Can you tell I’m an 80’s kid? I loved that song when I was a kid. I was like, “What’s a Wang Chung?” Nobody cared because it was a Top 40 jam and it had a nice beat. (Which is what the kids always said on American Bandstand.)
Today’s post is inspired by music, specifically Soul Train. I was having a moment, not feeling too great. The YouTube algorithm magically sensed my need to feel better and up popped “The Best of Soul Train 1971-1979, Volume 6.” I didn’t even know Soul Train had a “best of” series.
Lenny Williams, Gladys Knight and the Pips, The Ohio Players, The O’Jays, Donna Summer, The Pointers Sisters, the Soul Train dancers, and commercials for Ultra Sheen?! Are you kidding? The music of my childhood? The clothes, the hair, the attitude! I was IN HEAVEN!! Life is GREAT! Mama was singing and dancing her butt off.
What’s today’s message? SING, DANCE, and HAVE FUN. Put on your favorite music and shake your booty!
If you have access to YouTube on your television, watch Soul Train on the telly. And watch volume 5 to see Ike and Tina Turner singing live. It was great to be an Ikette for a few minutes!
I wrote about this in February. My fear was that this #metoo storyline would be dropped in Season 2 of a million little things. Thankfully, it has not. The writers and actors are doing an excellent job of depicting how childhood sexual assault affects the survivor well into adulthood.
Last season ended with Regina and Delilah opening their
restaurant “someday,” with money Delilah’s late husband John had left them both.
Regina’s now deceased uncle Neil (whom we never saw) had also left her money
for the restaurant. This was the uncle who had molested her as a 12-year-old. We
also found out this uncle had molested Regina’s mother (his sister).
Regina donated her uncle’s money to a women’s shelter. As a result, she needed extra help from an investor Andrew Pollock, who’s got a thing for Delilah. (On an unrelated note, Andrew met Delilah when she was pregnant and instantly liked her. Dude. Really?) Both events complicate Regina’s life.
The shelter is throwing a benefit and want Regina to be the
guest of honor. At the very least, they want to publicize her donation. Regina
wants to stay anonymous. Also, Andrew is offering his opinions as an investor
which Regina is clearly uncomfortable with. She meets with the social media guy
Andrew suggested. It’s clear that Andrew is promoting Regina as “his discovery”
and this is her “first restaurant.” Not true on both counts.
That’s when Regina has her moment. She feels like she’s being
violated all over again. She realizes her donation to the women’s shelter should
be public. She’s is a survivor and she wants people to know her name. For Andrew,
the restaurant is just business. He is a businessman with power over her. It
feels like the night she was molested, and she’s not going to be victimized a
second time. She must run the restaurant on her own terms.
She decides to take a line of credit in order to buy Andrew
out. Her husband, Rome, decides to direct two Lexus commercials he had been
offered, but turned down, in order to make the money back. He is doing this all
I loved this episode as well as ones that have followed so far. Regina is taking her power back. That is what I wanted to see. Twists are coming with her marriage and her relationship with Delilah and Andrew. I’ll keep watching to see what happens.
ABC’s a million little things airs Thursdays at 9:00pm EST.
Up Next: Flash Fiction: “Ancestors Calling.” Saturday, November 9.
“YAS, QUEEN!” says me when I watch A Little Late with Lilly Singh. Since the show comes on at 1:35am Eastern Standard Time in the United States, I record the show to watch it in the morning. After two months of the show, my kids are used to me shouting at the television during their breakfast “YES, GIRL!,” “YOU OWN IT, SUPERWOMAN!”
If you read my first Lilly post, then you know why I’m excited. Lilly gets my full support for as long as the show runs. Here’s my quick review:
Lilly. It’s easy to see why the multi-hyphenate talent has a
talk show. She’s energetic, hyped-up, and funny.
Her chemistry with female guests. I call it now: Lilly’s going to end up marrying a woman. All of her female guests are obviously comfortable talking to her. Tracee Ellis Ross was the best, most natural interview. The clip I shared is only five minutes. If you watch the entirety of the interview on YouTube, you’ll see these two women flow together like water.
Pre-teen girls writing the monologue jokes and taking over stage production duties on International Day of the Girl. That was a “how come no one ever thought of this before?” moment. Amazing.
Interpretive Dance with Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger. These women are professional dancers, so that was a great game to watch.
Jenna Dewan, Nick Offerman, and Lilly doing a sexy pumpkin rap. That was good stuff.
The amount of people of color in the audience. Yes, ma’am.
The Bella Twins, Nikki and Brie, talking about their brother
accidentally finding Nikki’s sex toys…on the same episode a group of pre-teen
girls have taken over stage production duties. OUCH. If I was the parent of one
of those girls, I’d grabbed a producer and said, “I need a word with you…”
Lilly interviewing Allen Leech, Elizabeth McGovern, and Hugh
Bonneville from “Downton Abbey.” They looked like they wanted to be anywhere else.
Lilly’s desk. It looks like a spaceship from Battlestar
The lighting! It’s too dark! The stage and lighting need to
be much brighter.
The desk is too far away from the guests.
America Ferrera’s surprise Quinceanera. From America being snooty about the sneakers
Lilly surprised her with to the ugly dress to the waltz and the moment when
Lilly tried to feed her cake:
America: “Is that gluten-free?”
Lilly: “I don’t think so.”
America: pushes cake away with her hand
Lilly: :::Improvs::: “Mmmmh, that’s good! Gluten!” And takes
a bite of the cake.
Oh, God, that was so bad. The producers should have gotten
America’s dietary needs before creating that bit.
The show is finding its way. I predict it’s only going to go up from here. Give her time to find her way on this new platform of late night television. Lilly is a superstar and nothing is going to stop her trajectory.
Up next: A year of living without. Friday, November 1.
This is Us. Season 3, Episode 18. “Her.” Season Finale.
…And a little child shall lead them.
Thanks to Deja, their foster daughter, Randall and Beth did not get a divorce. Deja took Randall to one of her former foster homes. She shared with him that the couple who were supposed to care for her and other foster children spent their government stipend on lottery scratch-offs rather than the kids, leaving the kids hungry.
Deja said, “Nobody won in that house. Most people don’t win,
Randall, but you did. You won the lottery twice. Once when you got adopted and
again when you met Beth.” She told
Randall to get it together and fix his marriage. “You owe it to the world that
let you win the lottery twice.”
From there, Randall decides to resign from City Council without knowing Beth has traveled to Philadelphia. She decided to move the family from New Jersey to Philly so Randall can remain a councilman there. She is going to open a dance studio that trains aspiring professionals rather than adults. Both get what they want.
Fast forward to the future, it’s clear this is going to be a
“’til death do us part” marriage. I was so relieved. R&B found their
On another note, Tess is trying to find her way as a newly out gay teenage girl. That is going to be an interesting story line over the next three years of This is Us. Creator Dan Fogelman says the show is at it’s “midway point” and will last a total of six seasons.
The first two seasons were great. Overall, Season Three was uneven.
Songbird Road, Part 1. We find out what happened to Jack’s brother Nicky in Vietnam. This was a beautifully written and heartbreaking episode about a man still broken, alcoholic, and suffering from PTSD fifty years after he was sent home from the war. For Nicky, the war is not over.
Her. In the last five minutes of the season finale, set fifteen to twenty years in the future, we see that “her” is Rebecca on her deathbed. Her whole family is there to say goodbye. Kevin has a son. And Nicky has rejoined the Pearson family. That was a “whoa!!!” moment. That is how you end a season.
Seven out of Ten Mocha Angels for This is Us, Season Three.
Period. End of Sentence (Netflix). 2018 Academy Award Winner for Best Documentary Short. Saturday, April 6
Mocha Angels publishes every Wednesday and Saturday. Click “follow” in the bottom right hand corner to get my reviews and commentary delivered to your email. Thank you for supporting my work. (((Hugs)))
Last night, Randall and Beth had no rhythm and were mired in blues.
Their 20-year relationship had been deteriorating for months. Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) had told Randall (Sterling K. Brown) she no longer supported his run for city councilman. He continued anyway, then he won. Beth decided to become a dance teacher, after being laid off from her high paying job. In the midst, they have two daughters, a pre-teen, a teenager who recently came out of the closet as well as a foster daughter struggling to find her way. Add on the new financial pressures, the marriage is collapsing under the strain.
It turns out, as Beth said, “We’ve been having the same fight since we met.” The same fight is that Randall always gets his way. He overwhelms her with big ideas (“Let’s move in my birth father whom I met today!” “Let’s adopt a child!” “Let’s move in my wealthy TV star alcoholic brother who then drives drunk with one our kids in the car!” “I want to run for city councilman in my late father’s district that’s two hours away!”) Beth bends and capitulates to Randall every single time. She feels like there is no space for her inside the marriage.
Last night’s episode showed how small incidents in a marriage turn into big resentments. Beth is rightfully angry about how Randall sweet talks his way into whatever he wants to do. Like when he convinces her she doesn’t need a break from care taking their extended family. She is also complicit because she continuously caves in. On their disastrous first date in college, Beth said she didn’t want to be swallowed up inside a relationship. Guess what. Sometimes what we fear the most comes true.
Beth is not having it anymore. It’s Randall’s turn to bend, or the marriage will break.
Caving in time is over.
Next week we’ll see what decisions the Pearsons make in the Season Finale. I’ll be watching. Thank you @ Kay Oyegun for writing an insightful hour of television.
Up next: The short film “The Big Chop” (YouTube). Saturday, March 30th.
Mocha Angels publishes every Wednesday and Saturday. Click “follow” in the bottom right hand corner to get my reviews and commentary delivered to your email. Thank you for supporting my work. (((Hugs)))
At the beginning of the first episode of Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, Ryan, a toddler who’d never met Marie, practically jumped into her arms. Ryan said, “I want to hug you.” She let Marie hold her like they go way back!
I was stunned because a toddler doesn’t do that. She doesn’t reach for a perfect stranger who just walked through her front door. And certainly not while being held in her mother’s arms. I said to myself, “Marie Kondo is something special.”
And she is. After binge watching all eight episodes of Tidying Up I bought two of Marie Kondo’s books, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up,” and “Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up.” I will be getting “The Life Changing Magna of Tidying Up: A Magical Story.”
I’m already a minimalist. I did a massive decluttering the first half of 2018. What I am not is organized. And not being organized creates clutter and chaos, which gets on my last good nerve.
Netflix released Tidying Up on January 1, 2019. Marie, and her translator, help families in different stages in life declutter their homes.
A couple with two toddlers
An empty-nester couple
A couple with two preteens who downsized from a 4-bedroom
house to a 2-bedroom apartment
A widow who had been married for 40 years
A twentysomething couple who are transitioning
from college life to adulthood
A couple with two toddlers who want to have a
A couple expecting their first child
A couple newly married merging two households
What they all have in common is:
They have too much stuff in their house (and garage)
They feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to start decluttering
They have trouble letting go off their stuff
Their quality of life is being affected
They are having communication issues
The communication issues between couples varied from
resentment of who’s doing the household duties, to one person being more challenged
by decluttering than the other, to what to keep (“we have to keep this ‘just in
case’’ which is the death knell of tidyness).
The KonMari Method ™ is simple in theory. Tidy by category.
Clothes first. Then books, papers, komono (miscellaneous items), and finally
sentimental items. Keep the things that “spark joy.” In other words, keep the
items you love. For the items you let go of, thank them for their service, then
let them go. In the end, your home is full of only things you love. In
practice, it’s a lot harder. I know because I started the process last week.
The show only touches on the KonMari Method of organizing. She has very specific ways of folding everything from underwear to hoodies. Buy her books because they are necessary to truly declutter and organize your home.
Once you finish the first season, watch the “Where Are They Now?” clips to see if the families kept their homes organized.
I love this show that inspired me to organize my home the KonMari way. I will let you all know how the process is going.
After three seasons, Netflix is not renewing the Latinx-themed reboot of Norman Lear’s iconic sitcom One Day at a Time. Who knows when the last day of the show will air. It is being shopped around, but who knows what will happen. Watch it now, or at least, click on the “thumbs up” icon at the bottom left of the screen on all Netflix productions.
The reboot features a Cuban-American family. Single mom Penelope Alvarez (Justina Machado) is also an Army veteran and nurse. She is raising her two teenage children Elena (Isabella Gomez) and Alex (Marcel Ruiz), with the help of her live-in mother Lydia (the incomparable Rita Moreno, who is 87 years old and still dances like a dream). And this time around, Schneider (Todd Grinnell) is a man-boy undocumented immigrant from Canada (no kidding).
At 96-years-old (!) Norman Lear is one of the Executive Producers. If you are old enough to remember any of his other 1970s shows, like All in the Family, The Jeffersons, Maude, Sanford and Son, and Good Times, then you know Lear never met a social/cultural issue he didn’t like. Every one of those television shows were in-your-face about racism, classism, feminism, war, abortion, and religion, and other controversial issues. (Remember the “Black Jesus” episode on Good Times?)
One Day at a Time brings more of the same. It’s a funny, unflinching, in-your-face comedy that deals with immigration, the trans-military ban, pay inequality, homosexuality, depression, dating in a swipe left/swipe right era, mental health issues, veteran suicides, and every other hot-button issue of the day.
Penelope is a blend of James Evans and Maude Findlay. No one is confused about who is running the Alvarez household. She’s also feminine, loud, hilarious, stressed, tough, depressed, tired, big-hearted and kind. Sounds like most moms I know.
Elena and Alex are so great as teenagers struggling to find their identity. My own kids, also teenagers, like the show because they see themselves in Elena and Alex.
And Lydia…… Let me say Rita Moreno is #AgingGoals. She is witty, quick, agile, sexy, funny, theatrical, and wise. God, please let me be her at 87. Lydia is the glue holding the family together. Without her, Penelope would be having a much harder time in life. And she’s very, very Cuban. Lydia is not trying to assimilate. She speaks Spanglish: A blend of Spanish and English. A devout Catholic, Lydia is not changing for anybody.
According to Deadline.com, One Day At a Time has been an important milestone for representation, bringing back the Latinx family sitcom genre as the first Latinx-themed series on Netflix. Over the past year, Netflix has greenlit three series focused on U.S. Latinx stories including Mr. Iglesias, Gentefied and Selena: The Series about Mexican-American Tejano singer Selena.
I truly enjoy this situation comedy. It’s relatable and laugh out loud funny. I hope it finds a new television home.
Oh, and I dance the Cha-Cha-Cha everytime I hear the Gloria Estefan-sung theme song. It’s gold.
Thank you, Ganesh, Shiva, Het-Heru, and Diana. Lilly Singh is getting her own late-night talk show, A Little Late with Lilly Singh, on NBC this fall.
Why? You say? Who? You say?
Here’s why she’s getting a talk show:
Between her two channels, IISuperwomanII and Superwoman Vlogs, she’s got nearly 17 million subscribers and almost 3,500,000,000 views. That’s three BILLION 500 MILLION views. Her first book, How to be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life became a Number One New York Times Bestseller. In 2017 she was ranked tenth on the Forbes list of the world’s highest paid YouTube stars, earning an estimated $10.5 million dollars.
Singh is a 30-year-old Indian-Canadian, openly bisexual, You Tube superstar comedienne. Those adjectives had me thanking Hindu, Khemetic, and Roman gods and goddesses. Ganesh is the remover of obstacles. Shiva is the transformer. Het-Heru is the goddess of beauty and love. Diana is the goddess of the moon. Lilly Singh has knocked down a massive door, is transforming late night TV, is beautiful, hilarious, and of course, a woman.
Only two other women currently have late night talk shows: Busy Tonight with Busy Phillips on E! and Full Frontal with Samantha Bee on TBS. Unfortunately, the too-funny Late Night with Robin Thede was canceled by BET last summer, or we’d have three women hosting late night shows.
I will be watching Late Night with Lilly Singh to support
her transition from YouTube to broadcast television. I am cheering for her and
wishing for her long-term success on NBC.
This Is Us: Season 3, Episode 13: “Our Little Island Girl”
After 49 episodes and 3 ½ seasons of This is Us, Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) gets a long overdue backstory (and the entire hour of the show). Beth’s story is told, in classic This is Us fashion, via flashback and present day. In the flashback scenes, we learn that Beth’s mother Carol (the one and only Phylicia Rashad) literally snatches teenage Beth’s dream of being a professional ballerina right out of her hands. Carol forces her to take a traditional, corporate route so that Beth can live a “safe” life.
Via flashback, we see that Child Beth (Akira Akbar), “the child who could dance before she could walk,” dreams only of dance. Beth applies to a prestigious ballet school behind her parents’ back. She gets accepted much to their surprise. Her Jamaican father, Abe (Carl Lumbly), is 100% behind “our little island girl’s” dreams and is willing to work overtime to pay for her training. Mom is not having it. Dance is not practical. Carol is a pragmatic woman and does not believe Beth can ever be a principal ballerina. Abe is convinced, so Carol goes along with what he wants.
Fast forward to teenage Beth (Rachel Hilson). Her dance teacher Vincent Kelly (Goran Visnjic) tells her she no longer has a dancer’s body and that she must work ten times harder. Then Mr. Kelly brings in a new dancer. She is also black and built like a teenage brickhouse. (This girl did not have a ballerina body. I think Mr. Kelly just gave up on Beth.)
Concurrently, Beth is told her father is dying of lung cancer. Beth blames herself for her father’s illness because he worked so hard to pay for her dance training. He dies while she is competition for the lead in Swan Lake. After Abe’s death, Beth discovers she did not get the lead. That’s when Carol swoops in and says, “You are never going to be a professional dancer. I’m not going to pay for dance academy anymore. By the way, here’s a list of colleges. Pick one.”
Back in the present day, Beth and her cousin Zoe (Melanie Liburd) travel to Washington, DC to convince Carol to retire from her high school principal duties after she is injured. Mom shoots down retirement quick, fast, and in a hurry.
While visiting her mother, Beth has a moment with her father’s memory. She’s afraid she has forgotten the dreamer and dancer side of herself. “I can’t be me without you. How could I be?” she tells his empty chair. Abe was her dreamer, her faith, her promise, her believer. Without her dad, Beth has abdicated the role of Dreamer to her husband Randall, who is a man of faith, passion, and big dreams.
Beth finally confronts her mother at 3:00 a.m. Carol can’t sleep. All she wants to do is help a laid-off Beth find a new job. Beth says neither she nor her siblings can breathe around her. There’s no air. Carol says, “I promised my mother I’d push my kids as hard as she pushed me. At least I know you all are okay.” “No. I am not okay, “Beth says. “You took away my dream.” And we find out no one was allowed to grieve Abe’s death. The family just moved on like it never happened.
The next morning, Carol tells Beth that her own father didn’t think girls should be educated. Her mom felt different and pushed Carol toward excellence. Carol pushed so hard that once while she was in college, Abe literally fed her because she wouldn’t stop studying. Abe was Carol’s emotional counterbalance. Without him, her air was gone too. She admits she took dance away from Beth too quickly.
At the end, Beth decides she wants to be a dance teacher. Carol goes back to work using a walker (surprise).
Everything in Carol Clarke’s being is Strong Black Woman. Emotionally stoic. Distant. Forever suffering. The family rock. The disciplinarian. Handling her business. Always in control.
Big Mama and Carol focused only on their children’s education and professional development because they felt that was the only choice they had. Being a person of African descent in the United States can be dangerous. Being “strong” is necessary because you never know when you’ll be attacked, shot, raped, or killed because of your race. But being “strong” is not the same as being “safe.”
Beth breaks free of the Strong Black Woman persona by pursuing her professional dance dreams. She’s still a wife and mother. She’s also creative and needs to express that side of her.
Hallelujah is all I have to say. Beth has broken a multi-generational belief and set herself free. A huge thumbs up for a quality hour of black women on television and to episode writer Eboni Freeman.
This is Us airs Tuesdays at 9:00 pm EST. New episodes return March 5th.
That is why recovering from sexual assault is so difficult. Perpetrators can walk away. The victim can never get away. Victims are also told, “It’s your fault.” Bullshit. Gaslighting at it’s finest.
ABC’s rookie drama a million little things addressed sexual assault this past Thursday. Episode 14 “someday” finally gave us the answer as to why Regina (Christina Moses) and her mother Shelly (Romy Rosemont) have such a difficult relationship. Shelly is a passive-aggressive and overbearing mother in the same vein as Marie Barone (Everybody Loves Raymond) and Emily Gilmore (Gilmore Girls), minus the humor.
This mother-daughter relationship comes to a head the night before Executive Chef Regina is to open her new restaurant. Regina gets a text from her mother’s brother Neil which reads, “Glad it all worked out.” Regina hasn’t spoke to her uncle in decades. When Regina asks her mother not only why she gave Neil her phone number and address, she also asks, “What does ‘glad it all worked out’ mean?” Shelly admits that she wasn’t the one who helped finance Regina’s restaurant, it was Neil. Regina flips out on her mom and then she tells her business partner Delilah (Stephanie Szostak), “This restaurant will never open. Not with me involved.” With that, Regina is out.
At home, Regina is inconsolable. Her husband Rome (Romany Malco, Jr) asks Maggie (Allison Miller) to help Regina. (FYI: Maggie is a therapist. Her dual role as friend/therapist with Rome and now Regina is pushing serious ethical boundaries, but I’m going to let that go.) That’s when Regina tells the story of her uncle’s sexual assault of her at age 12. She said that when she tried to tell Shelly the day after, her mother’s response was, “You must have misunderstood. He was just trying to comfort you.”
Take the needle off the record. Bae said what? A misunderstanding? 😦 😦 😦 Girl….. 😦 My twists were on fire!
Regina is blaming herself. Rome is hearing all of this for the first time. Maggie is telling her, “You were a 12 year old girl. You did nothing wrong.” That whole scene had me in my feelings. It was hard to watch.
The next morning Regina, Rome, and Maggie (along for emotional support) head to the hospital where Neil is being treated for a never revealed illness. Regina intends to give him the money back and she wants Neil to apologize. Maggie warns her: don’t expect an apology.
In a touch of magical realism, Regina walks past her 12-year-old self on the way to her uncle’s room. She gets to his room only to find his hospital bed empty. “Your uncle died a couple of hours ago,” a doctor tells her. “I’m sorry you didn’t get to say goodbye.” Regina is beyond angry and frustrated that she never got to confront her uncle and she’s mad at her mother for not believing her. Maggie gently says, “Maybe your mom couldn’t hear you because your uncle hurt her too. If she acknowledges your truth, she’s have to admit her own.”
Shelly is walking up to the hospital at that moment. Regina runs to her mother to ask: “What did he do to you?” And with that, mother and daughter have their #metoo moment.
At the end of the episode, Regina does return to a very successful opening night of the restaurant, aptly titled “someday.” (John had told her the night before his death that you can ‘someday’ yourself out of a life.) Regina tells her mom that she’s donating all of Neil’s money to a women’s shelter. Shelly say’s she very proud of her daughter, and Regina cooks her scallops for dinner.
a million little things deals with the aftermath of suicide, male and female breast cancer, infidelity, divorce, depression, secrets and lies. This story line cannot be dropped. And I’m a bit worried that the show may gloss over this topic. And it’s because Uncle Neil is dead.
As Maggie told Regina, “It’s not about him.” Yes and no. It’s not about him because Regina and Shelly’s healing does not rest on Neil’s apology, acknowledgement, nor validation of his heinous, criminal acts. It is about him in the sense that these women need to vent their rage at him as a part of their healing. Anger and rage are a natural reaction to sexual assault. I want to see these women go through all of their stages of grief so they can heal themselves as well as their relationship. I will be watching.
ABC’s a million little things airs Thursdays at 9:00pm EST.