006. Remember Cedric Diggory

As we reach the end of this first week of the “media diet”, and following several days of scarcity, yesterday I finally found some content I wanted to discuss. But first a quick note on productivity since the inception of this idea.

Since beginning this project last Thursday I have been the most productive I have been since February where #the1001project is concerned. Finishing one book, one movie and a tv season doesn’t seem like much, but I’ve been overcommitting to life outside my house for a while now, and it’s time I took it easy and went back to the project I enjoy most of all. That said, I have also been branching out with podcasts and music this week too, an endeavour that provides me with insight and entertainment respectively. I’ve also been enjoying the NHL playoffs, though I’m yet to see my first catfishing.

But without further ado, here’s what I listened to and read yesterday:

June 7, 2017

PODCAST: Gilmore Guys: Lauren Graham

Gilmore Guys is finally over. I remember listening to my first episodes while entering data about botanical specimens at Maia and being instantly impressed and inspired. For the past two years this has been my answer when anyone asks how I can type long strings of letters and numbers so efficiently and enjoyably, and to have passed the end of the series is a little surreal. Through their genuine humour, backdoor knowledge of improvisation, film, television and theatre, and their demonstrable work ethic in a notoriously difficult and inauspicious industry, Kevin and Demi have taught me not only technical concepts, optimism and perseverance, but also that entertainment can be made from… pretty much anything.

In this final episode of Gilmore Guys, the boys “gab” with Lauren Graham who is also an exceptional inspiration. While the final episode would have been great as a return to roots farewell to the series, it feels as though full circle has been achieved. It wasn’t classic Gilmore Guys, but Graham’s harmonies for “Where You Lead” were on point.

BOOK: Complete Fables, by Aesop

I’m nearly finished with this, I swear.

TV SERIES: Parenthood

Parenthood, S01E01

After listening to the final episode of Gilmore Guys, I was left wanting more Lauren Graham, and since Mae Whitman and Dax Shepard are also in that show, and I had heard great things – not to mention, it’s helpfully a #the1001project show – I decided to watch Parenthood. I have only watched the pilot at this point, but my thoughts are thus:

  • This is a sweet show and I like Lauren Graham’s character even though I can foresee future frustration with that branch of the family.
  • I’m interested to see these variations on the nuclear family – kind of like Modern Family but with a more serious base.
  • I just know I’m going to spend a lot of time in tears because of this show.

So I’m looking forward to continuing! Although I’ve also picked up The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt as my dinner show because I’ve decided that I need to focus on new media to a greater extent or this cycle of missing out will just continue forever.

PODCAST: Harry Potter and the Sacred Text – Being a Stranger: Diagon Alley (Book 1, Chapter 5)

This podcast episode, more than anything else I’ve read or watched or listened to, has been the most influential media I’ve exposed myself to over the past week.

Harry Potter and the Sacred Text is a podcast created by Vanessa Zoltan, Casper ter Kuile & Ariana Nedelman with the intention of reading the Harry Potter series as though it were a sacred text, reading the books “not just as novels, but as instructive and inspirational texts that will teach us about our own lives”.

I initially encountered Harry Potter and the Sacred Text several months ago when one of my best “internet” friends Kelly suggested it to our “Old HP Pals” Facebook group. I listened to the first few episodes available at the time and while vaguely interested, I never remembered to catch up when further episodes were released. Now, one year after it began, the podcast is almost finished with book three but I decided to pick up where I left off and listen to episode five where Vanessa and Casper read “Diagon Alley” through the lens of “being a stranger”.

In the opening minutes of this episode, Casper reveals that they had recorded the audio just days before the attack at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Following this, he explains that while many would turn to prayer in times like these, for many listeners that may not be an option. Instead Vanessa repeats Dumbledore’s speech from the end of Goblet of Fire as a call to reflection and an alternative for those who felt more comfortable with a different option.

Remember Cedric. Remember, if the time should come when you have to make a choice between what is right and what is easy, remember what happened to a boy who was good, and kind, and brave, because he strayed across the path of Lord Voldemort. Remember Cedric Diggory.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, by JK Rowling

While I have seen internet jokes in the past about Harry Potter as religion, or gospel and even particular reference to the series as a sacred text for certain people, I have always considered that too far a line to cross for even my most adored stories. But as someone who has always considered herself to be, if not spiritual herself, then at least empathetic to any belief in which all are equal and deserving of kindness, there are of course lessons within Harry Potter that speak to that part of me.

While I don’t consider Harry Potter to be a spiritual text, the literary analysis and religious critique, as well as the general lessons of kindness, blessing and thoughtfulness that Vanessa and Casper share through this podcast have been refining the way I understand religion and spirituality, something I had dismissed long ago as not for me.

While I’m not saying Harry Potter is my bible – I feel like that’s a strange precedent – I do appreciate the intent to see positive instruction in obscure places, and encourage anyone to listen to this podcast for an alternative take on structured religion.

x Casey

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Glee-son Two: Road to Nationals

This is the first of a new kind of blog post, where I recap the most reason tv series I’ve watched from 1001 TV Series to Watch Before You Die. As such, it’s still in the works and will likely fit into the YouTube schedule when I start that in a couple of weeks. 

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Glee on IMDB
2009-2015
Comedy/Drama/Musical – 44 minute episodes – TV-PG
Created By: Ian Brennan, Brad Falchuk & Ryan Murphy
Starring: Lea Michele (Rachel Berry), Matthew Morrison (Will Schuester), Jane Lynch (Sue Sylvester) Chris Colfer (Kurt Hummel) & Kevin McHale (Artie Abrams)


I remember being eighteen and hearing about a new television show with “Wendla” from Spring Awakening in it, knowing that it would be about a group of singing, dancing teenagers and being absolutely ecstatic. I also remember being 19 and specifically using my three hour uni break on a Thursday to sleep while torrenting the newest Glee episode, then watching the episode in snippets throughout the day. The combination of determination and what I thought were the absolute cutest outfits, made Rachel Berry and Glee my number one favourite show for its first three seasons.

A lot has changed in seven years however. I mean, these days my favourite show features a bubbly, loving brunette with bangs and optimism to spare, who has trouble with boys and likes to sing… a lot. Hmm, so maybe things aren’t that different, actually.

Glee has always been one of those shows, hated by a large percentage of the population, for its portrayal of high school dorky performers as well as “lessons” in every episode, from the dangers of teen drinking, the realities of teen pregnancy, and both the mundane and hyperbolised intricacies of teenage life. It’s soap opera style of incestuous relationship cycling, coupled with the idealised display of talent and competition makes it the perfect show for only a single, persistent demographic: teenage middle to high school girls.

But coming back to it five years later after not watching from season four onward… I don’t hate Glee.

I’m going to receive criticism from the fold, who will say “Casey, you run a podcast about New Girl, and you take a lot of selfies of you eating donuts”, and while you may be correct about my biases, I have several solid arguments for why Glee still remains high on the list of shows discussed by teenage girls on Tumblr blogs around the globe.

Glee‘s appeal to the aforementioned middle school girls is more than just Darren Criss dressed in a private school uniform, it appeals to the need for validation in a world where you’re constantly made to feel ordinary: because “being part of something special makes you special”. Glee‘s messages of acceptance are trite and overused, but the display and recognition of talent, even in various degrees or types can be a lifeboat in the constant reality of cut-throat competition among peers in high school. As a teenage girl you’re constantly being convinced to fit in while being required to have something that makes you stand out and for this, Glee is more than bubblegum television for young girls, in some places it is a strong reminder to dream big and stay true to what you believe in yourself.

But the show is also actually, genuinely funny in places.

While those places may be surrounded one hundred fold by lines that make me grimace and cringe, it’s tough to doubt that Jane Lynch is the comedic backbone of the show and Naya Rivera as Santana “[making out with another girl] is not cheating because the plumbing’s different” Lopez and Chris Colfer as Kurt Hummel with his perfect physical comedy moments give the show at least a good punch or two per episode.

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So I have to admit that 90% of the appeal for me is half the poppy upbeat bangers that aren’t really bangers but actually cheer me up and the similarities I see between myself and Rachel Berry. But if you’re a teenager who’s trying to navigate the tricky world of middle school and trying to figure yourself out, I have to stand by my assessment that I think Glee  might be for you.

Stay tuned for a more season-particular review of Glee Season 3 within the next couple of weeks.

Quick Review: The West Wing

Quick Reviews resulted as the alternative to an old poster style I would create when I didn’t have an extensive opinions on a particular movie or television series, and so these reviews are super short and sweet.

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Winner of seventeen Primetime Emmy Awards, The West Wing, written by Aaron Sorkin focuses on fictional democratic POTUS Josiah “Jed” Bartlet who suffers no fools and therefore alienates many. He and his dedicated staffers struggle to balance the needs of the country with the political realities of Washington, D.C., working through two presidential terms that include countless scandals, threats and political scuffles. The final two seasons focus on the race to elect the candidate to proceed from Bartlet as the leader of the free world.


While Gilmore Girls gets praised as the “feminine Sorkin”, I prefer to think of The West Wing as the masculine Sherman-Palladino. Minus the pop-culture references and instead heavy with political discourse, the style of the two shows, particularly the witty, intelligent dialogue and the quick pace are key drivers to the charm of both series.

Josiah “Jed” Bartlet may not be the hero Washington deserves, but he’s the one we need right now. It’s easy to create a perfect leader, and much harder to emulate them, and The West Wing portrays the king of governance we all like to think is pulling the strings. The show is also a very interesting insight into US politics for non-Americans. What the heck is an Iowa Caucus?

Side note, added after the initial publication of this post: I was certainly more knowledgeable about the recent Presidential election including the way of the electoral college and the idea of said caucuses.

A constantly evolving cast resulted from a tumultuous battle between showrunners and writer, and the loss of Sam Seaborn (Rob Lowe) in season four has its own negative impact on the run of the show, not to mention the fangirls. But with the combination of Allison Janney (CJ Cregg), John Spencer (Leo McGarry), Bradley Whitford (Josh Lyman) and Martin Sheen (POTUS), not to mention supporting actors Dule Hill (Charlie) and Janet Moloney (Donna), we have a cast that manages to captivate an audience from season one.