The hiatus is here.

Yes, it’s come to this. But not before I rid my phone of its remaining jots.

Glow, Season 1 // Maybe it’s wrong to say this, considering Glow‘s cast is about 80% female, but Marc Maron really steals the show as director Sam Sylvia. He’s fantastic. His own series, Maron, was too on-the-nose, too redundant (especially if you already listened to his podcast) and too self-serving. In Glow, he’s someone else entirely. He’s sweet and troubled and talented in a completely new way, and his leadership invigorates both the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling and the viewer. I loved the episode “Debbie Does Something,” too, because it lets you fall in love with wrestling alongside the skeptical star, Debbie Eagan (Betty Gilpin). After weeks of wishy-washiness, she finds her hook and allows herself to be reeled in by attending a real match and bathing in the soapy spectacle of it all.

Jaws // I’m new to horror, which means I’m new to even the oldest horror movies. Seeing Jaws is life-changing, though, no matter the decade, because it’s actually more about what you don’t see. Beauty and terror coexist thanks to Steven Spielberg, who builds tension with stress-inducing bouts of silence and emptiness. You’re left wondering when John Williams’ score will start, what’s in the open water, which heroic character will be sacrificed, when will everything go back to normal? Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) and Martin Brody (Roy Scheider) are as stoic as can be, but they’re at the mercy of a force more powerful and fearsome than they can comprehend.

It (2017) // There’s this risk-reward thing to horror, I’m learning. Maybe I’ll have weird dreams or feel nauseous, but maybe I’ll also get a rush of adrenaline or a wave of empowerment from it. I definitely did from Stephen King’s It, anyway. Pennywise (Bill Skarsgard) terrorizes the town of Derry, Maine, focusing on the lovable Losers Club of Bill (Jaeden Lieberher), Stan (Wyatt Olef), Ben (Jeremy Ray Taylor), Bev (Sophia Lillis), Richie (Finn Wolfhard), Eddie (Jack Dylan Grazer) and Mike (Chosen Jacobs). They’re clever from the start and vulnerable at first, but their weaknesses give way to confidence as they figure out how to harness their fear.

Beginners // On the plus side, the casting of Christopher Plummer and Ewan MacGregor as father Hal and son Oliver was perfect. They have the same mouth. I also loved seeing Plummer play someone as vivacious and silly as a newly-out-of-the-closet octogenarian against MacGregor’s glum, tortured-artist introvert. Writer-director Mike Mills tossed in enjoyable bits of historical footage, too, which grounded the movie’s day-dreaminess. However, the MPDG levels in this flick are astronomical. I want to like Anna (Melanie Laurent) but I can’t, because she doesn’t exist and movies keep refusing to acknowledge that she doesn’t. There are also scenes in which Oliver and Anna vandalize brick walls — hopelessly innocent in 2010 (maybe) but dripping of white privilege today.

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man // Though I admit to finding James Joyce’s writing style overwhelming — I had a hard time nailing down the timeline and remembering the names of main character Stephen Dedalus’ schoolmates — it’s hard to deny how powerful and perfect it is to detail the process of Dedalus losing his religion. There’s nothing slick or understated about that experience, and it seems like reading this book is the closest you can get without going through it yourself. Joyce begins with his own take on stream-of-consciousness, akin to if someone got into your head for you and then wrote down what they thought you were thinking. An example: “He thought that he was sick in his heart if you could be sick in that place” (p. 13). Gradually — and ironically — the language becomes more Biblical and visceral as he pulls away from his faith. Dedalus allows himself to be overwhelmed by the very existence nature and the beauty of his own thoughts, rather than attributing anything to a higher being, all while reckoning with the absurdly heavy weight of sin, judgement, fear, whatever else has built up over his life. Like so: “… at times his sense of such immediate repercussion was so lively that he seemed to feel his soul in devotion pressing like fingers the keyboard of a great cash register and to see the amount of his purchase start forth immediately in heaven, not as a number but as a frail column of incense or as a slender flower” (p. 148). The anti-revelation he achieves at the end, the come-away-from-Jesus moment, is far purer than being born again: “To discover the mode of life or of art whereby your spirit could express itself in unfettered freedom” (p. 246).

The Lord of the Rings (the books) // On the one hand, I’m ashamed I dismissed these books as a kid; my ignorance caused me to miss out on something magical. On the other, reading them for the first time as an adult was perhaps the best way to recapture the sense of wonder that’s so easily lost on the subway, in the news, whatever. I won’t pretend to grasp most of what I read, because I didn’t, but I’m already looking forward to the next re-read, and the next and the next. LOTR is a story to check in on periodically, a journey to experience at different times in your life. I know new features and ideas will emerge for me each time, too. This initial once-through introduced me to the language, the world’s lushness and of course the characters. The language, in particular, stood out to me in The Fellowship of the Ring, with such charming words as “durstn’t” and expressions like “eleventy first” and “Fool of a Took!” Cleverness permeates, too: “Boats are quite tricky enough for those that sit still without looking further for the cause of trouble” (p. 23) and “I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve) (p. 29) are particularly funny. But the most ubiquitous quality of the language is its kindness and patience: “The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and thought in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater” (p. 339) and “Nay, time does not tarry ever, but change and growth is not in all things and places alike” (p. 379) are perfect examples.

In The Two Towers, everything is green — all five senses, everyone’s mood, the world around the Fellowship as they trek. It’s undeniable and lush in a way that demands otherworldly descriptions. Hobbit Pippin details his impressions of Ents like so: “I don’t know, but it felt as if something that grew in the ground — asleep, you might say, or just feeing itself as something between root-tip and leaf-tip, between deep earth and sky had suddenly waked up, and was considering you with the same slow care that it had given to its own inside affairs for endless years” (p. 452). And Ent Treebeard says of his native tongue: “It is a lovely language, but it takes a very long time to say anything in it, because we do not say anything in it, unless it is worth taking a long time to say, and to listen to” (p. 454). But nature isn’t all nurturing in the Fellowship’s world; evil lacks the verdant hues but is described just as wholly, in the case of the Tower of the Moon: “Paler indeed than the moon ailing in some slow eclipse was the light of it now, wavering and blowing like a noisome exhalation of decay, a corpse-light; a light that illuminated nothing,” (p. 688).

In The Return of the King, the weight of the Fellowship’s sacrifice and the magnitude of its task ahead really hit me. And little character quirks — which I know were there all along, but which I had been too distracted to pick up on — came to light in a way that made me feel like I really knew the group, like I was making the trek, too. From Gandalf’s nimble wisdom (“Let us remember that a traitor may betray himself and do good that he does not intend,” p. 797) to Merry’s honesty (“It is best to love first what you are fitted to love, I suppose; you must start somewhere and have some roots; and the soil of the Shire is deep,” p. 852) to Sam’s loyalty (Frodo “lay back in Sam’s gentle arms, closing his eyes, like a child at rest when night-fears are driven away by some loved voice or hand,” p. 889) to Frodo’s purity (“It must often be so, Sam, when things are in danger; some one has to give them up, lose them, so that others may keep them,” p. 1006) everyone (except Gollum) was exactly who they were, insignificant in size (mostly) but legendary in presence. I can’t wait to do it all again with them.

And with that, I’m off for a time.

Thanks so much for reading; it means the world to me. When there’s more, you’ll know about it.

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The hiatus is coming, really.

My reasoning for it lies here.

I’ve just got several more jots to jot down before I do it. Here are some.

Other People // I love Chris Kelly for being an SNL writer, even more for bringing SNL and other funny people into the melancholy, autobiographical story of his mother’s death and the most for forcing said showbiz people to talk about the delusions of showbiz onscreen. Jesse Plemons (as David) and Bradley Whitford (as David’s father, Norman) were the sympathetic forces we already knew they were, while Molly Shannon (as David’s mother, Joanne) and Zach Woods (as David’s boyfriend, Paul) demonstrated a sorrowful sweetness that hadn’t emerged in previous roles.

Dodgeball // I knew more about this movie than I thought I did — “Nobody makes me bleed my own blood” — yet I’m so glad I watched it, because it was a revelation of Jason Bateman’s comedic versatility. So often he’s relegated to the straight-man role, and he kills it of course, but his color commentator Pepper Brooks made me cry with laughter.

Walk Hard // “Underrated” is probably an annoyingly common term used to describe John C. Reilly, but damn, it’s true. He’s such a quiet genius, no matter the role, and Dewey Cox is no exception. The movie is all about absurd parodies of other movies, yet he jumps seamlessly between each one, his presence consistently magnetic and curious. And I’ll take a Jack White cameo any day.

The West Wing, Season 4 // So many episodes stand out as brilliant in this arc — the whole team uniting seriously to prep POTUS (Martin Sheen) in “Debate Camp,” then playfully to tease Toby (Richard Schiff) in “Game On;” the high-stress, operatic tension of “Commencement” and “Twenty Five,” wherein Zoey (Elisabeth Moss) is abducted after her college commencement and Toby’s ex-wife has twins. Yet there is a soapy, melodramatic nature to this season, too, that I could have done without. The whole staff felt the strain of Toby’s broken relationship, for example, and the wishy-washiness between Josh (Whitford) and Amy (expert eye-roller Mary-Louise Parker) got to be annoying after awhile. But I welcomed the refreshing, Woody Harrelson-esque arrival of Will (Joshua Malina) as Rob Lowe started to phase himself out and I learned that Josh is a Mets fan. And I love all the characters dearly, even when they act silly, so I’ll keep watching. I’m anxious to see what it’s like post-Aaron Sorkin.

Terminator 2 // Linda Hamilton (as Sarah Connor) is kind of a metaphor for this movie — she is ageless, and so is it. James Cameron paid (and continues to pay) such meticulous attention to detail, from the subtle squeaks of the Terminator’s (Arnold Schwarzenegger) leather to the slick morphing movements of T-1000 (Robert Patrick), everything holds up. And the fact that a child — not a grownup — is the movie’s hook gives it an innocence and purity that should not be overlooked.

Manchester by the Sea // Watching this movie on a plane, and having read a few reviews, I expected to be drowning in my own tears for two hours. But it wasn’t quite that bleak. (Though it was pretty bleak.) The lilting music saved it, in fact, injecting ever-so-slight humor into some scenes. Michelle Williams (as Randi) was perfect, as usual, and Casey Affleck (as Lee) admittedly was too, though I suspect he’s peaked. Peaked with bleak.

Beyond Belief // There’s Going Clear and then there’s this. The inside scoop. The autobiographical horror story. I applaud Jenna Miscavige Hill — the niece of the group’s chairman, David Miscavige — for risking her life to escape, and then to tell her tale. It’s amazing that anyone can escape Scientology, especially if they’re born into it. From a young age, they’re taught that normalcy means no human variation, no nuance, no deeper meaning. They’re encouraged to be uniform, to be comfortable with vagueness, to speak with a vocabulary all their own (“TRs” are training routines, “OTs” are operating thetans), to recognize E-meters as true science and levels as sacred, exclusive accomplishments. It seems harmless until it isn’t. It’s real-life psychological horror.

Footloose // It’s scary when a 30-plus-year-old movie can have relevance today, and this one tells a very current story about different generations coming to understand each other. John Lithgow (as the Rev. Moore) is a close-minded, devout man and the father of a thoughtful, rebellious teenager. He’s unable to see the benefits of any behaviors he’s not used to, and despite being relatively gentle, he wields enormous power over a meek town. Kevin Bacon (as Ren) is charismatic sans the douche factor that a typical leading man embodies (something he’s quite used to doing, as he discussed on WTF) and I wish his love story had been with Sarah Jessica Parker (as Rusty the charmer) instead of with Lori Singer (as Ariel the hottie). Of course, Ariel is Rev. Moore’s daughter, so it was a necessary plot, but I felt he and Singer had no chemistry. The again, maybe their chemistry wasn’t entirely necessary. They just needed each other, as fellow semi-motivated people, to work up the courage to leave their town.

Intermission, I guess.

More screen time for Laverne Cox, please.

Considering how prominent she has been in the media, both for her own sake and to promote Orange is the New Black, I expected her to be all over Season 2. It wasn’t the case, and it was a real downer.

Actually, most of the season was, to be honest. The only bright spot was that we got to see more of Lauren Lapkus as timid-but-not-so-timid Fischer. And Samira Wiley as Poussey never fails to charm me with her sweetness. I hate to use the term “sophomore slump,” but it really rings true here. The complex sisterhood from Season 1 was reduced to a smattering of cheesy territorial disputes and an overload of character inconsistencies. Let’s break it down.

A ghost from Red’s (Kate Mulgrew) past appears in the form of Vee (Lorraine Toussaint). The two of them compete for other inmates’ business with smuggled goods, and it escalates quickly from petty to dangerous. Toussaint is magnificent and regal and impossible not to watch, but I began to resent her because her storyline seemed to take away screen time from the already-bursting-at-the-seams cast. Of course, it makes sense that her arc would be pretty lengthy; she’s got legitimate history with multiple inmates and it’s not like people hop in and out of jail for one or two episodes. Her presence just took over the show — maybe intentionally, since she took over the prison, too — and it felt like the writers were dangling a shiny new toy in front of the viewers because they couldn’t think of ways to flesh out the other characters, aside from their occasional “flashbacks” (which felt forced at times, too).

On the lighter but equally unnecessary side, Boo (Lea DeLaria) and Nicky (Natasha Lyonne) compete for pussy. It’d be funny if it didn’t bring out such shitty desperation from two otherwise lovable characters. This competition didn’t seem to be worth as much screen time as it got, either. In fact, it might have been more interesting if the other characters had talked about it in Boo and Nicky’s absence. Watching people brag about themselves is low on my list of life’s pleasures.

Taystee (Danielle Brooks), usually a calm, welcome diversion from the insanity of the prison, assumed the role of an unbearable flip-flopper. With the arrival of Vee — her guardian many years ago — her loyalty see-saws between her past and her present (Poussey) to such an annoying degree that it’s unwatchable. The choice is so clear — Poussey is the most lovable person in the prison, I’m sure — but Taystee is powerless before Vee, unable to recognize her own agency and power and instead reverting back to the child Vee assumes she still is.

Healy (Michael J. Harney) gets more time in the proverbial ring this season, a creative choice I agree with, because I think the prison’s administration is just as fascinating as its inmates. But he see-saws his way through the season too, splitting his time between lending an ear to inmates in need and lashing out at them for no apparent reason. It’s impossible to build trust in the guy — as a viewer, let alone a pawn in the fictional system — when his reaction to any one issue is unpredictable. The end result is an unlikable, icky mess — and a character that adds almost no value.

Daya (Dascha Polanco) used to be my favorite character, but Season 2’s yo-yo behavior moved her way down the list. Though her inconsistencies don’t result in high-stakes situations — she already had her A story moment in Season 1 — she’s still frustrating to watch. Maybe her emotional turbulence could be attributed to pregnancy hormones, but I don’t buy it. I think the writers were trying to manufacture drama where it didn’t exist; she and Bennett (Matt McGorry) should be way past the early-romance bullshit and working together to figure out their lives. They’re supposed to be adults.

Of course, I’m not done with this show. Not even close. I’m too invested in the stories of Alex (Laura Prepon), Lorna (Yael Stone), Nicky, Sophia and Poussey not to see this one all the way through. But my expectations for Season 3 are pretty high. They should be — the acting talent is too strong and the writing pool is deep. I’ll dive in eventually; I just hope they go for it, too.

Diane Nguyen is my forever Halloween costume.

After living in the Bay Area for 10 years, and experiencing a disproportionate amount of peer pressure to dress up for this holiday — in San Francisco, Halloween is to costume stores what Christmas is to, uh, all other retail stores (great analogy, I know) — I’ve been over dressing up for quite some time. I love when other people do it, and I’ll be the first to commend a clever costume, but I just don’t have it in me anymore.

Enter amazingly-timed first viewing of Bojack Horseman. In the weeks leading up to that semi-dreaded last day of October, I tried out this excellent show and not only loved it, but also found my forever costume. Diane Nguyen, the ghostwriter hired to help Bojack write his memoir, also happens to be my sartorial (and spiritual) two-dimensional doppelganger.

diane

I, too, have (1) glasses, (2) shoulder-length dark hair, (3) a green jacket and (4) a last name that’s very common in Asia. She just gets me.

But enough about us. Bojack is great, and I’m not the first person to tell you that. I’m also pretty over stories about Hollywood up-and-comers, has-beens, currently-ares, you name it. TV and film can get pretty self-congratulatory when they’re not kept in check. But this show’s phenomenal cast — Will Arnett as Bojack, Alison Brie as Diane, Paul F. Tompkins as Mr. Peanut Butter, Aaron Paul as Todd and Amy Sedaris as Princess Carolyn — and straight-up hilariously weird visual jokes put it so far ahead of any other show or movie that might share a similar premise.

Bojack is a washed-up star trying to figure his shit out. He’s got an agent (Carolyn), a roommate (Todd) and a nemesis (Mr. PB). That stuff’s all pretty standard. But the brilliance — and again, no news here — is that he’s a horse. Carolyn is a cat. Mr. PB is a dog. And any number of other beings everyone interacts with in this alt-Hollywood are also animals. It’s the best, and it enhances every single scene with something subtle, unexpected and hysterical.

I recall one scene in which Bojack was hitting on some girls at a bar. Two human, one chicken. In a moment of surprise, the chicken drops an egg, and I lost my shit.

egg

And another, in which Carolyn is at the gym, running on the treadmill next to a sloth, who is not.

treadmill

Equally brilliant is how the animal qualities are ignored completely in other scenes. This one in particular made me laugh, mostly because I was imagining the conversation creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg must have had with Wallace Shawn to get him to do the bit.

I also love the pace, exemplified above. Carolyn and Diane are sharp as hell, whereas all the men are at various points on the nincompoop spectrum. Bojack’s self-loathing, Mr. PB’s completely shameless and Todd’s wholly lazy. It makes for very empowering conversations, at least from the female side of things. And the patter feels so snappily human, which is a credit to the actors. If they were playing apples and pears, you’d still have no doubt they were sentient.

Arnett, especially, found a winner here. He’s not that easy to cast — Arrested Development‘s Gob is by far the best role he’ll ever get, and I think he knows it, and I mean that as much of a compliment as it can be — because he’s not incredibly believable as a guy who can garner sympathy. Bojack, then, is probably the second-best thing he’s ever done. He plays another cocky man, but that’s where the similarities end. The washed-up aspect of Bojack is so nuanced and tragic, and Arnett somehow digs into that, despite Bojack being almost completely unlikable on paper.

I want to know what else B-W has up his sleeve. This seems to be his first major project, so we should be in for an entertaining as hell career. Or, at the very least, a shit-ton more Bojack, which would be just fine.

We’re living through the Melamedassance.

You can’t throw a stone or turn on an indie movie or TV show without hearing the silky, booming voice (and then seeing the flecked, impeccably groomed beard) of one Fred Melamed. Ever since In A World… came out a few years ago, the alt-comedy community has been casting him as Stern, Overpowering Male Figure in everything. New Girl and Casual stand out to me, since I watch those shows regularly, but his IMDb page is bursting at its electronic seams. He’s cornered the market.

Which is why his role in Lady Dynamite is so refreshing. He’s a Male Figure, sure, but he’s neither Stern nor Overpowering. In fact, the show plays with the implicit gravitas of his voice and forces him into a role you wouldn’t expect. He is Bruce-Ben Bacharach, agent and fanboy to Maria Bamford, and it’s utterly delightful. The dignity he oozes in literally every other part he’s done is completely erased here, and what’s left is a nervous, bumbling, obsequious, occasionally high-pitched (read: tenor) man who’s still figuring out his shit. He’s a terrible agent.

Melamed is also my favorite part of Lady Dynamite, which I hate to say I found both hit and miss. I love Bamford deeply, and I echo nearly every comedian’s sentiments when I say that she’s one of the most brilliant standups alive — seriously, go see her, it’ll change your life and your perception of how vocal chords work — but as I’ve said about other brilliant standups, sometimes the stage is their best medium for a reason. Bamford knows herself incredibly well, and knows what she’s capable of handling — which is actually something she addresses really poignantly in the show, about how it’s okay to say no to gigs — and I completely get why she took this opportunity to make a show. But the way her mind works is almost too complex, too multi-dimensional, too far-reaching to fit within the confines of a TV series. There’s nothing that can do justice to her comedic genius besides standup.

Admittedly, the subject matter she chose to cover didn’t make it easy. She decided to explore her own journey with mental illness, an incredibly brave and important selection, and aspects of the show were incredibly enlightening. I loved, for example, how the lighting, tone and wardrobe of the show changed according to which stage of her life she was in. Back in Minnesota, going through her lowest bouts of mania, the screen and her pajamas were every shade of grey. In LA, in her high points of mania, the colors seemed exaggerated, as did her smiles and her hair and even the enthusiasm with which she spoke. In present-day LA, everything evened out. But switching between these three timelines got confusing very quickly, especially because Bamford played herself in all three scenarios. I’m glad she did, but because she’s got this incredibly youthful face and presence, it was difficult to tell which storylines preceded the other, and therefore if she was still experiencing a manic episode.

Netflix also didn’t bestow the show with a huge budget, which is unfortunate because I think it would have been beneficial to have a little more money, especially considering the scope of the storytelling. A lot of scenes fell flat because of bad CGI, giving the show an undeserved campy feel. Bamford deserves better than that, as evidenced by the huge number of guest stars who obviously weren’t doing the work for money — Mary Kay Place and Ed Begley, Jr. played her parents, Ana Gasteyer played another agent, Lennon Parham and Bridget Everett played her “friends,” Jason Mantzoukas and Jenny Slate played therapists, Mo Collins played her sister, Dean Cain and Ólafur Darri Ólafsson played love interests. The list goes on. I think she also deserved to give some of the good lines to herself. On stage, she has such a singular presence, but on the show she’s basically a straight woman to the zany antics of those around her. Ólafsson, as her boyfriend, seems to be the only one who’s more grounded than she is, which is maybe why they’re perfect for each other. He lets her be the funny one.

“Loaf Coach” is my favorite episode of the lot, since it contains appearances from the very precious Mantzoukas and Slate. It also made me laugh aloud more than other installments, which is unfortunate. Bamford live makes you laugh and gasp on a loop — it’s a visceral experience. I wanted more of that from her TV show, but most of what I got was a few chuckles and sighs. Maybe Season 2 will be better.

Hi. I’m a Rory.

I’ve been called a Miranda before. I’ve admitted to disliking Hannah the least. I’ve fantasized about growing up to be Ilana. But the truth is, I am a bona fide Rory.

Given the direction of 2016 Rory’s life in “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life,” this admission isn’t exactly something I’m proud of. In talking with friends about the four new Netflix episodes, I found their opinions (and those of the internet) were almost unanimous — the whiny-but-tolerable qualities Rory possessed in the original series (2000-07) have been comically magnified over the past nine years, and she’s mutated into an insufferable adult.

I don’t disagree. 32-year-old Rory claims to be a journalist, but she’s coasting on praise from one New Yorker byline. She takes a stab at a thinkpiece for GQ, but she backs out after missing the point of the piece entirely and fumbling her way into a one-night stand. She asks for a meeting with the eponymous head of Sandee Says (a clickbait media outlet that’s been pursuing her), expecting it to be an ego boost and a sure thing, but she can’t generate a single pitch for the site. Oh, and she’s also stringing along some guy, Paul, who deserves much better than a woman who keeps forgetting to break up with him and is still involved with her engaged, overseas ex. She’s a spoiled brat.

All this after being raised with supportive friends and family and financial privilege, graduating Valedictorian from Chilton, ascending to Editor-in-Chief of the Yale Daily News and reporting on Barack Obama’s Presidential campaign trail immediately after college. Rory had so much potential. You’d think she would have made something of herself.

You’d think I would have, too.

Growing up, I made friends that I’m still close to and had parents that put my needs before theirs. I was Valedictorian of my middle school class and attended a prestigious college prep high school. I double-majored in Mass Communications and Linguistics and was the Arts and Entertainment Editor of my college paper. My first job out of college was as a TV critic. There was a path, somehow, and I was following it.

And then, I don’t know … I wasn’t. The recession happened, a layoff happened, a tech job emerged, said tech job with a salary and benefits was taken, and five years later I found myself restless. Or, rather, I had been restless the whole time, but I finally admitted it. I decided to leave the Bay Area and move to New York, hoping the restlessness would morph into productivity.

It’s been two years, and it still hasn’t. I’m 29. The only job I’ve been able to get here is the one I currently have — I’m a copy editor. I earn a very modest hourly wage that forces me to drain my savings in order to live comfortably, I work night and weekend shifts that almost completely negate my social life, and I’ve had to rely on Obamacare because I’m considered a seasonal (read: part-time) employee.

I’m not asking for pity here; I know if I did, my membership card to the Ungrateful Club would arrive yesterday in the mail. I’m grateful to be employed, grateful to live in this absurd metropolis and even more grateful to have the aforementioned savings. I’m not asking for help or advice, either; I’ve received plenty of it, mostly in the form of links to job listings and “informational interviews” that generations ahead of me have insisted upon over the years.

Watching Rory biff it in those meetings hit really close to home. I’ve been in that room, with those people, with that fear and insecurity. I, too, thought I could float along on my intelligence, my conversational charm and my handful of “impressive” Huffington Post bylines. But that shiny teenage cockiness dulls exponentially when you spend your twenties letting your resume gather dust. (Then again, I also spent my twenties being in my twenties. That’s not such a bad thing, considering I hardly spent my teens being a teen.)

I’m a Rory because I, too, marched blindly into the abstract “Plan A” of journalism. Except journalism wasn’t my “Plan A.” I didn’t even have a plan, lowercase, let alone an uppercase one with a letter affixed to it. Entering college, I was told I’d be good at journalism. I ended up being decent at it, but mostly I was just better at it than math or biology or clarinet or grilling meats or snowboarding, and it never occurred to me to just try something completely different. I liked the idea of being good at journalism, and I assumed I’d always be good at it because being good at stuff was what I was good at. “Being good at being good at stuff” isn’t a life skill, though; it’s a way to get A’s in high school.

I gravitated towards Arts writing in college because I liked movies and music more than politics, and those were my choices when I applied for the paper. Arts also allowed me to say what I thought without having to listen to what other people thought, i.e. “interview sources,” i.e. “avoid most phone conversations.” I churned out a couple of reviews that I’m still proud of, but I often felt like a fraud for getting free concert tickets while my fellow writers, editors and photographers were pulling all-nighters to cover City Council meetings and student government elections.

Honestly, I didn’t even think beyond the actual word “journalism.” I definitely had no “Plan B,” because I didn’t think I had to. I still don’t have one. I don’t think Rory did — or does — either. We’re both floating, unmotivated, unable to kick our own asses, unable to find creative fulfillment because we’d have to take a risk and be bad at something in order for the good to emerge. We’re also unqualified for a lot of the jobs that we’re trying to apply for now, because in college, we envisioned careers that don’t really exist anymore. As frustrating as Rory was for most “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life” viewers to take in, I felt relieved knowing my true kindred spirit — albeit a fragile fictional one — is out there.

Of course, given that she’s fictional, she also comes with her own convenient plot twist and resolution: an unplanned pregnancy (which, ironically, could have been prevented with “Plan B”) and a book. I’m not in the market for a baby, but I have been mulling over the idea of a book. Maybe I can draw some inspiration from my soulless sister. We’ll see. (Don’t ask me about it.)

You might know a Rory. You might know me. You might feel the urge to give us help or advice because you’re nice and you think we have potential.

Thank you, but don’t. We’ve been hearing that word, potential, our whole lives, and we’re sick of the pressure that comes with it. If we ask for help, that means we trust you, and we will ask.

We need to know that we’re mediocre at most things, and we need to just be mediocre. We need to fuck up. No one has let us fuck up before. Fucking up is perfectly fine. Turns out we’re good at fucking up because we’re good at being good at stuff. How’s that for a plot twist?

Oh, and if you’re wondering, Team Jess ‘til I die.