Pop Culture, I Love You No. 1

If you've ever read this blog, had at least one conversation with me, read my Twitter, or seen me from across the room, chances are you understand what a big part of my life pop culture is. It dominates most of my conversations, and it's safe to say that at least 80 percent of my friendships grew out of similar interests in TV shows, movies, or music. I don't think I could ever date a guy who didn't have good taste or care about pop culture at all, and any guy who does try to date me is forever competing with my one true love of television. It's all very healthy, I swear.

So, after saying that I would do this for too long and constantly boring people with rants about whatever I'm watching at the end of outfit posts, I finally decided that it was time to dedicate posts specifically to this obsession of mine. If you're just here for fashion, feel free to skip these, but for anyone who does care, I'll be sharing my recommendations and what I'm into at the moment every other week. There are a million other things I could have added to this first one (it killed me to take out "Last Week Tonight," "Silicon Valley," and "Orange is the New Black" at the last minute), but I'm sticking with these for now. Rest assured, I'm going to force all of my opinions on you all eventually. I also have a strong love for minimalist entertainment art, so I'll be sharing some of that as well. I hope you get inspired to watch/read/listen to something new, and if you have any questions about the things I've written about or just want another recommendation, feel free to email me at room334blog@gmail.com. And without further ado, here's what I'm into at the moment:

Credit: Raquel Segal

(Season Four Spoiler Free) We all knew I was going to talk about "Game of Thrones" first, right? It would be a crime against humanity to write about anything else before it. It is by far the best show on the air in my opinion, and it is the only TV show to come close to filling the "Breaking Bad" shaped hole in my heart. It's pretty amazing the most talked about show on the air is fantasy epic, especially considering how rare it is to see anything in the realm of sci-fi or fantasy find mass success on television. This season was particularly good, complete with some of the most satisfying deaths to occur on the show. I think part of "GoT's" appeal is its ability to shock you even when you know that it's trying to shock you. Even after Ned Stark and the Red Wedding taught us to expect deaths of main characters, nothing could prepare those of of us who didn't read the books for the biggest reveals this season. In addition to at least three shocking deaths of main characters, it also revealed that a relatively minor character has actually been the single most influential character on the show. That alone can be considered more shocking than an eye gauging, though maybe not quite as horrifying. 

This season also gets extra points for providing the Internet with two of the best odd couple pairings ever. I could watch entire spinoffs of Arya and the Hound or Brienne and Podrick for days. 

Credit: Bel17

"The Grand Budapest Hotel" was just released on DVD, which means that using "it's not playing at any theaters near me" as an excuse is no longer acceptable for not seeing it. Wes Anderson is my favorite director (he's tied 'with the Coen brothers), so I might be a tad biased considering he can do no wrong in my eyes. Fortunately, "Grand Budapest" more than lives up to its predecessors in quality and sheer delight. Anderson has this incredible quality of making each of his movies feel familiar and alike, but completely unique. "Grand Budapest" has that same whimsical feel and imagery as his other films, but it is entirely its own movie. The usual suspects (Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Jason Schwartzman, Tild Swinton, etc.) all make appearances and the pacing is similar to his other films, however the premise is completely original. This one has a little more adventure, a tad more excitement, and lot more blood than his other movies, and it may just break my top five. (For anyone wondering, that would be 1. "The Royal Tenenbaums" 2. "The Life Aquatic" 3. "Rushmore" 4. "Moonrise Kingdom" 5. "The Darjeeling Limited".)

Credit: Rob O'Connor

Ever since last fall, I've really been enjoying reading comics and graphic novels. Let me back up. Many of my close friends are dude,s and to say that they're all nerds would be an understatement. For years, I've silently sat with them as they discussed video games, comic books, and anime, but for some reason it took me until recently to actually start listening. I'm still just starting to get into it, having only read most of a couple of series, but I can't stop thinking about the one I most recently read, "Saga." It's essentially if Romeo and Juliet were from two different races in the middle of an intergalactic war and went on an epic space travel to attempt to keep their daughter safe. The story is beautiful and suspenseful, especially since it's narrated by the daughter from the future, and the artwork is just gorgeous. My only complaint is that I have to wait until later this year for the next volume.

I was originally going to include "Veep" on this week's list since it's one of my favorite comedies on the air. But when I finally got around to watching "Enough Said," last year's film from Nicole Holofcener, it hit me that it only made sense to just take a moment to recognize what a national treasure Julia Louis-Dreyfus is. She will obviously always be praised for her work as Elaine on "Seinfeld," but she went on to do something that pretty much no one else on "Seinfeld" has done since the show aired: she got better. On "Veep," (which just finished its terrific third season last week), she plays Vice President Selina Meyer who walks into a room with all of the confidence in the world, but almost no self-awareness. She manages to go back in forth between putting on her political face of fake niceness when she's in public and being brutally honest and controlling when she's with her team. And even though I missed "Enough Said" when it first came out, the fantastic quiet movie still had an affect on me from the small screen. In a movie that boasts James Gandolfini's last performance (who can't be denied was absolutely wonderful), it's still difficult not to focus on Louis-Dreyfus. She has this way of being confident and outspoken, but not without flaw. She's completely relatable, and you always want her to be you cool aunt or your best friend's mom who always takes care of you and tells it like it is.

It's honestly been in a while since I picked up a show during its first or second season. I tend to be pretty cynical and just assume that most new shows will get canceled, so when I start a new show, it's usually one on Netflix that ended its run years ago. However, I finally read enough things about how great "Orphan Black" was, and since the promise of a sci-fi show on TV that might actually be successful intrigued me, I decided to give it a try. I watched through the first season in a matter of days a few months ago, and after watching the second season week to week (which just ended on Saturday), I can honestly say it's by far one of my favorite shows on the air. At times it makes no sense, and every so often it's difficult not to have that same "Lost" feeling of "do these showrunners have any idea where they're going with this?" but it's all worth it. There are clones, mystery, gore, jokes, and strong female and gay characters. Sure, most of the strong female characters are played by one actress, but that's the show's main selling point. If you watch this show for one reason, watch it for the lead actress, Tatiana Maslany. She plays multiple clones, effortlessly sliding from one personality to another in each scene (sometimes in the same scene), and she is a force to be reckoned with. She is absolutely captivating on screen, and I imagine it won't be long until her name gracing Oscar ballots.

It's difficult to have a discussion about the show "Louie" without it turning into a discussion about the man Louie. Louis CK's FX show defies genre barriers (is it a comedy? A drama? An art project?), but one thing is for sure — it's one of the most interesting things on television. Louis CK has been one of my favorite comedians for years now, and I honestly believe he is the very best working stand-up comedian at this moment in time, so his show is one of the few that I've been watching since the very beginning. The problem with writing about it (read any article about his show, and you'll see that the writer struggles to define it) is that it's almost impossible to describe. And because of that, you can finish an episode or a season not entirely knowing how you feel about it. Was it good? Did any of it make sense? What exactly was he trying to accomplish? Watching "Louie" is like staring at a piece of modern art that you don't quite get, but for some reason you like it. "Louie" is more ambitious than any other show on TV, and this season specifically was more ambitious than the previous three. CK (who writes, directs, edits, and stars in the show) took a year off between seasons to be able to create something he was proud of, and the result was essentially three short films spread across the length of a TV season. Whether you agree with the "So Did the Fat Lady" speech or the attempted rape scene, it can't be denied that he opened up the floor for many conversations about how plus-size women and rape are handled in the media, and in a way that has never been done before. I'm not sure how or why, but I think Louis CK may be a genius.

And now, some kickass female singers: my new obsession, Imaginary Cities, and ultimate girl crush Jenny Lewis' new song.


  1. I am so behind of GOT! I only got a little into season 2 and I only got spoiled once since then. At least that spoiler made me happy haha! Orphan Black is one of my favorite shows but I missed it's return :'(

    I'll definitely have to pick up Saga.. that sounds pretty awesome!

  2. We are so similar! I loved this season of GOT and can't wait for more. I finished Orange is the New Black in three days, I have no patience to wait. I loved The Grand Budapest Hotel, it outranks some of his other movies for me, possibly as third or fourth favorite!

  3. YES. Everything about this post is fantastic. I, too, would be totally into an Arya and the Hound spin-off. The Grand Budapest Hotel managed to sneak its way into the ranks of my favorite films of all time. I've been meaning to check out Orphan Black for the longest.

  4. hi Elana! yay, I think this is a great idea. honestly I feel like there is so much good TV on right now, I don't know where to start (other than OITNB and True Detective I am way, way behind the times.) it's great to get some synopses in the opinion of someone of a similar age/likeness to me! Game of Thrones is definitely on my radar, but my sister was reading the books a couple years ago and I keep wondering if it would be worth it to read first..?

    I did start Silicon Valley. this would be my own personal equivalent of the OC to you! as my sister said, "it's more like a documentary...I feel like I know those people."

    ♥ perfectly Priya

  5. I love this picture of you, also. perfection!

    ♥ perfectly Priya

  6. Yes! TV, movies, pop culture in general is the best! I usually somehow find a way to watch Game of Thrones, but that didn't happen, so I've only seen the first episode of this season! So sad! I need to watch it! Orphan Black is amazing!!

  7. Hell yes for pop culture posts like this! Seems like we like similar things or you like things I've been meaning to watch/read/whatever. There's not enough time for me to absorb all the pop culture I want to absorb. I did put Saga on my to-read list on Goodreads though. I just recently started reading comics/graphic novels if I come across the compendium versions. I read the first two Walking Dead compendiums in December. So good. Anyway, I very much enjoyed this post!


  8. Ahhhh, I'm borrowing season 3 of GoT from a friend, so I'm lost to the season 4 pairings you're talking about!!!
    *pops in GoT discs and starts marathon*
    Hehe, totally understand you and your obsession with pop culture ^^

    The Dragonfruit Diaries

  9. I freakin love this post! I love your pop culture fan girl moments, because I feel we have the same tastes! I love Louis and his wicked sense of humor. Haven't watched his show though!
    Have you tried the tv show Firefly? It's pretty guuud! :D

  10. I love the idea behind this post. Definitely keep doing them, because you have great recommendations! (:

  11. I love Louis CK! His show is so odd and hilarious, but it's so great. I totally agree with you on not being able to define it. I love watching his stand-up. I especially love when he tells stories about his daughters...like the one where the pony bit one of them, lol.

  12. Oh! I am so excited that you are doing a post dedicated to your pop culture loves!

    The Grand Budapest Hotel might be my favorite Wes Anderson film. I love some others, but not only are the aesthetics really gorgeous here, I like the story for the fact that we don't get many stories about mentors. At least, not presented the way this one was.

    Ah! So, The Boy did not want to wait between episodes (why, I don't know), so we've been saving this season's GOT to watch at his pace. I've read the books, and have been very interested to see how the pacing of this season was going to happen (several of the books are happening at the same time, but he focusses on different characters). And I'm now really curious about your comments of a minor character being the most important. I feel like a lot of characters became important who didn't start out that way, but feel this reveal will still be surprising (clearly my memory is going).

  13. Ohmygosh I just started Orange Is the New Black on Netflix the other day and am already halfway through. It is raunchy, inappropriate, and yet soooo addicting. It's always interesting to me if a book or a TV show or a movie can make me empathetic to something society frowns upon like the villain or in this case, women in prison. Love it!
    xo Olivia

  14. yesyesyesyes! Oh I am so happy that you are reading Saga! I never expected to see that on this list. I think Saga is the best comic out there at the moment. I read a lot of comics, but I think that is one that is really crossing a lot of genres and audiences at the moment. Oh and there's always getting it as single issues rather than as collected volumes. I do a bit of each with my comics, but I like being up to date with Saga.

    Oh and Orphan Black is also my current favourite tv show. It has amazing female characters. It's fantastic to see a show that says that there are so many different ways of being a woman. That we're not defined by our looks. When they are clones, they could have made them all very alike, but the character depth and differences make it a very empowering story as well as great plot. Oh and Alison is the best.

  15. So, I love this post. With the exception of Game of Thrones we have the exact same thoughts on EVERYTHING. Plus you mentioned Silicon Valley in this post (obsessed) and omg I am so glad someone loves tv as much as I do.

    Though I can't believe Bottle Rockets didn't make it into your list of fav Wes Anderson's. (Also my nephew's name was inspired by him).

  16. I love this post! I love TV and always interested in hearing about new shows and other people's perspectives. You could totally be a pop culture writer!

  17. What a fun post! I too and a huge GoT fan! This season just kept shocking me. If I wasn't hooked before, I am now! Absolute crazy finale. So so good.

    I'm not too familiar with everything else you listed but you've got me curious about Orphan Black. I'll have to check that one out. Do you watch Scandal? While it's not on the same scale as Breaking Bad, it's been the closest thing to fill that void. I recommend checking that out. It also has a strong, but not flawless) woman character.

    It sounds like we may have very similar taste in music. Imaginary Cities sounds pretty folk which is my favorite musical genre, or this song at least. Her voice sounds raw and so beautiful. I'll need to look up more of their music, thank you!

  18. I love this post and this whole series idea. I often feel torn when blogging because as much as I love personal style and cute stuff, I really want to geek out too. I love what you said about Louie. I love the show too, but often have a tough time forming the right words about it. I'm excited to read more of these posts <3

  19. Who was Saga written and drawn by? That seems like crucial information!