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The Friday High Five
On Gilmore vs Maisel, Amazing Mall Food, and Hijacking as a Genre
Every Friday I share 5 things that brought me joy this week. Also, high fives are inherently cool, and I think we can all agree Friday is the bestest day. Hence the Friday High Five. 🙏🏻
5 Things I Enjoyed This Week:
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Auntie Anne’s Soft Pretzels
Technically, Medium Day is tomorrow (August 12) but much of my attention this week has been focused on getting ready for Fanfare’s session.1 The panelists and I all jumped onto the platform yesterday to kick the tires and generally figure out our way around the software. We also solidified some talking points. I was initially apprehensive about filling 30 minutes (including time for Q&A) but all such fears vanished quickly. Now I know we’ll have the opposite problem—getting the best stuff into a meager 30 minutes.
It was the first time I’ve really spoken to anyone I’ve worked with at Fanfare, despite publishing some writers for years. There was this neat moment of recognition—I know these people. We’re already friends. This is easy, and fun, actually!
Just a bit of fair warning: the software hosting Medium Day (hopin) is confusing to navigate. Registering gets you a free ticket to the event, but there doesn’t seem to be a way for a non-session leader to see the overall schedule and add sessions to their personal agenda. The schedule just kinda vanishes once you register. Not very helpful or useful.
I believe once Medium Day kicks off tomorrow (at 9 AM EST), everything will open up and you’ll be able to see Fanfare’s session (at 9:30 AM EST), add it to your agenda, and join it at the appropriate time. Just make sure you use the personal link you received in email to access Medium Day.2
If I have a chance tomorrow morning, I’ll send an email confirming exact parameters for accessing Fanfare’s panel. But given we start shortly after the entire day commences, I’m not sure that will happen. Basically: May the Force Be With You. Hope to see you on the other side!
More information about Medium Day here:
What other pop culture newsletter also provides tech support?
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
I’m on the tail-end of my free Prime trial and thus am trying to watch as much Mrs. Maisel as possible.3 I’m midway through season 4 and therefore the fifth and final season will have to wait until my next 30-day trial (say one thing for Prime—they don’t mind handing out free trials).
I loved Gilmore Girls and happily queued up Mrs. Maisel years ago when I recognized Amy Sherman-Palladino’s name from both.4 Is it sacrilegious to say I actually prefer Maisel to Gilmore? I find Maisel’s story—1950s era housewife challenges misogyny and social conventions as she pushes for a solo comedy career—more interesting than Gilmore’s seasons-long will-they, won’t-they, Lorelai & Luke subplot.5 Gilmore Girls is about how the Gilmores are entirely sufficient as they are. Romance is nice if it happens, but it’s not the end or the means. But there’s no getting around the procession of beaus circling like buzzards, and the show often became about those dalliances. Maisel is about how freaking awesome Midge is.
Also, Maisel has Susie Myerson. I love Lane Kim and all but, c’mon. It’s not even close.
This is one of my favorite times of the year. The NFL season is right around the corner, training camps are open, the Fantasy Football podcasts actually have actionable advice to share. But the pièce de résistance of the preseason is HBO’s Hard Knocks.
Hard Knocks is a 5-episode mini-series closely following one NFL team as they prepare for the upcoming season. It’s an intriguing blend of reality TV and a sports documentary aired in quasi-real time (episodes air a few weeks after filming). For a football fan, it doesn’t get much better.
Hard Knocks followed my Detroit Lions last year. This time they're in New York with the Jets. I am predisposed to dislike Aaron Rodgers but there’s no question he’s one of the greats, and it’s fun watching him fit in with his new team. Everyone on the Jets is openly in awe of him—even the head coach—which is a recognition of Rodgers’ skills as well as an indictment of the Jets quarterbacks of recent memory. Apart from one Brett Favre season at the tail-end of his career, the Jets haven’t had a good quarterback in decades. And I thought the Lions had historically bad luck at quarterback.
Auntie Anne’s Soft Pretzels
We took the kids to the mall last weekend for some back-to-school shopping (really? already? where did the summer go?). On such trips, I’m basically the hired help. I’m the chauffeur and the porter—the guy carrying the bags. Sometimes my opinion is sought, but it’s a token asking. They might as well pat me on the head and say, “That’s real swell, pops. Here’s five dollars—go buy yourself a soda pop and one of those toffee bars you like.”
The arrangement works fine for me. I typically only go to the mall for a small handful of reasons—book stores, activewear (2020-speak for basketball shorts and tees), and soft pretzels. When it comes to soft pretzels, Auntie Anne is the queen. Their pretzels are the right mix of salty and buttery, appropriately chewy, and nicely doughy.6
I had two last weekend. So good!
The inclusion of a stupid / in the name aside—is anything gained by calling it H/Jack instead of Hijack?—I’m loving this Idris Elba-fueled thriller. Per the name, the series is about the hijacking of a plane. Elba stars as a shrewd business consultant who gets caught in the middle, and then starts using his big brain. It’s a thriller with surprising twists. I’m only three episodes in and it’s checking every box I own. In a nod to 24, the series takes place in real time, which ups the tension.
Also: Idris Elba. He’s amazing in everything. Other than his role as Charles Miner in The Office. I mean, Elba still killed it. I just hated his character.7
I’m also a big fan of the hijacking genre. There were a bevy of fun hijacking films in the 90s and 00s—Passenger 57, Executive Decision, Con Air, Air Force One—and I love them all. “Always bet on black!”
I know you have an opinion. Drop a comment like it’s melting your fingers.
Weigh in on the Gilmore Girls vs The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel debate.
Have a question for my Medium Day session? Leave it below.
Favorite hijacking film?
Medium Day is also partly to blame for me not watching Justified: City Primeval this week, which hurts more than I can express with words. Something like: 😕☹️😔😟
These instructions are meant for my Mom but are universally applicable.
I’m actually not a cheapskate or something. I just don’t watch much on Prime Video, and the idea of paying almost $200 a year for expedited shipping—which is never 2-day anymore—is frankly outrageous. Don’t cry for Amazon—they get plenty of my money via Kindle.
Things I know about Amy Sherman-Palladino: she’s created some of the best feminist, feel-good dramedies; she is one of the top dialogue-writers in the business; she works with her husband Daniel Palladino on all her shows, who is basically the Robin to her Batman; she has a hat fetish (google and you’ll see); and she loves sprinkling musical numbers into her projects.
I’m sorry but the only world in which Luke has a chance with Lorelai is in a teeny-tiny town like Star’s Hollow, where the other options are guys like Taylor and Kirk.
Is this newsletter slowly turning into a food blog? I don’t hate it. Food is seriously the best.
Too bad H/Jack didn’t name Elba’s character Charles Miner. That would’ve been a fun twist!