Feeling Good With Frasier

What series did you last binge?

Chris and I recently started paying for CraveTv on top of Netflix each month to expand our non-cable using television selection. I have to say that CraveTV has one of the worst browsing interfaces I have ever encountered and it WILL drive you crazy, but it also has a number of quality programs that frasier 1.jpgNetflix Canada just does not provide. There are three BIG CraveTV wins in my books, the third being today’s blog topic inspiration, it has: Broad City, Nathan For You, and Frasier.

I have really fond memories of watching Frasier while I was growing up! My whole family appreciated it and I had been wanting it to come onto Netflix for years. Like anyone who was growing up during Frasier’s run on air, I saw them when the television allowed me opening.gifto see them and my schedule permitted. This means that I had definitely not seen every episode and with watching odd re-runs now and then I had not seen them consecutively either! Despite missing these story elements, I had fallen in love with Frasier many years ago. The older I got, the more I loved it (and understood the wit).

Finally, CraveTV granted my adult wish to watch Frasier all the way through to the end!

FUN FRASIER FACT:
During my re-watch, I learned while exploring a google search about the end credits (because that’s the kind of cool I am [researcher cool]) that the black and white photos of celebrities at the end of the credits were callers in that season of the show! As in, celebrities would call a direct line and often improv their fictional problems on the spot (read more on this here).

short shorts
Frasier hilariously has to wear Niles’ gym shorts in the third episode of the eleventh season – Frasier in these short-shorts makes me laugh everytime!

This re-watch did not disappoint!

I surprised and impressed myself with how much I remembered from a show that I grew up with, but had a late start in actually watching due to being young when it premiered. Frasier ran from 1993 to 2004 with a hefty eleven seasons including twenty-four episodes each for a total of 264 episodes. This past while, no matter what kind of day I had, while Chris was working in Malaysia for the month, I would come home to Summit and laugh with Frasier. It’s definitely the kind of go-to show to make me feel happy and that’s a pretty great quality to have.

MY FAVOURITE FRASIER MOMENT
Nothin’ But Net for Niles
My all-time favourite scene is when Frasier and Niles go to a Sonics game with their dad. Niles wins/gets seat-selected to shoot a basket from centre court for a chance to win prizing including some sort of pick-up truck (very Niles). I love this scene so much and it was all the way in season eight – I had to wait so long! Season 8 episode 15, Hooping Cranes, has my favourite scene, this is how it plays out:

3x05-Kisses-Sweeter-Than-Wine-frasier-17400011-720-540As a whole I really love Frasier, but it’s impossible to deny that the last season or so lacked a little in wit and included one too many horrible wigs. The writers did still end things nicely for their fans by giving us key moments and completed character story arcs. The finale went down easy like a classy glass of sherry that I have never tried, but Niles and Frasier would adore.

In my opinion, Frasier is one of the best sitcoms and deserves a proper re-watch (or first-time-watch for some of you), I encourage it!

set

Advertisements

Fictional Furry Friends: My Favourite TV Dogs

I always (ALWAYS) appreciate when a television program includes a supporting character with a good bark! The level of participation in shows vary, but they are all important to me. This list of my top five (with five more honourable mentions) will be a bit nostalgic, very cute, and in no ranking order because every dog is the best dog.

  1. Eddie from Frasier

eddie and marty
Behind the Bark:
Frasier ran from 1993-2004, Moose (the original dog who acted as Eddie) was bred so that his children could take over. His son Enzo started acting as his stunt double and eventually took over when Moose became too old.

eddie.jpgWe recently subscribed to Crave TV and I am loving rewatching Frasier! It is such a great show that always makes me laugh, one of my favourite aspects of the show is that Eddie consistently contributes greatly to each episode. He isn’t just a prop, his character might not have lines, but the writers definitely gave him personality. Eddie has complex relationships with Frasier, Niles, Martin, and Daphne who interact well with his physical comedy. I recommend you watch this fun video featuring some of Eddies best scenes. Frasier would not have been the same without the supportive Jack Russel Terrier.

 

  1. Hobo (AKA London) The Littlest Hobo

The-Littlest-hobo-image-the-littlest-hobo-36255924-704-480-800x0-c-default
Behind the Bark:
Chuck Eisenmann trained all of London/Hobo’s German Shepard

FourWithChuck
Chuck Eisenmann and his shepards.

descendants. The dogs, from multiple generations, starred in the movie, the original television series, and the reboot as well – it’s all relative!

 

Hobo is a Canadian icon! I watched this show occasionally growing up, I liked that the dog was quite literally the star and that he was way cooler than Lassie. The Littlest Hobo had multiple productions: the first being a 1958 American film of the same name; the second being the original television series that ran for two seasons from 1963-1965; and lastly, after increased popularity of the syndicated 1960s program, The Littlest Hobo was started up once more and ran from 1979-1985 -that’s six more seasons! It featured the adventures of a stray dog who would travel and help humans in need of some animal assistance. Take a look at some of the hilarious episode descriptions from Wikipedia as curated by Nicole Cliffe to get a better idea of what the plotlines were like!

 

  1. Wishbone

wishbone
wishbone2Behind the Bark:
Unlike Frasier’s Jack Russel pup, Wishbone was the lead character and therefore acted in nearly every shot. Wishbone was mainly played by Soccer who was
chosen due to his very expressive face, but the demanding hours required some scruffy stunt

Wishbone-read-236x300
I’d love to have this poster framed in my house!

doubles including Phoebe, Slugger, and the odd doggo-acting-extra.

 

This brings back childhood memories for me! Wishbone aired from 1995-1998 and featured a Jack Russel Terrier who was often clad in period-piece costumes while introducing youth to literary classics such as Robin Hood or Frankenstein. The fictional Wishbone lived in the modern 1990s, but would start day dreaming about himself in the lead role of many famous novels. The show encouraged reading and featured a dog in funny outfits – it’s an obvious A+ and I’d love to watch it for a laugh now that I’m older!

 

  1. Comet from Full House

comet 1
Behind the Bark:
Commonly mistaken for the Golden Retriever who played Air Bud (Buddy did cameo on one episode of Full

MSDFLUK EC001
Comet as Fluke, the role wasn’t didn’t call for a Golden Retriever, but he waas so good that they just dyed the fur!

House where Comet needed to become an athlete), Comet was played by… Comet? The dog actor is largely uncredited, but appears to be the dog in the 1995 film Fluke with a dye job!

 

 

Comet simply wasn’t in Full House enough. This was a pre-Air Bud world so a gorgeous Golden Retriever on my television screen was exciting! There would be some episodes with plenty of daughter-doggy time and then the series would go episodes without Comet in sight. It was always on my mind, I was always looking for that fluffy tail. What I really loved about Comet was that he was a lot like the dogs I had growing up: big; loving; lazy; and always there for a hug. I definitely love this cheesy show and the dog upped it’s cute-factor by a thousand.

 

 

  1. Backup from Veronica Mars

backup 4
Behind the Bark:
The very obvious recast of Pilot-Episode-Backup (played by a white and brown American bulldog named Gordo) to Series-Regular-Backup (played by a tan

backup 1.jpg
The first Backup.

colored pit bull named Lefty) is said to be the result of the crew not wanting to work with the first dog’s unreliable trainer.

Here’s our most modern TV dog on the list, Backup quite literally had Veronica Mars’ back when she had to investigate some shady areas.

backup_vmars
The second Backup.

Veronica Mars was a kickass show from 2004-2007 that featured a teenaged girl who conducted some not-so-licensed private investigating. Admittedly, Backup wasn’t in the show very much, but when he was, I loved him. The name itself is worthy of making the list, imagine being able to say things like “don’t worry I brought backup” and then watching peoples faces when they realize you mean your dog – it’s brilliant! Backup not only protected Veronica on the job, but comforted her at home after boy trouble and acted as an occasional face-licking alarm clock!


I could talk about fictional dogs forever, but I think five is a good starter list. Some honourable mentions include:

  1. Diefenbaker (AKA Dief) from Due South
  2. Dog from Columbo
  3. Murray from Mad About You
  4. Speedy from the The Drew Carey Show
  5. Stinky and Nunzio from Dharma and Greg

collage 2

What Easter Means to Me, an Atheist

Easter is this coming weekend and I’m really looking forward to it. It’s not necessarily in my top three for favourite holidays, but I definitely enjoy it all the same. I actually grew

Photo 2017-04-13, 11 47 00 AM
Communion photo of a child vampire. Just kidding, this is me around 1997, the pale future athiest!

up going to a catholic school, but started to question the religion introspectively in my early teen years. I was baptized, had a first communion, and I’m even confirmed, but that was all by age 13 and who really understands the things our parents have us do back then. What’s important is that what I knew then and what I know now are the same, you should be a good person whether you’re spiritual or not.

 

As a kid, I remember two things about the Easter holiday: one, I loved the times spent together with my family dying eggs, taking part in mom-and-dad-run scavenger hunts for chocolate eggs, or sitting down for a big meal; and two, my Catholic school teachers would always be ‘disappointed’ on Tuesday morning and mildly shame the kids that didn’t bring in palms that were supposed to prove that they went to church for Palm Sunday (we never went and I never brought in a palm). I understand and recognize the importance of Easter within Christianity, but now, as an adult atheist, I appreciate the holiday

11115590_10205011679349256_7339175641007248099_n
Left to right: Mom, my older sister, my niece, myself, and my deceased grandmother. Four generations of women in our family in 2015.

for the non-spiritual family traditions that I have always been lucky enough to enjoy. Tomorrow night, Chris and I are going to dye some eggs together to continue a family tradition and have fun doing some arts and crafts. We will see our families throughout the next week and a half because of busy schedules, but it’s less about the exact day and more about the act of seeing family.

 

What happens at a non-denominational Easter celebration? We will likely: go for a big dog walk; have afternoon drinks while we talk and laugh; eat a big meal together; cheers to things instead of praying; pig out on junk food in the shape of eggs, bunnies, or chicks; and continue to have drinks while we play games like Cards Against Humanity.

 

IMG_7199
Our now deceased dog Daq.

Does it sound pretty similar to a religious family’s celebration? Probably, because although I don’t believe in God, I do respect family traditions and believe that each holiday is a time to celebrate being happy. I use holidays as an excuse to dedicate extra time to family and each celebration secretly feels like Thanksgiving because of how appreciative I feel (maybe this is why Thanksgiving is a boring holiday for me, I feel like it’s like any other one).

 

So even though I sometimes group God in with the Easter Bunny, realize that we’re still pretty similar and that atheists can be good people too.

What are some of your Easter traditions? Do you celebrate Passover instead? How has your personal family celebration changed from when you were a child?

Why You Should Follow More Dog Accounts on Instagram

(Scroll down for my top 6 favourite Instagram accounts [3 humans and 3 canines])

Photo 2017-04-06, 12 29 58 PM.pngInstagram is hands down my favourite social media network. I use it far more than any other platform and it tends to make me happy. Not only do I share positive moments in my life with my own followers, but I take in great snapshots and funny captions of those who I follow. In my opinion, this is how it differs most in comparison to Facebook or Twitter.

My Facebook newsfeed tends to fill up with generic memes, commonly shared stories, or rants both for and against topics that are controversial. As the Twitter feed updates, I’m led to articles of varying importance and I generally learn all my local news here. Both Facebook and Twitter definitely have their benefits, but they are more likely to expose me to depressing or upsetting content. Instagram is (largely apart from sponsored posts) curated by me, for me and I keep it feeling pretty light.

Photo 2017-04-06, 12 30 07 PMI technically run two Instagram accounts, one for me (@cassythemusicalfox) and for our dog (@summit.the.sweetheart). Before our last dog passed, my personal account was filled with photos of our dog Daq and I followed many other dog accounts. Daq had such an incredible personality that I loved sharing her with the Insta-universe, but she was an old girl and I didn’t want to create an account for her only to have to close it after she inevitably died. It was then no question as to whether or not I would start a dog account when we adopted Summit – she would rule the world… I mean approximately 300 followers on Instagram.

Having two accounts is actually very helpful to me. The dog account allows me to follow hundreds of animals online with zero shame and they all do one thing: they make me happy. Like real life dogs, Insta-doggo accounts are very loyal, it’s a faithful online community. Seeing those slobbery smiles doing pretty much anything keeps me feeling good and maybe it would help brighten your day too. Take a break from photos of your friend’s lunch and search for a cute canine going on an adventure.

So, who are three of my top humans and doggos to follow on Instagram? (Feel free to look through accounts I’m following through the Instagram profiles as well because it was really hard to choose only three of each)

grumpyandgeeky computer shot

Account: @grumpyandgeeky
Followers: 12,700
Species: Human

@Grumpyandgeeky seems like a fun guy (not to be mistaken with a fungi) who posts a lot of ‘nerdy’ pop culture content. He has access to a ton of the newest and nerdiest merchandise that you will see and possibly then want to buy for yourself. He’s a man of good taste and he also occasionally posts pics of his dog which I 100% support!

 

kodaandmoo computer shot

Account: @koda_and_moo
Followers: 809
Species: Dogs

Koda and Moo are St Berdoodles (just like my fur-babe Summit), they are brothers who have the best smiles and take frequent naps. Not only are they handsome unique looking bros, but they also give back to the community – Koda and Moo are actually therapy dogs! Sometimes they have Instagram posts featuring these two doggos making people happy offline out in the real world which then in turn makes me happy when clicking that like button online.

 

shaundowneyart computer shot

Account: @shaundowneyart
Followers: 8261
Species: Human

Shaun Downey is a Canadian artist who is from my hometown, but currently lives in Toronto with his wife (she is another of my favourite artists [@kellygraceart]). His work is incredibly stunning, the colours are gorgeous, the details are

my nook.JPG
My Shaun Downey print in the bedroom beside my lingerie chest.

meticulous, and his depictions of fabric textiles blow me away. Every piece by Shaun Downey stands on its own as true beauty and when you think that you have a found your favourite, you will discover his next painting. I was also lucky enough to win a print of Shaun’s last year and I love the way that it brought my girly nook together.

 

 

 

dogwearshat computer shot

Account: @dog_wears_hat
Followers: 1520
Species: Dog

I’ve been following @dog_wears_hat for a long while now and they are one of my all time favourite accounts. Every photo and every caption is perfection in a way that the account doesn’t take itself too seriously. This dog, Ol’ Bluey, is a star. I can only hope to look half as good in hats as Ol’ Bluey does because he totally owns it. His serious faces, that might be referred to as Ol’ Bluey-Steel, are the greatest and I hope you check them out!

 

sarahkbenning computer shotAccount: @sarahkbenning
Followers: 402,000
Species: Human

Sarah K. Benning is a talented hand embroidery artist that I happened upon during a time of needlework research. Her work is often intricate and amazes me, she was one of the first embroidery artists to inspire me to go beyond traditional hand embroidery styles and combine it with modern concepts. She has approximately 400,000 Instagram followers who all love her work, but if you can beat the rush, you can purchase your own Sarah K. Benning hoop art off of her Etsy store.

 

waitingdogstoronto computer shotAccount: @waiting.dogs.toronto
Followers: 4296
Species: Dog(s)

This account pretty much posts what you’d expect: dogs waiting to come home; dogs waiting outside the store; dogs waiting for a treat; dogs waiting at the window. The account really makes you realize what a patient species they are and they don’t even have cell phones to look at Instagram to pass the time! It’s a fun account that lets me see a good variety of dog breeds in a nearby city centre (because this is a priority when you are a crazy dog lady like me). You can also submit photos of your waiting dog by tagging them!

 


There you have it folks, a little glimpse into the behind the scenes of my Instagram priorities. What are some of your favourite accounts? What types of curating do you do? Does it make you smile? I hope so.

My Love-Hate Relationship with a Tale as Old as Time: The New Beauty and the Beast

SPOILERS AHEAD, but haven’t we all seen the original cartoon version? You’ll be fine if you have!

first day of school
My dad and I on my first day of school with my Beauty and the Beast lunch bag (1993).

Stockholm syndrome theories aside, Beauty and the Beast has always been special to me. The original animated Disney film was released in 1991, I was only born in 1990, but that just means that I grew up with the movie as soon as I was old enough to consume media. Belle was my favourite Disney heroine which is interesting because she herself was a captive. As a little girl in the 90’s, I was a brunette who loved to read and I never really felt like I fit in. I saw Belle as an older version of myself who got to read all day, was a little head strong, and sang a bunch of fun songs.

DrUlPhl
Dream life: No beast, just reading, singing, and sheep (imagine if the sheep were dogs though).

 

Last Sunday I went to see the latest Beauty and the Beast live action film adaptation with my dad and step-mom. I was looking forward to seeing it, but hadn’t realized just how much I would enjoy the experience as an adult. I honestly got goosebumps on my arms from the nostalgic greatness almost ten different times, often as one of my favourite songs started to play. I thought that the casting was excellent and the costumes were stunning. The added backstory for both Belle and the Beast was enjoyable, although I wasn’t a huge fan of the new songs – I still didn’t mind them.

I had three funny thoughts that reminded me of my adulthood:

1. Near the end of the film, the Beast falls onto the rooftops of his castle and claws his way to temporary safety. At this point, my mind went to home-emergency-funds as roof shingles fell below and I thought, “That’s going to be an expensive roof repair!”

2. As the magical rose lost its final petal, the supporting household-object-characters fully transformed into furniture on the front steps of the castle. My thrifty mind went to, “quick, someone get them inside before they are ruined by the weather and end up unsellable for Kijiji or VarageSale!

collage 1
Dan Stevens as Matthew Crawley (left) and as the prince in Beauty and the Beast (right).

3. At the end of the film, as Belle and her prince are dancing I thought, “Matthew Crawley from Downton Abbey is playing the human version of the beast!? I wonder if he inherited the castle instead of one of his female cousins. Downton Abbey must be a prequel and they used the car accident as a cover up for his supernatural curse before sending him to France”

 

Emma Watson lived out every 90s-born-brunnette’s dream when filming the recent live action Beauty and the Beast film – I watched her in awe and with envy. As much as I love the Disney classic, I absolutely stop to wonder why we see a beast who imprisoned a
person as a suitable love interest for an

gallery_1423678302-belle.png
An anonymous DeviantArt artist submitted Disney-50 Shades illustrations to Cosmo including this Beauty and the Beast piece.

innocent woman. For reasons that I cannot entirely explain, viewers tend to be more attracted to the Beast more so than the human prince. Quinn Keany and Erin La Rosa reiterate this unexplained phenomenon by highlighting the many tweets that exist in agreeance over the who’s hotter debate – the Beast seems to always win out, especially in the cartoon version. The way that people talk about the beast online makes me think that there could be a new meaning to Beast-ieality – too far? The joke was worth it.

Another fictional film character who was non-typically attractive, kept a woman captive, and is almost universally liked is The Phantom of the Opera (Gerard butler is always handsome, but his pseudo-mutilated face was largely covered by a mask for the majority of the film). What is wrong with us? I personally believe that it is in fault of their gorgeous singing voices and the fact that the filmmakers shine light on their humanity. The stories are set up so that we pity these male leads, they’ve been wronged

Lavish-Ball-at-Beast-Castle
The very Phantom of the Opera scene at the beginning of the newest Beauty and the Beast.

in the past and are presented as sensitive. This shouldn’t excuse their captor actions, but the importance of their actions was downplayed to allow us to ignore or forget what we don’t agree with. At least in The Phantom of the Opera the leading lady recognizes that she has suitor options that are neither with an imprisoner nor a narcissistic womanizer. Can we also agree that the ball at the beginning of the new Beauty and the Beast was very Phantom of the Opera? No complaints here.

So, if you can let go of your critical thinking and get back into your childhood mindset, then you will love the new Beauty and the Beast. If you’re like me, you’ll sing every lyric in your head and fawn over the live-action-beauty-and-the-beast-belle-landcostume details. Let the movie take you back to a time when you loved nothing more than to watch your favourite VHS on your family’s tube television while sitting on your dad’s knee. It’s an old story, with questionable plotlines that will win me over every time.

Did you see the new movie? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

Couch Cushion for One Please: The Chore of Cooking Alone

When you marry a pilot, you need to realize that you will be on your own at times and that at those times you will still need to eat.

Photo 2017-03-04, 10 07 20 AM
Eating alone leads me to eat in fron of the TV and this cheeky monkey likes to remind me that I am not actually dining alone!

Eating alone is one thing (and am I really eating alone?), but cooking alone is another – to me at least.

My husband Chris is definitely the chef in the house, he loves to cook and admittedly he makes cooking fun. We both really enjoy the time spent together, I like to peel and chop so I almost always do prep while he cooks at the stove. With great music, a glass of wine, a dog wagging her tail, and the company of my spouse, cooking dinner is made into a cherished time for us each day. However, while he’s away it definitely feels like a chore.

I was recently speaking to a friend’s mother who lives by herself and she agreed with me. She and I easily fall into a certain mentality, the mindset of taking care of one’s self seeming less important. It was so nice to talk to someone who relates to this odd concept that often makes me feel less like an adult. When doing a bit of research, I came across a short article by Dana Velden labelling this attitude as the “Why Bother” Syndrome. It’s nice to know that I’m not alone in these feelings of dining disinterest. 

I recognize the signs of indifference and try to combat them by forcing myself to cook healthy meals. The meals that I cook are reasonably boring, but they are my ‘go-tos.’ Almost every night I eat baked chicken breast, couscous or rice, and raw vegetables (carrots and cucumbers). I also eat smaller portions than when my husband is home so that I can make the meal extend into two meals – leftovers are heaven sent when you’re cooking for one.

I know that this sounds extremely unglamorous, but it’s the truth. To avoid falling into patterns of eating chips or cookies for dinner I make routine meals that sustain me, take little effort, and are cost efficient.

CaptureOccasionally I treat myself or merely want to change it up, and when I do, I look to Pinterest. You can check out my food board here, we have started pinning more gluten free recipes since my husband was diagnosed with Celiac approximately one year ago – this is also why I sometimes indulge in pizza while he’s away!

What are some ways that you motivate yourself to cook interesting meals by yourselves?

Have any links to recipes that are quick, easy, and delicious? Let me know!

Three Female-led Shows I’m Currently Loving on Netflix

 

newlywed game.jpg
Fun Fact: For the first few months in 1966, The Newlywed Game aired in black and white.

My relationship with TV can be defined in two words: lifelong friendship, it’s always been there for me and provides me with an easy escape from reality – it’s also just plain fascinating with never ending new shows to consume. I have always watched a lot of television, I had two older siblings and both of my parents appreciated TV. I watched all kinds of cartoons, sit-coms from the 60s to present day, and my family went through a long-lasting gameshow phase where we watched old episodes of Match Game and The Newlywed Game almost every night. As an adult, I still adore TV and it’s possibly become an even larger part of my life.

 

My husband works overseas for a month at a time so it’s just me, the dog, and the television (a truly happy family). Admittedly, I keep myself quite busy while my husband is away with having friends frequently visit, seeing my family often, and exploring my

star-dew-photo
A photo I took while I was creating my Stardew Valley character.

hobbies like writing this blog, but the house does get pretty quiet. I often binge-watch shows while I’m multi-tasking, whether that be applying to jobs, writing this blog, playing with summit, doing Sudoku, or playing the computer game Stardew Valley. Television keeps me company and the character’s voices make the house feel less empty (I absolutely talk and sing to my dog on a regular basis, but she’s not that great of a conversationalist).

 

In the last handful of months, I (with and without my husband) have devoured Life in Pieces, A Series of Unfortunate Events, Penn and Teller: Fool Us, Weeds, That 70’s Show (minus the last few cringe worthy seasons), Garfunkel and Oates, W/Bob and David, Don’t Trust the B**** in Apt 23, Detectorists, No Tomorrow, Pretty Little Liars, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, The Returned, Scream Queens, plus a ton of movies.

So, what am I currently in love with on Netflix? Three main shows: The 100, Heartland, and Jane the Virgin.


the-100-season-3-promotional-poster

The 100: 2014 – ongoing
Best Features: Dystopic, Great Twists, Strong Female Characters, Great Character Development

I watched the first three seasons of The 100 last year and fell hard. I’m all up for some dystopic teenage fiction, but this show is so much more than that. The age of the main stars in the first season seems unimportant in the larger scheme of things; this is not a teenage soap-opera, it’s a well written science fiction show.

the-100The premise: Earth has been left uninhabitable by a series of nuclear explosions, but before the world was essentially destroyed the human race ascended into space to live together on a massive ship. With limited space and resources on the ship, there were laws instated including: only one child per household, and any committed crime (no matter how little) is punishable by death. The stipulation to this latter law was that if you were under 18 years of age, you would go into prison until you reached the age of majority to then face official judgement. For reasons that you will quickly discover, all of the under-18 prisoners are sent down to Earth and it gets a little ‘co-ed-Lord of the Flies’ (one of my favourite books) before the well written twists come into play.

I strongly recommend this show, they paint a fictional future with a lot of issues, but gender, sexuality, and age don’t seem to be the issues that they are in our reality. The series is still airing and Netflix updates the fourth season with a new 40-minute episode each week.


heartland1

Heartland: 2007 – ongoing
Best Features: Canadian, Beautiful Cinematography, Character Development, Grandpa’s Moustache

This show has been on for ten years, it’s been on since 2007 when I was still in high school! I remember seeing commercials for this CBC program when it was first airing on TV, but I paid no attention to it. I started watching it last month after finishing Weeds and wanting to watch something a little more moral. I am an animal lover, but have never been very interested in horses yet I really enjoy Heartland. It is an insanely good background show because it doesn’t have subtitles, it has a moderate pace and is really easy to follow. I actually liked the earlier seasons that get a lot of flack for having lower production budgets, I liked them because of the high school flashbacks I was having with the casts’ wardrobe.

The premise: After the passing of a single mother who lived and worked as a ‘horse whisperer’ at her family’s horse ranch in Alberta, Canada, her 14-year-old daughter is left to cope with her inherited gift to keep the family business afloat. She lives with and has

heartland grandpas stache.jpg
If anyone claims that they don’t stare at grandpa Jack’s perfectly combed ‘stache when he’s on the screen they’re lying.

the help of her grandfather (my favourite character), her much older sister who is home from New York, and a young ranch-hand who is hired as a rehabilitation project while on probation.

Heartland really focuses on family, caring about animals, moral work ethics, small-town life, and Canada’s gorgeous scenery. There are minor love triangles, estranged family reunions, and more action than you’d think. Grandpa himself gets into the odd fist fight, the family saves/steals a lot of mistreated horses, and fighting off cattle thieves is surprisingly more common (on the show at least) than I would have originally thought. This is a show you can watch with your family and even my husband has admitted that it’s not as bad as he thought it would be – Grandpa’s rockin’ moustache and tough-teddy-bear personality makes it a hard show not to love! Netflix has nine seasons available, and season ten is currently airing on CBC.


jane-the-virgin

Jane the Virgin: 2014 – ongoing
Best Features: Hilarious, Ridiculous, Fun Narrator, Twists out the Wazoo, Diverse Cast, Fresh

This is probably my favourite show that is currently airing new episodes. The Mindy Project has kind of fallen by the wayside with some disappointing plot choices and its failure to have characters live up to their originally likable natures. Jane the Virgin has filled the Mindy-Project-sized hole in my heart. This show is delightfully dramatic and constantly makes me laugh. It is witty, quick-paced, diverse, and so incredibly fresh. Jane loves romance stories and is obsessed with telenovelas, Latin soap operas that consist of insane plotlines. The show itself, Jane the Virgin, is a modern American-made telenovela that airs on CW. The show has a fantastic (third person omniscient/commentator) narrator who interjects periodically with helpful reminders or he lets us know how the characters are really feeling. So much happens in each episode that what I am about to tell you is not really a spoiler at all – you find it all out in the first episode!

Jane has been brought up in a household with conflicting views on sex; her single mother had Jane at a young age and exudes sexual promiscuity confidently, while Jane’s grandmother is very religious and has drilled the sanctity of one’s virginity into Jane’s head from a young age. The three jtvpilotwomen live together in the grandmother’s house and Jane is now in her early twenties. Working a waitress job at a fancy hotel while finishing her post secondary education, Jane is in a happy committed relationship and is still waiting for marriage to lose her virginity. Within the first episode, a grave mistake occurs at what is supposed to be a simple appointment with her Gynecologist and this is the point in which her average life is inseminated with outrageous drama.

I fell in love with the show immediately, but if you think that it seems too overdramatic for you, give it a few episodes to see if you get the humour behind it all. Netflix currently has up to the middle of season three available and the new episodes are being released on a weekly basis. (PS. Prepare yourself for a moderate amount of sub-titles that are completely worth the portrayal of the natural flow of conversation in a Spanish-American home environment)


Do you watch any of these shows? What are your opinions on them? Let me know a TV show that you think I might like and I hope you might try watching one of mine.

Let’s Talk about Bell and Cause-Related Marketing

If your Facebook newsfeed was anything like mine was yesterday, it showcased an ongoing list of conflicting opinions over Bell’s Let’s Talk campaign.

bell-cover

The main argument:

Side A:
Believes that the capitalist nature of Bell as a conglomerate outweighs the benefits of their pseudo-do-good-campaign (that Bell itself is profiting more than the charities that receive the donations).

 

tweet1
Bell’s Tweet this morning, the morning after the #Bellletstalk 2017 campaign.

Side B:
Believes that the money donated and the encouraged discussion of mental health issues outweigh the branding benefits that Bell receives from the campaign.

 

This actually takes me back to many ethical discussions had in university over Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Cause-Related Marketing.

Definitions:

Corporate Social Responsibility: “A company’s sense of responsibility towards the community and environment (both ecological and social) in which it operates. Companies express this citizenship (1) through their waste and pollution reduction processes, (2) by contributing educational and social programs, and (3) by earning adequate returns on the employed resources” – Business Dictionary

Cause-Related Marketing: “Joint funding and promotional strategy in which a firm’s sales are linked (and a percentage of the sales revenue is donated) to a charity or other public cause. However, unlike philanthropy, money spent in cause-related marketing is considered an expense and is expected to show a return.” – Business Dictionary

Essentially, corporations are facing more criticism on their bad-guy-reputations, public relation teams then work to combat that negative image by associating themselves with a good cause. The bad guys aren’t going anywhere, they’re just wearing the mask of their non-profit partners. Does this really hurt anyone though? Some argue that Cause-Related Marketing is good thing, yes, the rich continue to get richer, but a charity benefits at the same time.

 

bell-screen-shot
A screenshot of the Let’s Talk home page today.

Since it’s creation in 2006, Bell Let’s Talk has donated 79 million dollars to Canadian mental health initiatives, this year alone they raised over 6.5 million dollars. On Bell’s Results/Impact page, they list which programs they are donating to each year and how much is allotted to each organization. The benefiting partners of 2017 are: CISSS de Lanaudière ($300,000); Embrace Life Council ($250,000); McGill University’s Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital ($250,000); Queen’s University ($1,000,000); St. John Ambulance ($150,000); and Strongest Families Institute ($2,000,000). I’m not a math whiz, but those numbers don’t add up to 6.5 million dollars. Apparently, the rest is divided into smaller grants that you can apply for (if eligible) through their Community Fund.

 

typingThose are the monetary benefits of this Cause-Related Marketing campaign, but there are also social benefits like the efforts taken to minimize the existing stigma around mental health. #BellLetsTalk encouraged many people on my social media feeds to share personal anecdotes about their own struggles that I would never have known otherwise. However, I am sure that many people continue to hold back personal truths online so that future employers cannot discover that they have a mental illness. For those who are brave enough to disclose their mental health histories online, I applaud you. You are taking a risk at exposing your true self and letting others no that they are not alone.

While perusing Twitter, I came across another trending hashtag: #BellLetsActuallyTalk. The following examples highlight a common issue that many tweeters had with Bell’s campaign.

collage-1

My argument is similar to that of last week’s Blue Monday blog post; just because we are focusing on a good cause for a day, doesn’t mean that people cannot continue the practise for the rest of the year. Isn’t bringing attention to a worthy topic a good thing?

Let’s look at #BellLetsTalk as a conversation starter for the rest of the year and recognize that help from a conglomerate is better than no help at all.