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‘The Chair’ Review: A Humorous Commentary on the World of Academia

Sandra Oh, Nana Mensah, and Holland Tyler on The Chair. Photo Credit: Netflix

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An entire show focused on a dilapidating university English department had the very real potential of being extremely boring and niche with its heavy ode to literature. However, Netflix’s original series The Chair, starring the fabulous Sandra Oh, is a humorous commentary on the world of academia, cancel culture, ageism, sexism, and transracial adoption.

The bulk of the humor rests on the shoulders of Ji-Yoon (Oh) and Joan (Holland Taylor) the only women in the department alongside Yaz (Nana Mensah). Ji-Yoon is the first woman department head to take the position just as enrollment is crumbling by 30%.

What’s meant to be a momentous moment in her career turns into a shit show when she’s tasked with putting out daily dumpster fires.

In the short six episodes, we’re quickly introduced to the complicated lives of Ji-Yoon and her colleague/lover Bill Dobson, one of the younger professors who’s under intense scrutiny for making an insensitive and ignorant reference to nazis.

The Chair Humorously Comments

Sandra Oh on The Chair. Photo Credit: Netflix

There’s a strong balance between personal and professional lives as the underlying tension displayed immediately between Bill and Ji-Yoon ignites a budding romance, amid the dean’s increasing pressure for Ji-Yoon to let Bill go.

Ji-Yoon’s a powerful woman who isn’t afraid to stand up against university systems that oppress women and women of color. And despite her ability to properly handle her work life, her home life seems to be teetering.

Her daughter Juju is a spitfire who is ready to speak her mind at any moment. Whether to diss her halbi, cross personal boundaries scaring off babysitters, and telling Ji-Yoon how she feels about her transracial adoption.

The real dynamic duo is Juju and Bill. As Bill’s healing from the loss of his wife and empty-nesting after sending his daughter off to college, he finds comfort in taking care of Juju while he’s on suspension.

The Chair Review

Ji-Yoon and Dobson on The Chair. Photo Credit: Netflix

Juju’s lack of connection with Ji-Yoon is saddening, as it stems from Ji-Yoon’s absence due to her tireless job. However, by the end of the season, the growth between mom and daughter is emotionally beautiful.

Yes, I shed a few tears.

The decision to use an English department as a commentary vessel is ingenious. Historically, academia is full of jaded tenured professors who are generationally out of touch. But, an English department is stereotypically overrun with crotchety old pretentious men.

Some of whom are definitely ready for retirement.

Yaz is a Black professor whose class has quickly become the most popular in the English department. With her classes yielding the most students, this causes jealousy among the other educators, putting her tenure track in harm’s way.

The Chair Review

Ji-Yoon and her daughter on The Chair. Photo Credit: Netflix

When she’s denied the distinguished lectureship and begins to feel helpless as a woman of color at Pembroke, she considers taking an offer from Yale. However, Ji-Yoon’s desperation to rebuild the department full of diverse women convinces Yaz to stay.

Yaz’s character doesn’t receive as much screentime as she deserves. Most of the attention is placed on Dobs and the rest of the professors fighting desperately to hold onto their power.

Furthering the theme of sexism, Joan’s office is displaced in the basement underneath the gym. As a professor who’s been with the university just as long as her male counterparts, she finds her situation outrageous and greatly sexist.

Yet, by the season finale, after Ji-Yoon’s been ousted as the head of the department, she strategically chooses Joan to replace her. This feels like a win for the women and especially Ji-Yoon, as her vision of change continues.

While there hasn’t been any official word about a second season, Season 1 paved the path for deeper topics to be pursued. Especially the romance between Ji-Yoon and Bill. So I can’t imagine the show won’t receive another green light.

If you’re someone who shutters at the idea of being immersed in the academic sphere even fictionally, don’t worry. The Chair is a show you can enjoy on the pure basis of humor and emotional family drama. And of course Sandra Oh!

21 Underrated TV Shows You Need to Watch


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

Editorials

15 TV Couples that NEED to Get Back Together

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Couples that need to get back together

Aww, the good ole rollercoaster of love, or at least that’s the way TV chooses to portray it. Sometimes the chemistry between the actors is off the charts, leaving fans devastated when the characters inevitably break up for effect. Here are 15 TV couples that did just that and NEED to get back together, or else I might have a fit and lose faith in love.

Some of these might be unpopular opinions, in which case please leave your comments down below!

1. Davia and Denis (Good Trouble)
TV Couples we need to get back together

Davia and Dennis on Good Trouble. Photo courtesy of Freeform

So technically, Davia and Dennis haven’t ever been exclusive, but their chemistry is off the charts. So, this is more of a “please, just get together” plea. Which, from the Season 4 finale, I feel safe putting all of my eggs into their basket.

Davia’s been there for Dennis through some of his hardest moments, and Dennis has helped Davia learn self-love. They compliment each other so well and don’t even get me started on their duet capabilities!

2. Ava and Ruby (Hacks)
TV couples that need to get back together

Ava and Ruby on Hacks. Photo courtesy of HBO Max

It’s clear both Ruby and Ava have residual feelings for each other. Their last scene together was so passionate and filled with heavy emotions and desire. If they don’t end up together in Season 2, it will be a devastating loss. Unlike most of the relationships on this list, Ruby and Ava have no third-party competition, so it wouldn’t be too hard for them to get back together.

Even Hannah Einbinder (Ava) wants them to be endgame. Just check out her Instagram post of a behind-the-scenes photo of her and Lorenza Izzo, with the caption “Ruby + Ava ∞.”

3. Joe and Jenny (Ordinary Joe)

Joe and Jenny on Ordinary Joe. (Photo by: Parrish Lewis/NBC)

At least in two of the three storylines, they are no longer a couple. But, it’s clear that they work so well together, they were best friends for a reason. Although their marriage may be falling apart in the third storyline, the love is still there, and they’re putting in the effort to heal and patch things up. Plus, the casual hand touches aren’t so casual, and the tension totally remains.

The only thing hindering this reunion is their marriages to other people, but hey, the sanctity of marriage has been broken before…

4. Katherine and Eddie (A Million Little Things)
TV couples that need to get back together

Katherine and Eddie on A Million Little Things. Photo courtesy of ABC

These two have been through the wringer, aka Eddie’s been a terrible husband to Katherine. While it doesn’t look like there’s going to be reconciliation any time soon, A Million Little Things could surprise us. Katherine’s forgiven Eddie so many times. It’s hard to keep count.

Eddie’s not a terrible guy, he’s just made some bad choices, and his current situation has forced him to appreciate his life and who’s in it. So I sense a redemption period for him coming up, in which case maybe he can finally be the man Katherine needs.

5. Ji-Yoon and Bill (The Chair)
TV couples that need to get back together

Ji-Yoon and Bill on The Chair. Photo courtesy of Netflix

From Episode 1, it was obvious there was something romantic between Ji-Yoon and Dobbs. They’re at an age where they know what kind of person they want and need, and the other seems to be that exact person.

Dobbs’ relationship with Ji-Yoon’s daughter is unbearably precious, and his affection and respect for Ji-Yoon cannot be beaten. There’s really nothing stopping these two from getting together, so we’re hoping they find the courage to combine their lives.

6. Toni and Shelby (The Wilds)
TV couples that need to get back together

Toni and Shelby on the Wilds. Photo courtesy of Amazon Prime

Toni and Shelby’s relationship status is mildly ambiguous at the moment. During their time stranded, they discovered their feelings for one another.

After realizing they were part of an experiment, the group is separated and it’s a mystery who are still friends and who are enemies. Once, Season 2 reveals the truth, we’re hoping Tony and Shelby are still on track to moving beyond the boundary of friends.

7. Victor and Benji (Love, Victor)
TV couples that need to get back together

Victor and Benji on Love, Victor. (Photo by: Greg Gayne/Hulu)

Victor and Benji had no significant relationship issues. The writers really messed this one up, just so they could include a love triangle. I’m going to predict that Victor ran to Rahim’s house at the end of Season 2.

Hopefully, Benji and Victor can find a place of trust and understanding once again. They’ve hit so many relationship milestones together that it would feel too easy to just give up.

8. Kevin and Sophie (This Is Us)
TV couples that need to get back together

Kevin and Sophie on This Is Us. Photo courtesy of NBC

Maybe I’m a sucker for first loves, but the way Kevin and Sophie loved each other was so pure. Yes, Sophie and Kevin’s relationship has had many ups and downs and seemed to have run its course, but knowing This Is Us, there’s still hope.

And I want them to cash in on this hope. With Kevin’s marriage to Madison coming to an end, it leaves Kevin single and ready to mingle. Especially with a woman who has always stolen his heart.

9. Tully and Max (Firefly Lane)
TV couples that need to get back together

Tully and Max on Firefly Lane. Photo courtesy of Netflix

Given Tully’s history with men, it’s no wonder she’s been single for most of her life. That is until Max walked into her life. She’s not used to genuinely kind men who would love her for her and not her fame.

It doesn’t help that Max is quite a bit younger than Tully. But it was her fear of commitment that took over, causing her to break up with him. Though, I think it’s safe to say that they will get back together eventually.

10. Jazz and Doug (grown-ish)
TV characters that need to get back together

Jazz and Doug on grown-ish. Photo courtesy of Freeform

Jazz and Doug’s breakup was initially hard, and there were moments it seemed like they were going to get back together. But, at this point, Doug’s onto his new relationship with Kiela, and Jazz is figuring things out with Dez.

However, the Season 4 midseason finale gave us an iffy moment for Jazz where it looked like she was retreating to what was familiar. So, maybe there’s hope that Jazz and Doug will finally rekindle their relationship now that she’s no longer training for the Olympics.

11. Judy and Michelle (Dead to Me)

Judy and Michelle on Dead to Me. Photo courtesy of Netflix

Judy’s quite possibly the sweetest character ever, and all she deserves is happiness. Despite her obsession with her ex-husband, she finds a seamless and unspoken connection with Michelle.

During their breakup, it was clear they both didn’t want it and only went through with it because they felt it was the right thing to do. Heck, with the right thing, let them be together and let Judy continue exploring her sexuality.

12. Kate and Toby (This Is Us)

Kate and Toby on This Is Us. Photo courtesy of NBC

The split between Toby and Kate was so unexpected. I almost don’t believe it. Sure, they had their rough patches in their relationship. All the good ones do. But they’re too perfect for each other, and no way do Kate and Phillip make any sense.

Make it make sense, and bring back Toby and Kate! There’s no need for any big and ridiculous revealings. Kevin’s already up in the air with his relationships.

13. Kate and Jamie (Cruel Summer)

Kate and Jamie on Cruel Summer. Photo courtesy of Freeform

Is the only reason Kate and Jamie belong together because there’s nobody else better for them? Maybe. Come on, Kate and Mallory are a terrible idea, and I’d like to argue that the writers did it for optics. And Jamie and Jeanette are not it.

This is not a must, but also they need to be saved from every other bad relationship combination.

14. Eric and Adam (Sex Education)

Eric and Adam on Sex Education. Photo courtesy of Netflix

Adam and Eric had an extremely rough start, but they were finally in a good place. Their relationship provided Adam a safe space to experiment and find himself, and this is why they need to repair things.

Eric’s ambivalence toward Adam, because he might not be the perfect person, is understandable, but he sees a side of Adam that nobody else does. Let that speak to their relationship. Also, Adam’s making progress with his coming out process, and Eric needs to respect that.

15. Molly and Andrew (Insecure)

Molly and Andrew on Insecure. Photo courtesy of HBO Max

I loved that Molly and Andrew were in a relationship that broke boundaries. There aren’t many POC couples on TV, and it allowed Molly to open her mind to dating someone who wasn’t Black.

It was surprising to see Molly fight so hard for their relationship, and their breakup acted as a turning point for her character. The odds don’t look good for these two because Insecure is about reality, but one can dream, right?

15 Best TV Friendships


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Ordinary Joe

Ordinary Joe Review: Shooting Star (1×04)

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Ordinary Joe Review: Shooting Star

It’s undeniable that Joe and Jenny’s history and old friendship keeps their lives close. Even when Jenny got married and started a life with another man. Ordinary Joe Season 1 Episode 4, “Shooting Star,” takes a closer look at their relationship in every storyline and ignites a spark, further confirming that they are meant to be.

Despite Jenny’s marriage to separate men in the red and blue storylines, we’re hardly given a glimpse into those relationships. Rather, we’re provided additional scenes shining a spotlight on Jenny and Joe’s gravitational pull. The gentle hand touches between the two aren’t just friendly.

Through their sustained connection and even in their marital problems, the storytelling deepens their character’s evolutions. The green storyline provides a future in which they both suspend their dreams and stick together to raise their son together. However, later on, Jenny finally gets a second chance to pursue that lifelong goal, which she turns down again. But, Joe’s not going to let that happen, despite his envy.

Will the family move to Atlanta? If they do, this could very well save their relationship. No more halting their lives and aspirations to do the right thing. Because they’re slowly realizing the right thing is to support one another in anything the other wants. Plus, Chris is the most intuitive child and understands the sacrifices his parents made to take care of him.

Ordinary Joe Shooting Star Review

Joe and Jenny on Ordinary Joe. Photo courtesy of NBC

Meanwhile, Jenny and Joe are working together to gain contact with their son Zeke. The emotional moment shared between the two once they finally saw him leaving school, was extremely powerful. The show does a great job providing windows into the intimate moments shared between characters. Again, mimicking This Is Us.

While Amy’s garnering attention and important press for her campaign, Joe’s slowly distancing himself. He’s already chosen Jenny over Amy once before and makes the same decision again. If his marriage to Amy isn’t in the dumps yet, it certainly will be soon.

It’ll be interesting to see where they take plan on taking this storyline. I really hope Jenny and Joe stay their distance from Zeke. But, it doesn’t seem like Joe wants that. Legally though, I’m not sure what he can do, and I wonder what that will mean for Jenny and Joe’s future.

We’re only four episodes in and this show already has me spiraling about the various ways my life could be different if I went left instead of right. Although, the show also forces us to reckon with how the choices we make have the power to impact others’ lives too.

Ordinary Joe Shooting Star Review

Amy and Jenny on Ordinary Joe. Photo courtesy of NBC.

Finally, in the blue storyline, Bobby turns evil. There haven’t been any bad guys on the show so far, so it had to be done. Bobby’s questionable relationships with his staffers leave Jenny and Joe suspicious and onto another investigation together.

Jenny and Joe are basically partners in every parallel universe. They can’t be stopped. But Jenny’s fascination with Joe in this storyline seems to come out of a place of apprehension surrounding her secret.

I predict a bad reaction from Joe when he finds out Lucas is his son. Because in this show no secret goes left uncovered. And poor Amy, Joe’s already made up his mind and deleted hr number without letting her explain to him the situation between her and Bobby.

I would hate Bobby more if I didn’t like Jenny and Joe so much.

Ordinary Joe Shooting Star Review

Amy, Eric, and Chris on Ordinary Joe. Photo courtesy of NBC

What are your thoughts on this episode? Were you surprised by the questions against Bobby? Do you think he had something to do with the death of the woman? Don’t forget to leave your comments down below1

Stray Musings:
  • I love the commitment to making each storyline stick to the color. Jenny and her father’s all red wardrobe was a bold statement.
  • “I want to take one of those selfies.”
  • I’d love to know the decision-making process in naming Chris Zeke and Lucas in the other storylines. There has to be a significance behind those names. After all, Chris was named after Joe’s late father.
  • The final shot of the shooting store flying through each universe was an incredible touch.
Rating:  3.5/5

Ordinary Joe Review – Jenny’s Birthday (1×03)


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Editorials

The 2021 Emmy’s: A Night Dominated by the same Rotating Nominees: ‘The Crown,’ ‘Mare of Easttown,’ and ‘Ted Lasso’

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The 2021 Emmy's

The 2021 Emmy’s returned in a limited capacity with an attendee count of around 500 compared to its typical several thousand, while also managing to keep its winners capped to the same rotating titles: The Crown, Mare of Easttown, and Ted Lasso.

It was a successfully smooth event with predictable winners, among some important victories for people of color. 

Opening the award show paying homage to Biz Markie, Cedric the Entertainer sang and rapped a remix of “Just A Friend” with cameras panning to guests in the audience who contributed their own lines and melodies.

Cedric the Entertainer The 2021 Emmy's

Cedric the Entertainer, Host of the 73rd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, scheduled to air on the CBS Television Network and Paramount+. Photo: Cliff Lipson/CBS ©2021 CBS Broadcasting,

The comedy category was easily dominated by Ted Lasso while dramas were split between The Crown and Mare of Easttown, with the former edging out the latter with nearly double the wins. 

Regardless of Cedric the Entertainer’s initial praise about the number of Black nominees, it felt like a shout into the void as many of the categories were still dominated by white actors, writers, and directors. 

But, Michaela Coel’s win for her brave and empowering drama, I May Destroy You, was a win that needed to happen, not only for the Black community but also for sexual assault survivors. 

Write the tales that scare you, that make you feel uncertain that isn’t comfortable. I dare you. In a world that entices us to browse through the lives of others to help us better determine how we feel about ourselves and to in turn feel the need to be constantly visible, for visibility these days seems to somehow equate to success. Do not be afraid to disappear from it, from us, for a while and see what comes to you in the silence,” Coel said.

In another triumph of the night, Debbie Allen (Fame and Grey’s Anatomy) took home the Governor’s Award. Celebrated for her perseverance during her early career as a Black dancer discriminated against due to the color of her skin, it was a deliberate step forward made by The Academy. 

Interspersed throughout the evening was a handful of references and jokes about COVID and its impact on television. And in a seamless split, many of the British show nominees including Gillian Anderson and Olivia Colman accepted their awards in London in a separate Emmy’s party.

Later on, Leon Bridges performed a special tribute to those in the industry that passed away during the last year. Some of which include Larry King, Alex Trebek, and Michael K. Williams. 

The Queen's Gambit The 2021 Emmy's

THE QUEEN’S GAMBIT (L to R) ANYA TAYLOR as BETH HARMON in THE QUEEN’S GAMBIT. Cr. CHARLIE GRAY/NETFLIX © 2020

In a highly anticipated award for the final victor of the night for a limited series, it was awarded to Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit, in a surprising win over Mare of Easttown.

In a year where TV continued to shine, despite COVID’s impact on the world of entertainment, the 2021 Emmy Awards didn’t realistically honor the amount of amazing content that was put out. Instead, it relied on the crutches of the four or five repeated nominees: The Queen’s Gambit, The Crown, Mare of Easttown, Ted Lasso, and Wandavision.


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