prince is an influential figure because of his role as future King of England. The operative word there is future. As of right now, both Prince Charles and Prince William have to perform their kingly duties before little Georgie even gets to glance at the throne. Giving him preemptive credit for ruling a country seems ridiculous to me. When he actually is ruler of his country, or even old enough to pick out his own duds, then we’ll talk. Until then, I’ll just be over here looking at pictures of Kate Middleton’s shoes. Now that’s a woman with influence.

PrinceG

Underrated

Parenthood

–Andrea

The concept of a television show geared around a family is not revolutionary. After all, families have been the center of sitcoms for decades (Who’s the Boss, Roseanne, Growing Pains, Full House and Modern Family, to name a few). Where television generally fails, however, is creating a successful family-centric drama.

Maybe it’s because a “normal” American family typically has enough drama in it in real life, so there’s no point in watching it play out on television. Maybe it’s because the demographic that typically watches dramas are looking to television as a way to escape the ordinary. For whatever reason, unless your drama is about cops, doctors or lawyers, it’s likely not going to make it on network television. There are only a handful of exceptions I can think of to this TV “rule,” one of which was ABC’s Brothers and Sisters, which aired from 2006 – 2011. The other is NBC’s Parenthood.

Parenthood centers around the Braverman clan. Patriarch Zeek and his wife Camille have been blessed with four children who are now all adults with their own families. What’s unique to Parenthood is that its storylines focus on all three generations. While a multigenerational show is not necessarily unheard of, where Parenthood succeeds is in making the conflicts represented in each generation authentic ones that viewers can invest themselves in. I cared just as much about Zeek and Camille trying to adjust to being empty nesters as I did about Kristina battling breast cancer as I did about Victor trying to catch up to his grade’s reading level.

Not only are the issues tackled on Parenthood ones faced by actual parents, the resolutions to these conflicts are often as blunt and stark as the issues themselves. Parenthood doesn’t shy away from the truth that not every situation results in a happy ending. Not every relationship is destined to lead to true love. Not every endeavor started is one that will lead to triumph. Failure is just as much a part of life, and parenting, as success is, which is something that Parenthood embraces with beautifully painful honesty.

The themes presented in Parenthood are ones that are made even more relatable by its superbly talented cast. How these actors have been largely overlooked during award season since its premiere is beyond me, and I am beyond thrilled that Monica Potter has finally finally been nominated for a Golden Globe this year. Parenthood’s ensemble also includes television veterans Craig T. Nelson and Peter Krause. Of course, I couldn’t conclude this article without mentioning the reason (I admit it) I started watching the show in the first place: Lauren Graham. Hey, what can I say? Where she leads I will follow, and trust me. Parenthood is a worthwhile destination.

Parenthood - Season 4

On Pointe

Jennifer Lawrence

— Andrea

Let me be clear. When 2013 started, I didn’t think I could love Jennifer Lawrence anymore than I already did. I had already been impressed with her honest portrayal of Katniss Everdeen, for once a female heroine in a YA novel that was worth emulating (I’m glaring at you, Bella Swan). I had already been thrilled by her role as the emotionally tarnished but pure-at-heart Tiffany in Silver Linings Playbook. And, I had already admired her candid comments about body image and her desire to be a healthy role model. I thought I loved her as much as any person could realistically love an actress.

But then she did this.

JLaw Fall

Followed by this.

JLaw Finger

And then I knew my love for her would be eternal.

Like a fine wine (or so people tell me; I don’t actually drink fine wine), Jennifer Lawrence just keeps getting better as her celebrity status gets bigger. The year 2013 was a banner year for Lawrence. She reprised her role as Katniss Everdeen with even more conviction than in the Hunger Games; I truly felt her desperation and unbearable weight as she found herself in the arena a second time. Once again I thought it would be impossible to love her more.

But then I saw American Hustle. There’s buzz that JLaw might score her third Oscar nomination for her role as Rosalyn, the naive wife of Christian Bale’s conman Irving, and for good reason. Lawrence plays Rosalyn to perfection. She’s a woman beautiful and easy to love despite the fact that she comes with a good dose of crazy. All she wants is to be needed, and in her efforts to assert her importance she often finds herself getting in the way. Lawrence portrays Rosalyn in such a way that we love her for her imperfections, and like her intoxicating nail polish in the movie, she’s a perfect blend of “sweet and sour.”

To me, Jennifer Lawrence can do no wrong. Buzzfeed even called her Master of the Universe in 2013. In American Hustle there’s a scene where Rosalyn sort-of-accidentally sets the microwave on fire. Lawrence looks at Bale’s character with wide and imploring eyes, telling him that really he should be grateful because the “science oven” takes all the nutrition out of his food. “Thank God for me,” she quips. Yes, Jennifer. Thank God for you.

Advertisements

3 Responses to “Over/Underrated 2013: Part Six”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. On Emma Elizabeth and Aunthood | prettyandink - January 19, 2014

    […] well-deserved. It’s what makes me love the show Parenthood so much (see my underrated entry here). When I reflect on my own childhood, it’s filled with these ideal images of family. I had […]

  2. Over/Underrated 2014 – Part Ten | prettyandink - January 12, 2015

    […] I start ranting, let me get one thing I straight. I love Jennifer Lawrence (see last year’s ode here). I think she’s a fantastic actress, and it didn’t surprise me a bit to find out that she’s […]

  3. Over/Underrated 2015 – Part Nine | prettyandink - April 3, 2016

    […] no secret that I love Jennifer Lawrence. (See 2013’s love letter here.) She’s talented, she’s hilariously personable, and she seems like an every-girl’s best […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: