Almost a Decade off the Air: Why The Office Is More Popular Than Ever?

Six years after wrapping up its series, NBC’s The Office, has not lost its place in pop culture fandom. Even after years off the air The Office still remains one of streaming giants, Netflix, most watched shows. In 2018, Netflix reported that The Office accounted for 3% of all minutes watched on the streaming platform, accounting for almost 52 billion minutes. Even with this impressive numbers it was announced in June that NBC would be buying the series back from Netflix in 2021 (costing NBC about $500 million) to move to the upcoming NBCUniversal streaming service. 

The Office has taken up a remarkable amount of time in my life. I still remember watching the series on NBC when season two debuted in 2006. I would be lying if I said I understood the humor at 15 years old, but as I have gotten older the series has remained a go to for me. Since graduating college in 2015 I have rewatched The Office 19 times now. I have won bar trivia contest dedicated to the show. I also have continued to open others up to the show as well. 

The Office debuted in 2005 to a less than enthusiastic reception from critics and viewers. Based off the hit UK series of the same name, the first season tried too much to copy its predecessor. However, once season two rolled around that the show was comic gold. Picking up award nominations and wins it still was never the ratings hit like other comedies of the time like Two and a Half Men and Modern Family. These factors undoubtedly have to do with why The Office is a Netflix stable. For those that missed it the first time around, there are now multiple chances to catch up. 

The series and cast alone are huge reasons for its continued popularity. The cast is more popular today than ever. Making star out of actors like Steve Carell, John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer, and Rainn Wilson just to name a few. Even though there are big names that came from the series the overall cast truly makes the show so rewatchable. Michael’s genuine ineptitude, Jim and Pam’s romance for the ages, and the Jim and Dwight prank wars are just a few parts viewers never tire of. 

The older audiences get the more relatable the series becomes. With many adults nowadays working in an office environment the show can sometimes feel like it mirrors a typical office setting. Many people nowadays going into work in an office setting look to find their office “Michael” or “Dwight.” 

The most rewarding aspect of rewatching The Office is how the warmth of the series comes into view the more you watch. There is so much comedy gold that sometimes how genuinely thoughtful the show is can get lost. Yes, the series is one of the best shows to throw on for “background noise” but this show has layers that take some fans several viewings to catch. The show is not necessarily about just an office but more the idea around relationships: How they form, why they matter, and how to nurture and grow them. The older a viewer gets the more meaning for the show gets and certain episodes can truly pull at the heartstrings. 

With the series leaving Netflix, there is no telling what will happen to The Office. My hope is that viewers continue to find the joy and love the series promotes. That those who may not want to give it a chance finally give it a shot and watch. I hope that the fans of the series continue to discuss and share the series with others. Most importantly I hope it is a series that I can show my kids in the future and they get the same feelings the show has given me for well over a decade.

High on Pride: Sobriety During Pride Month

Each year during the month of June, the LGBTQ+ community gets together to celebrate Pride. Pride is a month-long celebration with different cities across the United States hosting different LGBTQ friendly events. Most of these events involve festivals or parties at bars. This is typically a time for many to indulge in excessive amounts of alcohol and illicit drugs. Being on probation during Pride month can seem like a punishment to most members of the community. Many believe this is the one time of year they can let loose and truly be queer.

Being in the LGBTQ+ community can seem like a constant battle to be respected for the person you are. The LGBTQ+ community often face social stigma, discrimination, and other challenges that people who identify as heterosexual will never have to deal with. These stressors increase the risk for various behavioral and mental health issues. People in the LGBTQ+ community are twice as likely to develop a substance abuse problem compared to heterosexuals.

While Pride is promoted as a party, those in the community like me that are sober must find ways to navigate the barrage of parties and festivals centered around drinking. After years of celebrating Pride and mainly drinking (too much) this year being my first sober Pride was not only nerve wrecking but scary as well. Would I have as much fun as before? Will my friends still enjoy my company sober? How could I go to a different Pride every weekend in June and not drink? So many questions ran through my mind leading up to June. Now, after experiencing my first Pride sober, I can say that it is something as a member of the LGBTQ+ community I will always treasure.

Firstly, being sober during Pride allowed me to truly focus on what Pride is all about. Yes, Pride is a celebration of being one’s true authentic self and that is how I always celebrated it. But this year I fully allowed myself to get to the true meaning of Pride. Pride began on June 29th, 1969 at the Stonewall Inn in New York City. Back then it was required by all people to wear at least three articles of clothing that matched their gender assigned at birth. This meant that it was illegal for those identifying as transgender to be their true selves. After years of harassment and abuse at the hands of the NYC police, two transgender women of color, Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera had had enough and on June 29th, 1969 the riots we would someday celebrate as Pride began.

Now I had always heard the story of Stonewall and knew the names Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, but I did not know the connection to Pride month they had. This year marked the 50th anniversary of those riots. With the ability to go to so many Pride events this month each having some short of history retrospective about Stonewall, I was able to fully engulf myself in the journey of those that came before me. This Pride made me recognize and truly see the lack of respect the trans community especially trans women of color get among our LGBTQ+ community. Without them there might not be a Pride and still we allow our trans sisters to be murdered without a peep. These speakers and installations made me look into myself and see what I can do to give these people in my community the love and respect they deserve.

From: CBS News

Secondly, being a part of an organization responsible for running a Pride week was a mountain of a task. One I could not have done if I were still drinking. The events I was in charge of undoubtedly benefited from my sobriety. The events were not only run properly but the response from the community shows how well everything went. I am positive that if I were drinking during our events, they would not have been as much of a success. Anytime one throws an event that the community is going to go to there will always be stressors that come up no matter how prepared you are. This year was no different. Friday night for the drag show and dance I felt like everything that could go wrong was. Usually when I am that stressed, I would run to alcohol to escape. This time around I did not have that security blanket and had to face each dilemma head on. Honestly, I cannot tell you the amount of pride I have in myself because of how I handle each hurdle that got in my way.

Finally, this year at Pride being sober helped me not make mistakes that I would regret later down the line. In previous years, Pride has been my excuse to let my hair down and truly not care what people thought about me. I would wear barely any clothes, drink too much, do whatever drug someone put in front of me, and do whoever was in front of me. I always justified it as being my month or time to do what I wanted. However, I never woke up July 1st feeling proud of how I celebrated my queerness. Also, my behavior turned many people off. My friends would not want to go out with me because they felt like they were always babysitting. This year though being sober I definitely realized a change. Yes, I still wore barely and clothes, but I do not have the regret in the back of my head like previous years. I went out and saw some of the most amazing drag performers of my life and remember every second of it. I was someone my friends wanted to be around this year and make memories with that no one will have to remind me of. These might not seem like big milestones to some but to someone like me who has lived a pretty reckless life, these are small moments I am extremely proud of.

I still do not know what my sobriety will look like in a year. Who knows if I will be drinking during Pride next year or not? What I do know is this. I am continuing to grow and figure out my relationship with not just alcohol but all mind altering substances. I am proud that I was able to stay sober the whole month of Pride. I know now that if I want to abstain from drinking during Pride, I have that power and know how gratifying it is to be sober during this time. Everyone has to make their own choices in life, I just know now that I have the ability to make the best choices for myself.

From: 42 North @ Pexels

Us Review: Jordan Peele’s Sophomore Effort Delivers

Jordan Peele’s Oscar winning debut Get Out captivated audiences in 2017. Easily establishing Peele has a visionary on the rise. Fans and audiences alike could not wait to see what Peele had in store next. Enter Us, a horror film centered around an African American family that run into their exact look alike or doppelganger. Where his last film fell more into suspense and thriller, Us dives fully into horror. Even though horror is where the film resides, Peele still easily intertwines his classic comedy elements, Us is another step in the right direction for this one in a lifetime talent.

The similarities between Get Out and Us are quite apparent off the bat. Both films lead protagonist is an African American and both begin on what seems like a fairly normal vacation. Peele seems to have found his niche in horror by taking seemingly positive or relaxing experiences and turning them into absolute nightmares for his characters and audiences.

In Us, Lupita Nyong’o and Winston Duke (both of Black Panther fame) star as the patriarchs of a family heading to their summer home in Santa Cruz, California. The beginning of the film flashes back to 1986 when Lupita’s character suffers a traumatizing event at the boardwalk there. Peele does a phenomenal job of building the tension in the first act. There is already a heightened sense of paranoia and uneasiness before we are even introduced to the intruders at the top of the driveway.

Right off the bat Us is already far more evolved from a directorial sense than its predecessor Get Out. The opening scene on the Santa Cruz boardwalk is so haunting compared to its lively setting. Setting the stage for an ominous endeavor as the film evolves through its second act. The sweeping shots of locales and the stunning cinematography gives this film and art house like vibe in contrast to the usual generic horror films. The score of this film is another triumph that must be highlighted. Peele brought back the same composer from his first film, Michael Abels. This score is so dark and creepy but has a vibe to it that makes you wanna bob along even though someone is getting their throat slit to it.

Peele also shows off way more action and intensity with his actors this time around. The child actors (played by Evan Alex and Shahadi Wright Joesph) are a breath of fresh air compared to the usually roles child actors are subjected to in this genre. They are not only smart but bad ass, Joesph’s character Zora is the young black female horror hero the genre has needed for years. Winston Duke’s portrayal of the patriarch Gabe brings a much needed lightness in some of the films more tense and darker moments. However it is Lupita who steals the show as here doppelganger Red. Portraying a sadistic mouthpiece for the doppelgangers as well as a woman doing whatever it takes to save her family.

Us is by no means perfect and does leave a few plot holes to be filled. But to be honest that is part of the joy of film, allowing ourselves to fill in some of the films blanks. It is a film that screams to be watch and dissected over and over. Peele delivers an ending that is also quite shocking, but I won’t spoil that here. The underlying theme of the film is left fully to interpretation and can be perceived from a number of different angles. To put it simply: Us cannot be missed.

Peele easily could have jumped on one of the high profile projects that were thrown his way (trust me there were plenty). But instead he chose to challenge himself and create an entirely new and original horror story. Jordan Peele to put it simply is in a league all his own. 

Don’t Call Them Divas: How Ronda Rousey And The Women’s Division Have Taken Over The WWE

Well over a year ago, UFC Legend Ronda made her debut in the WWE. As an avid fan of the sports entertainment outlet, Rousey had been rumored for months leading up to her debut. Appearing at the conclusion of the inaugural Women’s Royal Rumble match, the fans packing the Wells Fargo Center erupted in cheers when Ronda hit the entrance. With a simple point to the Wrestlemania sign she let everyone know her intentions were to come in and take over.

Rousey first made her presence felt in the WWE back in 2015. At Wrestlemania 31 with arguably the most famous person to come out of the WWE, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, would pull Rousey out the crowd to help him assault the WWE Authority (made up of Stephanie McMahon and Triple H). This assault would fuel the fire of Rousey’s first feud in the WWE.

Making her in ring appearance at Wrestlemania 34, Rousey had a debut most sports entertainment athletes only dream of. She was flawless. All the critics who were worried she could not adapt or was too rusty were silenced in a single match. Her debut match will easily go down as the greatest debut for any performer in the history of the WWE.

Even without the introduction of Ronda Rousey, the WWE women’s division still has become one of the more entertaining facets of the WWE brand. Once labeled as divas and used merely as sexual objects, the women’s division now showcases some of the best talent in all of wrestling. From second generation superstar Charlotte Flair to international wrestling sensations like Asuka, the women’s division is rich with talent. WWE audiences now come to expect women’s matches to be on the same level, if not better than the men’s division. With dynamic storytelling and showcasing some of the best athletes anywhere, the women’s division is becoming a league all in its own.

Introducing numerous new female talent has become one of WWE most important initiatives in recent years. Audiences have recently seen the women’s division compete in matches typically only saved for men. This has allowed the women’s division to showcase even more athleticism. The establishment of the Mae Young Classic, a yearly tournament giving talented women from around the world a stage to show off what they got, has given the WWE an influx of new women superstars.

WWE also given the women’s division their own version of historically male events. Audiences now see a yearly Women’s Royal Rumble match, with the winner receiving a shot at the women’s title of their choice. The women also compete in a yearly Money In The Bank ladder match where the winner receives a contract to a future title match. Also just last month, the WWE introduced Women’s Tag Team Titles to the division. Opening up  even more potential for the division and sport in general. The biggest thing the WWE did for the women’s division was giving them their own pay-per-view, Evolution. Allowing the women to show off on their own event shows how much the WWE believes in this division.

After the success of her first match and the stellar crowd reaction, WWE would strap a rocket to Rousey that would propel her into the sports entertainment stratosphere. A little over four months after her debut she would win the WWE Raw Women’s Championship, the sports highest prize for female talent. Following several exceptional matches, Rousey would meet her true test in one Becky Lynch.

Lynch has been in the WWE for several years, but this past year has seen the Irish superstar break out huge. Channeling a persona similar to that of “Stone Cold” Steve Austin from the 90s Attitude Era, Lynch has been able to do things many never thought they would see a female superstar do. Rousey and Lynch were set to meet at this years past Survivor Series pay-per-view. However following an injury to Lynch’s face after an assault on Rousey the match was changed.

Charlotte Flair, daughter of wrestling legend Ric Flair, was brought in to replace Lynch in the match. Flair and Rousey would compete to a no contest following a vicious assault by the hands of Flair. WWE would eventually set the stage for a potentially huge main event at their biggest yearly pay-per-view, Wrestlemania 35.

Following Lynch’s win at the 2nd annual Women’s Royal Rumble, the stage was more than set for the match fans could not wait for. However, WWE does not always make it easy for fans. Lynch would be hit with a kayfabe injury ( kayfabe is a common sports entertainment practice of presenting staged performances as genuine or authentic) that would result in the WWE Authority pulling Lynch and replacing her with the healthy Charlotte Flair.

Leading WWE audiences to this weekends Fastlane, the last pay-per-view before Wrestlemania. Arguably the biggest match of the night pits Flair against Lynch. If Lynch wins she will join the Wrestlemania match with Flair and Rousey. This past Monday on the WWE’s flagship show Raw, Rousey would make her opinion on the matter known by destroying both opponents. Rousey would also voice her opinion on the situation, and entire WWE universe on her recent YouTube vlog. Going off on a verbal tirade that would call out the WWE for not just being scripted but also fake. No word yet on what the repercussions of Rousey’s actions will be but knowing the WWE it is not something they will ignore.

No matter if the match is a triple threat or one-on-one, the WWE universe will undoubtedly be behind it. The women alongside Ronda Rousey have come leaps and bounds from where the division was even 10 years ago. Once looked at as a joke, this women’s division is now filled with some of the most exciting talent in any wrestling promotion. The women’s division has hit many milestones in recent years. However, they have yet to see a women’s match main event at the WWE’s biggest event, Wrestlemania. Maybe this is the time that last piece of glass is shattered from the ceiling.

The Oscars 2019: Who Will Win, Who Should Win

After what feels like the longest award season in history, we have reached the pinnacle. The Academy Awards (or Oscars as they are known as) are set to air this weekend. Following months of  issues and controversies within the show, Hollywood’s biggest stars are ready to honor the years best films. This year will be the first since 1989 to not have a host. After previously announced host Kevin Hart was dropped when past homophobic tweets surfaced. Rumors also surfaced of categories like cinematography and editing being pushed to commercial breaks instead on the actual telecast, Oscar producers have stated this is false. So for one last time this year let us take a look at the nominees from some of the biggest categories and who should be leaving with a gold statue and who will be leaving with one come Sunday.

Best Picture

Black Panther

BlackKklansmen

Bohemian Rhapsody

The Favourite

Green Book

Roma

A Star Is Born

Vice

Should Win: Black Panther

Ryan Coogler and Marvel Studios Black Panther is the first comic book film to be nominated for Best Picture. The cast already picked up the SAG for Best Cast which has typically been a precursor for Oscar gold. After being the highest grossing and most talked about movie of 2018, it seems only right to reward a film that not only entertained but also did so much for representation.

Will Win: Roma

Roma has been slowly gaining steam all award season. With director Alfonso Cuaron picking up the Golden Globe and Directors Guild award earlier this season, Roma is on course to take the Oscar as well. The implications of Roma winning would be huge, first it would be the first foreign language film to ever win Best Picture and would also be the first film from a streaming platform (in this case Netflix) to win an Oscar for Best Picture.

Best Actor

Christian Bale – Vice

Bradley Cooper – A Star Is Born

Willem Dafoe – At Eternity’s Gate

Rami Malek – Bohemian Rhapsody

Viggo Mortenson – Green Book

Should Win: Bradley Cooper

With his directorial debut, Bradley Cooper took a story now on its 4th adaption and made it feel refreshing and new. His performance and depiction of mental illness are nothing short of remarkable. Also being snubbed in the Best Director category, Cooper should get some reward for his work.

Will Win: Rami Malek

After taking home the Golden Globe and the SAG, Malek looks well on his way to an Oscar this Sunday. Completely becoming rock legend, Freddie Mercury, Malek chewed up the scenery every chance he got. With vocal performances to match, Malek is a shoe-in for the award.

Best Actress

Yalitza Aparicio – Roma

Glenn Close – The Wife

Olivia Colman – The Favourite

Lady GaGa – A Star Is Born

Melissa McCarthy – Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Should Win: Lady GaGa

In her first starring role on the big screen, pop icon and television actress Lady GaGa proved that she has what it takes to be a crossover star. In A Star Is Born, GaGa tears down the house not just with her acting but her phenomenal musical ability as well. She is a two time nominee this year, also being nominated for Best Song. It would not be impossible to see GaGa walk away with two Oscars come Sunday.

Will Win: Glenn Close

After being nominated six times, the seventh nomination feels like Glenn Close’s time. With a career spanning decades and one of the best resumes of any actor working today Close is more than deserving of the gold. Her performance in The Wife shows that this actress just gets better with age.

Best Supporting Actor

Mahershala Ali – Green Book

Adam Driver – BlackKklansmen

Sam Elliott – A Star Is Born

Richard E. Grant – Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Sam Rockwell – Vice

Should Win: Richard E. Grant

A highly regarded stage actor, Grant has been acting for decades. The Oscars have a history of rewarding working actors that might not be as well known as others. Grant’s career and performance proves that hard work can eventually pay off.  

Will Win: Sam Elliott

Being snubbed by the Golden Globes is not all bad when the Oscars decide to nominate you. Elliott has proved himself for decades to be an actor at the top of his trade. From comedy to drama to westerns the man has done it all. In A Star Is Born, Elliott is beyond perfection. His chemistry with fellow stars Bradley Cooper and Lady GaGa is undeniable and it adds layers to his tough performance. Elliott has more than earned his time for recognition, come Sunday he should have it.

Best Supporting Actress

Amy Adams – Vice

Marina de Tavira – Roma

Regina King – If Beale Street Could Talk

Emma Stone – The Favourite

Rachel Weisz – The Favourite

Should Win: Regina King

After years of supporting roles in smaller films to establishing herself as a top television actress, Regina King is finally where she deserves to be. Even though she did not receive a nomination in this category at the SAG awards earlier this year, King has more than made up for it. With several wins this season including the Golden Globe, she is poised to take the statue Sunday. Even in one of the most stacked categories, King will most likely be the Queen this Sunday.

Will Win: Regina King

If King loses here it truly will be the travesty of the night.

Best Director

Alfonso Cuaron – Roma

Yorgios Lanthimos – The Favourite

Spike Lee – BlackKklansmen

Adam McKay – Vice

Pawel Pawlikowski – Cold War

Should Win: Spike Lee

Spike Lee has been long overdue for Oscar recognition. As a prominent voice in film, Lee has done so much for African American filmmakers, there would be no Barry Jenkins or Ryan Coogler if Spike Lee never existed. The Oscars have a real chance to honor a director of color who is also more than deserving.

Will Win: Alfonso Cuaron

This year has been Cuaron’s year. Roma is nothing short of a masterpiece in directing. A previous winner already, Cuaron continues to push his artistic eye giving audiences a look at how the other half lives. Roma is a stark contrast to his previous winning film, Gravity. Alfonso is proof that directors who take chances are the ones that come out on top.

Best Animated Feature

Incredibles 2

Isle of Dogs

Mirai

Ralph Breaks The Internet

Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse

Should Win: Into The Spider-Verse

Visually stunning, wonderfully written, and packing tons of heart, Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse is a perfect film. Taking a character audiences already are familiar with and diving deeper into who they are made this film standout. Visually one of the most original films to come out in recent memory, Spider-Man should snag the gold come Sunday.

Will Win: Into The Spider-Verse

Spider-Man > Everything

Best Original Song

“All The Stars” – Black Panther

“I’ll Fight” – RBG

“The Place Where Lost Things Go” – Mary Poppins Returns

“Shallow” – A Star Is Born

“When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings” – The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Should Win: “All The Stars”

Kendrick Lamar and SZA delivered a song that not only fit the film Black Panther perfectly but also had commercial appeal. Featured in numerous ads this year, the song was a massive hit. For a film like Black Panther to be nominated at the Oscars, any win would be appreciated. But after Kendrick Lamar’s hard work on the album and critical love for him, the Oscars might be inclined to give the hip-hop star his first Oscar and cement him as one of the greatest of all time.

Will Win: “Shallow”

After being robbed of the award in 2016, Lady GaGa’s hit song “Shallow” is the one to beat here. The song which was #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 for 5 weeks is a stellar rock anthem that has generational appeal. The loss in 2016 was a fluke that the Oscars cannot afford to make again when it comes to GaGa. One way or another Lady GaGa WILL leave Sunday with an Oscar.

Rapper 21 Savage Released From ICE Custody

Rapper 21 Savage was released Wednesday, February 13th after spending 10 days in ICE custody. 21 Savage, real name She’yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, was released on bond, however the amount has not yet been disclosed.

The Bank Account rapper was arrested by ICE on February 3rd. The immigration agency stated their reason being that 21 Savage was actually born in the United Kingdom and was in the United States on an expired visa.

21 Savage was born in East London in 1992. He moved stateside with his family in 2005 when he was 12 years old. The following year though his parents failed to renew his visa, making his status in the US illegal ever since.

The rapper’s attorneys issued a statement  thanking fans and colleagues for their support and apologized for missing this past weeks Grammy Awards where the artist was slated to perform the his hit song, Rockstar, along fellow rapper Post Malone.

While the Grammy-nominated artist may be out on bond, his troubles are far from over. ICE is still seeking to deport the rapper. Even with ICE dropping a 2014 assault charge, that could potential send the rapper back to the UK, they are still looking to deport Savage for the expired visa. No matter what the judgement is, it is clear that this case will have strong implications on other ICE detention cases.