Top Ten Entertainment Moments of 2013

The year was 2013 and madness ensued. Here’s yet another meaningless top ten countdown, where someone will bitch about how I didn’t include HBO’s “Enlightened” being cancelled.

 10. The Rise of the Mini-Series

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To start off the countdown, I’d like to take a moment to recognize a phenomenon that has captivated audiences in 2013: the mini-series. Unlike any year before, these productions have combined the high production value of films with the periodic elements of a television show. Most notably is FX’s American Horror Story: Coven, the third installment to Ryan Murphy’s anthology series, which follows the struggle between the witches and voodoos in New Orleans. Another popular mini-series this year was BBC’s Top of the Lake, starring Mad Men’s Elisabeth Moss as a detective who uncovers the disappearance of a twelve-year-old pregnant girl. The story unfolds with strong cultural ties to the New Zealand landscape. BBC’s other masterpiece this year was Parade’s End, starring Benedict Cumberbatch as a conservative aristocrat who falls in love with a progressive suffragette. So do yourself a favor and watch a mini-series! It’ll be worth your time.

 

9. North West

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At number nine is the baby of the year – and we’re not talking about the future heir to the English throne – we’re talking about North West. On June 15th, reality star Kim Kardashian gave birth to a baby boy, who, along with boyfriend and rapper Kanye West, named North West. As a nation, we gasped, thinking of this kid’s first day of Kindergarten as a confused schoolteacher takes attendance and calls out a compass direction, rather than a name. This was also a big year for Kimye as a couple. From Kanye’s music video for “Bound 2” was parodied by James Franco and Seth Rogan, to his public fight with Jimmy Kimmel, to his record smashing CD release of Yeezus, tabloids have been stocked with juicy stories about Hollywood’s newest power couple.

 

8. Lorde releases “Pure Heroine” 

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At number eight comes a young girl from down under – New Zealand to be exact. In the midst of the Royal Baby craze, she reminded us that, “We’ll never be royal.” This girl’s name is Lorde and her album, “Pure Heroine” hit shelves September 27 to critical raves and a whopping four Grammy nominations.

 

7. Jennifer Lawrence wins Oscar, trips

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Moving on to number seven, we take a trip back to February’s Academy Awards, where America’s budding sweetheart Jennifer Lawrence took a trip of own. On her way up to the stage to accept her award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture for her role in Silver Linings Playbook, Lawrence stumbled up the steps – but still managed to make it look like a Chanel ad. The Girl on Fire has had a full year, starring in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and the upcoming David O’Russell flick American Hustle, where another Oscar could be in store for Lawrence.

 

6. Deaths of James Gandolfini and Cory Monteith

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For number six, we take a somber moment to remember two great men gone too soon. In June, news broke that Sopranos front man James Gandolfini had died of a heart attack. Gandolfini had just wrapped up filming of a recently released film Enough Said alongside Julia Louis-Dreyfus, which has gained a lot of critical attention. Then in July, we learned the passing of Glee star Cory Monteith. The show postponed the start of their fifth season in order to properly pay tribute to Monteith’s legacy in an episode entitled “The Quarterback.” At the 2013 Emmy Awards held in September, Edie Falco and Jane Lynch paid tribute for their respective co-stars in a tearful in memoriam.

 

5. Sandra Bullock Brings The Heat and is Suspended in Gravity

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Number four on our countdown goes to Sandra Bullock, whose films this year brought audiences to tears of laughter and desolation. First, in her summer blockbuster, The Heat, Bullock stars as a ridged, by the books FBI agent from Manhattan, who is tasked to work with a Boston cop, played by Melissa McCarthy, to take down the nation’s most notorious drug dealer. Then in October, Bullock captivated audiences as Dr. Ryan Stone in Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity. Bullock’s character goes through a range of emotions in the ultimate “stranger in a strange land” film. The only thing in the way of Bullock’s second Oscar is Cate Blanchette in Blue Jasmine, but my vote’s for the lonely astronaut.

 

4. “Rains of Castamere”

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Have you heard someone say “Spoiler Alert!” at all during the past year? If so, chances are pretty good that that someone was about to talk about Game of Throne’s “Rains of Castamere” – which comes in at number three on our countdown. In one of the bloodiest hours in the history of television, the HBO fantasy drama unexpectedly killed off a slew of protagonists, as jaws dropped around the globe. Like clockwork, fans took to the Internet to vent their concerns, leading to dozens of viral “reaction” videos to the episode’s infamous moment, now known as “The Red Wedding.” Basically, if you haven’t started watching television’s most expensive drama, you should probably make that your New Year’s Resolution.

 

3. Miley Twerks at the VMAs

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She’s still just being Miley. At number two on our countdown comes Disney star turned provocative twerk-er. In August, Miley Cyrus performed a rendition of “We Can’t Stop” and “Blurred Lines” with Robin Thicke, and proceeded to do the “Twerk Seen Round the World.” Was it a publicity stunt? Probably. Did it work? Definitely. Before the year was up, Miley had hosted SNL, performed a head-scratching rendition of “Wrecking Balls” at the AMA’s, and released a relatively successful album, Bangerz, all while sporting her now iconic short hair-do. Say what you will, but she’s just being Miley.

 

2. Breaking Bad Finale

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At number five, America said goodbye to its favorite meth cook – Walter Hartwell White. AMC wrapped up the fifth and final season of Breaking Bad on September 29th, as audiences packed auditoriums and movie theaters around the nation to view the shocking conclusion to one of the greatest television dramas of all time. To honor the show’s legacy, the Emmy’s awarded Anna Gunn with Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama, and the Outstanding Drama award went to the cast and crew of Breaking Bad.

 

1. Netflix Produces Original Content

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For my number one moment in entertainment for the 2013 year, I log onto my Netflix account to view their new, original content. Racking up an impressive fourteen Emmy nominations and one win, the online streaming site has become a television network in its own capacity. From reviving fan-favorite Arrested Development, to the political drama House of Cards, Netflix is doing everything right. Over the summer, Netflix added yet another outstanding show, Orange is the New Black, which has demolished all notions and prejudices America has had about female correctional facilities. At $8.99 a month, Netflix is more than just entertainment – it’s an experience.

Do you agree with my top ten? Let me know in the comment section. Be civilized, people.

Flashback: GIRL(S) Season 2

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Like I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I have way too much time on my hands. And as I pace my way through the new season of Arrested Development, I have had time to binge on shows that I lost throughout the school year. One of which is HBO’s Girls, and if you could guess by this post’s title, the second season isn’t so much about the “girls” as it is a girl – Hannah.

While I fully support Lena Dunham in being the actor/writer/director she is, I feel as though season two of the Golden Globe winning and Emmy nominated series turned into a one-woman show, rather than an ensemble piece.

For example, in the episode “One Man’s Trash,” Dunham puts Hannah inside a forty-something’s brownstone and they begin an elongated (in terms of a thirty minute episode) affair for the day. Now, where was the sweet-loving Shoshanna in this episode? What was the beautiful and lonely Marnie up to that day? Was Jessa doing something intelligently stupid? If the show is called Girls, I want to see all the girls, darn it!

Correct me if I’m wrong, but did season two have a scene with all four of the girls? They have a dinner party in one of the earlier episodes, but Jessa is off with her husband.

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I still remember the image (shown above) that really intrigued me about the show. It comes from season one and the four friends are sitting uncomfortably on a New York City bench – their postures clearly define their personalities and the huddled mass reveals something completely innate about the relationship that they have with one another.

Despite my one complaint, the second season did not flop entirely. I will say, however, that the first five episodes show much more creativity and vigor from Dunham than the later five.

The introduction of Donald Glover and Andrew Rannells into the cast as Hannah’s new boyfriend and roommate certainly added some new angles for the show.

Both Marnie (Allison Williams) and Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) show tremendous character growth in this season. Marnie, who has it all during season one, essentially loses it all at the season’s turnover and is left to pick up the pieces in season two. Her instability drives her into an indescribable relationship with artist Booth Jonathan –arguable the most brilliant character Dunham created – and comes to the conclusion that she wants to be a singer.

Shoshanna, on the other hand, gets it all in season two. However, her thirty-something boyfriend is in a deadbeat job and she begins to question the world as only the fast-paced, innocent Shoshanna could.

Jessa (Jemima Kirke) is the only girl that has no character development. Actually, she disappears in the fifth episode – quite literally, too. This contributes to my whole Girls vs. Girl argument. Why did Dunham bother introducing this interesting-minded character only to have her disappear for half of the season? I hope it wasn’t to give Hannah more airtime picking at her ears with a Q-tip.

In the end, there is something that keeps me watching. Maybe it’s that image from the first season of the girls on that city bench. Maybe it’s Marnie’s singing of Kanye West’s “Stronger.” Maybe is just Shoshanna. Regardless, bring on season three, Lena Dunham!