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It’s Time We Let Michael Vick Off the Leash

7 Jan

VICKLEWIS

This past Saturday, I joined most of America in watching the NFL Wildcard games. As I scrolled through my phone, scanning Twitter and Facebook, the overwhelming trend of the day was Ray Lewis. As he stepped on the field for his last home game, posts flooded my screen about what an icon he was, his legend, his unforgettable accomplishments.

It’s almost as if he was never an accessory to murder.

In case you are unaware, Ray Lewis was an accessory in the 2000 murder of Atlanta’s Jacinth Baker and Richard Lollar- whose girlfriend was about seven months pregnant with his daughter at the time. What resulted was a messy court proceeding  that still remains unresolved. Instead of facing charges for his crime, Lewis accepted a plea deal to testify against his two friends and earned him only a year of probation and a fine from the NFL. Two men still remain dead with no one to blame, one little girl lives without ever knowing her father. The next year, Lewis was named Super Bowl MVP.

Meanwhile Philadelphia’s quarterback (for how long, is yet to be determined) Michael Vick is still facing an endless backlash for the dog fighting scandal that led to almost two years in jail and bankruptcy. When he joined the team in 2009 I was among the many to condemn him and Andy Reid. I despised the Eagles, and refused to watch. But then I saw what a changed man he was, and how hard Vick was working to right his wrongs, and my opinions have changed. I just wish that more people would see what change can do.

The point of our country’s federal prisons is to rehabilitate criminals to make them safe and substantial members of society.  Since his release from prison, Michael Vick has campaigned against dog fighting, joining the Humane Society‘s End Cruelty and Fighting Campaign and Pets for Life in a public fight to teach others from his mistakes. Meanwhile he continued to promote his own foundations within the community, Team Vick and the Michael Vick Foundation, and worked with the Eagles, while serving as a shining example of single fatherhood and tackling the challenging schedule of a professional athlete.  He is proof of the benefits of our judicial system, but he’s still received by most as a criminal, a monster. What’s the point of our federal courts if their benefits go unnoticed?

There’s a huge difference between Vick and Lewis and that lies entirely in the court system. Michael Vick owned up to his crimes and payed the price, while Lewis took a plea deal to testify against his two friends and save himself. Lewis never came forward to take responsibility for the night of his crime. Vick did his time, and Lewis sold out.

A real hero, a true legend, is not determined on the field. They are found in their actions off the field, in their ability to right their wrongs and help others along the way. Ray Lewis has done nothing to publicly own up to what he did: even if he didn’t stick the knife in, he lied to police and did nothing to help bring justice to two murdered men. Then he put on a helmet and won a few games, and suddenly to his fans all is forgiven. Maybe if Michael Vick went further this season, or got a Superbowl ring since his release, he would be more of a hero. But is that how we as a nation should judge our legends?

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This Season, In Television

13 Sep
There are so many reasons that fall is better than every other season, but right now one thing in particular is jumping out at me: television! All of my favorite shows are in the fall. There are only a handful of shows that I make it a point to tune in and watch, and they are all during this season. So many great characters that I love to absolute death.
Here are the 10 shows whose premiers I have marked on my calendar (with all times in EST). Why can’t every season be fall?

1. Saturday Night Live, Sept. 15
Season 38, Saturdays, 11:30 p.m., on NBC
While I am still in mourning over SNL‘s loss of my girl Kristin Wiig and Andy Samberg, I’m psyched for this upcoming season. It kicks off with Seth Macfarlane as the host, the hilariously inappropriate creator of Family Guy and one of my favorite movies of the summer, Ted. Plus, my favorite band Mumford and Sons will be performing on Sept. 22, just two days before their new album Babel- which I have been awaiting for months- is released.

2. Parks and Recreation, Sept. 20
Season 5, Thursdays, 9:30 p.m.,  on NBC
Leslie Knope. Tom Haverford. Ann Perkins, the beautiful tropical fish. Ben Wyatt. Ron F*cking Swanson. I have developed a very, very unhealthy personal bond with the hilariously lovable characters on P&R. Luckily I work in an office that has also fallen in love with Pawnee, Indiana. We’re no Parks department, but we’re still pretty awesome. As we are speaking, I am staring at my Swanson Pyramid of Greatness, drinking from my Pawnee Dept. of Parks and Recreation water bottle, and counting down the days until my boyfriend and I celebrate our new favorite holiday, Treat Yourself 2012 (held on Oct. 20, if you’re interested).

3. New Girl, Sept. 24
Season 2, Tuesdays, 8 p.m. on FOX
In the one season that New Girl was on, I became completely obsessed. It’s one of the funniest shows on television right now. I will actually be sitting around and think of a Schmidt one-liner and start laughing out loud to myself. And I find every occasion possible to use the word “chutney” (pronounced chutt-uhh-nee). And now I’m laughing again.

4. How I Met Your Mother, Sept. 25
Season 8, Tuesdays, 8 p.m. EST, on CBS
The last season left off with a whole world of scandal, and I’m ready to hear what’s up. I’m most excited by how dynamic Barney Stinson has become. Not just because NPH is a smoking hottie and this means I can see him more, but because I think he’s one of the most interesting characters there. And to be honest, I just want to meet the damn mother already. I know it’s the title of the show, but out with it, Ted!

5. 30 Rock, Oct. 4
Season 7, Thursdays, 8 p.m., on NBC
It’s no surprise that this show is my life blood. I mean you don’t have to know me or anyone that knows me for more than 10 minutes to realize it. It’s had an amazing seven seasons, with the best cast and the smartest lady in television behind the writing. But now it’s time to say goodbye, as they’ve announced it’s unfortunate end. While this final half-season will hang heavy on my heart, all good things must come to an end. I’ve gone through the stages of grief already, gone to my Mecca, (30 Rock, this summer. I even took a studio tour with a page!) and I’m prepared to just enjoy it while it lasts, and rewatch everything on Netflix, like, 8 times a day.

6. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Oct. 11
Season 8, Thursdays, 10 p.m., on FX
My friends and I have an It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia tradition dating back to my days at college. We all settle in to watch it, and drink wine out of Diet Coke cans. Now that we’re all adults (or whatever) and spread out across the country I’m hoping we can keep that ridiculous tradition alive wherever we are. It’s hard not to love this show. It is completely absurd, borderline overly offensive, and it makes fun of all the jerky things us human beings do. Plus it’s in the greatest city on Earth. How can you lose?

7.The League, Oct. 11
Season 4, Thursdays, 10:30 p.m., on FX
You don’t have to be a football fan to watch The League. The really genuinely dysfunctional relationships are what makes this show so funny in the first place. It focuses around the friends’ ultimate demise: their fantasy football league. Everyone has some sort of competition that can drive them crazy: for me it’s Quizzo and FourSquare mayorships. This show will make you feel a lot better about your own competitive edge.

8. The Walking Dead, Oct. 14
Season 3, Sundays, 9 p.m., on AMC
Zombies. Do I really need to say anything more?

9. American Horror Story, Oct. 17
Season 2, Wednesdays, 10 p.m., on FX
If you missed the first season of American Horror Story, you won’t miss much tuning into season two. The show starts over with a whole new plot line, but seeing that it’s set in a haunted asylum I’m assuming it will be equally as twisted and terrifying. It starts a few weeks before Halloween, so I’m already in the spooky mood and ready for a scare. This season sounds even more exciting than the last, so I would suggest tuning it.

10. Community, Oct. 19
Season 4, Fridays, 8:30 p.m. on NBC
Poor Community. I think it has gotten the short end of the stick in the last year, almost getting dropped entirely, then taking a hiatus for entirely too long before losing it’s creator to a serious case of the crazies and then being moved to Fridays. Well don’t worry, Greendale Seven, I am not giving up on you yet. Besides, it’s not like I do anything on the weekend anyway!

The New Girls Take Over

7 Aug

Last winter I made the terrible mistake of dying my hair red. I’ve been a lifelong brunette -except for that short period in high school where I went a stunning shade of pink- and I thought somehow that red would boost my personality in some way. I was so off base.

I recently read an interview in Vanity Fair with one of my favorite actresses right now, Lizzy Caplan, in which she said that she was excited that actresses like her now “get to be the girl” as opposed to the best friend role. Caplan, a pale brunette, is stunningly gorgeous, but you may remember her as the dark and crazy mess that was Janis Ian in Mean Girls.  It got me thinking about television and movies today, and about how brunettes have- in their own way- taken over a role that in the past they never really played. And as a brunette who has now come to completely adore my hair color, I’m all for it.

There’s something to be said about brunettes taking charge of the television industry right now, because in a way it opens up the door for all women to take a new lead in media. Lizzy, Tina Fey, Zooey Deschanel, Mindy Kaling, Aubrey Plaza, Kat Dennings, Krysten Ritter. All unusual suspects in Hollywood that have managed to make a name for themselves as strong, independent, funny, smart, unique and sexy leading ladies. And they’ve used their talents to draw their crowd as opposed to a stereotypical idea of what is supposed to be beautiful in Hollywood.

These women have created  a new persona and pushed the limit on what all women actresses can do on TV. Amy Poehler and Tina Fey are proving that you can be strong, funny and powerful without a man influencing every aspect of your life; Kat Dennings and Krysten Ritter prove that women can be snarky and sexy without being labeled bitchy and slutty; and Zooey Deschanel is stepping up and showing women that it’s okay to be girly and cute, because being a woman doesn’t make you any less of a leader or any less in control of your destiny.

Gone are the days of the “quirky best friend” for every woman that isn’t a cardboard cutout of the typical tall blonde bombshell. And gone are the days of every tall, blonde bombshell being labeled as the “ditsy sex object.” Women are proving their chops in new ways. I think that, despite hair color, women have been restricted by their sex in the media, and that is changing. There hasn’t been a better time to be a funny woman in Hollywood then there is now, and I love that I’m on board for the ride.

The New Faces of SNL

7 Jun

With superstar cast members Kristen Wiig and Andy Samberg having left Saturday Night Live in the last week, a lot of people have been scratching their heads over the future of next season. Trust me, I’m bummed too. Kristen Wiig is my girl.

But such is the show. Will Ferrel, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Chevy Chase, Adam Sandler, Chris Rock… all names that left the comfort of the famous live stage to pursue bigger careers. And even without those cast members the show has continued, bringing in new talent that succeeds just as much as the stars we all come to love.

Luckily, there are a few cast members that can step up and take over. Here are my predictions for the 2012-2013 rising stars. I really look forward to seeing what they can bring to the stage!

Jay Pharoah
The network is already prepping Jay to take the lead on the show, with appearances all over talk shows- including a showing on ESPN that had all of social media buzzing- and the Internet, and with good reason. Jay Pharoah is damn funny. He’s a younger, more-attractive Eddy Murphy. His Jay-Z impression alongside Maya Rudolph as Beyonce killed me, and he’s earned a reputation for his Denzel Washington, Chris Rock and Will Smith characters. I think he can really grow to become one of the many icons of SNL, if he can get away from impressions from time to time, create his own signature characters, and embrace his stand up background.

Abby Elliott
Without a doubt, Abby Elliott is and has been one of my favorite cast members for the last year or so. Daughter to Chris Elliot, a SNL cast member in the 90’s and star in films like Groundhog Day and Scary Movie 2, funny is in her blood. She’s made friends in the right places, palling around (and getting great press) with HelloGiggles.com starlet Zooey Deschanel, even going so far as to make her quirky Zooey persona a regular (and really funny) part of the show. It’s obvious that she has the looks to stand out in the spotlight, but more than anything she knows how to be a funny girl, which can be kind of tricky for women. She’s not over-the-top and she still manages to get a laugh while highlighting some of her own personality

Taran Killam
Killam was the youngest cast member ever to appear on the old MadTV at just 19 and his comedy career is really reaching a high point now. Plus, his career outside of SNL is taking off too. He’s engaged to How I Met Your Mother hottie Cobie Smulders (they also have a daughter) and has made several appearances on that show, and has had his own comedic stints on shows like Scrubs and Community. He’s diverse, and the show needs a young, goofy guy to fill the place of Andy Samberg. SNL. As long as he embraces the need for a new Samberg-esque presence, he should blow up.

Nasim Pedrad
When I first started watching Nasim Pedrad perform on Saturday Night Live I wasn’t sold on her, mainly because I had never heard of her before. I thought she was good in the background, but I never really saw her stepping out more than that, until recently. I like that Nasim isn’t always doing an impression of someone: she can take a written character and make it her own. She plays one of my favorite characters on the show, Bedelia, the teen who thinks her mom is cooler than any of her friends. And I appreciate that, on a show that isn’t know for a very racially diverse cast, she can come into her own without abusing her ethnicity (she’s actually from Iran). She’s funny without overplaying racial stereotypes, which I think can make her last longer in multiple parts.

Erica’s Hot 100… Men!

2 Jun

With the introduction of my Hot 100 just a few nights ago, I thought it would only be fair to the men of the media to make a hot 100 list of the opposite gender. It was hard, but I struggled through it and got it together.

Without any more interruptions, my male hotties.
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Vide-OH! of the Day, Week, Month, Year, Lifetime

30 Apr

This is literally everything I’ve ever wanted out of life. Everything. Life seems so insignificant now.

Vide-OH! of the Day

19 Apr

New, amazing Sir Paul McCartney single with the always undeniably beautiful Natalie Portman signing through it? Why, yes please!