food

“Oh Sh**” Apple Crisp

apple crisp

Please pardon the sub-par photos here. Last night, I had planned to make apple crisp. I noticed earlier in the week that I had most of the items needed except brown sugar. So on my way home last night, I picked up some brown sugar and vanilla ice cream to enjoy a nice fall treat. One problem: I had nothing to bake the apple crisp in. I’ve lived in an apartment of some sort since sophomore year of college (with the exception of my senior year of college, during which I lived in my sorority house) — that’s five years of cooking for myself. Apparently I always had roommates with bakeware, because I have none. To be fair, I don’t really enjoy baking. I’m too impatient, and like to improvise in cooking too much. I’ll help my mom with her yearly Christmas cookie batches, bake a tray of brownies here or there, occasionally try a Pinterest cookie recipe or two — but mostly I steer clear of anything that requires making batter or dough. So I guess I wasn’t too surprised that I didn’t have any sort of baking dish.

So, I was faced with three options: leave my apartment for a Duane Reade run to get a disposable baking dish, give up, or Google to find a solution. One thing I do have in my kitchen: a cast iron skillet. I thought, you can pretty much make anything in a cast iron skillet. And sure enough, search results assured me that you can, in fact, bake up some apples in that skillet — so that’s what I did. Admittedly, I should have used another apple or two, but no one has ever complained about having too much crisp in an apple crisp… right? I basically made up a recipe based on a few different ones that I have collected, so I’m sharing what I used to make my “Oh sh** I don’t have anything to bake this in… apple crisp” recipe with y’all (sorry, too much Friday Night Lights).

Cast Iron Skillet Apple Crisp

Total time: roughly 1 hour and 30 minutes

What you need:

4-5 apples

brown sugar

butter

cinnamon

quick-cook oatmeal

flour

salt

First thing’s first:

Peel and slice the apples. I know some people prefer to bake with certain apples over others. I don’t believe in purchasing apples to bake with that you wouldn’t normally eat anyway. So, just use your favorite ones. Make sure the slice the apples in to evenly-sized pieces so that they cook at the same rate. While you’re doing this, pre-heat the over to 350 degrees. Set the apples aside to make the topping.

For the topping:

Combine 4 tablespoons of cold butter, 1/2 cup of brown sugar, 1/2 cup of oats, 1/3 cup of all-purpose flour, and a pinch of salt. Break up the butter and combine ingredients with your hands until evenly mixed — make sure there are no clumps of butter. Let’s say it takes about 1-2 minutes. Set aside.

Break out those apples again:

Take your skillet and throw in 3 tablespoons of butter. Melt the butter over medium heat. Once it’s melted, add 1/4 cup of brown sugar, 3/4 teaspoon of cinnamon, and a pinch of salt. Let that all combine and get saucy. Then, add your apples. Let those cook for about 5 minutes until they start to get soft. After that, turn off the heat. Take your topping mixture and crumble/sprinkle/evenly distribute over the top.

Slide it in to the oven:

Take your skillet and place it in the oven. Let bake for 30-40 minutes, or really, until the topping begins to cook/brown to your liking.

Omnomnom:

Serve with your choice of vanilla ice cream (if you know what you’re doing), or whipped cream (if you have no human decency).

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fashion

Fashion Friday

bill cunnningham quote

It’s barely even fall, and I’m already longing for the beach days and margaritas of next summer. Typically, I don’t really feel too attached to the warm weather seasons. I grew up in Buffalo, and went to college in Syracuse, so I couldn’t be more accustomed to a cold-weather climate. For some reason, I just can’t get on board with the changing of the seasons this year. And thus, I’m looking forward to the sunshine and style of the spring/summer… eight months ahead of time. This seems like an appropriate time to segue way in to my first-ever fashion post here on Endlessly Entertained.

Living in New York City, it’s virtually impossible to ignore when it’s Fashion Week. It took me three years of living in New York to score my first invite to NYFW, and I turned it down to watch the Buffalo Bills season opener (priorities). Nonetheless, I certainly kept up with what was going down up on 66th street, and two collections stood out to me beyond the others.

jcrewss15blogJ. Crew and Jenna Lyons can really do no wrong to me. Racked recently posted an article with the lead being something to the effect of “how not to dress like everyone else wearing J. Crew.” Here’s the deal – I don’t really care about that. I would estimate 60% of my most-worn wardrobe being from J. Crew. Do I care that I’m wearing the same thing as other people who shop at J. Crew? No. I like J. Crew because I know what works for me, I know what fits me (I’ve only had one final sale fail), and I know that these clothes are going to last. Other than that, you can’t deny that they have certainly set the trend amongst ready-to-wear fashion since their re-brand when Jenna Lyons took the helm of the company. They were the first to re-introduce the popularity of red (or orange-red, really) lipstick, they were the first to tell us it’s okay to wear mixed patterns (floral and stripes= everywhere last year), and the popularity of the statement necklace.

What we’ve come to know and love about J. Crew in the post-Jackie sweater set-era was incredibly present in their Spring 2015 collection. Embellished tops and dresses, oversized tops, shift dresses… I can’t wait to shop this in stores, and moreover, I’m excited about the continued trend of comfort in women’s fashion. My most recent purchases from J. Crew include this pair of relaxed-fit pants, and an oversized coat. Nearly everything currently in their collection, and in their upcoming spring collection, looks comfortable to wear — which makes me so excited. While skinny jeans are certainly still in style (I’m wearing them right now) it’s not the only option anymore. Dare we call this the year of the boyfriend jean? I’m not opposed. This comfort-first trend certainly sprouted from the most popular styles of 2013 which were rooted in women wearing menswear-type styles. J. Crew combines this comfort with just enough feminine flair and delicate details to make you not feel like you’re slumming it — but instead, that you’re wearing something glamorous.

fashion blog post 1 ml

My second stand-out collection from NYFW is Monique Lhuillier. Prior to taking a deeper interest in fashion, my only exposure to Monique Lhuillier as a designer was her work in wedding dresses. Now, I’m obsessed. Leading up to her show, I had been following along the creative process via the brand Instagram account, and I was loving the inspiration being drawn on — and the collection that came to life did not disappoint. I always think “if I were a celebrity, I would only wear Monique Lhuillier on red carpets.” This entire collection was detailed, feminine, elegant, classic and beautiful, and I look forward to seeing it come down the red carpet in the upcoming awards season. I’m glad to see the continued popularity of the full skirt in 2015 after it really had a moment in 2014 as well. I also love the combination of a high neck-sleeveless cut. It’s so elegant on any body type and really calls back to an era gone by — same with the high-waisted skirt/crop top combo. While I personally don’t think that I can pull it off, I like this look a lot, and I’m glad that it was making a presence back on the runway. We’re also still seeing no end to embellishments — and really, why should we? Some extra sparkle never hurt nobody.

In the meantime, cold weather-approved embellished sweatshirts will have to do (this one is 40% off at LOFT!). Time to start pining over sweaters instead of sundresses, and flannel instead of florals…

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television

Friday Night Lights

FNL blog post graphic

It’s one thing to binge a show on Netflix, and it’s another to binge a show that you’ve already seen from start to finish. There are few shows that I would deem this acceptable for. One of them is undoubtedly Friday Night Lights — and not just because I’m currently binging it for the second time. As I recently said to a friend: “in life, there are two groups of people: those who have seen Friday Night Lights, and those who have not. The former is the superior group.”

I know I am not alone in this double-binge status, as my current viewing was spurred on by staying with a friend who was re-watching the series as well. In fact, Vulture recently covered this, shall we say, phenomenon. Why are we, as FNL fans (is there a name for this fandom at all? Panthers?), compelled to watch this series over and over again? Because there is literally no other show like it. While entertainment writers, Podcasters, etc. have recommended semi-suitable alternatives (most commonly Parenthood, from the same show runner; and HBO’s yearly mini-series Hard Knocks for the emotional side of sports) nothing will ever match the greatness that is FNL. 

If you’re not already a fan, likely the only thing that you know about FNL is that it had a mess of a programming battle — always struggling to survive. As detailed in the amazing piece by Grantland, “An Oral History of Friday Night Lights,” this show just couldn’t win. This show only made it to air because NBC’s President of Entertainment at the time loved the book the show was based on, and initially had wanted to buy it years earlier. Following the pick up of the pilot, it was an endless struggle to keep the show on air — its cause primarily helped by its low production costs (by being filmed in Texas), and a group of relatively unknown actors. While the cast was being headed by Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton, who were known within the industry (with Britton having appeared in the film adaption prior to the television show), the younger actors, who make up the majority of the cast, had never appeared in anything notable. Zach Gilford, who would later be cast as QB1 Matt Saracen, was working at a sporting goods store. Minka Kelly, who would later be cast as cheerleader Lyla Garrity was working as a scrub nurse in between auditions.

Casting wasn’t the only thing that differentiated FNL from your standard show. There were no sets. The houses used were real. There was no scene-blocking. The cameras followed the actors. There were no cuts. The camera rolled from take to take. But while this show was innovative and cheap to produce, it wasn’t without its challenges — how do you sell a show about football, that, in the end, isn’t really about football at all? Critics loved it. Execs said it was the best pilot that they had ever seen… but viewers did not tune in. Every season, showrunners were convinced it was the last. Every season finale was structured to be a potential series finale. Somehow, it survived. It survived for five seasons — thanks to the effort of the cast, crew, and a group of (relatively) small, but loyal fans that willed it to continue to exist.

Here we are 3 years later since the series finale has aired, and it feels like the FNL audience has grown nearly ten times in size since it was live on Friday nights. Word of mouth paired with Netflix has allowed the fan base to grow like it never could have in its premiere year of 2006. It was a show ahead of its time. Compare Friday Night Lights to Breaking Bad for example. BB grew in viewership season after season due to the increased streams on Netflix. Friends shared with friends, bloggers and critics alike (not to mention the rise of Twitter and live-tweeting television) spread the word to check it out — and over seasons 2, 3, 4 and half of season 5 — there was time for new fans to catch up, until ultimately the final episodes of BB exploded in ratings. I can’t help but wonder if this would have been the case for FNL as well if it would have premiered just a few years later. Even I hadn’t seen the full series until 2013. Quality television takes time to build a good audience — and at the time there was barely a platform for those who might have heard about the show after season 1 to catch up in order to tune in for season 2. In 2006 I was still buying DVD box sets of shows that I wanted to watch — certainly a higher barrier to entry than hitting play on Netflix.

While we all would have liked just one more season of FNL (or 6 seasons and a movie…) the entire series is structured in such a way that you almost feel satisfied when it ends. The series finale is often noted as one of the best finales ever produced. But there’s still a feeling that you’re now empty. Why is that? And what has caused so many fans to be so emotionally attached to a five-season show that ended three years ago? Ultimately, this was not a football show — although the football element certainly gives some people an entry to viewership — it’s about a town. It’s about Dillon, Texas. It’s about the people. These people seem real. So real in fact, that Connie Britton said people often tell her that they wish she was their mother (love you, Tami Taylor). The chemistry between Connie Britton and Kyle Chandler was so present that producers were worried they might start having an affair. Kyle Chandler as Coach Taylor was stern, wise and lovable. He was the coach you always wanted. He was the dad you want your kids to have. And while Tami and Coach were the heart of the show, the other characters were just as real. Tim Riggins is one of the most underrated characters in recent memory. I can’t imagine any other actor filling the role. Taylor Kitsch nailed it from the audition (he apparently chugged several beers, in the intro alone…) to his final scene as Riggins. And of course, delivers several of the series most memorable lines, including “Texas forever.”

Texas forever…Friday Night Lights forever. FNL is absolutely a show that will always stay with me, remain a classic, and remain one of my favorites. If you haven’t seen it — watch it. You’ll thank me (and undoubtedly ever other fan that’s ever told you to watch it) later.

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miscellaneous, pop culture

HBD, blog

blogiversary

I’ve officially been blogging for two years here at Endlessly Entertained. To be completely honest, I started this blog because I realized how much I love entertainment and television, and I wanted to break into the industry. Here we are two years later and I actually have a job that allows me to be completely consumed in the entertainment industry on a daily basis. As I often say “television is the only thing I know about”… which is only partially true.

That said, there are actually other things that I enjoy outside of watching television (shocking, I know), which is why I am expanding the content that will be covered from now on to include lifestyle items such as fashion, sports and cooking as well. I know, I know, the world doesn’t need another food blogger, and certainly not another fashion blogger either. But here’s the deal: I’m hoping to offer a fresh perspective on such items — cooking posts that are actually achievable from a cramped New York City apartment; fashion posts that aren’t filled with items I was gifted as part of a sponsorship; sports posts for the casual-Sunday-football-watcher — and how all of these topics intersect as part of pop culture. I’m by no means and expert on these items, but hoping that any tips and insights that I can offer might make your life a little bit easier.

Rest assured, I’ll still be covering television and entertainment. How could I not with sweeps season right around the corner? I’ve got some posts I’m excited about on tap for both topics I’ve covered, as well as new ones, so I hope you’ll stay tuned for all that’s to come…

Thanks for reading.

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fashion, pop culture, television

And who am I? That’s one secret I’ll never tell.

Good morning, Upper East Siders. Gossip Girl here. Your one-and-only source into the scandalous lives of Manhattan’s elite.

Over the past few months, I head this phrase approximately 121 times. I finally finished all six seasons of the beloved teen drama Gossip Girl. In true real New Yorker fashion, once upon a time I lived in a sublet for a few months in Queens (Blair Waldorf would be absolutely disgusted with me). During this time, I only had internet – no cable – so I was left with anything currently streaming online to watch. Netflix hadn’t quite come into its prime (no Amazon joke intended), still in the days of its DVD-queue popularity. Hulu it was — and with not a large selection. So I decided to give Gossip Girl a go. Two seasons in, I moved to a real apartment with cable AND internet, ironically, on the Upper East Side (the much less glamorous part all the way over by the East River), and thus abandoned S & B.

Years later, after we had reached the finale of the ultimate tale of wealth and betrayal in New York City (I personally love the Netflix description of the show. Something to the effect of: “a group of teenagers in Manhattan backstab each other. Repeatedly.”), and I reached a point where I had seen every show that I needed to watch and had access to (waiting on someone with Showtime to give me their login for Masters of Sex, which I’m told I must see), I decided it was time to pick back up with the Upper East Side gang — and I have to say, I’m glad I did.

Gossip Girl was a successful show, because the draw to watch it, was the draw of Gossip Girl (the blog) in the show. We’re never going to live these lives. We’re never going to have such disposable wealth. In the words of Dan Humphrey:

“The Upper East Side was like something from Fitzgerald or Thackeray. Teenagers acting like adults. Adults acting like teenagers. Guarding secrets, spreading gossip… all with the trappings of truly opulent wealth. Membership in this community was so elite, you couldn’t even buy your way in.”

We want to know what that’s like – no matter how realistic or unrealistic it might be. There are several things within this that might entice you in: the drama, the break ups, the make ups, Serena & Blair, Blair & Chuck… and of course, the fashion. There are only a handful of shows in history which are so tied to the fashion that defined them, and there are really only two that come to immediate mind for me: Sex and the City, and Gossip Girl. But while they both had their fill of designer labels, SATC did for Manolo Blahnik what Gossip Girl did for headbands.

As a college student in the height of GG‘s popularity, no show influenced the fashion of me and my peers more than this. Admittedly, I’ve also had a certain place in my heart reserved for fashion influenced by a prep-school vibe, as I was a private school attendee for 13 years. Blazers, and specifically prep-school-esque blazers, never had a bigger moment than during the reign of GG. And don’t even get me started on the Blair Waldorf headband craze. I would equate my experience in a sorority closer to that of Constance than my experience at an all-girls private school was. At the height of GG, I don’t think that there was a girl in my entire sorority who didn’t own at least one Blair Waldorf-esque headband. Even though on screen the characters were wearing the likes of Prada, Ellie Saab, Jimmy Choo and many more, the fashion trends from the show became far more accessible than that of its predecessors. Blazers, plaid, hobo bags, colored tights – the rise of these trends can certainly be attributed to the Queen B herself, Ms. Blair Waldorf (Sorry, S). If B by Eleanor Waldorf were a real thing, no doubt it would have sold out just like on the show. As boho-chic as Serena was, Blair’s wardrobe was classic and timeless, just like her fashion idols Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly (although who made the decision for B to rock those Mary Kate & Ashley waves in season 5 and 6? Tragic. There is also, in my mind, a direct correlation between the quality of hair styling and the success of teen dramas. See: Pretty Little Liars.)

While this show certain had its enticements, it of course, wasn’t without its flaws either. Upon my hours of watching, there were certainly times I thought “maybe I’ll just stop.” Sure, this show wasn’t perfect. I mean, it aired on the CW. Too many characters, too many plot lines… how many times can Blair and Chuck break up and make up? How many times can Serena go back to her party girl persona? How many times do we have to endure Vanessa AKA the worst character ever (thank God she disappears in the last season. Thanks, Dan). What kept me watching was the same motivation the characters had for reading Gossip Girl. I just had to know. I had to know who ends up together. I had to know if a certain someone was Gossip Girl (admittedly I knew who it was due to a popular internet meme, but I still needed to see the reveal). And I have to say, the series finale might be one of the best that I’ve seen (Baby Bass! Serena’s wedding gown!). Above all, it is a entertaining, fun watch. If nothing else, I could spend hours drooling over Serena’s perfect ponytails and Blairs ball gowns… and staring at Chase Crawford wasn’t too difficult either.

….But I do kind of wish Dorota was Gossip Girl.

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celebrity, pop culture

Broadway, Baby.

While I have never covered this topic here before, I fully admit: I am a Broadway addict. I LOVE Broadway. Musical or play, modern or classic — I love it all. It’s an exciting time to be a Broadway fan, and also a New Yorker, and it’s an incredible Broadway season. Today, Tony Award nominations were released, solidifying my belief that this is an outstanding Broadway season. I mean, you have Idina Menzel, Sutton Foster, and Kelli O’Hara all nominated in the same category. Last season was pretty “meh” all around. The only notable shows were Matilda and Kinky Boots, and while they are both still running, I didn’t really have a desire to see either of them. This season, however, there is literally something interesting for everyone, including a lot of notable Broadway, television and movie stars alike taking to the Great White Way. From movie favorites like James Franco, to former Tony winners like Sutton Foster, Broadway is back this season in a big way.

One of the greatest perks of living in New York is that occasionally, when you can afford it, or when the opportunity presents itself, you have the opportunity to see a Broadway show at any time. This spring, I have had the opportunity to see several productions. After winning the lottery on Twitter, I had the pleasure of seeing Book of Mormon for a second time. I initially saw it for the first time with the original Broadway cast, so I was a little apprehensive of what the production would be like sans Andrew Rannells and Josh Gad. However, Nic Rouleau and Ben Platt (currently starring in the Broadway production as Elder Price and Elder Cunningham, respectively) certainly made the roles their own (you may remember Platt as the weird roommate from Pitch Perfect here), and I laughed at the numbers as if it were the first time I was seeing them. Obviously I highly recommend BOM if you’ve yet to see it, but if you can see it with the cast currently on Broadway, even better. Pro tip: if you live in NYC, follow @BookofMormon on Twitter. Occasionally, they’ll tweet out to retweet them for a chance to win lottery tickets to a performance. Literally, all you do it hit RT, and you’re entered to win $30 tickets to the show. It’s amazing, and you are getting tickets that probably cost hundreds of dollars (the people in front of me while I was picking up the tickets were meanwhile paying $400 for theirs).

Next on the agenda was If/Then starring the wickedly talented, one-and-only, Adele Dazeem… aka Idina Mezel. I bought discounted tickets to one of the previews for myself for my birthday to see Broadway royalty AKA Idina and Anthony Rapp in real life. Overall, the musical is worth seeing if that’s why you’re seeing it. The level of talent is outstanding, and Idina took my breath away. But overall, it’s not really my style of musical — you’re not overly invested in the story, and the music isn’t the type of score that you’re going to leave wanting to listen to after. It’s not very catchy, and the songs are mostly forgettable. But, it’s entertaining, and it was certainly worth the price that I paid for the ticket, considering I was pretty much only going to see Idina live.

However, if you have money to spend on a ticket this Broadway season, you must see Hedwig and the Angry Inch.

Admittedly, I knew NOTHING about this show when I decided that I wanted to go. All I knew was that the one and only Barney Stinson  Neil Patrick Harris was starring as a glitter-loving, transgendered woman. I am obsessed with NPH’s performance skills. His voice is not only delightful, but effortless. I had to see HEDWIG. So, when the basketball tickets that my boyfriend had purchased for me fell through (in that our team wasn’t in the bracket that we purchased tickets for), he re-sold them and asked what I wanted instead. In place, we went to the show. It was not at all what I expected in the best possible way. When I say that I loved every minute, I am not exaggerating. From the second Hedwig/NPH hit the stage slaying “Tear Me Down,” I couldn’t tear my eyes away. The music is catchy as can be, and it’s been stuck in my head since we saw the show almost two weeks ago. NPH was hilarious and yet poignent at the same time. I did not want this show to end. I was endlessly in awe of NPH’s not only commitment to the role (he has slimmed down so much that I am essentially a worried mother at this point), but his ability to make me forget that I was watching NPH. Aside from a few technical/mic glitches (the entire show is on hand-held mics, and this was previews), there was not a flaw in the production that stuck in my mind. I loved this show so much, that I stage door-ed for the first time since… Spring Awakening in 2007? If you hear the hype about HEDWIG, believe it, and immediately try to get tickets (and also look for the fake, but hilarious programs from the short-lived Hurt Locker: The Musical! under your seat. They reference it several times in the show, and I think I was the only audience member to discover these scattered about on the floor).

Hi, NPH!

Hi, NPH!

Next on the agenda? Cabaret, hopefully. I would love to see Alan Cumming on Broadway (or Eli from The Good Wife, as I had to explain to my mother). Life is a Cabaret, after all.

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television

P.H.I.M.Y.M.D.

Suit up, because you’re in for a long ride.

PHIMYD: Post-How I Met Your Mother Depression. I always knew that when HIMYM finally came to a close after nine seasons, that I would feel a little emotional. There are few shows that I have really watched from start to finish. Sure, I will always identify myself as a Friends die-hard, but I was too young to really watch the whole series live as it aired (it premiered when I was five), and every other series that I can think of that I have watched from start to finish has been on Netflix, HBO Go, etc. Wracking my brain, I think that HIMYM is either one of, or the only, show I have watched live as it airs from start to finish. I remember stumbling upon it in Season 1 with my mom – neither of us had heard of it, but we thought it was hilarious, so we started tuning in every week (this also happened with Happy Endings, which I guess quantifies as a show that I have watched from start to it’s too-soon end). In college, I was lucky enough to become friends with a group of people that also loved HIMYM, and it became referenced so often among us, you might have thought the jokes were actually ours. Last night, we all texted during/after the finale, and we all shared the same thought — how could they do this to us?

I understand why the writers ended it the way that they did. In Seasons 1 and 2, having Ted end up with Robin probably seemed like a great idea (Side bar: I read in this piece that the character of Victoria was placed in just in case the show was cancelled after 1 season. I just want to add that I always loved Victoria and would have been perfectly okay with her being the mother/Ted’s wife). The blue french horn! He shows up at her door! Nothing good happens after 2am! A lot of the shows best moments happened during these seasons, and it was certainly the time when both Ted and Robin, as well as their relationship, were at their best. But we’ve grown, the show has grown, and Ted and Robin’s relationship has certainly grown, and time changes things. The viewers are over their relationship — especially when the last 2-3 seasons were spent convincing us that Trobin (it’s getting to hard to type Ted and Robin) could never be, and convincing us that Barney and Robin were meant to be. I’ve been reading a lot about the finale this morning, and I think what makes myself and my fellow fans most upset are two things: the crumbling of character development, and the likability of the mother.

The finale completely crumbled any character development that had happened in recent seasons, to the point where it was incredibly obvious that the writers had cooked up this finale during Season 1. This was most apparently with how they chose to handle Barney. Barney has probably been developed more than any of the characters. Yes, he still loves laser tag and the Bro Code (which, by the way, Ted ultimately getting with Robin at the end of the series = major violation of the Bro Code), but think of how much we have been through with him — from the search for his father, to his brother’s marriage and divorce, to his own engagement to Quinn ending. The scene at the beginning of the reception really showed this — we’ve never seen Barney happier. I literally laughed out loud when he said “holy grape scotch!” after having the idea to set Ted up with the bass player/mother. Twenty minutes later, we’re back at MacLaren’s with Barney hitting on girls half his age. Like, what the…?

The grape scotch reference was one of my two favorite call backs in this episode. Although there were many, which, even if you’ve had the ending spoiled for you, still make it worth watching. The second callback I loved was the renaissance fair in Ted/Tracy’s (the mother, for those of you who may have forgotten) home. Which brings me to main fan peeve #2 of the finale: we like the mother! We could have easily not liked her — after all of these seasons of build up, if she were a dud, sure, maybe we would have called for Ted and Robin to end up together. But we didn’t. We liked the mother, and we wanted them to be together. Season 9 was only worth watching for those moments where we caught flash forwards of Ted and Tracy. She was delightful. She was nerdy. She was everything Ted needed or wanted — and for a fan base that was nearing its wit’s end with Ted Mosby, she made him likable once again, and made us realize why we love Ted, and why we’ve been so invested in his search for 8 years. The finale showed us that she was not only perfect for Ted (I mean come on, she dressed as an elderly Floridian to match his hanging chad costume!), she was perfect for the group. She certainly passed the front porch test — and I would have loved if the writers would have kept her alive for us to see it. Craig Thomas and Carter Bays giveth, and Craig Thomas and Carter Bays taketh away.

I guess as a fan who invested nine years into the lives of Ted, Marshall, Lily, Barney and Robin, I’m not really sure where to go from here. I’m still going to watch the episodes when they’re on, I’m still going to count it as a favorite sitcom, but I just wish it didn’t all lead back to Ted and Robin after all. With that, a few notes on my favorite moments/episodes/jokes throughout this show that I have been watching since I was (wow) 16 years old (again, damnnn that’s a long time):

  •  Everyone knows that my all-time favorite episode is “The Best Burger in New York.”
  • I loved Lily’s white whale costume.
  • I felt like this was the best acting I had ever seen from Alyson Hannigan. When she cried, I cried.
  • Alyson Hannigan shared on Inside the Actors Studio that her favorite moment from the show was the scene when Marshall finds out his dad died. I would have to agree. This was one of the most raw, emotional moments from the show. It’s such a real thing for a group of friends to have to go through together. This is why the show strikes a chord with us 20 and 30-somethings.
  • Same goes for the fights between Lily and Marshall. They’re almost a little too real.
  • ROBIN SPARKLES. Enough said.
  • The cast breaking out in song. From Marshall’s photo montages to “Nothing Suits Me Like A Suit” (NPH is one of my favorite people, and he does a musical number like no other. Example: his gigs hosting the Tony Awards. Wonder if he’ll host again this year if he’s in a revival?!)
  • Oh, and on the topic of songs — how could I forget the slap bet? (“Ya just got slapped, wo-oh-oh-ohhh”)
  • And on that note, the flashbacks. Like when Barney was a hippie.
  • Puzzles. I’m still waiting for a bar named Puzzles.

I could go on…. but I won’t. All in all, if you’ve never seen an episode (well, first of all if you haven’t seen an episode, I don’t believe you since this has to be one of the most syndicated shows… but I digress), despite this less than glowing review of the finale, you should really watch it. It’s still a great show, and I still love the jokes, the cast and the characters. And every season (except the last one) is available on Netflix.

And with that, Stinson…errrr, Gruber… out.

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