The Mehmmys.

I don’t really have a lot to write about the Emmys, guys, because the Emmys this year were fucking boring as hell. There was just not much to it. I don’t dislike Seth Meyers, but he was a pretty bland host. He got a few good knocks in during his opening monologue, but otherwise, it was not to memorable.

I’m glad Breaking Bad won for so many categories in its final year of eligibility, and annoyed that Modern Family won for so many categories in NOT its final year of eligibility. Modern Family isn’t that great any more, Emmy voters! And it has never EVER been as funny as Veep or Louie or Parks and Rec!

I was very happy to see Julia Louis Dreyfus win. I know she’s taken the trophy before, but she is so damn good on Veep. And her moments on stage with Bryan Cranston were some of the few funny moments of the night. And I’m thrilled that Louis CK won for writing “So Did the Fat Lady,” and that he thanked Sarah Baker for her role in it. It was an amazing episode…funny and wry and sad.

But in general, this telecast was a snooze. The fashion was okay. Some pretty gowns, but no out and out disasters to make things interesting. Lena Dunham’s hair and dress came the closest, but she’s Lena Dunham, so, as “Joy Behar” would say…

And speaking of Fred Armisen, you guys…the juiciest news to come out of the Emmys…Natasha Lyonne of Orange Is the New Black might be dating Fred Armisen, which would be like the biggest celebrity couple chaos vortex ever. And if it meant Lyonne, who is funny as hell and a little scary, guest-starred on Portlandia next season, I’d be ALL FOR THAT.

Holy Bleak.

I went last weekend to see Calvary, the new film starring Brendan Gleeson, about an Irish priest who is having, if you’ll pardon the pun, one hell of a week. If you haven’t seen Calvary yet and you plan to, be mindful of this review, there are some spoilers ahead.

Calvary, written and directed by John Michael McDonagh, begins in the most startling way possible. We are in close-up on Father James’s face (Gleeson) as he hears confession from a member of his parish. The voice is telling him terrible things about abuse suffered at the hands of a pedophile priest when he was a child. He ends his visit to the confessional with a promise to kill Father James. Killing a bad priest would mean nothing to him. He wants to kill a good priest. Father James has one week to “get his affairs in order.”

Father James IS a good man. We watch him go throughout his weekly duties in the small Irish village where his parish is located. He counsels the sick and those in prison. He performs last rites and comforts a grieving French widow. He spends time with his damaged daughter—the daughter from the life he had before he lost his wife and, we learn, turned to the priesthood. (The daughter, played by Kelly Reilly, is herself recovering from an attempted suicide, the bandages on her wrist a constant visual reminder.) Each day is fonted on screen over a shot of a beautiful yet slightly menacing Irish hillside—a visual reminder of the Golgotha that is looming over Father James, the threat to his life that he does not know if he can avoid.

The film is probably best described as a drama, but it is NOT without dark humor, thanks mostly to the VERY colorful cast of townspeople that are part of Gleeson’s world. There is the loose woman, the cynical doctor, the mysterious immigrant, the horny young man, the overly wise altar boy, the rich prick, and James’ own fellow priest, who means well but is a bit of a boob, missing the mark every time. Some of these actors were familiar to me (Aiden Gillen, Dylan Moran, Chris O’Dowd) and some were not, but all did a great job surrounding Father James with morally gray, flawed people…evoking his compassion and his ire as the week progresses.

If you are going to see this movie, even if you don’t like it, I don’t see how you’ll be able to help being impressed by Brendan Gleeson. He must carry this movie, and is in basically every frame. And he did an amazing job. McDonagh favors a fair amount of close-up shots on Gleeson’s face, like the opening scene in the confessional, and the amount of world-weary heartsickness he’s able to convey with only his eyes and a few subtle movements of his mouth is incredible. The film also looks beautiful overall, shot on location in County Sligo in Ireland. The countryside is lovely, yet shot in such a way that the grey skies and shifting winds make you feel the approaching darkness and growing melancholy as Father James’ week progresses.

So here’s my caveat, and the reason I titled my post the way I did. This film is dark. Like, really dark. It ended in such a way that when the credits started rolling and the lights came up in the theater, everyone in our audience just sat silently for a few seconds. Nobody really wanted to say anything or move. We were all just sort of processing those last few minutes. It was sad and strange and violent and…well, those are all words that would adequately describe Christ’s crucifixion, no? So the title is more than accurate. It was a pretty, oddly funny, and terribly haunting experience.

So much good will.

Like many people the world over this past, week, I was shocked and saddened to learn about the loss of Robin Williams. His career and his life have been a demonstration of just how much one man’s generosity, as a person and as a performer, can reach people. It’s been very moving to read the outpouring of stories people are sharing about him now—little, personal interactions that say so much about who he was when he wasn’t on stage or in front of a camera.

There are so many wonderful movies that I could choose from as personal favorites. The child in me would say Hook or Aladdin or Mrs. Doubtfire. The film-loving adult would say Dead Poet’s Society or Awakenings or One Hour Photo. The movie I chose to watch tonight was Good Will Hunting, the only role he won an Oscar for, despite being nominated three previous times.

I hadn’t seen it in a few years, but I remember it well. Williams’ performance as therapist Sean Maguire is everything he was best at in dramatic roles. Williams’ comedic antics and gift for improvisation (an almost unmatched gift, I might add) were probably what got him the most attention and recognition over the course of his career. But his dramatic performances are striking examples of true talent—they demonstrate just how much range he had.

Maguire, like many of Robin’s previous dramatic roles, is a restrained and almost quiet character. He loses his temper infrequently, and the scenes where he does are all the more jolting because of it. (I especially enjoy when he threatens to “end” Will during their first session, when Will goes around his office finding things to pick apart, and finally hitting a nerve when he brings up Maguire’s deceased wife.) But there is also warmth and humor there, and a kind of genuine understanding that is the reason Maguire can connect with someone as damaged as Will.

Williams’ more serious films always felt like that. Like they came from a place of fundamental human connection. And the passion that enlivened his comedy always came through in the drama as well—more restrained, more focused, but still infusing the performances with life. A sort of embodiment of the Walt Whitman poetry that Williams’ John Keating espouses so emphatically to his students in Dead Poets Society.

Parts of Good Will Hunting were still able to move me to tears, I’m not ashamed to say. The movie is great, but it was also nice to be reminded again of what Williams’ legacy is. At his best, he had a way of bringing a beating heart to the stories that we tell, the things that make us laugh and cry, and sometimes do both at the same time. In answer to Walt Whitman’s question, that was his verse.

Feeling Outlandish.

I recently watched the pilot of Starz’ new adaptation of the Outlander series, historical romance novels by Diana Gabaldon. The books are immensely popular, though I’ve never read them. So if you think you’re going to watch the show or read the books, and you haven’t yet…spoilers lay ahead.

The series centers around Claire Randall (Caitriona Balfe), a young woman who served as a nurse in WWII, and is happily married to a history professor (Tobias Menzies) named Frank. The two are traveling in Scotland, after the war, to explore her husband’s Scottish heritage. In the pilot, Claire and Frank spy on a secret pagan rite out on the highlands, and when Claire returns to the site later, she is magically transported to the past, to 1743, when Scotsmen and British soldiers roam the land, engaging in bloody skirmishes.

Claire is attacked by a British officer who just so happens to be her husband’s direct ancestor (and so is also played by Menzies). She is rescued by a band of Scottish rebels at the last second, and her ability to help heal one of the young Scots’ injuries, using her own wartime nursing experience, tells them she is not just some prisoner to be easily discarded. Claire doesn’t fully understand what is happening to her, or why she’s suddenly found herself two hundred years in the past, but she is a smart and steely character, and does her best to keep her wits about her.

The young Scotsman that she helps to heal is named Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan). Though she does not trust him, he’s grateful for her assistance and tries to be kind to her, as much as possible. Of course, because this series is based on historical romance novels, Jamie is strapping, handsome and fascinated by Claire’s modern ways, rather than put off by them. So I think we can see where this is going…

Outlander looks lovely. It was filmed on location in Scotland, and it shows. The rocky hills and green valleys of Inverness form a beautiful backdrop to the action. The score is also a big part of this atmosphere, filled with instrumentation and melodies that invoke traditional Scottish tunes. Balfe seems to be holding her own as Claire. So much of the success of this series will depend on how realistically she can convey the distress of a character caught in a situation that is, quite literally, unbelievable. She narrates the opening episode, a conceit I assume they’ll continue using. It’s hard to tell right now whether that will be helpful to the audience, or a distraction. As a character, however, Claire is strong and has keen survival instincts, so if Balfe can keep tapping into this side of her, she should be fascinating to watch.

Menzies also impressed in the pilot. Frank, Claire’s husband, is a gentle and likeable man—someone who, like many in his position, is carrying some psychological baggage from the war, where he worked with British spies to infiltrate Germany. But it is clear from the first half of the episode that he adores his wife, and their relationship is passionate and strong. His work as the villain Black Jack is only glimpsed briefly, but Menzies was able to admirably switch gears and make the British officer both a creep and a menace. And it’s a juicy twist that Claire is confronted with such a terrible man who resembles exactly the husband she loves and trusts.

I’m not sure I would have watched Outlander at all, but many of the reviews have been quite positive, so that piqued my curiosity. And I’m glad I did. The pilot had a lot to do, setting the table for what was to come. Claire and Frank’s relationship, Claire’s nursing in the war, their trip in Scotland, the time traveling, and finally Claire meeting up with the Scottish rebels. There was a lot of ground to cover, so my only complaint was that none of it got quite enough time to breathe. That will probably change, now that our story and characters are well established. While Jamie, clearly meant to be the romantic lead, hasn’t made a huge impression yet (other than being much better looking than his cohorts), that story will probably also move faster now. I look forward to seeing how their relationship heats up.

Okay…for real, guys. Guardians of the Galaxy is as good as most people are saying.

So, I missed opening weekend, but I got to see Guardians of the Galaxy last night. If you have NOT seen it, do not keep reading, because SPOILERS. Also, if you have not seen it, what are you waiting for? It’s freaking great!

I have a very limited set of knowledge about comic book superheroes. I know your big ones on both sides of the Marvel and DC aisles—your Supermans, your Batmans, your X-Men, your Spider-Mans, etc. But only so much as I know that they exist, and in a few cases, what their basic powers are, or who their love interests are, or their main villains. It doesn’t go much deeper than that for me.

So when I heard about GotG, I was like, honestly, “What the ever loving fuck?” A raccoon? A tree man? What even is this? And you know what? Having now seen the movie, I’m super glad I didn’t know anything about it. I had no expectations. At all. No idea of what should or could happen to these characters. No sense of what ancillary characters ought to be popping up. No eye for any of those classic Marvel Easter eggs. Props to the comics fans who can and will enjoy it on that level, but for me, given what these characters are like, and what this movie was about, it was just really fucking fun to go along for the ride.

Chris Pratt, as always, is incredibly likable as Peter Quill, aka “Starlord.” In fact, he may be giving Paul Rudd a run for his money for most likable, attractive and funny leading man. His Peter Quill is not an intellectual, but he is quick on his feet, funny, open and, as he says himself, “not a 100 percent dick.” He has fun chemistry with Zoe Saldana, whose Gamora is more of the heavy in this movie. (She is not funny in the way Peter is, though some of her reactions to him are pretty great. After he flirts with her, she has an awesome line about “pelvic sorcery.”)

The biggest surprise to me, hands down, were the non-human Guardians. Rocket and Groot are both fantastic, fully realized characters. This is pretty astonishing when you consider that one of them is a raccoon, and the other is a tree who can only say three words. (“I am Groot.”) And yet the script writers and the actors manage to infuse them both with personality and give them actual stakes. I don’t mind saying that Bradley Cooper’s Rocket has a couple of scenes that were downright moving…something I never thought I’d say about an anthropomorphic raccoon bounty hunter. And Rocket gives Peter Quill a run for his money as the funniest character in the movie.

If GotG had one weak point, it was the villains. Lee Pace’s Ronan was run of the mill at best. A lot of shouting, posturing and chasing the MacGuffin (an “infinity stone”) that was the central plot point, and not much personality. None of the charisma and charm that Tom Hiddleston brought to Loki. (The Thor movies rank as high as they do, in my estimation, largely because of Hiddleston’s Loki—an example of what a villain CAN be, when done really well.) 

The other thing worth mentioning is the sound track. A lot of other reviews have been citing it, and with good reason. The movie is scored with a lot of 70s and 80s top 40 hits—classic radio tunes that would seem out of place in a space fantasy…except somehow they’re not. They work perfectly, injecting even greater levity and entertainment value into the film, and they are even tied into the plot line (albeit loosely). They’re more than worth it for Chris Pratt’s opening scene alone…a dance sequence I won’t even try to do justice to in this review.

So, go see it, please. There’s only one response to someone who doesn’t want to see this movie.

Golly…where are my manners?

Happy Trails: Into The Woods Edition

The first teaser trailer has been released for the upcoming big screen adaptation of Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods. The musical, a fairy-tale mash-up, is a personal favorite of mine, and when I heard they were bringing it to the big screen, I had high hopes. Then I heard about some of the casting choices, which were a little questionable. Johnny Depp has not been in anything particularly stellar lately, and while I enjoyed him in Sweeney Todd, his voice is only middling. Luckily, the Wolf, while colorful, is not a major character.

More interesting to me was casting Meryl Streep as the Witch. The Witch, a role originated by the fabulous Bernadette Peters on Broadway, is a fantastic part. She is a villain, but she’s complicated, and at various points in the show she is smart, sad, angry, triumphant, ugly AND beautiful. Meryl, if I may call her Meryl, can act circles around almost anyone. So on the acting side, I think casting her may have been kind of ingenious. But this is a musical, and again, my memories of Mamma Mia were not of Meryl’s extraordinary singing chops. And if you’re not familiar with Into the Woods, the fact that Bernadette Peters originated the part of the Witch should tell you that the singing for that part is extensive, and no fucking joke. (In my opinion she gets some of the best songs in the whole production.)

The question of the singing brings me to this trailer. It LOOKS beautiful. Lovely imagery, elaborate costumes, just the right atmosphere. There is a breathless sense of anticipation about the whole thing, and orchestral music that dances around some of the musical’s main themes. It FEELS magical, and in that sense, spot on. But as another website pointed out, there is a huge, glaring absence here. There’s no singing. Not a note.

This is a teaser, so perhaps Rob Marshall and company just didn’t want to give away all the goods right now. But I am fervently hoping that it is not because they’re luring people in, only for the music of this musical to turn out to be somewhat second rate. As much as I loved Sweeney Todd (and I did legitimately love that movie) the singing wasn’t amazing. It was just okay. For the sake of all that is good and holy in musical theater, we cannot have another Sondheim musical turned into a movie where full justice isn’t done to his amazing score. People like Anna Kendrick and James Corden in lead roles (Cinderella and the Baker, respectively) make me feel a bit better, because I know they have musical theater backgrounds and the ability to belt. I just hope everyone else can keep up. It will break my heart if this movie is not everything it could have been.

The Gloves Come Off: Dr. and Mrs. Holden.

I wanted to write a quick post about this week’s episode of Masters of Sex, because damn was it good. It managed to be moving, sexy and profound. So spoilers ahead if you’re not caught up!

I enjoy when a series takes time to focus on only a small number of characters. It’s refreshing, and in the case of Bill and Virginia, a way to examine their relationship with laser precision. The majority of the episode takes place over the course of a single evening at one of their regular hotel rendezvous. There are a couple of thematic through lines guiding their interactions with each other. The first is the boxing match on TV. Much of the dialogue between Bill and Virginia is couched in the language of antagonism and provocation.

The other, more tragic frame story is that of an infant Bill delivered at the start of the episode. The baby has an androgyny disorder, and was born with a combination of both male and female sex organs. But inside, as Bill tells the parents, his blood test indicates he is, in fact, a boy. The baby’s father is a domineering asshole, who refers to his baby as “it,” yells at his wife and at Bill, and refuses to hold the child until it’s been “fixed.” He doesn’t want to have to explain his “freak” child to others, so he wants an immediate surgical solution. When Bill tries to explain that the baby’s physical defect can be corrected, but only when he’s a bit older, the father summarily dismisses him.

Bill is, therefore, in a sour humor when Virginia arrives to meet him at the hotel. The fight is on the TV, and Bill shows no signs of wishing to talk, so Virginia goes to the bathroom to draw a bath. And indeed, Bill doesn’t want to talk. What he does want to do is throw her up against the wall and fuck her without speaking a word. Here’s the thing. Michael Sheen is not classically handsome, and Bill is about as buttoned down a character as exists on television. Which is WHY as a female viewer, watching him lose control like that, it is hot as hell. The character exposes his emotions so rarely, that when it does happen it’s always explosive. Not surprisingly, though it’s a bit rough, Virginia likes it too.

But the sex in the episode is not the only good thing about it, or even the best thing. There is a gradual growing connection between the two of them. An evening of play-acting as husband and wife, ironically, breaks down the barriers and they both reveal things to each other that they’ve never shared before. Bill especially, finally speaks openly about his father. There is a beautiful moment when he’s just told Virginia about his way of dealing with his father’s abuse. That he he refused to beg for mercy, that he took it like a man. She looks at him with such sadness and says she would never want her son to be like that. She would want him to be able to express what he feels. As she speaks (and Lizzy Caplan has a way of speaking in an exceptionally soothing voice) there is a softening on Bill’s face. His mouth is working and his eyes fill with tears and it’s clearly all he can do to keep his emotions in check.

There are a few other quiet moments that demonstrate the way Bill and Virginia are reaching for each other, while trying continuously to deny that their attraction and affection is anything but friendship and collaboration. Bill helps Virginia fasten her bracelet, and she reaches out to stroke his hair, almost without thinking, and then pulls her hand away at the last second. She straightens his tie as he’s ready to leave, and he observes that this would be the moment that a real married couple would kiss. She doesn’t kiss him though. She reminds him not to forget his watch, “on the nightstand next to your wedding ring.” She also tells him how she’ll write up the evening’s “session,” encapsulating their strange, sensual, emotional night in coldly clinical terms. Bill simply nods and walks out.

It would be an incredibly sad to watch this happen again and again, except if the series follows life, we know they will end up together, and so they’re fighting a losing battle to deny the feelings that are growing, slowly but surely, between them.

A Summer of Sex.

We’re in mid-July, the height of summer. In most places the weather is hot and sticky and people find themselves in various states of undress to beat the heat. It is, therefore, very fitting that Showtimes’ Masters of Sex has just returned for its sophomore season.

Dr. William Masters (Michael Sheen) and his colleague Virginia Johnson (Lizzy Caplan) are back…sort of. A couple of episodes in, and the emotional ramifications of Bill’s front door confession to Virginia, the confession that closed season one, are still rippling through the the community. Neither Bill nor Virginia are willing to own up to the fact that the relationship that they are having is one of emotion and desire. Both pay lip service to the fact that it is clinical. It’s for the study. And yet, as they discuss their rendezvous in the hotel lobby, each registers disappointment when the other readily agrees that it’s “all about the work.”

At the start of episode two, Bill has been hired by Gateway Memorial, a competing hospital with an absolute boor as a chief of staff (the delightfully smarmy Danny Huston). Dr. Greathouse is not only thrilled to have Dr. Masters on staff, but he enthusiastically supports the sex study—perhaps TOO enthusiastically…asking Masters slimy questions about the details.

With his professional life returning to normal, Bill is able to regain some focus, which is good, because his personal life is a mess. In addition to being in love with Virginia, a fact he is unable to openly admit to her, he is also dealing with a crisis at home. His infant son is a constant reminder of the oppressive fear he battles every day. Fear of being abusive like his father, neglectful like his mother, and fearful of attaching himself in any way to this little creature who has invaded his home. Bill’s reactions to his son are some of the most heartbreaking scenes so far this season. In the premiere, Libby dares to leave him alone with the baby for just an hour or two. When it begins to cry, Bill treads slowly down the hall toward the nursery, looking more paralyzed with each step. Finally, just outside the door, he stops. It might as well be Rosemary’s baby in that crib. He turns around, walks away as the baby’s crying continues, goes to the hi-fi, puts on a record, and turns the music all the way up to drown out the screams of his own child. It’s both chilling and so, so sad.

The other major story threads of season two are Virginia’s continued harassment at the hands of the male doctors, and the shunning by many of the female staff, and Dr. Scully’s wrestling with his sexuality. First Virginia—her involvement with Dr. Masters’ study has damaged her reputation to a degree that even the self-assured Virginia has trouble shaking off. She continues to look for fulfillment on the professional plain, trying to help Dr. DePaul with her pap smear project and casting about for additional ways to pad her income using her intellect.

Sadly, Barton Scully (Beau Bridges), as brilliant as he is, does NOT have the self-assurance that Virginia has. As a homosexual, he is taught to self-hate. He’s an aberration. What he feels, what he desires…he thinks it’s inherently wrong. He gets electroshock therapy, and although it’s not nearly as graphic as the kinds of things that get shown on other cable series, I actually found it incredibly disturbing. And afterward, believing he might be “cured,” he tries to bed his wife, and he and Allison Janney give beautifully nuanced performances playing a moment that is humiliating and emotionally fraught for both.

The show has always been a grand mix of big moments and small ones…of the sexy and the sad, the highbrow and the low. The second season seems to be unspooling much in the same way, and it’s good to rejoin these characters, their study, and the world of half a century ago—a world that people like Masters and Johnson hoped to change.

An Open Letter to True Blood.

Dear True Blood:

Hi. How are you? You know that I have always considered myself a friend. I defended you to people because I said that even when you got crazy and nonsensical, you were still a lot of fun. Sort of like that drunk guy at a party who may be sloppy and a bit too loud, and he jumps from topic to topic so you can’t always follow him, but he says such ridiculously crazy shit sometimes that you still want to sit near him, because man, won’t it be fun to talk to your friends tomorrow about what he did at the party last night? (“Did you see Jim resting his hand in the spinach dip for like five minutes straight while he tried to hit on that girl by telling her how he outran a bear on the Appalachian Trail?”)

In other words…often he’s barely coherent, but there’s something incredibly entertaining about the lunacy. You, True Blood, are that guy. And for a long time I insisted it was worth it. You weren’t bad-bad, you were bad-good. You were cheez wiz, not artisanal Gouda. But goddammit, sometimes you want cheez wiz. But now even the wiz has expired. At some point, I just hit a wall. 

Now, don’t get me wrong. You have had a few good-good moments. Russell Edgington, for one. He was a great character. Pam and Eric are always about five times more interesting than everybody else combined. But for every one arc involving a Russell Edgington or a Pam and Eric, there were five involving were-panthers, fairy nightclubs, Middle Eastern fire demons and wolf-pack politics. (To name a few of your many acid-trip plot twists.)

So, I wanted to let you know that I am watching this final season under protest. And I will watch it. I am many things, but a quitter is not one of them. But for someone who plays so fast and loose with character deaths, you yourself seem to be expiring in an especially slow and painful fashion. And I think I can give you some insight into the principal reason why you continue to limp over the finish line, rather than go for broke and try for a strong finish…why your potential blaze of glory is being smothered.

Her name is Sookie.

You might know her. Some would argue she is your reason for being. (Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries, anyone?) Unfortunately, she is also, almost universally, the most disliked, annoying and weakest character on the show. Other difficult or boring characters (Bill, Tara, Sam, Alcide) often reflect their worst qualities in direct proportion to their storyline’s involvement with her. The characters that stand out do so in spite of her (Eric), or because they hate her (Pam) or because they share minimal screen time with her (Lafayette, Jessica). 

I do not mean this to reflect poorly on Anna Paquin. I actually like Paquin. I think she is, typically, a fine actress. But when a character is written so as to consistently make illogical, selfish decisions…when a character so consistently contradicts herself (“I don’t want anyone else dying for me!” …someone promptly dies for Sookie), when a female character is made out to be the most desirable, be-all, end-all to pretty much every male character in her orbit (with the exception of her brother and the gay fellows) primarily because she has a tight bod and magical pixie blood, that character deserves only one fate.

Sookie must die. 

Seriously, True Blood. I am telling you this for your own good. If you really want to do your fans (er…well, maybe let’s just call them regular viewers) a service as you end the series, you need to kill Sookie. It will right so many wrongs…it will appease the television gods, to whom you have sacrificed so many others, often on Sookie’s behalf. It will send a collective cheer throughout the audience as we see everyone left in Bon Temps attempt to start over without the insidious presence of that little blonde Jessica Fletcher. (Where Sookie goes, death inevitably follows.)

I realize this is ultimately moot. You’ve already shot the end of the series. You can’t change it now. But for my own well-being, and for that of my fellow viewers, I felt I needed to speak up. Honesty is always the best policy. And honestly? Sookie sucks (vampire pun not intended).

So yeah…here’s hoping that she bites the big one by series’ end. (Again with the vampire puns! Apologies.)

Oh, and you should totally let Pam be the one to take her out.

Sincerely,

howyoucouchit