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Top 10 binge-worthy shows to stream during this pandemic

Story by Gracie Vanover

On Monday, March 23 Governor Eric Holcomb announced that Indiana would be going into a shelter in place lockdown until April 7 at least. With most of us being stuck in our homes most of us turn to television as a form of entertainment. Of course, most of us wonder what shows are best to binge? Over the past two weeks, I have done a lot of binge-watching so here are my top 10 picks across all streaming platforms.

10. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is a hilarious title that has 14 seasons and is still going. The show is about a group of friends and their hijinks. The show is basically a slightly more vulgar version of Friends. The group, who call themselves “The Gang,” own a bar called Paddy’s Pub; however, it is not exactly a successful business. This group of friends loves nothing more than embarrassing each other and scheming to put themselves ahead in life. Whether it is impersonating officers or creating an absurd musical to get a girl, this group of friends will do whatever it takes to make fast cash. Overall the comedy and writing of this show are what makes this show so binge-worthy — a must-watch for comedy lovers.

Where to Stream Hulu
Age Rating TV-14
Notable Actors in the Show Danny Devito
Seasons & Episodes 14 seasons and 154 episodes
Favorite Episode “The Nightman Cometh”

9. Community

Ranking number nine on my list is the show Community. After being suspended from his law firm for lying about his degree, Jeff Winger [Joel McHale], goes to community college to get his degree. After meeting a cute activist [Gillian Jacobs] in one of his classes, he makes a fake study group to get to know her and from there the rest is history. As the “study group” continues these adults get into all sorts of trouble and soon see that community college is more than what they bargained for. Although the group argues non-stop, the chemistry in the friend group is like no other, which makes the show really stand out. This show is relatable, which makes it even funnier and a great watch, especially late at night when you need something to fall asleep to.

Where to Stream Hulu, Netflix
Age Rating TV-14
Notable Actors in the Show Chevy Chase, Donald Glover
Seasons & Episodes 6 seasons and 110 episodes
Favorite Episode “Advanced Advanced Dungeons and Dragons”

8. The Good Place

Have you ever wondered what life is like after you died? Well, welcome to the Good Place. After dying, Eleanor Shellstrop [Kristin Bell] is relieved to find herself in the Good Place. After living in the Good Place for a while, Eleanor discovers something; she was not supposed to be here. While hiding for the leaders of the Good Place, she learns how to change her ways in order to be accepted and good enough for the Good Place. With help from her soulmate Chidi [William Jackson Harper] and some of her neighbors, nothing can stop Eleanor from becoming someone good enough for the Good Place. This show is intense since Eleanor is essentially on the run, which makes it exciting to watch. The humor in this show is like no other, especially since they cannot curse in the Good Place. I recommend this show for those wanting to follow a comedic but dramatic plot.

Where to Stream Hulu, Netflix
Age Rating TV-14
Notable Actors in the Show Kristin Bell, Marc Evan Jackson
Seasons & Episodes 4 seasons and 53 episodes
Favorite Episode “Janet(s)”

7. Atypical 

Atypical is a heart-warming comedy following the life of an autistic teenager named Sam Gardner [Keir Gilchrist]. The show follows Sam through high school and college life, which he struggles with. After announcing to his family he wants to try to date girls, his father, Doug [Michael Rapaport], uses this to connect with his son. As Sam becomes more independent, his mother, Elsa [Jennifer Jason Leigh], struggles to find something else to do; especially since his sister Casey [Brigette Lundy-Paine] focuses on track and Doug is away due to being a paramedic. Inside each character is a layer of struggle and drama which makes this show so binge-worthy and exciting to watch.

Where to Stream Netflix
Age Rating TV-14
Notable Actors in the Show Michael Rapaport
Seasons & Episodes 3 seasons and 28 episodes
Favorite Episode Searching for Brown Sugar Man

6. Bojack Horseman

Now a huge forewarning on this show is that it is heavily filled with darker humor. The show Bojack Horseman follows the main character of the same name who is a washed-up actor. Throughout the series, Bojack [Will Arnett] is haunted by his past and his decisions. As he recovers from being an alcoholic and depressed, Bojack tries to write a memoir to make himself relevant again with the help of ghostwriter Diane Nuygen [Alison Brie]. Something special about this show is an adult cartoon, like Archer. I do not see many of those that grow to be popular, so it makes it more appealing to me. This show is definitely for those with a darker sense of humor [and plots based around it] and a fan of adult cartoons. 

Where to Stream Netflix
Age Rating TV-MA
Notable Actors in the Show Will Arnett, Paul F. Tompkins 
Seasons & Episodes 6 seasons and 77 episodes
Favorite Episode The View From Halfway Down

5. Bob’s Burgers

Another binge-worthy adult cartoon is Bob’s Burgers. The show follows the Belcher family and their struggling burger restaurant. While Bob [H. John Benjamin] and Linda [John Roberts] struggle to run the restaurant, the kids help out and attend school where most of their troubles and fun happen. Each episode follows a new plotline so this is a good show for people who need background noise or something to fall asleep to. The humor in the show matches that of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Community. If you find yourself enjoying those shows then Bob’s Burgers is for you, too.

Where to Stream Hulu
Age Rating TV-14
Notable Actors in the Show H. John Benjamin, Kristen Schaal
Seasons & Episodes 10 seasons and 189 episodes
Favorite Episode Tinarannosaurus Wrecks

4. Dexter

If serial killers are interesting to you then this show is for you. Dexter Morgan [Michael C. Hall] is a blood-spatter analyst and undercover serial killer. But there is a catch. He only kills criminals who escaped through loopholes in the law. Alongside officers, like his sister Debra [Jennifer Carpenter], he leads a “normal” life in the Miami Metro Police Department. However, he is starting to struggle with juggling his double-life. Throughout the series, each season is based on a new overarching serial killer that Miami Metro is working to take down while Dexter struggles with smaller criminals and his “dark passenger.” Dexter is a binge-worthy drama for those infatuated with serial killers and crime shows. With each episode ranging around 45-minutes, there is plenty to binge. 

Where to Stream Netflix
Age Rating TV-MA
Notable Actors in the Show Michael C. Hall, Desmond Harrington
Seasons & Episodes 8 seasons and 96 episodes
Favorite Episode The Getaway

3. The Handmaid’s Tale

In our society today dystopian novels and shows are all the rage. Based on the 1985 dystopian novel of the same name The Handmaid’s Tale is a show written like no other. In a world where fertility rates have plummeted, women have become handmaids in order to give infertile women babies. June [Elisabeth Moss] has been assigned to the Waterfords and throughout the show has flashbacks of becoming a handmaid. However,  in the Waterford household, June discovers Mayday, which is a group that are trying to end the madness or escape America. June soon discovers she can either play life safe as a handmaid or be rebellious and save herself and others. The Handmaid’s Tale is such a well-written drama that makes you come back for more with each season. Episodes are around 45-minutes so there is plenty to watch until the release of season four in the fall.

Where to Stream Hulu
Age Rating TV-MA
Notable Actors in the Show Elisabeth Moss, Yvonne Strahovski, Alexis Bledel
Seasons & Episodes 3 seasons and 36 episodes
Favorite Episode Postpartum

2. Brooklyn 99

If The Office is your type of show then let me introduce you to its police counterpart Brooklyn 99. Jake Peralta [Andy Samberg] is a carefree cop who does whatever he pleases to solve cases in the precinct. But that all comes to a halt when they get a new captain named Raymond Holt [Andre Braugher]. Holt tests Peralta in every way possible to become a better cop and better the precinct. This workplace comedy should be a binge-worthy favorite for all due to its resemblance to The Office. New episodes release every Thursday so there is plenty to watch during this pandemic. 

Where to Stream Hulu
Age Rating TV-14
Notable Actors in the Show Andy Samberg, Terry Crews
Seasons & Episodes 7 seasons and 137 episodes
Favorite Episode Ding Dong
  1. That 70’s Show

How about we kick it back to the 70s for this final pick. That 70’s Show steps into Eric Foreman’s [Topher Grace] basement and opens the audience up to the typical teenage life in the 70s. This show is filled with tons of innuendos that will make you laugh for days. Characters like Hyde [Danny Masterson] really bring the show to life with the classic 70s hating the government feeling. That 70’s Show is all around amazing. The writing of this show and the character development is immaculate.

Where to Stream Netflix
Age Rating TV-14
Notable Actors in the Show Danny Masterson, Topher Grace, Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis, Tommy Chong
Seasons & Episodes 8 seasons and 200 episodes
Favorite Episode Hot Dog

 

Fans Adore P.S. I Still Love You

By Scarlett Hatton

The 2018 Netflix hit To All of the Boys I’ve Loved Before left fans hungry for more. Its charming display of teen romance and relatable characters made the perfect rom-com for its huge audience. The movie was a film adaption of the first book of Jenny Han’s best-selling novels. Because there were more books in the series, fans of the story anticipated a sequel. To All of the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You was just that. 

The film did a great job of staying true to its first movie. Rather than feeling like a sequel, it felt like a direct continuation of the love story of Laura Jean Covey [played by Lana Condor] and Peter Kavinsky [played by Noah Centineo] in the first film. 

Covey continued to have her quirky, relatable personality that viewers loved so much. While her innocent nature continued throughout the sequel, she experienced character development similar to what is portrayed in the book. Covey was terrified to drive in the first movie; however, in the second, she eagerly offers to drive. While this is just a small example of her personal growth, it felt necessary to show that time had passed and she had matured.

The writers made a risky choice in pretending the end of the previous movie did not exist. At the end of the first movie, John Ambrose McClaren [played by Jordan Burtchett] met Covey at her door in the final seconds of the film. This seemed like it was supposed to foretell the beginning of the next movie. However, To All of the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You put it on as if that encounter never happened. Instead, Covey met McClaren [now played by Jordan Fisher] later in the movie because they both volunteered at Belleview retirement home. Not only did they rewrite the original plot but they also changed the actor. While some viewers were upset by this, ultimately, it was a good decision and did a better job of reflecting the book. 

Fisher did a wonderful job playing his role as McClaren. He was one of the most likable characters throughout the film. McClaren was seen as shy and sensitive in the book, and Fisher portrayed that well. It is unlikely that anyone could have done better playing that role. 

The movie took a lot of time setting up the plot. The film had unnecessary events such as Covey and Kavinsky’s first date that were simply time-fillers. The movie was definitely less eventful than the first, but that is common in most sequels.

The biggest issue with the movie was the absence of a crucial part of the book in which the group plays the game “Assassins.” Anyone who has read the series associates P.S. I Still Love You with this pivotal plot point. In the book, the “Assassins” game started in the treehouse. Players secretly drew the name of someone they had to tag out and the winner got a wish granted. The game led to alliances and conflict between the characters. Not only did the film leave this out, but the ending felt rushed and incomplete without it.

  Ultimately, the movie did not do the book complete justice. However, on its own, the film is definitely enjoyable and worth watching. With production for the third movie already taking place, it is safe to say that To All of the Boys I’ve Loved Before fans have more than enough to feast on.

Rating-

Acting: B

Writing/dialogue: A-

Plot: B

Visual: A

Overall: B+

 

812 Pizza Co. proves to be a delight

Story by Destiny Braid and Madelyn Smith

812 Pizza Co. in Georgetown, is Indiana’s hidden Italian gem. Of course, with any new restaurant, we had to test it.

Walking in, all of our attention was on the rows of lights along the entirety of the ceiling. The restaurant was one huge room filled with tables and booths, surrounded by walls of artsy pictures and posters of pizza and one of an old school phone highlighting the numbers “812.”

Our plan of action was to choose and taste one item from each group of food.

    For starters, we rated our appetizer 8/10. We chose the parmesan bread bites, described as “Fried dough tossed in garlic butter and parmesan cheese with marinara.” The dish comes out in a wide rimmed bowl, little bread bites tower atop one another, brushed with garlic butter that dripped down the sides. Each bite tasted exactly as described, and they were crunchy yet soft. Paired with the marinara they were salty whilst sweet at the same time. The only deduction came from the slightly excessive butter brushed over top and into the bowl, nonetheless it was a pretty solid dish, priced at 6 dollars. 

Pasta was next, and we got the five cheese manicotti, introduced as, “Ricotta cheese blend rolled into pasta and topped with marinara sauce.” Now we had never heard of or tried “manicotti” before, so we had no idea what to expect. What we got was nothing short of perfect. Rated a 10/10, the manicotti was basically like ravioli, cheese filling inside of pasta, but it was different because it was rolled into the pasta almost resembling a cannoli [which we were determined to taste that Saturday afternoon]. The pasta was paired with a slice of garlic bread that we did not particularly enjoy, but it did not at all take away from the main part of the exemplary dish priced at 11 dollars.

Now kids, we love them, but it is always expected that some of them are quite the picky eaters. We chose a more “traditional” kids’ dish from the menu to try, something most children would not say no to. Chicken tenders and fries, of course. A pretty simple entrée, but not any less tasty. The chicken was a delight, moist on the inside and crunchy on the outside. The fries too, were very well cooked and seasoned, overall this dish was a solid 10/10, and priced at 6 dollars.

Considering “pizza” is in the name of this fine restaurant, we also thought it necessary to try one of their specialties. We went with a 14 inch “Tim’s White Pizza” coincidentally named after the proud owner of 812. The pizza is topped with alfredo sauce, roasted chicken, red onion, mushroom, smoked bacon, whole milk mozzarella, and smoked gouda cheese. Rated a 9/10, the pizza tasted wonderful, it was baked crisp on the edges and softer towards the middle, each different flavor complimented the others nicely. The chicken was a tad on the dry side but in spite of that, the pizza was a delectable dish coming in at 15 dollars for the 14” medium and 26 dollars for the 20” large.

    We also got a kids’ pepperoni pizza to see how it would come out. Priced at 6 dollars, this pizza was a very good decision. If anyone is an avid cheese lover, they would love the kids’ pizza here because it is loaded with it. The mini pepperonis were an adorable addition to the modest little pie. We rated it an 8/10.

    Finally, we have arrived at dessert. There was but one listed on 812’s menu, and that is the classic italian cannoli. “A crispy pastry tube, sweet creamy ricotta blend, chocolate chips, powdered sugar and chocolate sauce.” We could not wait to give it a taste. It came out looking like it was straight out of a Food Network magazine. The cannoli, rated 10/10, priced at 3 dollars and 25 cents, was fit for a king. The crunchy pastry was tastefully offset by the fluffy cream filling, the chocolate sauce drizzled neatly over top was a nice contrast in flavor. It was one of the best dishes of the day.

    Each dish that we were served was amazing, they surprised us more and more each time. With the youthful and fun atmosphere of the building, paired with the wonderful food, no matter what your plan of action is, or if you have one at all, you can never go wrong at 812 Pizza Co.

 

Atmosphere 98
Service  100%
Food  98%
Pricing 99%
Overall Experience 98.75%   A+

 

New Albany’s “The Addams Family” proves to be a spooky success

Art by Scarlett Hatton

Photos by Gavin Corley

Story by Gracie Vanover

As the iron gates swing open, tons of Addams ancestors flood out. Gomez Addams [New Albany junior Troy Jones] waves them in and a fun dance sequence begins. Whether alive, dead, or undecided, Addams of all ages join in on the festivities. 

“The Addams Family” closed this past weekend after its short run at our neighboring high school. The show ran from Feb. 28 to March 8 on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays in New Albany’s theatre. This show has a storyline for all ages and is a spooky take on comedy.

IMG_3072
New Albany sophomore Olivia Driggers gasps while playing an ancestor in the opening number of the show. Photo by Gavin Corley.

Our story begins with our ever so famous Addams family doing what they do best: being hauntingly charismatic. After Wednesday [New Albany senior Mallory Baumann] falls in love with the new boy from Ohio, Lucas [New Albany senior Carter Nevil]. After Gomez promises to keep the engagement of the two under wraps from Morticia [doubled-casted between New Albany junior Maddie Fisher and sophomore Piper Prince] all hell breaks loose. 

For starters, this production had a breathtaking set. Sets constructed by New Albany’s [NA] “Dad’s With Tools” and designed by NA theatre director Amy Miller and Patrick Jump were stellar and gave me spooky chills. The home of the Addams is filled with pull away wall pieces to reveal thinks like torture chambers, which are also well designed although they are smaller sets. 

IMG_3073
New Albany senior Mallory Baumann, who plays Wednesday, sings in the torture chamber. Photo by Gavin Corley.

The set that was my favorite was definitely outside the Addams’ household from the opening number. The backdrop was gloomily decorated in headstones and dark clouds. With the big iron gates in the corner and front of the stage and the headstones of deceased family members, the set was hauntingly immaculate. 

The cast for this production was also astounding. Disclaimer, however, I only saw Prince as Morticia, so I can not speak on behalf of Fisher’s performances. Almost every intermediate family member had something that struck me. 

Jones made me laugh and sympathize with Gomez throughout the whole show. Two of my favorite songs he performed during the show “Trapped” and “Happy/Sad.” During the song “Trapped” he sings about how he feels strapped between keeping Wednesday’s secret and lying to his wife which she hates the most. His worried expression and crunched up figure emphasized his stress and fear and made the performance funny along with the hilarious lyrics. As for “Happy/Sad” during the song he tells Wednesday how he is happy but also sad about her growing up. The emotion and onstage chemistry in this song is so raw and beautiful and definitely was a favorite moment of mine. 

IMG_3076
New Albany junior Maddie Fisher, who plays Morticia Addams, crosses her arms slyly. Morticia is double-casted between Fisher and New Albany sophomore Piper Prince. Fisher performed Feb. 29, March 6, and March 8. Prince performed on Feb. 28, Feb. 30, and March 7. Photo by Gavin Corley.

An audience favorite in this show for sure was Fester [New Albany senior Matt Landon]. With his little fourth wall breaks during random parts of the show, he captured Fester’s strangeness and always got at least one laugh. Another smaller role that was a great laugh was the grandmother [New Albany junior Brayden Marcum]. During the song “Full Disclosure” Marcum pulled his ginormous skirt up to reveal a garter and proceeded to call himself a “cougar.” When I say the audience was crying laughing, I mean it. 

Baumann was a perfect pick for the role of Wednesday. Her voice fit the role amazingly and she gave off the right amount of sarcasm. As I was leaving at the end I heard so many people around me comment on her talent and portrayal of Wednesday. So if so many people are in the same boat then Miller made the right casting decision. 

One final character I want to mention is, of course, Morticia, the dark queen herself. At the start, I was not sure about Prince’s portrayal of Morticia as I felt she was too sarcastic. Over the course of the show, however, she and her style grew on me. In the end, I loved how Prince played Morticia and am satisfied with her performance. 

New Albany junior Troy Jones sings “Trapped” after lying for Wednesday [New Albany senior Mallory Baumann]. Photo by Gavin Corley.
Another strong area in this show was choreography which was led by Miller. Two dance routines that struck me the most was the dance during “Secrets” and “Tango De Amor.” During “Secrets” the ancestors and Morticia do a dance break that is sublime. The in-sync moves between everyone on stage are satisfying to the eye. In “Tango De Amor” Gomez and Morticia do tiny skits, for example, a matador and bull, between tangoing and it just added to the dance and relationship development in this show. 

Overall this show was a huge A+ in my book. The only thing I found wrong with this show was audio errors. At times it was hard to hear the main singer over ensemble members/other family members or the pit playing. Of course, that could be a tech issue or an actor not singing loud enough, but I am not 100 percent sure. But that only happened a handful of times so it was not enough to ruin the show for me. 

If you ever have a chance to see any production of “The Addams Family” do not hesitate even a second to buy tickets. 

 

Audio – B

Choreography – A

Costumes -B+

Scenery – A+

Overall – A 

 

Runtime: 2 hours 45 minutes with a 20-minute intermission

For more of Gavin Corley’s photos go to https://nahsblotter.com/17254/photos/the-addams-family/

 

 

The Office: TV versus reality

Story by Claire Furmall

“Sometimes I’ll start a sentence and I don’t even know where it’s going. I just hope I find it along the way.” This quote from the prominent TV show The Office was said by Michael Scott. 

Recently, I got the honor of attending The Office Parody at The Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts. Let me just say: It was amazing! I felt that the characters very much resembled the characters in the show. In addition, the director picked many diverse, famous scenes so that it would seem as though it were really coming to life. 

Coincidentally, after speaking with some of The Office fans that attended, they felt the same as I did. 

One audience member said, “I feel like, given that it’s supposed to be a parody, they pulled a lot of the favorite lines and scenes.” 

Another said that if it was rated from a 1-10, she would give it an 8. 

On the other hand, there were some negative aspects of the parody. For one, the Michael Scott character was played by a woman. 

Before I first arrived at the play, I had already grown suspicious if Michael would be as funny in the play as the TV show because his role was being filled by a woman. Not to my surprise, Michael Scott was not as funny as the television show. 

In the play, Michael was very overly dramatic and he did not seem as “clueless” as the Michael on the show (played by actor Steve Carrell). If Michael had been a man I feel that he could have portrayed the character as if he were in the show. 

The Office Parody was about 2 hours and 15 minutes. There was approximately a 10-minute intermission and during that time they played different varieties of music. The ticket cost for a regular “in the audience” seat was $30.

 I highly recommend attending this play. There were many comical scenes, the characters related very well to the show, and they included many of the famous scenes to appear like it was the real thing. 

After all, as Michael Scott says, “It takes an advanced sense of humor. I don’t expect everybody to understand.” 

 

The Office Parody:

  • The Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts
  • Grade: A
  • Ticket price: $30
  • Approximate time: 2 hours and 15 minutes