We’re Gonna Put You in a Trance with a Funky, Funky Christmas: A Night Seeing the New Kids at 41/Long Last

It was sad to miss Boyz II Men’s entrance and opening with one of my all-time favorite songs, “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday.” But it was also awesome, because I heard it with my friend Jackie, who’d brought us to the Pepsi Center in the first place.

“Do you want to go with me to see New Kids on the Block, Boyz II Men, and Paula Abdul next week?” she’d asked me at a graduation party last Saturday, after bursting forth from the ether.

I didn’t have any money for concert tickets but as luck would have it, Jackie had an extra ticket but no transportation, so I drove and this led us to trying to find two seats in 318 after rather lackadaisically making our way to Denver this evening.

I was sad to not be in the stadium (arena?) for this ostensibly momentous occasion, but also felt like it was already epic: fast-walking with a friend I’d only known since moving to Colorado to see friends that I’d known for decades, but only through CDs and cassettes.

Boyz II Men didn’t perform for that long, because it was (SPOILER! Supposed to be) a three-act show. But the time they were on stage was mesmerizing and I’d have loved for it to last longer. Alas, we’d come to the end of the road, which they closed with of course and it was beautiful.

Next up, Paula Abdul! Only wait! “Ms. Paula Abdul has suffered a minor injury and will not be performing tonight,” said a man on stage. I totally thought he was kidding! But no. Paula Abdul didn’t perform tonight and I didn’t realize the level of Jackie’s disappointment until she told me later. Super sad.

On the plus side, we ran into Jen during the impromptu intermission outside!  Jen loves country music, knows more hip-hop lyrics than anyone I’ve ever met, and in general is diverse af. We took a selfie, then moved back inside.

There is no need to discuss how getting back up the staircase was like the Incline for me. I for sure did not stop at any point to catch my breath.

“Oh oh, OH oh oh! Oh oh, OH oh! Oh oh OH oh oh!” (The Right Stuff.)

Once again, Jackie and I were not inside the auditorium(?) for the first song. But then we were and I would have danced of course, but my fear of heights was a little intense.

Tonight was 29 years in the making for me. The first time I ever saw New Kids was in my Baldwin house in 1988 on MTV. I was immediately in love with all five of them, and the rest is a whole rich history for another day. Bate your breaths. However, I’d never seen New Kids live because I gave my ticket away to Mary Kate in 1990, since I was convicted in the heart to shun secular music.

Not tonight though! And it was so worth the wait. I’m hard pressed to think of any artist I’ve seen live who was so engaged with the fans. Don’t get me wrong, Lisa Loeb was amazing when I saw her last month, but that was an intimate setting. To be in this huge coliseum(?!) and make it feel personal somehow? A feat unto itself.

They ran around the entire main floor. Donnie CROWD SURFED. A woman named Summer filled 13,000 hearts with envy when Jon sang Happy Birthday to her and she hugged all five New Kids and took a selfie with them on stage. Donnie did “Cover Girl,” filling my heart with glee, and during it they brought a little girl with big noise-reducing headphones on stage. She was shy. It was adorable.

New Kids also paid homage. Donnie, who’s a wonderful front man for what’s really an ensemble, classily led a “Put your peace signs in the air” song and cheerleadered the audience into defying negativity. Possibly my favorite moment of the whole night. They also did an Oscars-esque requiem for artists who’ve died, starting with Prince.

“They (New Kids) basically do a strip show!” reported a woman with awesome unicorn hair in the Kum and Go where Jackie and I stopped in before the show to get cash, coffee, and as luck would have it, camaraderie.

Tonight wasn’t “Magic Mike,” witness: aforementioned children, but holy cow do the New Kids put on an impressive show, physically. They are so engaged with their present audience, but I can’t even begin to fathom the number of hours it took for their choreography, their mixes, their presence to be what it was tonight. 

Jordan cried at one point. So did Joey. It was beautiful.

Speaking of strippers, I don’t know if this is a thing at concerts now because I’m exactly the OG target audience of New Kids (middle aged), but at one point, they did a Live Cam backstage, and it was the most “Hanging Tough” VHS documentary part of the entire evening. (Oh, U bad!)

It all felt like a Broadway show, in a good way. 120 minutes of nonstop physical performance and the guys ALL brought it. They could have phoned it in. They so did not (TM Ross Geller).

Another song was dedicated to a lost friend. Donnie, Danny, Joey, Jon, and Jordan made it clear that his life was never going to stop being celebrated.

New Kids truncated most of their songs and it felt absent of ego, and all about giving their fans a taste of everything, so as not to leave out anyone.


“It’s always Christmas in New Kids land!” <—— actual words said by Joey. 


Followed by snowflakes on the screen as the New Kids sang a song from their Christmas album because yes there was one and yes it was in my Christmas stocking in 1988 but no, Danny did not sing “Little Drummer Boy” tonight. Nor, sadly, did New Kids perform “Funky, Funky Christmas.”

But it was great to see them poke fun at their past/s, as all their album covers were a continued background theme through the evening. For all the fans who stayed till the end, New Kids put on old videos and gave the elderly women (me) with bedtimes (Jackie) (she is not elderly though) a way to nostalgize without having to dance to physical extremes.

The New Kids were so gracious and loving towards Colorado! At one point, they busted out a 58 jersey and I don’t know who 58 is but recognized it was Broncos, and the crowd went nuts!

Donnie won my heart all over again, decades after saying he hated eggs and loved the color orange, when he raised an eyebrow literally and figuratively: “One or two of you may not have liked us anymore at this time,” as he introduced “Dirty Dawg.”

By the end of the evening, all the New Kids had costume changed into denim ensembles and finally, white suits. Although they’d filmed the first switch, I have NO idea when they made the final transition.

The entire evening was impeccable. Flawless, invigorating, insert all the glowing terms.

Yes, they ended with “Hanging Tough,” and yes, Joey sang “Please Don’t Go Girl,” albeit in a disturbingly low octave because apparently between 1988 and now lies The Puberty. Also, please see: aforementioned crying.

I’m not mocking; I’m still reeling.

Thank you, New Kids on the Block. Jordan said tonight that you guys came to Denver for the first time 29 years ago. Thank you for coming back.

Thank you, Jackie. I never would have experienced tonight without you!

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Back to the Here and Now

I’ve been in the official work force since 1992, and babysitting since 1987. There were a couple of unemployed times after layoffs, but even then, I was always looking for work and still freelancing. The last time I had a chunk of true vacation was on a cruise with my family in May 2006.

I don’t have a career to speak of, but do technically work three jobs, plus aforementioned freelance when I can get it. These past 10 days, I didn’t work at any of them.

In a way it was glorious, in others strange, because I work for family at all three places. One, the office job, is literally my family’s business. The restaurant and the newspaper are jobs I lucked into and at each, have been blessed to find bonus family.

This past week-plus has been about beginning a new family. I didn’t think it would be, necessarily. We took off for the wedding, then to stay put so out of towners could meet up if they wanted. Some did and it was awesome, but then it was just us, my husband and I. Which still sounds so weird to say.

As excited and happy as I was for the wedding itself, there was definitely a part of me that eagerly anticipated getting back to normal. Josh and I have lived together for awhile now, nearly four years in our current place. And it just works. No one gets along all the time, but we get along for most of it, and there is no one in the world who makes me laugh as much as he does, which is saying a lot!

The craziness and the tulle and the presents and delicious chocolate lollipops from my sister in law made our place feel like a grown-up version of kid Christmas morning, and having no place to go the day after the wedding felt like bliss incarnate. We could just chill and enjoy our personal after party. Then everything would go back to normal.

The following days were spent getting there. Loved ones returned to New York, California, Montana, Texas, and Florida. I wish we had more trains that would allow us all to hang out on a…basis, at least monthly.

Josh and I stayed put and did a lot of laundry, and dishes, and organizing. We also watched approximately 7 billion horror movies, and I binged Season 10 of “Grey’s” when Josh ran errands and did his thing.

Some Pokemen were caught and I overtook two gyms, but still can’t figure out how to “put my guys in there.” No eggs were hatched, because as much as I love walking in Manitou, this week was about staying put and getting back to normal.

Only what I realized is that the line of “normal” demarcation has shifted and morphed, much like the humans in many of the aforementioned 7 billion horror movies. But in the good way.

Our bed is teal not purple, for the time being. All I want to do now is cook, because nothing sticks to our pots and pans from Josh’s parents, and there are new gadgets and gizmos aplenty, thanks to other family and friends ❤

Things feel better. I don’t know why. Really, I’d have been fine with never getting married again. Josh is my best friend; we love each other, and dig living together — what more do I need than that?

I didn’t need anything more, really. But I’m so grateful for what I got.

Nothing lasts forever; I know this too well. Including our staycation honeymoon. It’s back to life, back to reality. But both those words mean different things now, and I’m so excited to keep reading this life chapter, because it’s already my favorite one yet and I never want it to end.

Thank you Josh. I’m so grateful to be your wife, and happy that my first day back at work will literally be next to you.

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Summer Camp, BFFs, and the Latest Ep of “Faking It”

In 1989, I went to summer camp with my redheaded best friend, as well as her other best friend. Together we rode in a van, learned the ice-cream man states song, then spent the rest of the week engaging in mostly good times, but here and there a power struggle, and always dealing with emotions.

Because while BFF and I had no problem sharing each other’s friendship with people we both met together at school, Camp BFF was also her Church BFF, and had seniority. I really did like CCBFF and never wanted my friend to feel anything less than rich with love and friends, but was terribly jealous, nonetheless.

So while I’ve written about my love for “Faking It” before, the latest ep took it to a whole other level. This time, the blonde and the redhead trade places in terms of affection battles. It was heartwrenching to watch the flashbacks — I missed that raw angst and didn’t miss it one bit, equally.

Unlike Past Me, Karma has legit reason to be jealous. Even during Sabrina’s vantage-point flashbacks, she seems pretty bitchy and vaguely psycho, even for a 12-year-old. What I’m really scared of is that present-day Sabrina is only pretending to be confused about her sexuality, in order to give herself the one competitive advantage that Karma lacks. I adore Amy, and she can’t get hurt any more!

Meanwhile, Lauren and Liam are bunking up, a la Drew and Fiona on “Degrassi.” When the latter refuses to be New Lisbeth any longer, then braces himself for the backlash, the former surprises him, us, and possibly even herself, by saying that she likes living with him even if he does break her number one rule (“Don’t piss me off”) sometimes. These two are so going to happen and I’m psyched, but still pissed that none of my shows can keep the “Hart of Dixie” girl around for longer than five minutes!

The only thing awesomer than Lauren’s Game Night is her severe-faced phone invitation to it. Karmy scenes were of course moving and heartbreaking and wonderful.

But my favorite part was Shane and Noah. I’m starting to think that Michael J. Willett has Spike Syndrome; i.e., chemistry with anyone he’s in a scene with, to the nth degree if it’s romantic. I will always miss Duke, but Elliot Fletcher is great as Noah, and I’m looking forward to where the show goes with both him and them.

I love “Faking It.” Not just for its entertainment value, but because it IMO symbolizes a generation that might get dismissed sometimes, but is the most fluidly human/e one so far. Please don’t cancel it, MTV!

 

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Vanderpump Rules: S1, Ep 1: Welcome to SUR

Words cannot convey my joy at Bravo’s decision to re-air Season One of Vanderpump Rules, just as we fans must settle in for the long winter’s night between the current reunion and future new episodes. So let’s get in our Deloreans and return to 2011!

VPR’s trademark musical brand of intense & catchy plays over shots of SURvers doing their thing, and right off the bat I’ll defend my guilty-not-guilty pleasure by saying that it really is always fun, after 20 years in the service industry, to watch other people do it on TV. One reason I can never quite quit restaurants literally or figuratively is that they’re automatic entertainment, even/especially during the hardest of shifts.

Lisa compares her two LA restaurants (Pump wasn’t born yet), saying that Villa Blanca is where you take your wife, and SUR is where you take your mistress. She removes a cocktail from on-the-clock Stassi’s hand and says she feels like she runs a kindergarten sometimes.

First-ever credits! Stassi and Scheana waitress as rival Queen Bees! Jax and Sandoval still get along and bartend! Kristen and Katie are the taller brunette ladies-in-waiting…or are THEY really the Queen Bees? We’ll all find out soon enough, as Lisa storms the gates and lets us know that shit’s about to get real.

Jax grabs a martini glass by the lip instead of the stem, then gives an “oops” look because of the cameras — quite the far cry from (SPOILER) nowadays when he flat-out tells people “That drink is too hard to make.”

Stassi explains to the audience that everyone who works at SUR is a model or musician or something, and they all have lofty goals.

Kristen apologizes for being so good looking.

Stassi thinks Scheana is a “man-stealing whore,” and they flash back to “Real Housewives” when Brandi and Scheana interacted. Then they bicker about who’s the actual waitress of the table ordering some delicious-looking strawberrytinis.

Stassi went to an all-girls school in New Orleans, and has a heatedly passionate relationship with Jax.

Sandoval does this really cool, multiple pink-shot pour.

Foreshadowing to the famous S3 exchange, as Stassi tells bartending Jax who’s chilling with Scheana that she needs a pinot grigio! Then she shoos Scheana away and she and Jax fight about her. Stassi says “actually” 70 times, but not “literally” even once, which is like this show’s trademark word.

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Katie tells us that she wants to own a record label, as a phoenix rises from her bosom.

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Sandoval’s band is going to headline the Viper Room! Yay!

Lisa calls the OG crew cliquey, as she holds a meeting regarding the problem of not everyone’s pulling his or her weight; i.e., Stassi. She says that Stassi doesn’t know the wines well. Stassi smirks that they should have a wine tasting, and there is an example of how and why I can’t not love Stassi. To (SPOILER) quote Jax, “She is funny.”

Then it turns into Stassi versus Scheana, as they debate the merits of tip sharing. They do it at SUR but not Villa Blanca. I’ve done it both ways, and see the merits and disadvantages of both. Whatever I’m told to do in that regard, I’m fine with. But as much as I don’t like how mean everyone’s being to Scheana, I do agree with Stassi’s overall point that it’s not cool to come into a new restaurant and start dissing how they do things, compared to your other job.

Tom and Jax chill at a different, more casual bar and commiserate over how awful Stassi is to date. Then I can’t quite tell what is going on as Jax and Peter kind of flirt with the waitress in a very “Ross with the pizza girl who was on ‘Dexter'” kind of way, and she makes an escape.

Scheana and Shay, the latter of whom doesn’t even get a name caption, go to the recording studio and I will say just these things atm:

I in no way appreciate “Russell, Superbox Music CEO” saying “It sounds dope. Sounds Britney Gaga.”

Nor do I in any way understand what the sound guy means when he directs Scheana’s sex noises by saying, “Okay this time less phone sex operator, more porn star.”

But still when all is said and done, the recording history behind Scheana’s “Can You Freak, Bitch?” is far less creepy than that behind GNR’s “Rocket Queen,” so let’s move on…

…to Kristen, Stassi, and Katie chilling on the couch in Stassi’s and Jax’s apartment. Where there is apparently a Reese’s Pieces machine???? And some other one next to it, possibly Mike & Ike???? That rules.

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Stassi rails again, some more, about Scheana, whom Kristen defends and Katie kindasorta does. It’s all enough to get Stassi to switch out “actually” for “really” in this current VPR drinking game scene. Yet still, no one is saying “literally” and it’s beginning to freak me out.

Jax said he’s off to work to do a BMW commercial (that’s awesome!), then tells us that Stassi’s last two boyfriends cheated on her 😦

“Lisa’s House,” not yet captioned as “Villa Rosa.” Her business partner Guillermo (one of my very favorite guy names!) comes by to eat sushi made by “Francis, Executive Chef.” Since the sushi place next door to SUR closed down, Lisa thinks they should incorporate some into SUR’s menu. Smart! But possibly even more amazing than Lisa’s business acumen is her version of Big Carl/Lou, et al. from “Cougar Town;” i.e., a glass that holds an entire bottle of wine!

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First sighting of Sandoval’s Flat Iron, that got him the name FI Tom on PreviouslyTV! At least I think that’s the etymology. He and Kristen get ready for work together, and Kristen makes fun of him for being a diva, and I can be this way too so am not trying to judge, but it is still hilarious to watch Sandoval stomp around and complain about only finding the wrong hairspray, because any time a spray says “touchable” it is the Absolute Worst. They finally get out of their place and trudge to work. Sometimes VPR has a scene like this where it’s pretty relatable, and old-school Kristen and Sandoval really do seem to legit like each other and laugh a lot.

Scheana and Tina go to an elixir place, where they discuss their shared passion for music and laugh a lot about how insanely dramatic SUR is, in another legit-charming scene. Except more confusion: Scheana has an audition for Pink Ranger — in what? Is this like Ron Livingston’s Goofy opportunity in “Swingers,” or did they do a”Power Rangers” reboot/movie of some nature (vaguely) recently?

The gray/blue SUR dress : Stassi as hoop earrings : Regina George. To punish Scheana for wearing it, Stassi orders her to polish all the glasses in the main room. Lisa’s like, “Nuh-uh. Stop letting them bully you.”

First sighting of the SUR Back Alley! As Scheana and Stassi hash it out whilst wearing awesome boots.

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Scheana won’t be Stassi’s little bitch, but Stassi’s not trying to hear it and says even if Scheana didn’t know Eddie Cibrian was married at first, she had to have known at some point in the ensuing two years.

Scheana cries and said that Eddie broke her heart, but she is now happy with Shay, and toats not trying to steal Jax. Then she ostensibly returns to work, where her and Stassi’s tables must be wondering where their servers are.

SUR again, but at night! Yay, Schwartz is drinking a beer with Jax at the bar while Sandoval bartends. The girls join them, and anyone worried that Schwartz’s “Bubba” tattoo was a fanwank should rest easy, because it’s the first thing we see him call her.

They all sit around and discuss Scheana over drinks. Sandoval sticks up for Scheana, and it’s sweet. Stassi continues to try to be bossy about it, but they all start openly mocking her and she laughs.

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Next day or thereabouts, the gang meets for brunch at a place called Tart. Stassi orders both mimosas and sauvignon blancs, says “Boo-ya,” and openly fights with Jax at the table. Kristen confessionals that Stassi and Jax “both live in terms of never and forever,” which is pretty deep.

“This season, on Vanderpump Rules“:

  • It’s not playtime to Lisa!
  • Sandoval, Tina, and Scheana perform, and Ariana makes her first appearance!
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  • Scheana and Stassi kiss!
  • The models model!
  • Everyone skinny dips!
  • Scheana says “Obvi!”
  • Effing Frank shows up!
  • Someone had sex with Sandoval in the past!
  • Jax gets caught with his trousers down!
  • EFFING FRANK!
  • Everyone throws drinks at each other!
  • Shirtless Jax fights in a parking lot!

 

So this is not, truly

~ THE END! ~

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15 Reasons I Loved the New “Faking It”

1) Karma’s video out-Sparklesing Robin.

2) “I’ve never seen her walk this angry before.”
~ Amy

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3) Lauren’s heels not sinking into the dirt, even though it’s warm enough to wear sundresses.

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4) Redheaded BFF Karma referring to hamsters during the week I tag my own redheaded BFF Shannon in a post about hamsters.

5) Gregg Sulkin’s incredible acting accent. I had NO idea he was British until he showed up recently on MTV, talking all smooth.

6) Lauren:

a) “NO, Amy! Resist the temptation to forgive! Jesus wasn’t right about everything.”

b) Her fish braid.

7) “Karma, not only am I no longer in love with you. I no longer want you as a friend.”
~ Amy

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8) “I gotta go work on my sustainability project.”
~Dylan

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9) “Aberration.”
~Karma

10) Oliver’s (natch-named) showing up, aesthetically comprised of 98% of my boyfriends (literal and/or Hollywood) from the ’90s.

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11) Karma’s 2016 Rosie the Riveter look:

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12) Being a teenager:

Dylan: Come on. You know, you and I haven’t been vibing lately.
Karma: Since this
morning.

13) Shane and Lauren once again proving that this town is only bitchy enough for…well a lot, but they are the OG catty duo since “Faking It’s” beginnings of yore and yesteryear. (Plus, did I really hear a Duke reference? Plz bring back Duke!!!!!!!!!)
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14) “That is because you forced me to kiss you, over and over again, and then you rejected me!”

“Maybe I kissed you in the pool because maybe a small part of me does want you to be in love with me.

“I don’t want to keep hurting you, Amy. But I don’t know how to be your friend without hurting you.”

“I don’t know, either.”

15) It’s only episode three of the season, and I can’t wait to see what happens next! Thank you to everyone who helps make this show ❤

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Intentionally Cheesy Movie Night 25: Sugar Daddies

After really enjoying a bunch of Lifetime movies a few weeks ago, my luck on the DVR ran out and I hit a dry spell. But if any movie based on title alone was going to be awesome, “Sugar Daddies” was it. With fingers crossed, I settled in and sure enough, it did not disappoint.

The movie begins with the lead’s voiceover expositing that she is pre-law, so you know she’s not a bimbo, but we’re also seeing into the future as she is clearly a hooker of some nature, though getting into an SUV and not a limo.

After getting a beer spilled on her, the lead walks into the bathroom where her roommate conveniently is as well, also clearly a hooker of some nature and putting on even MORE makeup. Oh I should mention that the lead doesn’t wear makeup, to continue setting her apart as Still Pure. Her roommate looks so distractingly like Baylor from “Survivor” that I have to go check the IMDB, but it’s not Baylor.

 

Speaking of confusing looking, the lead is beautiful but also looks like a cross between Holly J. from “Degrassi” and Mischa Barton, and just when my brain finally begins to accept her as one complete and unique person, she randomly looks like Miranda Lambert.

Roommate is footloose and fancy free, while the lead is duteous and won’t go to roommate’s hooker party with her 82-year-old date. She does have a boyfriend who shows up so they can make out (because that is what happens when you’re the only waitress and it’s slammed). I’m going to save myself the trouble of recapping much else about the boyfriend, whose entire character can be summed up thusly: Not An Old Man.

Kara! That’s her name, the lead. Kara gets fired, not for making out during a busy shift, but because they hired too many people. So when Kara gets offered a summer internship at the non-profit “Women’s Law Shelter” (Love it), her excitement quickly turns to disappointment when she finds out it doesn’t pay.

Dorm room scene where we find out that her roommate (Shawna) has super expensive dresses and Kara goes to college in the early ‘90s because she is sitting at her desk writing longhand whilst wearing a denim shirt. Shawna evangelizes her lifestyle and tells Kara that life doesn’t have to be so hard.

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(*Side note: I saw a college girl in on “Billy on the Street” before and not only was she wearing a denim shirt, but it was sleeveless! Welcome back, 1993 — feels like just yesterday ❤ )

Roommate and Kara walk into a lounge. A song plays ominously in the background as Kara realizes she’s in over her head, and gazes in horror at what looks like the weirdest sorority party ever.

Shawna meets up with the older man from before and is all “Hey my friend would like to ‘meet someone.’” Kara’s like nuh-uh and Roommate chides her for being rude. She counters that these men are way classier than the frat douches at school. This scene would almost make it seem like “Maybe she has a point,” except it’s all so hilariously predatory from the get-go that there is no room for devil’s advocacy!

Especially when a man comes up (Grant), talking like Mel Silver mixed with the Pathmark man from “Poltergeist.” He is accompanied by a bodyguard. Grant charmingly proceeds to call Kara uptight for not wanting to sleep with a man older than her father for money.

Speaking of Kara’s dad, we find out that he has 80K in medical bills from a car accident that insurance won’t cover. Maybe I can fix this by becoming a hooker, you see Kara thinking.

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But then okay, so after the mom’s all, “We’re going to lose the house maybe,” Kara offers to move home and her mom says “No you’ve worked so hard,” and I don’t understand why Kara can’t continue to work hard while also living off-campus, and THEN her dad comes home and we find out that he’s just been able to go back to work as a mechanic and finally after many years, he’s restored a Corvette, which will be Kara’s graduation present after she finishes law school.

Okay…

First of all, she’s still PRE-law, so we’re talking a long time from now and while you can’t necessarily predict that your straight-laced daughter is going to choose prostitution as the next logical step, wouldn’t it at least make sense to sell the Corvette and help everyone now?

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Anyway, Kara’s mad when Grant calls her. Shawna gave him her number because Grant is the “sugar daddy jackpot.” Other girls would kill to be with him. Shawna says she and her sugar daddy have a mutually beneficial relationship; sex in the dark is no big deal, and she gets “lots and LOTS” of money which is all well and good, but may I then ask why she is living with a roommate in the dorms if she has so much money?

Cut to Kara in a white lace dress (because she’s still innocent) taking Grant’s arm, as he leads her onto a plane so they can go to dinner in San Francisco, where he feeds her champagne and caviar (RIP Baldwin restaurant), and they have a long conversation where we find out again, some more, that she needs money and he offers her $5,000 a month to be his lady, and doesn’t care that she has a boyfriend.

I guess the early ‘90s are just back in, between Kara’s denim shirt and now her and Shawna’s outfits. 

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Oh right, there’s this ongoing theme of ethics and morality in Kara’s law class to underscore all the deepness. Meanwhile, she flashes back to the scene we just saw three minutes ago of her date with Grant and in the next, we see her get in the SUV from the first scene as she goes inside for an interminable exchange where it’s established over and over that she is unsure and he is not going to ask her to do anything she doesn’t want to do. Then they have sex in slow motion and he hands her a check.

Shawna, Lea, and Kara discuss their sugar daddies. Lea’s is mean and into role play and she’s very jealous that Grant is so nice.

Kara and her parents eat outside. She lies about her job going well and they hand her a check for $200, which she gives back to them and really once again, I’m not feeling the economical urgency of Kara’s situation as they sit around in their cool dining area outside their house and play hot potato with checks. Because also, I’m the first person to never want to say goodbye to houses, but Kara has no siblings. Is it really that awful for them to downsize? But mainly this scene exists for us to learn that Kara no longer uses her GPS, because she’s not a little girl anymore; i.e., has become a hooker.

Kara’s car won’t start, because the one her dad’s bothered to fix is at home waiting in the garage for God knows how long. Grant tells her to cancel her plans for tonight, and speak of the devil, her (young) boyfriend shows up to jump her car; then she does as she’s told and bows out of tonight’s movie plans, blaming her need to study.

Kara’s back at Grant’s and I have to say that the whole thing is very confusing, like some of the time it seems like she is falling in a way for him. Sometimes every other face she makes looks terrified and revolted. Then there are times like now, when she seems like a stone-cold taker who has no qualms about pretending to really like this guy. He says he’ll pay her dad’s medical bills (which you might have forgotten because it’s been 30 seconds, are 80,000 dollars) and gives her expensive earrings. Then he takes off her dress.

Peter the Bodyguard drives Kara home and scoffs at her earrings and she says he sounds jealous and he drives away in a menacing manner. Meanwhile Lea stumbles up and delivers a drunken/drugged-out speech about how tonight she played dirty flight attendant and she’s jealous of Kara and Grant again, some more. Then she does that TV/movie thing where she can barely talk or walk, but doesn’t fall down in her stiletto heels.

Justin the not-old boyfriend shows up to try and have sex, but Kara’s “tired,” and when he notices her new earrings, she lies that she borrowed them from Shawna. He’s suspicious and asks, “To study?” But agrees to hang out the next day.

Instead the next day, Kara is having sex with Grant in the backseat of the SUV while Peter watches from the rearview mirror. Justin goes looking for her and asks Shawna about the earrings and she is like “What earrings?” since she and Lea clearly hate Kara.

Kara gets back to the dorm, where Justin is waiting and confronts her. “Just tell me it’s not one of those sugar daddies,” he implores her, but Kara’s eyes say it all, and he leaves.

Kara and Shawna walk through campus while Shawna shows off her fancy new bracelet by walking in leather…shorts with her arm extended. Kara calls Shawna on selling her out with Justin. Shawna continues to walk with her arm extended and Kara is horrified to realize Shawna’s out to be a trophy wife to a sugar daddy. 

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Grant takes Kara to his house and gives her a new car. Then they have sex and pillow talk about his age (this is one of the times she seems to really like him), then kinkiness. She likes chocolate syrup and he likes to be choked. This is when things start to take a turn, as it dawns on Kara that no, she probably isn’t going to get $5,000 a month and spontaneous plane trips and cars and medical bills paid for because of her vague charm and halfhearted sex. He shows her a check for $100,000 for her father. But he doesn’t give it to her; it’s for IF she does what he wants next time.

Kara drives home as she flashes back to a scene from just before with her mom talking about selling the house, like this is the deciding factor and seriously why? Then she flashes back to literally the last scene, before slamming into the back of a stopped car, due to being distracted.

Speaking of the house, Kara’s there now to saddle her dad with fixing her newly smashed car. Then she hands him a card because they’re celebrating his 50th birthday, at which his birthday speech, like most other things in this movie’s universe, is All About Kara. And for some reason, the dad has a beer bottle, but everyone else has a Solo cup.

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Kara ignores multiple calls from Grant and it’s like at least turn your super-loud ringer off, GEEZ.  Finally her uber-patient mom gets annoyed, so Kara answers but refuses to leave her dad’s party for him, despite his insistence.

Lea asks Kara for money until she finds her “next daddy.” Kara for some reason relents even though Lea seems perfectly capable of at least attempting to I don’t know, get a job, and says she’ll give her those earrings so she can sell them.

Kara’s dad works on her car, then notices the registration made out to Grant. Warning bells go off, and he looks for her at the restaurant where Kara used to work. Her boss says they let her go a few weeks ago.

Kara shows up at Grant’s and after many dates of ingenue blue and virginal white dresses, she’s finally given up the ghost and is wearing all red. If we’re not going to get even the vaguest allusions as to character motivation, I appreciate the costume imagery. She says sorry, and he says since you won’t choke me, you better come to events from now on.

Kara’s dad is at Grant’s house and super pissed. Kara on the other hand seems to love her dad so much that she is willing to be a hooker for him, but not enough to muster up a reaction to his horror at the situation. She refuses to leave with him, and he punches Grant in the face.

Then she hurts his feelings by calling Grant the most generous man she’s ever met. She follows him to his car in her stiletto heels apologizing, but he peels away. Then she goes back inside Grant’s house and he’s upset about all the drama, says this is not going to be “a love affair,” and his nose goes from pouring copious amounts of blood one moment to being just fine the next.

He breaks up with her; she asks what about the check, and he tears it up and throws it on the ground. 

So after fixing what he thought was his daughter’s car that she now needs to give back to Grant, Kara’s dad SMASHES the window of the car in and I get that you’re mad dude, but why would you do that? Either she has to pay for it and where do you think she’s getting the extra $$$, or he’s going to hurt her for the offense! And speaking of hurt, way to risk your daughter sitting on glass. She just apologized and I don’t blame you for not accepting that or being angry, but come on now.

Oh boy. So that professor who offered Kara the internship tells her sawry sawry, they changed their minds and you think omg, Grant’s not just going to mess with her bank account or emotions; he’s going to mess with her life, and used his power to take this from her. But no, it’s just another filler scene to show us…something about Kara’s inner workings.

I guess this time it’s to show how much she’s lost, as we get more flashbacks to things that just happened, as she fights with her dad, then Justin, then Grant. Shawna shows up to be useless as usz, and the movie — say it with me — reminds us that Kara’s family is “broke” and what is Shawna going to do; she used all her money on fall tuition (i.e., not a bit of student loan debt and guaranteed classes for the next several months), but “dorm fees are due.” And I just can’t even right now, as Shawna encourages her to go make Grant feel needed and get him back.

Kara does that and says she will do anything to prove how much she misses and needs him. Because, dorm fees. And he tells her she can prove it by bringing Lea back to his place for a threesome. Kara even at this point in the movie has the gall to look put off; I mean, as far as these things go, a threesome is pretty freaking tame on the scale of things she’s been up to lately.

They all end up back at his place, where he conveniently excuses himself to the bedroom and tells them to help themselves to drinks. Kara says she can’t do this and Lea says yes you can because Lea is desperate for another “daddy” and has always wanted Grant. She gives Kara a pill to help her through it.

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Then it is pretty much the same scene as the aborted threesome in “Faking It,” in terms of choreography and time frame, if not emotionally. Kara runs out of the room and vomits while Lea tells Grant she’ll do anything. Obvi, he has her choke him, but then he chokes her…to death by accident.

Kara comes out of the bathroom to find Lea’s body and runs out screaming. Then she comes back and Lea’s gone! Grant says she was just drunk and Peter called her a cab.

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Kara tells Shawna btw I think Lea’s dead and Shawna doesn’t believe her after Kara said she took “the drugs” Lea gave her. We flash back and forth between Kara finding some kind of evidence by the looks of it, and Grant losing his mind and screaming a lot back at home. Then out of nowhere there is a scene of Kara’s mom encouraging Kara’s dad to forgive her.

Grant and Peter fetch Kara in broad daylight so that Grant can try and bribe Kara into silence. As she looks at the check, she notices the earring she gave Lea on the ground by her foot! How could that be if she went straight from the threesome to the cab?

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And even in this 11th hour Kara manages to do the dumbest thing possible, as she remains in the car of someone she knows is likely a killer, driven by someone who you can just tell is a killer in the first place. JUST SMILE AND TAKE THE CHECK AND GET THE HELL OUT OF THE CAR!!! Instead she takes the earring from the floor and promises to call him. Grant punches the seat after she leaves and says “She knows” and it’s made clear that Peter’s going to kill Kara to cover their tracks.

I’d really like to know what the entrance standards are to this supposedly expensive college because as dumb as Kara is, Shawna is aggressively dumber. They saunter around campus and she continues to not believe anything is wrong.

Remember that GPS that went off in the first act? Well it’s gone on in the third, much to Kara’s dad’s surprise. He calls and she’s doing what anyone would be doing in her position: walking alone on a dark street, now while talking on a cell phone. Sure ‘nuff, Peter snatches her and Kara’s dad reacts with the urgency of a stoned person who’s forgotten why he walked into a room.

Kara’s bound and gagged and getting thrown into a trunk. Peter drives; Kara’s dad gives chase; Grant drinks, and once at the destination (the usual warehouse where these scenes tend to take place), Kara manages to unbind herself, then kicks Peter when he opens the trunk!

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It’s enough to buy some time for her dad as she hides in the warehouse, but Peter eventually catches her, then forces her to tie a tube around her arm. Luckily her dad gets there right before she has to shoot up, and then there is the usual scene you get in every last 10 minutes of most LMNs. In this version, Kara defeats Peter by smashing him in the head with a pipe.

And then they do what ALSO happens in these movies, which is treat a murderer like he’s dead without knowing. Kara and her dad hug; no one grabs Peter’s weapon, and then Kara answers Peter’s phone, letting Grant know while they’re still in the warehouse and Peter is possibly still alive that his plan was foiled.

Grant gets ready to flee the country in his plane, obviously half expecting this moment for awhile. But the jig is up, and here are the police! But they sort of let him stand around uncuffed so that he and Kara can exchange a meaningful glance that is just as confusing as the rest of their relationship has been.

Sunny day, obviously sometime in the future. Kara’s dad, believe it or not, is working on a car. The mom watches with approval from the door, and Kara’s dad lets her take the Corvette for a ride.

“I learned a lot in my last year of college. No matter how badly you want something, or how ambitious you are, there are some things? That just aren’t worth it,” Kara VOs, making it clear that her college education clearly paid off.

~ THE END ~

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Back to NY, Day One — Nanny & Pop-Pop’s House

My third trip back to New York was for my best friend’s wedding. Shannon and I met in sixth grade, became friends in seventh grade, and BFFs in eighth. So it’s been nearly 30 years. We went through junior and senior high in a teeny-tiny Christian school, with a graduating class of 13. No, there are no zeroes left out of that number. Ergo, we were a tight bunch, and pretty much remained so, especially considering that we’re all now in our 40s. So as broke as a joke as I am, when she told me she was getting married, I had to find a way to be there.

My second trip to New York had been last June for Nanny’s funeral. Very few days have passed since then that I haven’t at least teared up, and some days I still full-out sob. I didn’t know what it would be like to return to her house. My aunt hasn’t sold it, and when she graciously said that Josh and I could stay in it, she warned us that it was very different — messy and dusty and I honestly couldn’t have cared less. It was a house I kissed the walls of when I said goodbye to it last year. It is my favorite house in the entire world, one I’ve known my entire life. Just to be back inside those walls was literally a dream come true.

Stepping into the house felt like one, as well. “Beep-beep-beep-beep” went the dutiful security system, as I braced for the absence of her once-bouncing, later-shuffled footsteps at the door. I’ll write more about this another day, after it’s had a little more time to settle. But for the record, my aunt as usual was being humble, and clearly had worked so hard on the place, even cleaning out a bedroom and bathroom for us.

That night, I sat in my Pop-Pop’s chair, the most comfortable one in the world, even after all these years. It was where he sat during every gift-opening time at Christmas, until he passed and my cousin Albert took over, as an honor to our grandfather as much as for the primo living room real estate. Sitting there made me feel reverent, almost like I was in a place I shouldn’t be. I cried (obvi), read Wild, and just looked around, trying to absorb. That was when I posted on Facebook: “If every time I return to NY, every fiber of my being screams it wants to stay, I feel like I should listen.” Reactions were mixed, including mine as I wrote and felt it. I think I was almost trying to will Kansas back to me, to bring back my own Auntie Em and Uncle Henry. First I just needed to click my heels back to the place I knew deep down would and could never exist again.

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Posted in Apartments & Other Domiciles, Books, Childhood, Dreams, Family, Uncategorized, Women | Tagged , | 2 Comments