This week's Parks and Recreation marks a return to Pawnee and, strangely enough, feels like a return to the show's third (and, in my expert opinion, best) season. Leslie (Amy Poehler) is consumed with fierce pride for her town and equally fierce hatred of the neighboring Eagleton, led by their version of Councilwoman Knope, Ingrid de Forest, (played by guest star Kristen Bell). When the towns meet for a yearly high school basketball competition, Leslie mocks the snobs to bump up her poll numbers in the upcoming recall election.
But Chris (Rob Lowe) and Ben (Adam Scott), back in money management mode, cross town lines to find that their snooty neighbors are flat broke. When they try to find a way to help, the two are met with resistance from Leslie. While Leslie's conflict with Ben falls a tiny bit flat, all of her Eagleton burns are top notch (and by top notch, I mean corny and hilarious). However, Leslie finally realizes that the only way to both help Eagleton and protect Pawnee is to combine the two towns, so she sucks it up and takes the heat from the rowdy citizens on both sides of the border. In the past, it's felt like Leslie's hatred for Eagleton has crossed over from funny to pathetic. But right now, with the federal government more inefficient then ever, it is somewhat cathartic to see a competant bureaucrat taking idiots like the fat cats in Eagleton to task, and yet winding up willing and capable of helping them in the end.
Meanwhile, April and Ann take a road trip to Bloomington for April to check out the veterinary school, and Anne to unexpectedly realize that maybe the chemical wasteland of Pawnee is not the best place to raise a child, all of a sudden providing an out for her and Chris to move later in the season. While that is a nice and simple way to start the process of moving those two on, it also makes April, never the sweetest, seem mean as she knee-jerkedly rejected the school Ann worked hard to help her gain acceptance to on the basis of one slightly annoying tour guide. April may have inadvertantly helped Ann, but she isn't helping herself. Hopefully the show isn't so afraid of losing Aubrey Plaza that they limit the character, who could use some forward momentum.
And finally, if they had to do an episode full of Windows product placement, at least it was couched in the very in-character Tom and Donna spending a whole day enjoying the social media grid as Ron tries fruitlessly to escape it. Ron's attempts are foiled in a very reasonable conclusion that as a husband and father, he has to just barely be a part of society.
Questions, Comments, and Concerns:-Ron's first Vine is a thing of beauty. "Delete all pictures of Ron!" -April only agrees to go on the college tour if she can pretend Ann is her 65-year-old grandmother, and Ann gets a little too into it. "'Youngsters'? Am I 65?"-The top two sexiest things Ben's ever said to Leslie both are about slamming Eagleton. "Yes, because Eagleton sucks." -Chris Bosh is a member of the Eagleton high school basketball team, and he's a little bit of a showboat. No need to keep dunking when you're 50 points up.-It's useless to compare apples and oranges... but the oranges are made of Swavorski crystals, while the apples have all been recalled due to a G-Coli breakout. Oh, no, it's way harder to treat than E-Coli.-Leslie's Powerpoint presentation on "helping" Eagleton featured very little practical advice and mostly just pictures of her holding champagne, jumping on graves, and doing a jig with #BROKE superimposed on top.
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With the Supreme Court's decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and dismiss Proposition 8, Wednesday is a big day for the advancement of gay rights in this country. But you probably already know that — at least, you do if you've checked your Twitter/Facebook/Instagram/Vine at all today.
Your friends and relatives aren't the only ones flocking to social media to share their joy on this momentous day. Many celebrities — from President Obama himself to Ben Affleck, Neil Patrick Harris, and more — are also chiming in on Twitter with their thoughts on the SCOTUS rulings. Here are some celebratory celebrity tweets:
Today's DOMA ruling is a historic step forward for #MarriageEquality. #LoveIsLove
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) June 26, 2013
DOMA and Prop 8 should get married.
— Seth Meyers (@sethmeyers) June 26, 2013
Hurray for all Americans and good riddance to DOMA. It's a new day. A happy day.
— Padma Lakshmi (@PadmaLakshmi) June 26, 2013
I never dreamed I would see this day. The whole world has changed for us all. I can't believe it!! #DOMA #Equality
— Andy Cohen (@BravoAndy) June 26, 2013
Big day for some of my good friends and for The US !! @jessetyler @JustinMikita @DRVW11 @JewdyGold @buckhollywood
— Melissa Joan Hart (@MelissaJoanHart) June 26, 2013
Woke up to the news of DOMA being struck down. Don't care that it's cold and raining in Portland, it's a beautiful day.
— Carrie Brownstein (@Carrie_Rachel) June 26, 2013
AND no standing on #prop8?? Same sex marriage is legal in california! I better be getting some wedding invites... #whatdoiwear?
— Sarah Hyland (@Sarah_Hyland) June 26, 2013
This is truly an historic day. Never before & never again will so many men be this excited about getting married. #Scotus
— Danny Zuker (@DannyZuker) June 26, 2013
Went to bed depressed woke up to find DOMA overturned, Prop 8 defeated and the bill in Texas didn't pass. I should sleep more!
— Gillian Jacobs (@GillianJacobs) June 26, 2013
Great news, I just married my cat.
— Mike Birbiglia (@birbigs) June 26, 2013
"DOMA arigato, Mr. Roboto" --from tmbg fb page
— They Might Be Giants (@tmbg) June 26, 2013
I want to french Justice Kennedy SO hard right now.
— Damon Lindelof (@DamonLindelof) June 26, 2013
No one be shocked if I get married and pregnant with a daughter today in a slightly premature fit of joy #americathebeautiful
— Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) June 26, 2013
.@daxshepard1 will you marry me? Xo #marriageequality #loveislove”
— Kristen Bell (@IMKristenBell) June 26, 2013
Big news from the Supreme Court. Goodbye #DOMA #Prop8. Hello #equality.
— Ben Affleck (@BenAffleck) June 26, 2013
Down w DOMA! Something to be very proud of this upcoming July 4th. We are making beautiful progress for Equality! #proud
— Adam Lambert (@adamlambert) June 26, 2013
If you're gay married in California your gay marriage is now legal. Good. #allmarriageisabitgay
— Russell Brand (@rustyrockets) June 26, 2013
I am standing on the right side of history. I stand with @HRC for marriage equality. #SCOTUS #time4marriage http://t.co/3cSE5e0nwK
— Alicia Keys (@aliciakeys) June 26, 2013
A big day for equality and human rights. I'm smiling so big right now.
— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) June 26, 2013
Victory for marriage in California as #Prop8 is struck down. Small but substantial steps toward #MarriageEquality for all!
— Jesse Tyler Ferguson (@jessetyler) June 26, 2013
DOMA-it-just-lost-O Mr. Roboto! So, so happy for Edie, et al.
— Neil Patrick Harris (@ActuallyNPH) June 26, 2013
Gay, straight, lesbian, bi.. No one is better than any one else. What an incredible day for California AND for equality.
— demetria lovato (@ddlovato) June 26, 2013
Thank you to the plaintiffs, the lawyers David Boies and Ted Olsen, to Rob Reiner, Chad and all organizations who made this happen & SCOTUS!
— Official Wanda Sykes (@iamwandasykes) June 26, 2013
#PROP8 IS GONE! #DOMA IS GONE! #SCOTUS #LoveIsLove
— Ricky Martin (@ricky_martin) June 26, 2013
Remember where you are today, history is made...supreme court Strikes down DOMA!
— Melissa Etheridge (@speak_true) June 26, 2013
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In a blanketed statement Luke Greenfield’s Something Borrowed attempts to explore lifelong friendships and the circumstances responsible for their ends. It’s billed as a romantic comedy which would be true if one choreographed dance to Salt N Pepa’s “Push It” and one instance where someone breaks their nose during a game of backgammon were the genre’s qualifiers. But deeper than that lies a message along the lines of “never defer to others ” or even one that’s more like “never give other people the opportunity to take what’s yours because they will.” However those morals get so completely muddled along the way that ultimately the film is downgraded to a chronicle of two best friends in love with the same man.
The film is told from the point of view of Rachel (Ginnifer Goodwin) who’s described as a successful lawyer at a top law firm (so “top ” in fact it’s never named). She is single mostly keeps to herself and is preoccupied with other people’s happiness but is lucky enough to have a very good friend in Darcy (Kate Hudson) who never misses a chance to talk about herself or steal the attention of an entire party by showing up in a pink boa. We learn Rachel and Darcy's friendship spans decades through a slide show that Darcy puts together for Rachel’s “surprise” 30th birthday party and during Darcy's toast to her best friend she talks about how excited she is to marry Dex (Colin Egglesfield) and how thankful she is to Rachel for introducing the two of them. However the truth is Rachel didn’t introduce them – what really happened was Darcy crashed Rachel and Dex’s date that was in honor of all the hard work they did together to prepare for a law school test. Rachel is saddened by the combination of turning 30 and listening to Darcy's excitement over her upcoming marriage to a man she doesn't deserve and after seeing the birthday girl's pout Dex suggests the fellow lawyers go get another drink together. Rachel casually admits to Dex that she’s had a crush on him since law school (which he claims to have never known) and during a shared cab ride to their separate apartments Dex kisses Rachel because it turns out he has had feelings for her all this time too. Thus begins the affair between Dex and Rachel even though Dex’s wedding to Darcy is only weeks away. Eventually Dex and Rachel both realize they love each other and Dex has to make a decision as to which woman is right for him.
Because the story is told from Rachel The Downtrodden's POV the filmmakers attempted to make Darcy the villain as she’s the opposite of Rachel and is someone who gets everything she wants without having to put forth any effort. In actuality Darcy is pretty easy to despise because she always talks about how she’s good-looking and the only obligations she has are towards partying and making incessant demands to Rachel about her wedding to a man she only halfheartedly loves. I suspect Greenfield decided to highlight the tremendous differences between Darcy and Rachel so as to emphasize the fervor and resilience of their bond (which would in turn make the affair between Rachel and Dex a bigger and more dangerous conflict). But it ends up being a disservice to the overall project because the characters themselves are so fundamentally flawed. The notion that one woman would WILLINGLY endure such bullying from someone who’s supposed to be her best friend is terribly unrealistic and so because the movie virtually revolves around this dysfunctional friendship between these two women means everything is painful to watch. There’s even a point where Rachel’s character becomes as unlikeable as Darcy in the way her utter obedience to Darcy makes her weak-minded a terrible heroine and essentially not worthy of our respect either. And what kind of a romantic comedy has us trying to figure out which woman we hate the most? (Exactly.)
John Krasinski saves the movie from being intolerable. He plays Ethan Rachel’s other best friend and (unlike Darcy) he genuinely cares about Rachel’s well-being. Rachel confides in him and he offers her advice and encouragement and Ethan does not like Darcy at all because he sees the way she treats Rachel and the way Rachel’s life halts every time Darcy has a demand. But his character is way more important than it appears to be because he’s the one who points out that both Rachel AND Darcy are flawed characters and he validates the audience’s disgust with both women. He does this by openly criticizing Darcy’s narcissism (which the audience notices within the first few minutes of the film) and also makes Rachel aware of how pathetic it is that she’s been at Darcy’s beck and call for 30 years. Ethan is arguably the only sane character in this movie and strategically he functions as its voice of reason. Even though Krasinski does not play a main character he’s so responsible for the humor that he is a true delight. Ginnifer Goodwin also does an excellent job playing the character who thinks she’s too ugly to ever get a handsome husband and Kate Hudson also deserves some recognition for embodying someone so self-righteous.
It's hard to criticize producers or a studio about what's wrong with a movie that was originally a book because neither the producers nor the studio are responsible for the story's fundamentals -- the author is. At the same time it’s impossible to hold an author responsible for how well his or her book was adapted into a film. That means both the filmmaker and the author must share credit for Something Borrowed but I have a feeling that in a few years neither party will want any.