{American Horror Story} You’re Going to Die in There

If you’re anything like me and love Halloween and horror, tune into FX on Wednesdays at 10pm to catch the recent addition to their original lineup.

Connie Britton of Friday Night Lights plays Vivien Harmon, who has moved into a haunted house with her psychiatrist husband Ben and their teenage daughter Violet. Apart from Dylan McDermott as Ben, I think the casting couldn’t be better (I’m not a fan of his overacting and inability to cry realistically). I could watch Jessica Lange and Frances Conroy (Ruth from Six Feet Under!) in scenes together for hours…they are wonderful together. There’s no shortage of references to some of my favorites, like The Shining, The Strangers and Twin Peaks. Shockingly enough, the crew behind it are the bubble gum and rainbow Glee duo, Ryan Murphy and Brad Fulchuck. Something tells me they’re using the new show as an outlet for all things twisted now that their previous baby, Nip/Tuck, is off the air.

We don’t have cable (we just watch it streaming online), but for those of you who do and want to catch up, watch the first four episodes during the FX marathon this Halloween.

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Treat Yo Self Day: Yes Please.

I’m feeling under the weather and like I could use one of these days, fo sho:

Parks and Rec always makes me smile without fail, especially Aziz Ansari. Anyone else want to have a “Treat yo self” date with me? I could really use some fragrances and fine leather goods, asap (or just a cute sweatshirt from H&M and a burrito from Chipotle….).

Haven’t we all had days where we just want to feel like a cashmere, velvet candy cane?

The End of an Era: Television Loses Two Dramedies

Two beloved cult dramas have come to an end this summer: Friday Night Lights and Rescue Me. I only began watching Friday Night Lights this past summer, but quickly got hooked and found myself misty-eyed over the series finale before I knew it. Rescue Me, however, has remained close to my Denis Leary-loving heart since I began watching when it premiered in 2004.

{Photo credits 1, 2}

At the surface, Coach Taylor (Kyle Chandler) and Tommy Gavin (Denis Leary) are vastly different individuals, but at the end of the day, both characters are constantly battling with the concept of what is right and balancing fatherhood with their passions. Taylor, with his idealized portrait marriage, which nonetheless faces its own issues without getting gimmicky. Gavin, with his foul-mouthed, battle-scarred views on the world and daily downfalls with alcoholism, haunted guilt and family dysfunction.

Both shows have a certain sense of Americana with the way they present their stories—from a small Texas town to a firehouse in NYC, the characters are a byproduct of a place and time. We end up gripping our seat in suspense with the Panthers because we fell in love with Dillon, Texas. Our body goes tense during climactic fire scenes because we are seduced by the camaraderie of the brotherhood at Ladder 62. And we root for both along the way.

Although somewhat scatterbrained and sometimes exasperating in the series’ middle stretch, both shows beautifully captured the art of compromise in their final seasons. Taylor’s reluctance to give into his wife’s needs and his ultimate willingness to put himself aside. Gavin’s constant attempt to clean himself up and focus on the family instead of fighting fire with fire. The shows may not have always been successful, and sometimes the characters weren’t incredibly likable, but both were almost always interesting.

A few years ago, if you would have told me I would soon be watching shows about football players and firefighters, I would have asked you to shut up and move out of the way because, in all likelihood, you’d be interrupting Gilmore Girls. In different ways, Friday Night Lights and Rescue Me are both beautiful shows, with wonderfully written characters, cinematography, music and vision. These series were committed to living in the real (albeit, overly dramatic) world, with characters who leave their old lives behind them and move forward by keeping the memories alive.

I’ve posted a clip of an inspirational speech from Coach Taylor (above), along with a monologue by Tommy Gavin (below), both of which are in the pilot episodes for each series. You might sense that Leary’s character is a bit more…blunt…but he’s still just as lovable, I promise.