My favorite TV shows, or: How I realized I might be a TV junkie

Last week, I may or may not have marked my calendar with the start dates of every fall show I watch. Because, apparently, I am obsessed with television.

OK, it’s not a clinical obsession. But over the years, storytelling on TV has gotten so dang good that I can’t help but get excited for more.

After reading Greatest Escapist’s top favorite shows of all time, I decided to shamelessly steal her blog post idea and come up with my top 10 favorite shows of all time. (Sorry ’bout that, Kate. And thank you!!)

10. Orange is the New Black–It has one of the world’s best ensemble casts, a notation often lost to the likes of Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead. The “girl power!” shouter in me adores that it gives meaty, interesting roles to women otherwise lost in TV land. And I love the invisible line between who is “good” and who is “bad,” a line I’d argue that Caputo walks brilliantly.

Litchfield’s best inmate. I don’t want to talk about it.

9. Roseanne–I watched this show religiously as a kid, and when I find reruns, I’m always amazed at how much it holds up. I mean … just look at that cast. Love her or hate her, Roseanne is a perfect, bitchy, loving mother. John Goodman is John Goodman. Aunt Jackie should have won a frickin’ Tony Award this year. Plus, the family encounters legit, real issues (let’s not talk about that final season, ‘k?) Dan and Roseanne’s constant battle with themselves to merge the crazy kids of their youth with the responsible parents they become is the show’s best conflict. And their Halloween episodes are my absolute favorite themed TV episodes.

Click on the pics to zoom.

8. Friends–Let’s be honest: I’m floored this isn’t higher on the list. It goes to show how much wonderful stories are being told out there. I was the prime age to be a Friends-o-phobe, and I have very distinct memories of it, including freshman year of college, where every single girl on the second floor of Humphrey Hall watched with their doors open, and when we learned that Ross was the father, every single girl on the second floor of Humphrey Hall screamed.

The One Where No One’s Ready, or: The single best episode of Friends. Could I BE wearing any more clothes?

7. Sex and the City–True confession: I hated this show when I first saw it. I didn’t get the appeal. Maybe because I was a virgin, I dunno. But this is one of the few shows on this list I could happily spend an entire evening watching. Each character is too much, but together, they’re all of us (except maybe Charlotte–I don’t think any of those women would actually like her). While I could never be as free with myself as Samantha, I think she’s about the best possible role model: strong but soft, successful, and the very best friend.

6. Game of Thrones–I do not like to judge people for their tastes. We should never be made to feel guilty about what we like. However, there is a contingency out there who refuse to watch this show. To them I say: Stop being stupid. “But I don’t like fantasy.” “It’s too rapey.” “There are too many characters.” Blah, blech, and blarg. GoT is storytelling and suspense at its finest. Nothing happens for no reason. The simple plotting such a detailed storyline requires, it’s completely fascinating. (And if you’ve watched it and don’t like it, two thumbs up. It’s that weird “I’m cool because I’ve never seen an episode of X popular thing” thing I don’t understand.)

Sir Davos, the savior or Westeros. (Or simply … my favorite character in a slew of A+ characters. Anytime he’s in peril, my husband all but smothers me with pillows to get me to stop muttering, “Anyone but Davos, anyone but Davos, anyone but Davos.”)

5. The Big Bang Theory–I love a show that focuses on nerds. I love how much science and physics and math is the draw, and I love how the writers make it all work, even though they know their audience probably has no idea what they’re talking about. I love that Penny unwittingly teaches the nerds how to be social, and I love how that favor is returned, showing her the value is being bright. In a world of sarcasm, BBT theory is sweet and hopeful.

“The Bath Item Gift Hypothesis” ends with one of those scenes that makes me double over laughing, no matter how many times I see it.

4. The Twilight Zone–I start every new year right: On the couch for as long as humanly possible, watching Syfy’s The Twilight Zone marathon. I love the stories. I love the twists. I love how sweet it is, and how creepy it is. I love baby Burgess Meredith in the most unfair situation on the planet and baby William Shatner freaked out by the single worst gremlin costume on the planet.

There are certainly more popular episodes of The Twilight Zone than The Hunt (including the two linked above), but this one is my favorite. If you don’t have a twinkly tear in your eye by the end, you have no heart–and I’m not even much of an animal person.

3. The Cosby Show–Until relatively recently, the Cosby’s held the top spot in my heart. I love this family so hard. It is rare to love every character on a show with so many actors. Cosby anniversary episodes could be a primer in how to do a sitcom right. Plus, it gave so many quoteables, even as a little kid: zerberts, jammin on the one (wtf does that mean?), the mating of the wildebeests (I’ve wanted to go to Nairobi ever since), I brought you in this world, and I’ll take you out.

PETER! Also, that little cutie on the end, in the striped leggins? Totally Alicia Keys.

2. The Walking Dead–Oh man, did I resist this show. I don’t like zombies, and I find zombie pop culture to be completely boring. Oh … you mean The Walking Dead isn’t about zombies? They’re just, like, a plot point? The writing and characters are some of the most fascinating in TV? Ohhhh. Got it. I got pretty into my early Walking Dead love a year and a half ago, if you’re interested. The love, clearly, has only grown from there. Because it is nearly my very favorite show in existence, second only to …

I follow so many Walking Dead actors and producers on social media. The cast seems simply spectacular. Hershel 4eva.

1. Boston Legal–Oh, Alan Shore and Denny Crane, my favoritest fictional relationship in the history of fictional relationships. Like Sex and the City and The Big Bang Theory, I can wake up at 9 a.m., turn on Boston Legal, and watch until 1 a.m., no doubt in my mind. I love how smart it is, I love how silly it is. I love how important its topics are and how silly its topics are. The episode Son of the Defender produces TV magic unlike any I have seen before or since, pulling from William Shatner’s loooooong career of acting. It can make me double over laughing and sob to the point of stopping my breath. Entertainment at its finest.

Runners up: Gilmore Girls, Breaking Bad, Girls

Potential runners up (as in, I’m mid-binge and loving these each SO SO MUCH, but I haven’t finished them yet so DON’T YOU DARE DISCUSS THEM IN THE COMMENTS): Parenthood, Mad Men. One of these could potentially take my No. 10 spot. Parenthood is dangerously close.

The differences between turning 21 and turning 31

My 31st birthday was on Monday. I took the day off work, shopped, watched a girlie flick (“Sex and the City 2”) while I filled some orders, went with ma hubby to dinner at my favorite joint in town, and then saw Occulus.

When we stepped out of the movie theater, on the evening of April 14 in northeast Indiana, the ground was covered in snow.


A decade prior, I walked out of an underage bar in Kent, Ohio, drunk for the second time in my life (I was not a college drinker …) I looked up. I looked at my boyfriend. I looked around.

“I’m not that drunk, am I?”

No, I was not, because it was snowing. They were the only two times in my life it’s snowed on my VERY SPRING BIRTHDAY.

At my 21st birthday, I sang karaoke for the first time in my life. The song, fittingly, was “Like a Virgin.” That is what’s happening here.

I had no idea I was the kind of girl who wore midriff shirts, but then you go. Also, I wish I looked half as cool as Melissa did while we sang.

At my 31st birthday, which I celebrated with friends this past Saturday, I karaoked again, and I knocked something silly off my bucket list: I sang on karaoke one of my favorite George Michael songs of all time, one that I’ve wanted to sing for ages but was too shy to do in front of strangers: “I Want Your Sex.”

First time, “Like a Virgin.” A decade later, “I Want Your Sex.” You can’t make this shit up, folks.

At my 21st birthday, we started the night at a friend’s, who wanted to be the first to provide me with my first legal drink. The day fell on a Sunday, so at midnight Saturday night/Sunday morning, we cheersed and headed out.

At midnight. AND I WASN’T TIRED.

My 31st birthday began at 5:30 p.m. That’s like early bird special time, but I wanted to go to a winery that closed at 7 p.m. So we sipped our wines, bought copious amounts of wine slushies, and enjoyed the gorgeous patio.

At my 21st birthday, we were all CASUAL. Oh man, so many jeans, so many sweatshirts and sweaters. Look at us go:

For 31? Still some jeans, but considerably more fitted. Fewer belly buttons. (Ugh, seriously, can I go back in time and bitchslap me?) Much more colorful and interesting tops. At least three maxi skirts (for the birthday girl included). I never really GOT it when my mama said women get better with age. But … we do. (Not that I don’t love those early-20s fools above. But come on.)

(There were boys there too, but the ladies photo is much more fun.)

At 21, I guarantee I wanted people to buy me all the things. I wasn’t a material girl, but I know I was hyped up to see what the boy got me. (Don’t ask … it’s been a decade, do you think I remember??)

At 31, when friends showed up with gifts, I was uncomfortable opening them. I so appreciate the gesture and feel so warm and fuzzy that people like me enough to show up with a gift. But I don’t throw parties for presents–I throw them to make all the people I like get in one space at one time.

(Though the giant pop-up floor map of Westeros was pretty badass …)

And of course … there’s that whole “I have a husband now” thing. And that’s pretty much the best.

Alrighty, what was your 21st birthday like? Tell me you wore ridiculous things, too??? And how did it compare to your most recent celebration?

That time ‘Friends’ ruined ‘Little Women’ for me

A month or two ago, I found a killer copy of “Little Women.” It called itself “faux leather,” but really, it was simply paperback with a textured cover. But it was bright orange, the font was perfect and sized correctly (am I the only one who can’t read a book if the font looks cruddy?) and it smelled. Just. Perfect.

As I started to read the book, more and more of a particular episode of “Friends” came to mind — you know the one, where Rachel and Joey read one another’s favorite books: “Little Women” and “The Shining,” respectively.

Well, if you’ve seen the episode, you know that they ruin each book for the other. And I thought, “NOOOO!! I can’t believe I remember that Jo dies!! And she’s the obvious character that readers are supposed to choose as their favorite March sister. But I don’t want my favorite sister to die. So I choose Beth as my favorite.” (Do you see where this is going?)

Yes, Jo is the spirited sister. She’s the writer, she’s a tomboy, she can’t be contained, she hates ladylike things. Beth, meanwhile, is the quiet sister. She’s the sweet one, the musician, the good one. Meg is vain, and Amy’s a bitch, but Beth — there’s a roll model.

(All sorts of spoilers are going to happen now, so if you don’t want to know, I won’t mind if you go away. Here, why not check out these “11 Incredibly Important Photos of a Baby Covered in French Bulldog Puppies instead.”)

About 3/4 of the way through the book, Beth gets scarlet fever. And I started to think, “No … No JO is supposed to get sick, not BETH.” And the more I read, the more my memory of Rachel’s line altered from “Jo dies” to “Beth dies.” So imagine my surprise when, at the end of the book … no one has died. How strange …

I did some Googles and found details about Meg’s twins, about Amy’s time abroad and I realized … my awesome copy of “Little Women”? Yeah, it was just half the book. It made no mention that this volume was missing Book 2 of the full novel. I downloaded the full version on my iPhone and read most of it that way until I could get to Barnes & Noble for a real copy (yes, that means I own 2 1/2 copies of “Little Women” — 1 1/2 paperbacks and a free digital download).

It turns out, “Friends” didn’t lie to me, there IS a death — of the favorite character I chose so I wouldn’t be disappointed by another character’s death. Luckily Louisa May Alcott assured I wouldn’t be that sad by making Beth a ridiculously minor figure in the second half of the book.

Nevermind my crappy memory for details, how much I enjoyed “Little Women” is a testament to the book’s sweetness and story. I love me a coming-of-age story, and the earnestness found in the March sisters is so endearing that I can’t help but enjoy the book.

But let’s be honests: I have to point out some serious issues I take with the book. For one, I’m sorry, the word “womenfolk” is disgusting. Yeah, “Little Women” is set in the late 1800s, so there’s some leeway for traditional gender rolls and expectations.But the word evokes images of 1950s women vacuuming around her husband’s feet while he smokes a pipe and sips on his Gin Rickey.

Naturally, the book can only end after each sister is paired off with a man and made into a mother — even the sister who never wanted that for herself. I’m not knocking that choice — um, hi, I’m married — I’m simply pointing out that it’s clear to the reader that we are to believe the sisters wouldn’t have found contentment without her respective man to provide it. And I typically wouldn’t dig this as a major plot point to a book.

But … but … it’s just such a dang cute book!

Any “Little Women” readers out there? What say you?

My new (& probably improved?) laminated list

A friend posted a Mumford and Sons music video to Facebook earlier this week, and I realized something: Jason Sudeikis is now on my laminated list.

Now, don’t act like you don’t know what the laminated list is. You watched “Friends,” right? The friends discuss the famous people they are allowed to sleep with, and the other can’t get mad. It’s like their top five hottest celebs list. But then Ross gets all Ross and laminates his list, cause he a nerd.

And I started to think about my five favorite guy celebs right now, and who I’d put on my laminated list, and how much it has changed over the years (my first one ever definitely included some Jeff Goldblum. Ian Malcom is dreamy as hell.)

In no particular order:

Jason Sudeikis. I think he’s my favorite comedic actor out right now. “Horrible Bosses” is amazing and wildly underrated. He was key on SNL. And dang, every time I see him, I find him sexier and sexier. (OK, maybe not as Jesus.)

Gerard Butler. He’s been on this list forever. He’s perfect, whether he’s playing a Spartan king or a dopey schlub in a bad Katherine Heigl movie. (Seriously, if I were to describe my physically perfect dude, I’d describe Butler.)

James Franco. Totally dreamy. And then he does shit like “This is the End” and he gets even better. He’s probably the only “pretty boy” on the list, but there’s way more inside that perfect face. (Seriously, they’re both him. See?)

Tom Hardy. “Lawless” was my favorite movie of last year, and he’s just yummy. I knew within the first five minutes of “This Means War” that Reese Witherspoon would choose incorrectly, and I wanted to step into the movie and brain her for bad decision-making.

I don’t have a fifth. Let’s just put Gerard Butler on here twice then.

And now … yours?

In which I feel very antisocial

I’m experiencing something I don’t know that I’ve ever experienced: I’m feeling incredibly, hugely, wildly antisocial.

Please don’t misunderstand — I am no social butterfly the rest of the time. I prefer a one-on-one dinner with a close friend to a giant party with the masses. But, I do enjoy that one-on-one dinner, very much so.

This weekend, I’m going to see my bestie at her parents’ lake house. Jeff’s not going, which I’m kind of happy about (I could never be one of those attached-at-the-hip couples … I like my me-time, yo, and his independence is one of the things that attracts me most). I get a road trip in lovely weather to see my best friend and her family, whom I love. I get a boat, and a lake, and to lounge around like a lazypants. I get to see her son, who very recently told Stephanie, “That’s Jaclyn!” when she showed him a photo of me. (As we live in different states, I’ve only met her son maybe half a dozen times. It makes my heart indescribably happy that he knows me, even if I have to steal my love.) (That is to say, he’s a shy boy, and if I don’t scoop him up and smooch on those cheeks, it’d never happen.)

I’m 99 percent positive this was the first time I met William.

Where the unexpected antisocial behavior is coming in? I took all dang week thinking, “I want to go … right? Do I want to stay home instead? Do I feel like making that drive?”

And each time I did this, I thought of painting my nails with Stephanie, staying up and playing Bananagrams or Rumikube with her family (they’re a family that’s majorly into games, which I love), riding our bikes around the lake. And just, ya know, seeing her. And I’m immediately excited again.

But then, a few hours later, I’m back to going, “Wellllll …”

Seriously, what the heck is wrong with me?? This is NOT like normal Jaclyn.

I’m blaming my last four summers. When I moved to my new home state in 2008, I was dating a boy in my former home state. Once a month, I visited him (he lived about an hour from my parents, so it was a dual visit), and once a month, he visited me. That’s half of all weekends each month, taken. The following summer began Jaclyn’s Summer of Weddings, which was more of a two- or three-year thing, when virtually all the friends I love in life got hitched. There were graduation parties to attend, and every single one of these events were out of town. In those few years, weddings or graduation parties took me to Cincinnati (twice), Chicago (twice), Phoenix, Mexico, Cleveland and Ann Arbor.

Summer 2010 was my and Jeff’s first summer together, and we are a couple who like to travel. In addition to coming with me to one of the Chicago weddings, plus the Phoenix and Mexico ones, Jeff and I have been to Boston, North Carolina, Vegas and Michigan. He has traveled with me to see friends near Cinci, and he has traveled with me to see my folks near Chicago.

This is all to say: I travel. A lot. Because I love it. I love seeing new sights and eating new foods and waking up in a hotel bed.

After we got hitched in early May, and after we honeymooned in Belize, however, we haven’t done much of anything. Our weekends are low-key. We sleep in like woah, go to breakfast at noon, and do whatever we want together. Oftentimes, that’s wandering antique malls, checking out the local summertime festival and hanging out with his family.

It. Has. Been. Awesome.

Last summer, Jeff and I took a long weekend trip to Steph’s parents’ lake house. One of my fav pics from the trip.

After three or four weekends like this, to plan to get in a car and have to drive somewhere is just oh so very difficult. I’m saying that in a whining voice, by the way. Because … it’s not that difficult. It’s awesome. And I’m just being a butthead.

(And yet, when I look at how busy August is, I cut myself some slack.) (And then when I look at the above photo again, I go “YAY!”)

What do you think? Do you like the busybusybusy, gogogo summers best? Or do you prefer the ones where you wake up in your own bed and say, “What do I want to do today?” Or is there something to be said for a happy medium?

(Stephanie, if you read this, I cannot wait to see you. Holy cow, please do not take any of this as anything more than me being a whiny butt. And please have Bananagrams ready.)

My morning routine, aka: I’m so pathetic

I feel like a doofus. I’ve experienced 59 time changes in my life and, with a one-hour differential, this is something I experience pretty regularly — my parents live in central time; I live in eastern time. I visit monthly. (That sort of makes me sound like Aunt Flo …)

For some reason, I’m having a helluva time dealing with this most recent change … which was MORE THAN ONE WEEK AGO.

On weeknights, I’m in bed between midnight and 12:30 a.m., and my wind-down routine usually involves repeats of “Friends” on Nick at Night or curling up with whichever book I’m currently engrossed in. I wash up. I get in bed. I set my alarm. Jeff stays up later than I do, so he tucks me in (awww), and I’m usually asleep within 20 minutes.

My alarm goes off at 8:20 a.m. This is a pretty late time to go off, I know, and I love it everyday that I don’t need to be in the office until 9:30. I’m not a night owl — I thought I was, but Jeff will stay up until 4:30 a.m. reading on a work night, multiple times a week, so I know I’m at best a night hummingbird — but I do prefer to stay up late and sleep in.

This schedule gives me between seven and eight hours of sleep a night, which I need (and is also reason No. 382 I don’t want kids — I have no interest in experiencing late-night feedings/changings/anything that wakes me up’ings). Since the time change MORE THAN ONE WEEK AGO, this has not changed. I go to bed at the same time, I get the same amount of sleep, I wake up at the same time.

But my morning routine has changed, if only slightly. I’m typically a hit-the-snooze-one-time kinda gal. Lately, I’ve been hitting it twice — and falling asleep and dreaming within each 10-minute interval.

So I know I’m not on crack — my body seriously is still exhausted if I’m actually dreaming during this brief respite. But I have no idea why this is. No other change has been made.

Hey, people who are smarter than I am: What the heck is going on? A recent conversation with my almost mother-in-law, Char, has me wondering if it’s something I don’t even know about. I’ve had a lot of stuff going on personally, and my nerves have been affecting my belly. I have a big-time nervous belly.

The thing is, I’m not a nervous person. My brain doesn’t feel nervous. I’m not a worrier. But Char pointed out: I internalize things. I may not feel worried or freaked out, but my body is. It’s that part of the brain that does its thing without my knowledge, I guess.

So maybe this exhaustion is just a result of the more-worry-than-usual going on for me. (Don’t feel bad, I’m not freaking out or anything — but any worry for me is a lot. I know, you can hate me.)

For now, I’m dealing with the exhaustion the best way I know how.

In which I discover the best thing about text messaging

Over on my former blog, I posted a bit about the suck that is text messaging. (here and here)

This was before I ever started to text. I now have been a texter for a few months, and while I don’t love it even a quarter as much as everyone else seems to … I see its benefits. In fact, in at least one instance, I downright adore it.

And that instance is when I’m shopping.

I had the day off work on Wednesday, and I took myself shopping to see if I couldn’t find a dress for a wedding rehearsal I’m in later this month.

Now … I’m a girl. When I try on clothes, I like to ask someone, “What do you think of this?”

Well, about 96 percent of my girl friends live in not-Indiana, so that makes it very difficult for that second opinion. So I can’t tell you how cool it is to text a friend a pic of me in a blue dress I heart and ask for another opinion.

In which I give myself too many chins … but the dress rocks enough that I’m OK with that. Also, the fact that the nail polish matches exactly is a fluke. And what is going on with my hand?

(If you have an H&M around you, I can’t stress how badly you need to GO THERE RIGHT NOW. All the store’s clearance items are half-off the reduced price — which means in addition to the above [full-price and totally worth it] dress, I got a $5 purse [which accidentally matches the dress perfectly] and a $2.50 sparkly tee.)

But yeah … texting is alright.

Now … to pair that dress with an understated necklace and fuchsia tights? Or gray tights and this green mini bubble necklace I just bought?

Note: I was mulling over this post as I drove myself to Wendy’s for lunch yesterday, and I remembered why I hate texting: As I pulled up to a red light on MAIN STREET (read: the MAIN street downtown), a man with a bad haircut, glasses and striped sweater crossed the street … while texting. He looked up a single time as he crossed the MAIN street in town. So let me rephrase: I don’t hate texting. I hate dumbass texters who all but beg to be run over like a raccoon.