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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television

It’s not the greatest show, but it can be.

Love it or hate it, the Newsroom is back for Season 2 on Sunday.

I recently took the opportunity to re-watch most of Season 1 while on a mini-vacation at my parent’s house with HBO On Demand. I felt pretty much the same about it as I did when I was initially watching it airing live. The series started so strong – the pilot hooks you in immediately from Will’s on-stage rant. It’s classic Sorkin, incredibly reminiscent of the West Wing (I can see Toby or Josh spewing this out). The main difference between the Newsroom and the West Wing is that the Newsroom gets personal. A little too personal.

I’m watching this for the drama of the news, of the workplace, not to see if Don and Maggie are back together. I suppose comparatively West Wing probably focused on personal relationships at the same level, but the characters were a lot more likable. I wanted Josh and Donna to get together. I wanted everything to be okay between the President and the First Lady. I hoped Leo wouldn’t fall off the wagon. With the Newsroom, I see a scene with Maggie and Jim about to happen and I get nauseous. In my opinion, Maggie completely ruins the show.

Every other character is pretty badass. Don is a likable jerk, Sloan is a lovable awkward nerd, Jim is adorkable, Will is a classic Sorkin character. But Maggie is the personification of everything that gives a bad name to women. I am by no means a feminist, but come on, dating not only one, but two of your superiors in the workplace would be incredibly frowned upon in the real world. And how many times have we seen Maggie cry at work? Pull yourself together and learn to be a professional. I know you got the job as an assistant producer by a stroke of luck, but at least act like you’re qualified to hold a job. Not to mention, the actress , Alison Pill’s, little mannerisms like her excessive blinking, are incredibly annoying (She’s also annoying IRL having “accidentally” tweeted a topless photo of herself in hipster glasses… really? Was that an “accident“?).

That said, I am interested to see the second season. Re-watching it, I did pick up on some key scenes are moments that reminded me why the show is still worth watching. It’s still an interesting concept, and there’s still some scenes that are just good TV. Case and point, this scene with Don breaking down Nancy Grace’s coverage of the Casey Anthony trial is fascinating and well-written, and explains essentially why television production is such an art.

With Sorkin having apparently fired the entire writing staff from last season, he knows that the show didn’t perform to expectations – but this writing shake-up means I am expecting Season 2 to really deliver to classic Sorkin standards (although in the grand scheme of things, he hasn’t written for a show for longer than four seasons. You can fact check that for me because it’s totally just a guess). That said, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see – and at least if I lose interest, I can watch all of the West Wing on Netflix for the third time….

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Uncategorized

A Note

The night of Hurricane Sandy was one of the scariest moments of my life. My apartment at that time was bordering the East River. Despite our location, we were not evacuated; and in fact, were in evacuation Zone C. My power went out, and not long after, the smell of smoke and burning filled my building. As we began to grab our belongings in the midst of the storm, someone ran down our stairwell yelling “the building is on fire! Everyone out!.” I couldn’t think of a worse scenario to be happening, as we ran out of the apartment with all we could carry and into the storm. Thankfully, the fire was small and the building was okay, but of course, we were shaken up for days. Boston was my refuge. I packed my bags and escaped the stress of Sandy (and my dark, vacant apartment) to Boston, which welcomed me with open arms.

Despite the fact that I don’t live in Boston, today’s tragedy has really taken a toll on me. Although four hours away, it hit close to home. Boston has been a third home for myself and my family, since my sister moved there three years ago. Since her relocation, I have connected with my family more times in Boston than I have in my own home of Buffalo. With a penchant for all that is rich in history, I instantly fell in love with the city upon my first visit, and my love for the city has grown upon each trip back.

An emotion that my generation is incredibly familiar with is fear. And why wouldn’t we be? At our prime coming of age, we experienced 9/11 and its ensuing events. We grew up exposed to the ugliness of the world, taught to hope for the best and expect the worst. While our parents, of course, grew up during Vietnam with the threat that a piece of their home life might leave them, never to return; we have subsequently grown up with the threat that while our home may be there, it might never be the same. Living in New York, I often wonder what life was like here before 9/11. Although I wasn’t here, I know it has changed. The Financial district will forever feel haunted. It will always be uncomfortable to see a photo of the skyline that hasn’t been updated.

The day of 9/11 taught me a lot. About misinformation, about fear, about treating kids like adults. Even at thirteen, I knew that my administration at my school was handling it poorly. Consider it my first lesson in the mishandling and withholding of information. Not being clear and direct – stating what you know or don’t know, only leads to more misinformation and false rumors. My school chose not to tell a group of able-minded middle schoolers what was happening, despite hinting that there was a dire matter at hand. Kids were spreading outrageous rumors, the one that I remember most being that Cuba was invading the US. I knew that couldn’t be the case, but I never could have guessed what actually happened. I had never even heard the word “terrorism.” My parents treated me like an adult. My mom instantly described to me what happened as she picked me up from school, and I remember watching the news for the rest of the day. I also remember how I felt that night. I couldn’t sleep, wondering what would happen next. What location would be next? Would I wake up to another attack?

I guess that was the same fear that filled me today. Despite the terrorism we have seen in recent years, you still think that it can’t happen again. Or that it won’t happen again. Today was a shocking reminder that we still live in the same world. Marathons are supposed to be a celebration of life, achievement of the human body and mind, strength and perseverance. As we have seen in the past, and as we will see with Boston, they will surely mirror the mindset and endurance of a marathon runner, as they attempt to recover from this tragedy.

I know this is not at all within the wheelhouse of my blog, but I needed to get my thoughts out. I will connect it in saying that prior to this happening, my biggest disgust in humanity of the day was reading about Justin Beiber’s remark about Anne Frank (which still makes me nauseous). This did, however, remind me of this quote from Anne, which I think is more relevant than ever.

It’s difficult in times like these: ideals, dreams and cherished hopes rise within us, only to be crushed by grim reality. It’s a wonder I haven’t abandoned all my ideals, they seem so absurd and impractical. Yet I cling to them because I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart.

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Photo via Riley Woods

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