Review: Netflix “Elite”

Review: Netflix “Elite”

Who’d have thought that yet another teen murder mystery would garner so many fans worldwide? It took me the longest time in history to finish Netflix’s hottest new WILD teen-drama, Elite. There are only twenty four episodes – eight episodes per season, spread across three seasons. And you’ll see a lot of familiar faces if you’ve already seen Money Heist.

From Elite Fandom Wiki:

At some point, Pablo Ruiz and Marina Nunier began a relationship that led to Marina contracting HIV. Enraged, Marina’s brother, Guzman, along with Polo and Ander, beat him up. This led to the scholarship program in the school to be suspended, until  San Esteban collapsed, leading to three former students to gain admittance to the school through scholarships provided by the construction company. 

For a short time, Rebeca and Valerio began selling drugs on school premises in order to finance themselves. Valerio needed money to study abroad with Polo and Cayetana, whilst Rebeca needed to feed herself after her mother was arrested. They were eventually found out, and Rebeca, Valerio, Guzman, and Samuel are expelled for being involved.

Did I enjoy watching Elite? The third season, yes. It’s been kind of a slow-burn frankly, so it took time to grow on me. The storyline is just okay, and the makeup is great. But that’s just about it. You’ll see a lot of Gossip Girl and a lot of American Horror Story happening, but it ends with a twist. Again. The show seems to be full of those.

The few things that I did like, though, were:

1. That a Spanish show is doing so great. This is the second one after Money Heist that seems to be getting a lot of attention, and it’s good.

2. The plot twists. It starts off with something and before you know it, something else has happened altogether.

3. The cinematography and location. Beautiful shots.

4. Female friendships. Two of the main characters, Lucrecia and Nadia, start off on the wrong foot but become good friends sometime well into season three. Also, I love Lu’s hair and hair accessories to death.

Unfortunately, the list of things that I didn’t like actually trumps the other list. Here’s what GOT my goat:

1. TOO MANY CHARACTERS. You can do a show with basically two, and even four, protagonists. But here you’ve got a million – Samuel, Nadia, Christian, Guzmán, Polo, Ander, Omar, Carla, Lucrecia, Valerio, Rebeca, Cayetana, Yeray, Malik… oh man, that list is endless and the show is only three seasons long. So far.

2. Unrealistic storylines. Like which high-school student goes to so many parties?

3. Drugs and sex. Everyone seems to be having too much sex – (and of course the nudity is crazy) – with every random person, and the drugs that they’re doing are out of control. Netflix is accessible to everyone and the audience is often young and impressionable. Yikes.

4. Incest. As if Game of Thrones wasn’t enough.

5. Strong language. Everyone seems to be swearing, all the time, even in their parents’ faces. Like, what? And if you’ve grown up in an Asian family, you know that’s the cue for the rolling pin from your mum to hit you on the head.

If I were to rate the show, I’d give it a three out of five. And since we’re all quarantined with nothing much to do, maybe you can give it a go.

What are you binge watching this week?

This Show Touched My Heart

This Show Touched My Heart

“You’re a wish come true I never knew I was making,” – Marilla, Anne With An E

I’ve watched more Netflix shows than I’d care to admit. At this point, I’ve developed a pounding headache and pink eye and 2020 isn’t looking too sparkly for me. Also, the news isn’t helping. There’s far too much terror in India at this point. Between Christmas and New Year’s, I’d binge-watched Don’t F*ck With Cats, You, Unbelievable and gotten overwhelmed by all the murder and other forms of bloodshed and chanced upon Anne With an E.

I’m not someone that watches a lot of dramas but Anne with an E is based on Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables, and it was one of my childhood favorites and Anne Shirley-Cuthbert, with her fiery red hair and her romantic ways, is actually pretty iconic.

The show drew me in. Based in the fictional town of Avonlea, the cinematography is stunning. There’s a bunch of glorious shots of Prince Edward Island.

AmyBeth McNulty, who plays the titular Anne, is perfect. She actually beat almost two thousand other people that auditioned and got the role. Anne with an E follows the story of an orphaned thirteen-year-old, severely bullied and shuffled from home to home, in her quest to belong to someone.

Anne is accidentally sent to the Cuthberts, a pair of elderly siblings called Matthew and Marilla, in place of a farm hand they originally requested for, from the orphanage. Anne meets Matthew at the train station and talks all the way to the Cuthbert residence, the Green Gables. Initially disapproving of Anne, Marilla eventually warms up to her, and she and her brother go ahead and adopt Anne formally. Anne adjusts comfortably, and although often she creates trouble, she does a lot of good too, thanks to her quick-thinking. She also becomes good friends with the neighbors’ older daughter, Diana Barry.

The first season was a tad too slow and flowery for my liking, but if you’ve loved Ms Montgomery as much as I have, you’re probably going to stick to it too. Season two picks up pace that season one lacks and the writers put their own twist to the plot, with Aunt Josephine “Jo”, Diana’s aunt, being revealed as lesbian and Anne’s classmate, artist Cole, as gay. The coming-of-age bits are brilliant and beautifully done. You also witness a lot of focus on the LGBTQ community as a whole, with Jo’s companionship with Geraldine shocking Diana initially till the time she learns to accept it. Gilbert Blythe, another classmate of Anne’s, goes off on a ship and meets Trinidadian Sebastian “Bash” after the death of the former’s father. An unlikely friendship forms and the two boys return to Avonlea.

The new teacher, widowed Ms. Muriel Stacy, who wears pants and forgoes wearing the corset obstinately, much to the chagrin of Rachel Lynde, while also riding her motorcycle, is like a breath of fresh air. Anne realizes that she and Ms Stacy are kindred spirits and I almost whooped when they go to the town hall in season three to protest against the ministers burning down the school and taking away the printing press because Anne dares to post an article about consent and what’s fair, and what isn’t.

While the other girls aim to be good brides and wives to some man, with Ruby cherishing a burning passion for Gilbert, Anne wants to become a bride of adventure.

That is, until she realizes that she’s loved Gilbert since forever and while Ruby finds a new object of adoration in another classmate, Moody, Anne and Gilbert try to communicate with each other via notes. These notes never reach the concerned parties and a lot of confusion ensues, and I almost wanted to shake Gilbert and go, AAAAARRGGGGHHH, when he keeps courting Winnie and doesn’t get anywhere. Season three has to be my favorite. Anne searches for her legacy and finds love and Marilla and Matthew send her off to college and Gilbert comes to meet her before going off to the University of Toronto, and I’ve never sighed so much in my life. That too, as dreamily.

Anne blossoming into a young woman in the last episode, running to meet Gilbert with her fiery red hair flowing behind her, contrasting perfectly with her blue dress and freckles, is the best thing on Netflix right now. Oh, sigh.

Honorable mentions:

• Rachel Lynde, Marilla’s best friend – the character’s transition from the narrow-minded mean woman in the first two seasons to someone who’s all for women’s rights, is brilliant.

• Ka’kwet, a twelve year old belonging to the indigenous people who sell hockey sticks and make baskets – the way she escapes the clutches of the whites trying to “convert savages” by locking children up in schools and forcing them to learn English and rechristening them, had me on the edge of my seat.

• The Cuthberts – I had to talk about them twice. They’re super adorable. Matthew is sweet and Marilla, stern start first. I kind of bawled my eyes out when she yells that she loves Anne in the third season and therefore, wants her to be safe. Talk about tough love mellowing into mushy and selfless love, I love how Marilla makes a detour and takes the ferry with Matthew to retrieve memoirs of Anne’s long dead parents from the first home Anne lived in. WHOOP DE DOOP!

• Aunt Josephine Barry – she’s got to be my favorite. Full of life and new ideas and open-mindedness and the fact that she’s fiercely supportive of Anne, is amazing.

The show focuses on so much, there’s so much you can take from it. The diversity is incredible. The most important thing, I’ve learned, is to give people, and things, chances. Because who knows what you might be pleasantly surprised with, right?

AHS 1984: Should You Be Watching?

AHS 1984: Should You Be Watching?

American Horror Story dropped its ninth season yesterday, and boy oh boy, the first episode was a total banger.

Here’s a list of things I absolutely LOVED:

• The outfits are on point. The hair, the makeup, the everything.

• They got the throwback vibe just right.

• This season is all about slasher movies of the eighties and it doesn’t disappoint – so far there seems to be two killers, Mr. Jingles (the name comes from the bunch of keys that jingles when he moves) and a Satanist, the Night Stalker who also featured in season five, Hotel. I love how they’re bringing in characters from the older seasons. Lovely way to tie plots together.

• The movie references, like I Still Know What You Did Last Summer.

• Billie Lourd, Cody Fern and Emma Roberts are actually killing it in this episode, with Roberts playing the good girl Brooke.

So, should you watch or nah?

If you’ve been following the show religiously, you must have noticed that Ryan Murphy tends to make the trailers hella scary. Sometimes they’re way more terrifying than the actual season. This time, I think he just gets it right. And I’m LIVING for this.

If you like slasher movies, you’ll absolutely LOVE this season. The gore is super in-your-face right from the first few frames. The scene where Rita gets stabbed and has her ear cut off by Mr. Jingles and doesn’t make a noise because, as she says later, Jesus was guiding her – is brilliant.

If you’re someone that doesn’t mind the marked absence of Evan Peters, Jessica Lange, Sarah Paulson, Angela Bassett and Kathy Bates TOO MUCH, do give this season a chance. Oh and if you’re someone that does mind the absence of the OG cast members, but can’t miss a season because you’re legit obsessed with the show, YOU HAVE TO WATCH.

American Horror Story is also super close to a hundred episodes, I cannot wait for what comes next.

I Cheated and Felt Good

I Cheated and Felt Good

I’m guilty.

I’ve never had these …lapses. Never before. But I managed to slip up this one time.

I was home alone. He wasn’t around. The cat wasn’t around. The dog was with him. Everyone else was on holiday. Everyone but me. And when the cat is away…

The mouse will play. The girl will play. Argh. Ugh. Okay. Deep breath. Got a story to tell here. I’m sure you’re all like:

I’m gonna start from the beginning. I was unhappy. I didn’t like my routine, gym was frustrating the crap out of me and I couldn’t handle it anymore. It began one lazy Friday evening. I usually teach a batch of kids English on the weekends but my class had prior engagements that day, and they didn’t show up. What was a lonely woman to do? I logged in on to one fine app, started scrolling.

My, my.

All of that delicious, airbrushed looking skin. I could almost taste it through the screen. Yum. See, that’s how it started. With “this one little bite that couldn’t possibly hurt, could it?”

The thing with cheating, dear friends, is when you bite, you eventually start to fall. And with the falling comes the drowning. One weekend led to more weekends. One day of scrolling led to more days of scrolling. More days of cheating. You wouldn’t possibly know the satisfaction you get from giving into what you’re craving and before long, it becomes this addiction you can’t shake off.

One step forward, thirty billion steps back. You know it’s wrong, but it feels so good and you can’t stop.

And that’s how I cheated on my Keto. Happy April Fools’ Day, one day in advance.

Okay, PS: Swiggy and Zomato and other Food Delivery apps are really bad for you. Specially when you’re on Keto and you want to eat that box of beautiful, airbrushed looking donuts. Dear me. I think I broke Keto thrice and okay, it felt good but I guess I gotta uninstall all those apps now. I have zero restraint when I don’t have family around. Send help.

On Hipster Readers

On Hipster Readers

I’ve noticed a trend these days: people seem to be posting photos of themselves reading, on their Instagram stories. And when you get super excited because that’s one of your favorite reads they’re seemingly engrossed in, and you reach out to talk about the book – only to realize that they’re just doing it for the ‘Gram, it makes you incredibly sad.

Books don’t deserve to be treated like fashion accessories, you guys. Just because a book has a pretty cover you wanna show off, doesn’t make it okay to post about it and just leave it lying there. Can you imagine how bad this book must be feeling? If you’re only just posting pictures of it, give the book away once you’re done. Books aren’t meant to just adorn your walls, you know? You shouldn’t be projecting intellect when you’re the exact opposite. I think you should draw the line at fashion blogging and leave it at that.

I’ve seen people on the metro reading books with weird covers, only to realize that those aren’t books at all, and that someone’s photographing them. I found this article online and the author has the same issue, as I do, with this kind of reading. Also, this trend is going really viral in India. People that claim to not be influencers actually post about it a lot. And about a hundred percent of the time, it happens to be a book from their partner’s collection – and this partner never shows up on insta but actually reads and loves books like crazy.

As if that wasn’t enough, this extremely shameless person once confessed to me about it. That she doesn’t read and has never read a book in her life apart from the course stuff in college, and that she only posts snippets on Instagram because she was love with the idea of reading because it made her look intellectual. Also, this was the same person that only cared to stay friends with me because I was Bengali and that appealed to her. I mean, the gall.

Imagine if all our friends were to choose us based on where we came from, and were constantly pretending to read books while never having read even one page. Oh, the horror. Do you have any friends that fake read?

The Evolution of Music

The Evolution of Music

Hello, my love.

See what I did there? No? If you’re one of those people that grew up listening to Westlife, Backstreet Boys, Avril Lavigne, and other older artists, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Westlife were on this hiatus and we thought they’d never come back and then they popped back into the picture with their newest offering, Hello my love. This makes my heart so happy. My Love is actually one of my favorite songs ever. Ooh ooh. Also, their single Better Man reached the top of the iTunes Charts within mere hours of its release just yesterday.

2019 is already off to a good start, people.

I remember back in the day when music would make you feel good, when music wasn’t something you’d had to play in secret because the lyrics were so vulgar they’d make a sailor blush. I’m looking at you, Cardi B. Leaving aside the fact that her name sounds like it could have a very good market as a vitamin supplement, her lyrics and her gyrating is just too much. Also, whatever happened to the Bruno Mars we so loved back in the day? The new video for Please Me is NSFW.

The only different – and good thing – about the 2019 music scene, to me, is probably Billie Eilish. She’s seventeen and slaying. Everything she does, and the music videos she makes, always have people talking. I love it that she doesn’t seem to sell sex (reminds me so much of old timey Avril Lavigne) and she doesn’t act like a crazy person, and that every song of hers has such deeper meaning that whatever meets the eye. So yay, Billie.

I remember being obsessed with boy bands in general. Pretty much like every other nineties baby. And now that those bands are making a comeback, I couldn’t be happier.

Although, pop disruptor Bebe Rexha is someone I listen to on a regular basis, her videos are kind of cringeworthy. Specially that video for Last Hurrah. Yikes. Also, did you know, that her biggest commercial success was this country song she did with Florida Georgia line? Crazy, huh? There’s nothing this woman can’t do. Ooh.

Also, how cool are these angel wings? Do you have a favorite nineties pop band?

Why I Don’t Trust “Social Media” Brands

Why I Don’t Trust “Social Media” Brands

Before we get started, here’s a little disclaimer: this post is based on observation and implementation, both of which have managed to solidify my strong opinions about stuff I’m going to talk about. By no means, however, is this a “bashing sorta” post. And now, on to the lovely rant-athon.

• MORPHE:

Ugh. Where do I even begin? Purely one of those brands that got famous from having big bloggers push their codes down people’s throats like crazy, Morphe is basically an epidemic. Every time I’ve bought their brushes in the past, they managed to shed, and break. And my MAC 217 has seen ten years of eyeshadow blending. And it hasn’t cracked. Just saying.

Morphe shadows have given me blepharitis, and what not. I’ve never been able to make them work. It’s just my bad luck, I suppose, because I’m definitely in the minority. But their shadows have refused to blend on me (it’s probably because I’m no makeup expert – also, it’s funny that other brands like Juvia’s Place don’t give my eyelids a nightmare) and it’s made me super frustrated.

Their products are made in PRC and of course, with the new laws being passed in China about no more animal testing on products, I’m hoping we don’t see bunnies being sacrificed at the makeup altar anymore. Now having said all of that, I completely mistrust the brand. They came out of nowhere. They took the world by storm. They paid people to talk about them, and I get they feeling that it’s a case of mass hypnotism that everyone’s just been buying into. But here’s the thing: they claim to be cruelty free but sell natural hair brushes. So what’s up with that? I would’ve given Morphe another chance if their products worked for me – but mostly I would have given them another chance if they stopped with the over-promotion. Let your consumers breathe.

• FASHION NOVA:

This is where you’re gonna find knock-offs of all the celebrity outfits (Kardashian, mostly). Now, while the website has a good size range, the models on there bother me. “Unless you’re super curvy, you can’t rock our outfits”, is the vibe I get from them. I mean, whatever am I supposed to do if I’ve gotten sucked into the influencer-induced FashionNova frenzy, and I wanna try some stuff but can’t because I’m a literal twig?

Also, I believe that if you’re good enough, you wouldn’t need to over-saturate the market with your ads. You wouldn’t need to pay people to talk about you because people would talk about you on their own. Get what I mean?

So I did order some stuff, just to see what the hype was all about. The fabric? Oh my Lord. Granted, the photos match the actual stuff you’re gonna get, but the material isn’t great. Which means yay, congratulations, you’ve been fooled by yet another Social Media brand.

But no judgements: if you love them, you do you, boo.

• DANIEL WELLINGTON:

DW started off with their quartz watches, again manufactured in China. Let’s just quickly throw this in there – they are overpriced. But they’re really Instagram savvy and have managed to get so many people on board with constant spamming and sending any random new influencer a code. Which made me wonder what was so special about them, and I bought myself a DW, only to realize that the watch did nothing but look good and that was it. All style and no substance whatsoever. Plus, it didn’t have that weight to it that comes with a nice mechanical watch that, for example, Seiko or even Casio makes. You could get a better quartz watch from any other brand that looked ten times cuter.

True, Kendall Jenner endorses the brand but then she’s also been in the center of many other controversies, right?

This social media favorite watch brand simply doesn’t cut it for me.

Are there any social media brands you don’t trust?

Actually Painful Stuff

Actually Painful Stuff

Have you read Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda? Becky Albertalli just casually throws a line in there about how exhausting blogging actually is. That’s the number one thing on our list today: blogging, on the daily, is painful. Painfully hard.

Is there anything harder than that? Yes. Challenges. The 365 day challenge. The gallon-of-water-a-day challenge. The no sugar diet challenge. The list goes on. Now don’t get me wrong – we love lists on this side of the Internet. We do. In fact, my blog seems to be filled with listy posts that people actually managed to read without falling asleep. So yay, go me. My point here, before I digress, is lists are hard to do. Both to make and to stick to. Also, I cannot tell you the number of lists that I have taped to my fridge. It’s more like a noticeboard that’s kind of screaming for help with things left unchecked. Life is mental. Life is batcrap mental. Send help.

You know what else is difficult? Trying to live with Indian parents whose maid just quit on them. Again, don’t get me wrong. My parents are wonderful people. It’s the maid that’s kind of super attached to her new grandkid and didn’t want to be a maid anymore but kind of needed the money – so long story short, she got found out stealing moolah from our wallets and tried to make us look bad and well, um, she quit. Maid culture is rampant in India. Your mum won’t miss you when you’re not around but she’s going to miss the maid. She’s going to be all depressed because she’s the ONLY person who’s working a nine to five job in the circle of other brown mommies, and has to come home and make her own tea. I think this bothers her more than anything else, making her own tea. She detests her own cooking. Go figure. And she won’t like it if you make tea for her because the maid simply does it better. Like holy wow.

Now, as if THAT wasn’t enough, there’s my most painful experience ever – having to wash my makeup brushes every Sunday. It’s a process. You gotta find your brushes first. Make a nice concoction with dishwashing fluid and olive oil, making sure you don’t mess up the ratio. Next, you need to clean the pink Sigma glove you use to swirl your brushes on, so the dirt comes out. And you’ve to do all of that without annoying your mum and her ritualistic Sunday-cooking frenzy. And then you’ve to leave the bushes to dry and put them back in their proper containers so they don’t look messy.

It’s tough being a woman. It is.

*THIS POST HAS BEEN WRITTEN IN JEST. TAKE ALL OF THIS WITH TEN PINCHES OF SALT. IF YOU ARE HYPERTENSIVE, TAKE IT WITH HALF A PINCH OF SALT.

Allergy Season

Allergy Season

I don’t need alarms to wake me up these days. Thanks to the summer cold situation. It doesn’t even help that the air is to teasy with pollen, that my eyes are perpetually watery and my nose is constantly runny, and I’ve used up more tissues than the average public loos. God help me.

Allergic rhinitis is like that ex that won’t leave you alone. You’d think Cetrizine or Montelukast or other antihistamines would do the job and help with your allergy situation but oh no, you pop pills and go to sleep and you oversleep and you miss the morning workout. And that makes you grumpy and the goo oozing from the nosie doesn’t make it any better. Sigh. What a life, guys.

I’ve been atopic my whole life. I get it from my dad. Which means, once I’m exposed to even the tiniest fleck of dust or pollen or whatever, I’ll go red and rashy and end up looking like I’ve recently been burned in the oven. Thanks, Pop. And when you’re a physician, you can’t tell your patients that you’re sick because they lose faith in you (my doctor can’t cure herself) and that’s the worst thing ever.

Then come the food allergies. I can’t eat shellfish or eggplant. My cousin can’t eat his coveted poached eggs. My best friend can’t eat chicken without getting severe reactions. This one time it got so bad, she needed epinephrine shots. Yikes.

And all of that is bearable.

You know what’s the worst thing, though? When you’re allergic to cats. *sobs quietly* I love cats. The Persian ones. My friend had the cutest cats back when I was in college, and I couldn’t even play with them too much because I would end up sneezing my head off. And you don’t want your head to explode around cute furry animals. I have this friend who’s a teacher and is allergic to chalk dust. I wish her university would provide her with a damn marker pen and a whiteboard instead of the old timey backboard and duster and chalk. It’s painful, y’all, having to teach kids and be sneezy and sick and be allergy ridden and dripping nosie. Argh. If you’re reading this post, Ren, you know it’s for you. I hope you get better soon. And your Uni shows some kindness.

Coming back to me, I wish I could enjoy spring. I wish I could breathe in the nice crisp air instead of having to wear a mask all the time. So annoying.

Are Reboots Better Than The OGs?

Are Reboots Better Than The OGs?

Netflix is doing great lately. It gave us Birdbox. And it gave us Stranger Things. It also gave us the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Dynasty, reboot and Charmed, reboot.

I grew up watching Sabrina the teenage witch. I mean, Melissa Joan Hart was adorable. Take a look at that hair! And aw, that face. She was bubbly and cute and everything rosy. But nobody realized what we were missing out onuntil the CAOS happened. And it was so good. Is so good.

It stars Kiernan Shipka as Sabrina, and boy oh boy, her acting skills are top notch. Although arguably a lot darker, the show is also a whole lot more gripping. While many people detested the show because of how satanic it seemed to be, and quit midway, most of us loved the show and cannot wait for the new season. The trailer that dropped a few days back looks promising and basically, just whoa. The bonus Christmas episode from 2018 was beautiful. Super nice.

Dynasty was a big hit in the eighties. The 2018 reboot is actually more interesting to me. Maybe that’s got something to do with my love for Liz Gillies but the girl can act. And sing. And the clothes are great, and the script is great, the cuts are crisp and Alexis is awesome (spoiler alert: even though she gets thrown into the fireplace in the latest episode of season two.) I’ve rarely loved a TV villain half as much as I’ve loved Nicolette Sheridan’s – remember her from Desperate Housewives? – portrayal of Alexis. The woman is as eye-conic as her eyelashes. Although Dame Joan Collins as Alexis was just as badass:

…I still like the newer cast better. For starters, I love the inclusivity and the tweaks here and there – for example, I love that Sammy Jo is a gay man in the reboot, that the Colbys are black, and that the new location is now Atlanta. Woot woot. Plus, I love the new Fallon. She’s PERFECT.

Which brings me to the last show I want to discuss – Charmed.

Okay, I loved the OG. I was obsessed. I mean, who doesn’t love Prue and Paige? Rose McGowan was a treat to watch.

The new show though, wow. They changed the names and the sexual orientation of one of the sisters. Which made me go, yaaaaaasssss girl, and I adore Macy. She’s brilliant and doesn’t wear over the top clothing and isn’t perfect, and has demon blood in her and oh my goodness, she’s brilliant. Swoon. Also Maggie as the empath is just so effing cute. Kind of don’t like Mel much but I love Jada because she’s so mysterious. Ah. You need to watch the show.

Clearly, all the reboots take the crown. In my opinion. Are you a fan of the OG or the reboots, in case you do watch any of these shows? Meanwhile, I cannot wait for the new episode of Charmed, this Sunday. The only sad part about these shows I watch would be the fact that they only air once a week. Argh.