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‘Shrill’ Comes to an Abrupt Close in Season 3

Annie Eaton and Fran sit together on a bench in Shrill's Season 3 finale

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When Shrill first set out to tell the narrative of a struggling young journalist whose greatest insecurity–weight–turns out to be her strength in building her career, there were times when it felt like Annie Eaton’s (Aidy Bryant) character was going to fall flat and too one-dimensional. Although the series progressed, the character development continued steadily, and Annie’s trajectory toward Season 3, its final season, felt like it was finally finding its footing only to be cut short in an abrupt close.

Shrill Season 3 begins after Annie’s much-needed good riddance to her ex-boyfriend Ryan. The man she had been holding onto out of pure fear she wouldn’t find someone else. Leaving her relationship baggage in the past of Season 2, Annie seems to finally be joining the dating scene she never felt she deserved.

However, with the disastrous reality of the dating world, Annie’s completely over it after her first date goes south. Instead, she finds herself crushing on Nick (Anthony Oberbeck), an office cutie (if you look past the thick pornstache.) Nick is tall, handsome, and thin, all of which seems to be Annie’s preference if she thought she could land a guy like that, being as “big” as she is, or so she thinks.

Anthony Oberbeck as Nick and Aidy Bryant as Annie in Shrill. Photo credit: Allyson Riggs/Hulu.

Things seem to be fun and flirtatious with Nick, and Annie is truly feeling herself. She uses that confidence to push for bigger pieces at The Thorn as she tries to break out of the fat-girl columnist mold that put her on the map as a writer. With that confidence, she feels invincible and seems to lose sight of anything she considers less than idyllic.

Her newfound confidence peaks when Amadi, her work husband, sets her up on a blind date with Will. Annie immediately writes him off when she arrives at the restaurant and sees that he’s plus-sized. The entire scene puts Annie’s characterization at its peak, and we’re finally able to see how far she’s truly come. Albeit, at the expense of Will’s feelings, as she judges him on the pure basis of his weight, the very thing she’s fought so hard to change through her writing.

Meanwhile, Fran’s (Lolly Adefope) relationship with her partner Em (E.R. Fightmaster) is heating up. Em gives Fran the stability that a Sagittarius rarely finds and the spotlight and attention she needs to survive. This is the first time Fran’s character is shown to be in an exclusive relationship for longer than a couple of episodes.

In the seasons preceding, Fran was either juggling a few girls or trying relationship celibacy. Her own self-growth over Season 2 really put her in a good place to pursue an honest and genuine relationship with Em. It’s the first time Fran lets her two worlds collide–the Nigerian culture she has compartmentalized and her current out and proud self.

Annie and Fran sitting on their couch drinking wine. Courtesy of Hulu.

As Fran and Em are having their big “I love you” moment, Annie is downstairs trying to progress things with Nick. Only to be told that he didn’t see her that way. Why is it that the good guys are always the heartbreakers?

Annie’s job at The Thorn has never been smooth sailing, as she’s continuously fought to be seen as a real writer by her boss Gabe. Finally overcoming that hurdle, she’s been dubbed the fat-girl writer. To write more serious pieces, she takes on the controversial coverage of a separatist community, a nicer name for a group of white supremacists.

Her article receives a ton of backlash, despite the fault, Annie tries to place on Gabe for changing the headline of her article in an attempt to increase views. Annie’s forced to confront her own privilege. The privilege she seems to have forgotten as she’s too busy wallowing in her own self-pity for being fat. The backlash she receives is far worse than the trolls she had before, and she finds herself isolated and turning to the open arms of her deadbeat ex, Ryan.

Making the mistake of sleeping with an already boo’d up Ryan, she finally arrives at her lowest of lows. While making her way out of her own purgatory, she runs into Will at Amadi’s birthday party. The awkwardness of their initial reunion can be felt through the screen, but by the end of the night, their chemistry is flowing.

A month into Annie and Will’s relationship, they go on a couple’s retreat with Fran and Em. Fran and Annie recount the genesis of their relationship. The beginning of a co-dependent friendship. Something that Em points out. Just as the two are talking about moving in together. Initially, the conversation of taking the next big step is good, but somewhere along the way, Fran’s fear of commitment kicks in.

Lolly Adefope as Fran and E.R. Fightmaster as Em on Shrill. Courtesy of Hulu.

In preparation for Fran’s move out, Annie’s fear of singledom trickles in, and she tries to rush her two-month relationship with Will. Since Will’s still legally married, and because he’s genuinely a thoughtful man, something Annie’s not used to, he lets Annie’s move-in proposal down, gently reminding her he still needs to consider his ex Mikayla’s feelings.

Annie isn’t satisfied with Will’s response and does some sleuthing and confronts Mikayla at her bakery. The idea that Will’s good-guy tendencies are nothing to be worried about sends Annie in a spiral. And while Will’s busy considering everyone else’s feelings, Annie’s only thinking about herself.

With so much uncertainty looming overhead, it feels like the show ended too early. But, we’re left with Annie and Fran finally realizing that to let others in, they’ll need to stop solely relying on each other. And though the unknown is tricky and terrifying,  deep down, they know they’ll be ok. So we might as well pop a bottle of champagne alongside the duo to commemorate the “greatest love of all time.”


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Inga is an avid TV watcher and critic, focusing a majority of her articles around LGBTQ+ representation in the media.

Ghosts

Ghosts Season 2 Premiere Review – Spies

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Ghost Season 2 Premiere Review Episode 1 Spies

It was dark and gloomy without weekly new episodes of Ghosts, but the season 2 premiere made sure to remedy all of that and make up for lost time. 

Though many months have passed since the Ghosts Season 1 season finale in our world, no time passed on the series, which picked up with the first B&B guests arriving just as the foyer floor gave way under Sam and Jay and they crashed through the floor.

For a moment, it seemed as though Jay’s fall allowed him to see the ghosts as well, but the dream was short-lived. He didn’t see Pete; he saw the delivery guy. I’m kind of happy about it, as having both Sam and Jay see the ghosts would have likely made the show less interesting, but I’m also slightly bummed because it would be nice to see the ghosts interact with someone other than Sam.

Nevertheless, there was no time to mope around as the next set of guests—the unofficial first ones to stay at Woodstone Manor—arrived. 

Debbie and Tom seemed nice enough, but Pete, a former travel agent, knew this trick all too well. He pointed out that they barely touched their welcome drinks, a sure sign that they weren’t as impressed as they were letting on. And once the doubts were planted in Sam’s mind, she kept second-guessing herself at every turn. 

Jay wanted to let it play out, but since they couldn’t risk another bad Yelp review, Sam gave the ghosts the green light to spy on their guests behind Jay’s back. 

It started innocently enough as they reported back their findings so that Sam could make adjustments in real time, but it quickly spiraled out of control when it turned out that Tom and Debbie were the absolute worst human beings on the planet who hated and criticized everything, including the paper-thin sheets, Jay’s cookies, the butter dish, and even Sam’s complexion. Picky is an understatement. It didn’t take long for Sam and Jay to see the dark side of owning a rental property.

Sam attempted to fix everything, but it became too much to handle, and the final straw for Jay was when they criticized the smell of her perfume.

Jay bolted out there and defended his wife, aka the “best person he’s ever met,” with a passionate speech that moved all of the ghosts, even Pete, who noted that it likely wouldn’t make for a positive Yelp review.

Tom and Debbie were floored by the outburst, and when they questioned whether Jay and Sam were eavesdropping on them this whole time, the latter admitted that they simply wanted to impress them so that they could get a good review and start their business on a positive note. After all, online reviews can make or break you. 

And that’s when the hilarity ensued. I’m not one to call anyone out for generational flaws or differences, but their assumption that the Yelp reviews were anonymous was peak boomer behavior, right along with the belief that if they unplug their laptop, the reviews will be deleted. This may have been the funniest moment of the episode because it wasn’t that farfetched. 

While the scenario with the first B&B guests didn’t pan out perfectly, Tom and Debbie felt so guilty about all the businesses they publicly bad-mouthed and tore apart thinking that they were anonymous that they were thankful to Jay and Sam for making them aware and gave Woodstone Manor 5 stars, along with a questionable review that mentioned their account was hacked. Sure, Jan. 

At least now they’ll know to keep their opinions to themselves and stop criticizing every little thing. Who even wants to go on a vacation to hate-talk the whole time while being polite and kind to their hosts’ faces? It seems tiring to be that fake. 

Jay and Sam now know what to expect when they welcome their next guests, and while Sam assured Jay she would never allow the ghosts to spy again, she made sure to provide an asterisk to the rule if it was an important situation.

My two cents—who cares? The guests won’t know, and the ghosts need some form of entertainment. The TV is exciting, but sometimes, they need some human interaction. Why punish them when they’re confined to the house for eternity?

The teaser for the upcoming episode shows that season 2 will dive into each ghost’s backstory a bit more, and it’s exciting because it means we’ll finally see the ghosts while they were alive. I can live with Jay not being able to see the ghosts if we can see them interacting with others through flashbacks. 

Season 1 did a good job at introducing the ghosts and setting the scene as to how they died at the Manor, and while I feel I have a good grasp of who they were, there’s so much potential there when it comes to storytelling. They all lived rich lives with many experiences throughout different generations, so it’s necessary to tap into that more.

And with the B&B officially open for business, they’re bound to cross more interesting house guests. I fully expect this season to get absolutely wild. 

Elsewhere, Isaac navigated his relationship with Nigel, who didn’t seem all too comfortable watching TV at the mansion. TV is the greatest invention known to man, so it was a bit peculiar, and though Isaac was dreading the conversation, it was better than Hetty’s suggestion to let the resentment fester and numb the pain with morphine. See what I mean—Hetty’s backstory is a trip crazier than Flower’s. 

Nigel eventually revealed that Thorfinn was a bit too much for him, which prompted Isaac to ask his Viking buddy to tone it down a bit when his boyfriend was around.  Of course, Thorfinn didn’t take kindly to the criticism given his flair for the dramatics, and he promised to disappear forever. And by that, he meant that he was going to sulk in the basement with the plague ghosts, who actually complained that he was bumming them out.

It took a Spice Girls special about the 90s (truly the greatest decade) and friendship to convince Isaac to apologize to Thorfinn. He brought Nigel along as he didn’t realize how much the Viking meant to him until he was no longer in his life. That’s when Nigel realized just how special their bond was, he apologized to Thorfinn, who admitted he was a bit of an acquired taste. 

And then, in yet another bizarre twist, Nigel and Thorfinn bonded over their love of watching ants. These ghosts are truly something. 

It’ll be fun to see Nigel find his place amongst the ghosts as he and Isaac navigate the early stages of their relationship. I’m rooting for them!

What did you think of the premiere episode? Did you miss all the shenanigans? 


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Abbott Elementary'

Abbott Elementary Recap – Wrong Delivery (2×02)

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Abbott Elementary Recap Wrong Delivery Season 2 Episode 2

Abbott Elementary Season 2 Episode 2 is on a mission to underscore exactly why it deserved that Emmy for outstanding writing. 

“Wrong Delivery” might be the funniest episode to date solely because of the bit about Barbara confusing Black actors with white ones. The delivery from the cast, the perfectly chosen names, the way everyone tried to figure out who she was actually talking about, and the way they all let her go out misidentifying because it was “easier this way” made for some hilarious moments. 

And honestly, I can’t even blame Barbara for confusing Milly Bobby Brown and Bobby Brown! She can get away with anything and everything in my book.

The rest of the episode dug deeper into the issues plaguing public schools and their dedicated teachers, as the staff at Abbott took a little trip to the nearby charter school, Addington Elementary, and got a firm understanding of how underfunded they are. 

Janine, mostly, took the comparisons to heart, setting out on a mission to better Abbott with the grant money they received. While everyone agreed to spend it on the basics—cleaning supplies—Janine wanted to find a way to make the children feel special by buying a computer for the library since Addington had a whole computer lab for their kids.

Ava figured that the only way to settle this debate was to stage Shark Tank with each teacher and professional presenting their case. Not only was it a smart opportunity for ABC to promote one of their other shows, but it also allowed for some hilarity to ensue as Ava’s fellow sharks were Mr. Johnson and little Ava, Courtney.

Janine over delivered with a very over-the-top presentation (on brand for her), but once again, Barbara and Melissa proved that they knew what they were doing better than anyone. After years of teaching at Abbott, they understood that the key to success was to take care of the basic and fundamental needs of their students; everything else was the fluff on top that wasn’t exactly necessary.

Janine may have convinced the sharks to give her the money, but her efforts were wasted when a mouse outbreak in the cafeteria prompted them to use up the funds to pay the exterminator. Hey, at least it wasn’t rats!

Ava may not always have the school front of mind, but she heard Janine’s plea to make the kids feel special and ordered a water ice truck, which, in turn, made the Addington kids jealous of Abbott’s students. People always want what they don’t have. And Abbott’s students were perfectly content with this one special day. Because, while a computer lab with new tech is nice, it doesn’t necessarily measure up to caring teachers who have your best interest at heart. 

Janine has a good heart and wants to help the students, but sometimes, she gets caught up rather than seeing the big picture, so it’s good that she has Melissa and Barbara around to keep her grounded.

Elsewhere, Gregory dealt with his Taylor situation. His romance with Barbara’s daughter was fizzling out, but he didn’t know how to end things without upsetting Barabara. The duo ignored each other in the halls, which made for some tense and awkward moments before Jacob suggested that Gregory “peters out” of the relationship, which is slightly nicer than just ghosting someone. He was on board until Janine helped him realize that he’s more of a straightforward shooter rather than the guy who skirts around the truth.

When Gregory confronted Barbara about Taylor, she, in turn, informed him that she was sorry that her daughter chose to “peter out” of the relationship, noting that she felt he was a “broke boi.” Harsh. He’s just trying his best while uplifting the youth!

Overall, it was a hard day for Gregory, who was also dealing with a malfunctioning AC unit, but in the end, the breakup leaves the door open for Gregory and Janine to finally get together. Well, first they have to be honest about their feelings for each other, but you know it’s coming!

Other highlights from the episode:

    • Melissa starting with her doppelganger at the charter school before revealing it’s her sister. 
    • Ava’s comment about the 2021 Khloe K and the 2022 Khloe K being unrecognizable.

What did you think of the second episode of Abbott Elementary season 2?


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Big Sky

Big Sky Review -The Woods Are Lovely, Dark and Deep (3×02)

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Big Sky Review The Woods Are Lovely, Dark and Deep Season 3 Episode 2

Big Sky needs to tone it on down on the “big” when it comes to its plot. 

The promos for Deadly Trails hooked audiences because they provided one singular focus—a mystery involving a Sunny Barnes’ camping adventure where hikers go missing under mysterious circumstances. 

It felt like the series was hitting refresh after two thrilling yet muddled seasons. Unfortunately, the writers seem to be repeating the mistakes of the past, packing all too much into one season in a way that’s overwhelming for audiences. 

There’s the mystery of Mark, the hiker that we saw fall off of a cliff when he encountered Walter, a strange man, at the top of Deadman’s Drop. The beginning of the episode reveals that Walter, a recluse who lives in the woods, informs his mother about Mark, claiming he accidentally fell from a cliff. She goes into protective mama bear mode, telling Walt she’ll handle it, but when she’s alone with Mark, she just lets him die a slow and agonizing death. When Cassie and Beau come around investigating, she pretends that she knows nothing about Mark’s whereabouts when that’s clearly not the case. 

There’s also the mystery surrounding the campers at Sunny’s, including Paige and Luke, a couple who clearly didn’t mesh well when it came to vacation plans. After the premiere, it seemed as though they simply didn’t see eye to eye about glamping, but a little time in the woods is beginning to unravel them as they mention that they are hiding out until the money comes in. Paige even mentions that Luke would be in jail for what happened. The campers at home base get concerned when Paige and Luke don’t come back, but it’s even more concerning that Luke grabs a rock after he gets into a fight with Paige and attempts to choke her. 

When Emily, Beu’s daughter who is camping with her stepdad Asher, sets out to find the missing couple, she sees Luke covered in blood and makes a run for it. It’s good podcast material… if she survives. The teaser also talks about a missing woman from Sunny Day Camp, which could be Paige or Emily. Did Luke do something to Paige? Or was she the dangerous one since she threatened to kill him if he ever laid hands on her again?

There’s also Asher, who didn’t seem suspicious at first, but he started becoming way too invested in Paige and Luke’s relationship, even sniffing around their room and finding a gun in Paige’s duffel. Why would she leave that behind? Why did she have it in the first place?

There are clearly a lot of concerning things happening at Sunny Day Campgrounds, and it doesn’t seem to be a first. Sunny is great at burying her secrets, but it does make me wonder if Mark’s death at Deadman’s Drop is connected to the case Denise mentions from 20 years ago, And was Walt responsible? 

Sunny seems to have everyone fooled, but Cormac hesitated when he stumbled upon his mother in the woods and questioned her carefree plan to find the troubled lovebirds. Does he know something he’s not letting on? Is he aware of Walt? Or is Walt a child from a previous relationship?

Jenny and Beau also team up to deal with a squatter situation at one of Tonya’s properties. They encounter Donno manhandling Jef with one F, who isn’t exactly forthcoming about his true identity or why he’s living inside the home. Jenny arrests him, along with Donno and another drunk that they pick up on the side of the road, who actually attempts to assassinate Jef. Donno and Jenny save the day, and while I know Jenny does a good amount of kicking butt in this scene, Donno is such a gem. I can see why they chose not to write him out. He brings a sort of flair to the series that continues to be interesting even as he tries to walk a straight and narrow path these days,

Anyway, the near-attack forces Jef to come clean about what’s really going on—he’s a whistleblower for Redmond, a jet company that’s allowing a fleet that failed inspection to hit the skies, putting all of their passengers in danger. Since he knows too much, they want him dead. Jenny persuades him to go into Witness Protection, but the agent that comes to get him raises some red flags. Technically, it all checks out, but Jenny and Beau have played this game before, so they send Poppernak to make sure that Jef gets to safety. When they see Weaver’s car divert from the road to the airport, they leap into action, saving Jef in the knick of time. They also find Camille, the CEO’s executive assistant that went missing, hiding in the basement ready to corroborate Jef’s story. It’s unclear why this new storyline was introduced, but it does beg the question: how does it connect to the hikers at Sunny Day Camp?

Also, did anyone else catch the subtle nod to Jensen Ackles’ Supernatural character when Beau gives Cassie bread and salt as a housewarming gift to “fend off the demons?” Classic. 

Does Asher work for this company? Are Paige and Luke somehow involved?

And if Walt didn’t kill Mark, why is Sunny so eager to cover for him? Has this happened before? What’s her story? 

Do you think there are too many threads to follow this season when it should have been more simplified? 

Share your thoughts about the episode in the comments below! 


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