Tag Archives: food

Younger’s Final Season Does Everything Right That Emily in Paris Did So, So Wrong

By | April 17, 2021

The final season of Younger has arrived on Paramount+, and it’s hard not to draw comparisons with creator Darren Star’s other current show, Emily in Paris. On the surface, both seem similar: glossy, stylish, escapist comedies about professional women in gorgeous, glamorous cities. In reality, though, they’re very different shows, and, in fact, Younger is very much the show that Emily in Paris tried (and failed) to be.

The fundamental difference between Younger and Emily in Paris is its heart, plain and simple. Even in the early seasons, where Liza was deep in her escalating web of lies, there was, paradoxically, an emotional honesty to it all. Even though Liza lied to everyone, the show took pains to make it clear why she did it and to build sympathy for her situation. Her love for her friends and her love interests was real; the only thing about it that wasn’t real was her lie about her age. The show’s heart always has come before its humor (although there’s plenty of both); Emily in Paris often seems too afraid to be really vulnerable, and the result is a show that feels emotionally shallow, even – or especially – when it’s trying to be emotionally deep.

The other big difference? Younger seems to care, first and foremost, about its characters, whereas it’s hard not to feel like Emily in Paris is about the aesthetic more than anything. Younger, like Star’s Sex and the City before it, is a love letter to the glamour of New York City and women who live there. There’s no shortage of beautiful, Instagram-perfect locations as the impeccably dressed characters stroll through the city, but it never overshadows the characters and their journeys. Emily in Paris always feels like it’s more interested in exploring the “Paris” part than the “Emily” part, which leaves us with characters who are difficult to like when their bad decisions take over the plot.

Younger, on the other hand, has managed to craft a set of characters whose flaws aren’t annoying, but deeply human. The final season explores these in more depth, with the “issues” and themes being addressed closely tied into the characters’ journeys, rather than just being plopped in there for relevance or edginess. When two characters come to an impasse over the very concept of marriage, it’s understandable where both of them are coming from, and heartbreaking that they can’t see eye-to-eye. The flaws in all these characters – Charles’s stubbornness, Kelsey’s trust of the wrong people, Maggie’s carelessness – all come home to roost, but it never makes them unlikeable. Why? Because the show takes care to make them three-dimensional characters and to really struggle. They don’t giggle and brush off criticism with a self-deprecating quip, as the heroine of Emily in Paris tends to do. Instead, they mess up and lash out and get called out and figure their stuff out, all with the help of the people who love them. That’s why it’s so satisfying when, as the season draws to a close, these characters are able to move towards the happier futures we’ve been rooting for all along.

That genuine sense of love is, perhaps, what makes Younger‘s brand of escapism so special. Younger is a show about love: love for one’s true self, love for friends, and, yes, romance too. It’s the real love between characters that makes the show’s betrayals really hurt instead of just feel like twists the writers thought would make for good “OMG!” moments. We’re shown that they love each other, rather than just being told. More than ever, that’s what the final season is about, as friends support each other through personal and professional trials without a second thought. Gone are the days of secret-keeping and lingering hurts; this is a group of people who genuinely love each other.

The show’s gal-pal-comedy-meets-rom-com vibe provides some of the final season’s best moments – it’s tropey, but in a playful, heartfelt way, rather than trying too hard to check off “relevant” topics (and, condescendingly, failing to accurately depict any of them – see Emily’s “surprise influencer” storyline in Emily in Paris). That’s what great escapism is: comfort food, something fun and warmhearted and stylish, but something that also depicts the kind of life you can fantasize about. Sure, I’d love to live in Emily’s Paris, but I’d much rather live in the world of Younger‘s characters and have a loyal, loving support system like they do.

Let’s be fair, too: Younger does have some of the same cracks in its escapist gloss as Emily in Paris. There’s definitely something to be addressed here about how this particular brand of glamorous, glossy escapist fare is more often than not focused on nearly all-white casts, and that’s something that can and should change. But when it comes down to it, escapism shouldn’t just be about the aesthetic – it should be about the warmth and joy of the characters and the stories, and that’s where Younger shines and other would-be escapist shows should take note.

Jill Biden Sent Michelle Obama This Symbolic Gift Straight From the White House

By | February 4, 2021

Image Source: Getty / Chip Somodevilla

The Obamas may no longer be living in the White House, but they still get to enjoy some of the perks, thanks to the Bidens. On Tuesday, Michelle Obama took to her Instagram to share a huge basket of some of the prettiest greens I’ve ever seen, sent by none other than her friend and First Lady Jill Biden. But it wasn’t just any gift – filled with Tuscan kale, broccoli, turnips, and other leafy vegetables, the fresh bundle came straight from the White House Kitchen Garden, which Michelle herself built in 2009 and holds close to her heart.

“So thankful for this beautiful care package from our amazing @FLOTUS!” Michelle captioned the photo. “These fresh veggies from the White House Kitchen Garden were such a wonderful – and delicious – surprise. Love you, Jill!” To which Jill sweetly responded, “Food is love.”

The former first lady planted the garden when Barack Obama first took office in 2009 to start a national conversation about health and nutrition. Throughout the years, produce from the garden has been used for meals in the White House for the first family and guests alike. Get a closer look at the meaningful gift ahead.

Servant Is the Weirdest Show on TV – You Should Watch It

By | January 20, 2021

Apple TV+ is best known for being the home of The Morning Show and Ted Lasso, but the streamer also houses the most unabashedly weird show on television. That show is Servant, and you should definitely watch it. Granted, you’ll spend most of each episode confused, horrified, and flummoxed by the events unfolding in front of you, but that’s all part of its (dark) magic.

In a nutshell, Servant is about a couple, Dorothy (Lauren Ambrose) and Sean (Toby Kebbell), struggling to cope after the death of their infant son, Jericho. Sadly, Dorothy doesn’t accept that her son is dead, and at the start of the series, she’s clinging to a reborn doll to get her through her grief. However, her family believes the only way for Dorothy to move forward is for her to return to work in the hope that she might begin to accept the fact that Jericho is gone. Enter Leanne (Nell Tiger Free), a sheltered young nanny hired to placate Dorothy and “care” for the doll while she’s at work.

While Sean and Dorothy’s brother Julian (Rupert Grint) fully expect Leanne to freak out when she realizes she’s being asked to tend to a doll, she just rolls with it. By the end of the first episode we find out why: Jericho the doll has been replaced by a real baby, and Leanne behaves as if nothing strange has happened at all. Is the baby actually Leanne’s? Did she bring Jericho back to life somehow? Is the entire household suffering from the same delusion? Those are just the questions you’ll be left pondering after the first episode’s final scene – things don’t get really wild until episode two.

Before you decide to watch Servant, you should know that it could be triggering for anyone who has experienced the loss of a pregnancy or a child. The episode in which Jericho’s fate is revealed is particularly heartbreaking, and it’s also the only episode in season one without any sort of potential supernatural strangeness going on. It’s just a painful half-hour of television with a standout performance from Ambrose.

But the rest of the series is just absolutely bonkers. Here are a few things that happen in season one, without context: Sean randomly begins pulling giant splinters from his body (including his throat), an entire party full of people are fed human placenta without their knowledge, and, at one point, Grint’s Julian walks through his sister’s opulent brownstone banging a pot and screaming “Baby!” as loud as he can in a scene that manages to be both unsettling and hilarious, as is Servant‘s way. Add in a man sleeping in a crib, an actual cult that just pops over to visit Leanne, and enough grotesque shots of foods to put you off snacks for good – seriously, do not watch this show while you’re eating dinner – and you have some small idea of what you’re in for.

Ultimately, watching Servant is an experience, and I mean that in every sense of the word. Writer and creator Tony Basgallop excels at crafting a general feeling of unease. From the music to the dim lighting and the claustrophobic setting of the Brownstone, once you enter the show’s universe it’s impossible to know whether the events unfolding in front of you are happening for real or if it’s all just a long con being played by an opportunistic nanny preying on a vulnerable family. And as strange as it may sound, that’s all part of the show’s appeal.

Servant is great in part because it serves up so many questions for the audience to ponder. Will those questions ever be answered in a satisfying manner? Years of watching puzzle-box shows like Lost and Game of Thrones suggest that they won’t be, but that’s hardly the point. This supremely weird show packs mysteries inside mysteries and is full of ominous Biblical references destined to keep you up at night. I feel absolutely confident in saying there’s nothing else like it on TV – and that’s exactly why you need to check it out (just, please, for your own sake, don’t forget to heed my warning about eating food while watching Servant – even croquembouches aren’t safe from chef Sean).

Chef’s Kiss! Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical Has Raised Over $1 Million For The Actors Fund

By | January 3, 2021

Well, it’s 2021, and one of the biggest headlines of the new year is the success of Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical. And you know what? I’m here for it. The production, which is a byproduct of a TikTok trend from last fall, debuted on Friday, starring Tituss Burgess as Remy, Andrew Barth Feldman as Linguini, Kevin Chamberlin as Gusteau, Adam Lambert as Emile, André De Shields as Ego, and Ashley Park as Colette, among other notable talents. The virtual prefilmed show was organized by Seaview Productions, and the proceeds from ticket sales will benefit The Actors Fund, which helps support entertainment professionals. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the musical has raised over $1 million as of Jan. 2.

The official Twitter of Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical also shared the news, writing: “You did it! You raised over $1 million to benefit @TheActorsFund! But we aren’t done yet. Tickets are still on sale all weekend long on @TodayTix.” The show will be available to stream until Monday evening at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT, so there’s still time to watch the updated take on the Academy Award-winning production. The show, which features 12 original songs, follows the original storyline of Remy and Linguini’s endeavors to become renowned chefs and impress the formidable food critic Ego. For those who are Ratatouille stans, such as myself, you knead to see it. So, snag your tickets now before the final curtain call!

Let’s Cut to the Chase: Lifetime Is Releasing a Sexy Thriller About KFC’s Colonel Sanders

By | December 7, 2020

“Secret’s out, chicken man,” is a line uttered in the trailer for Lifetime’s upcoming romantic thriller about KFC’s Colonel Sanders. (And yes, against all odds and better judgment, that is an entirely factual statement.) Airing on Sunday, Dec. 13, A Recipe For Seduction is a 15-minute short film of course sponsored by the fast food chain. Amazingly, however, they were able to land Mario Lopez as chef Harland Sanders, who (presumably) woos an heiress with his dashing good looks and fried chicken recipe.

The very effective marketing stunt has caused a stir on social media since the trailer was released on Monday. One tweet noted how the “spirit of 30 Rock” was alive and well in the short film, while another that has over 1,500 “likes” at press time simply shouted, “I WILL NEVER RECOVER.” Neither will I . . . but not before tuning in to find out if Harland and Jessica end up together.