11

Masterpiece YouTube: “Mime Through Time,” SketchSHE, 2015

I’m tired (so what else is new) but just wanted to get a post in today. I haven’t done one of these since March, so I think it’s time for another. You’ve probably seen this clip before, but it’s so creative and hilarious and just my style, so here’s an in-depth analysis.

That’s So Jacob Presents:

Masterpiece YouTube

Episode 20: “Mime Through Time,” SketchSHE, 2015.

SketchSHE consists of three funny ladies from Australia: Lana, Madison, and Shae-Lee. I have no idea which is which, so I just refer to them as Driver, Passenger, and Backseat.

We start with the three just hanging out in their car. Passenger turns on the radio, and they’re in 1940s gear and singing along with “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.” They look like nurses going to a party off base. A salute, and a seamless transition into Elvis, complete with jumpsuits and new makeup/hairstyles. With a headbang, they’re the Beatles. Even though Driver and Passenger are tied up, they can still un-duct tape themselves. A bit illusion-shattering, but no time to think as they morph into Queen. They have a nice transition here into Michael Jackson, and this might be my favorite bit because they each have a different King of Pop look going on; Backseat has the “Thriller” jacket, and Driver is “Bad.” The choreography is inspired too. Then, it’s time for my favorite transition…just wait for it…1:17. That Passenger seat face is scary but hilarious as they all become Whitney. A hair flip leads them into Nirvana, and for some reason I’m getting Hanson flashbacks. I don’t like this song, but they do it well. Then it’s time for a rap interlude, with some mist in the background. Check out the Driver rapping and the Backseat fly girl. This next transition into Britney seems a bit out of place, as the light and positions change drastically, but the head-shaving bit cracks me up every time. The Eminem bit is not my favorite, but then they go all “Single Ladies,” with the one-shoulder jumpsuits and hand-motions, aided in interpretation by some fierce eye makeup and expressions. A great transition into Gotye. That bit seems out of place too because there’s not really a dance style associated with it, but then we get them in full-on “Thrift Shop” pimp mode, which is #$%^ing awesome…and then there’s “Wrecking Ball.” One by one, they realize that they’re topless, and then someone off screen gets Driver to roll down her window because she’s illegally parked, ignoring the fact that there are three topless (presumably naked) women in a car singing along to Miley Cyrus.

I think they did a great job of including a variety of music styles from pop to punk to rap, and the costumes and makeup designs were, for the most part, dead-on. I was surprised at some of their omissions, like Madonna (“Vogue”), Spice Girls(“Wannabe”), Bee Gees (“Night Fever”), country line dance (“Achy Breaky Heart” or “Cotton Eye Joe”), 90s boy band, Motown girl group…but then again, maybe they’re saving them for Part II. I sure hope there is a Part II.

What I learned from this video: Road trips are always fun with friends, make sure you don’t forget your shirt, and don’t park illegally.

This episode of Masterpiece YouTube was brought to you by A & P: Anxiety and Procrastination.

Also, according to my Live Statistics, my 25,000th flag showed up a few days ago, and it was from a visitor from Singapore. Thanks, Singapore!

1

Masterpiece YouTube: Double Feature – KOLture Shock/Wootton Acabellas

This week has been rough in more ways than one, as you know, and I’ve kinda been scrimping on new content. I found out about another death today (my friend’s husband, after a short bout of lymphoma) but I had a really positive and enlightening meeting with one of my professors yesterday, so that kinda makes up for it a little. So, to make up for it, I’m putting out a double feature of Masterpiece YouTube; I know it’s my “fall back content” when I haven’t read anything new or can’t think of a rant or a fun story or anything. But here are two YouTube Masterpieces to enjoy.

That’s So Jacob Presents:

Masterpiece YouTube

Episode 20/21: KOLture Shock, “Hatikvah” 2015/Wootton Acabellas, “Troublemaker” 2013

With all the bad rap Israel’s been getting lately (and by lately, I mean, since the beginning of the world), along comes a video that makes me proud to call Israel my spiritual home; something that could only happen in Israel, nowhere else in the Middle East.

We open on an ordinary Jerusalem Light Rail trip (side note: I never got to ride it because it was not finished until a little while after I left) and it’s chock full of commuters from all walks of Israeli life. Suddenly, a chick in a violet top soprano-belts the first line of the Israeli National Anthem (Hatikvah). After a moment of silence, the percussion kicks in and she starts over, this time with accompaniment from a bunch of other riders and stares from…other, non-singing riders, who pull out cell phones. One older lady with glasses and a curly ‘do is singing along, although clearly not as part of the group because we later see her clapping. After a final crescendo and an awesome percussive coda that sounds like a slowing-down train, they get applause and are greeted by a cheering audience from the platform.

This is a masterpiece for two reasons: the a cappella is not bad, could be better, but the camera work is really top notch. A great mix of shots of singers and bystanders, edited together to show a range of emotions. Plus, singing on public transit has always been a fantasy of mine (come on, who wouldn’t want their everyday life to turn into a musical?).

Final note: I actually know one of the people in the video; the skinny chick in the headscarf at around 1:30 is my sister’s best friend from growing up, the one she went to Israel for in December for her wedding. Also, I’m not sure, but the rabbi at 0:30 looks an awful lot like my Chabad rabbi from UMass.

Now for a different type of a cappella; the video quality is poor but the sound is amazing. It was filmed at Wootton High School in Reston, Virginia, and it’s the Wootton Acabellas singing Olly Murs’ “Troublemaker,” a totally underrated pop hit from the early 2010s. The choreography is cute, their outfits are simple yet elegant and age-appropriate, and the lead singer isn’t too bad.

But then there’s the rap soloist.

She is AWESOME. According to the video, her name is Rahila O. Olanrewaju and if she doesn’t have an album in the works, she better start on one because I would pre-order that. Seriously. And I buy a CD about once every five years. Plus, if you listen closely, she is also beatboxing for part of the song, which is also awesome.

The masterpiece about this is that it’s so simple and humble yet these girls can sing. For most people, it’s amazing; for a high school group, it’s outstanding

2

Masterpiece YouTube: Lauren Ireland, “If American Girl Dolls Were Real Dolls,” 2014

I usually don’t do this for recent videos, but this one is a particular masterpiece.

That’s So Jacob Presents:

Masterpiece YouTube

Episode 16: Lauren Ireland, “If American Girl Dolls Were Real Dolls,” 2014

I was on BuzzFeed, because who isn’t, and I came across this video. Being a child of the 90s, (yes, even a boy who had a sister in the 90s and had enough female friends to know who the American Girl dolls were), I was curious about this. Personally, I hadn’t thought of American Girl dolls in quite some time. Well, actually, that’s a lie, because I recently learned that American Girl’s headquarters are in Middleton, Wisconsin, which is about ten minutes down the road from where I currently live; actually, just about on my street. So I’ve been kind of curious about that. But then, I found this video, and I’ve been thinking about them ever since.

To tell you the truth, I have not kept up with American Girl over the years. I remember when there were just five – heck, I remember when there was just four, Addy was introduced when I was in elementary school – and other than the Hispanic one, who entered the scene just as I stopped caring about liking everything my sister liked, and Kit, the Great Depression doll, because of the movie that they made about her. Apparently, according to the article above, American Girl has now been taken over by Mattel, who also own Barbie, and the dolls have been “Barbie-fied,” that is, more emphasis on accessories than history, which is kind of what separated the American Girl dolls from Barbie in the first place, the fact that they actually stood for something historical, as opposed to Barbie, who couldn’t even stand upright if she were a real person.

But, the video. It’s a comedy bit about the American Girl dolls out to lunch, or tea, or something, and the great thing about it is that it goes exactly how I thought the American Girls would actually be like. Of course, Samantha’s gotta have the first word, and at 00:15, I spotted the first error: Samantha refers to Grandmama, when from the books, I distinctly remember that she called her Grandmary. And I’m right, so one point for me. The girls are all over the place with their hilariously mistimed orders, and Molly kills it with her “canned tomato soup” comment. The waiter’s not impressed, and asks them if they’re American Girl dolls, to which Samantha (of course) goes, “Well, we are American Girls.” At 01:06, though, there’s another error, when Kirsten doesn’t know what a doll is, which I found kind of curious since I assumed that Kirsten would have probably had a doll herself, and I’m right again (two strikes, Miss Ireland). Then there’s the Addy bit, which is funny because it is true, she was kind of boring. And then Kit comes over as the manager, and Samantha throws some shade her way Regina George-style. I can’t say that I’m surprised. And of course, Samantha gets the last word, “I’m an orphan!”

In spite of two factual errors (Well, let’s face it; there were plenty of errors in historical fact in the dolls themselves. Just ask Addy.) this is pretty funny, and shows just how awkward 90s girls were and that I was not alone in thinking that the American Girl dolls were probably weird in their own time as well. I’m not too sold on the Kirsten impression, but then again, Kirsten was kind of a loose cannon all along her story arc. This video is a masterpiece because it shows that comedy is indeed collectible. I hope that she makes more shorts like these – I wonder what would happen if, say, Felicity tried Uber, or Kirsten faced an ATM, or Samantha got called out for having resting bitch face or something.

This video actually made me try to imagine what the American Girls would do today. So, imagine a Friends-type scenario, if you will:

Samantha is definitely the high-powered business type. She has a 9 to 5, and plays tennis and golf on the weekends. She is constantly on her cell phone. Her pastimes including going on moderately successful dates and then coming home and complaining to the rest of the girls about how there are no good men out there, and how she’ll be perpetually single. She has a very obvious crush on one or more of her male co-workers, despite her “independent woman” front. Her wardrobe includes power suits and pumps, and on her days off, she’s in power suits and pumps (she does, however, alternate between slacks and skirts of a tasteful length). She’s definitely a Sarah Palin supporter, but when questioned, deflects to any other topic. Her drink of choice is a dry martini.

Felicity has a B.A. in English and is pursuing her Master’s in Creative Writing, perpetually in school, with a quill pen on her person at all times. She works at Planned Parenthood to pay the bills, but her heart is in mentoring the troubled teenage girls she meets there. She is generally calm, except for when you ask her about her career plans, and when you gently suggest she quit writing and go for a degree in public health or counseling or something, she scorns you to no end. Generally the happy-go-lucky peacemaker of the group, she enjoys yoga and is training to be a Zumba instructor in her spare time. She would have cats if only her roommate, Samantha, wasn’t “allergic.” Samantha and Felicity work well as roommates because they balance each others’ personalities out, and when it comes to personal politics, well, they agree to disagree. Her drink of choice is kombucha.

Molly lives across the hall from Samantha and Felicity (Never Felicity and Samantha, always Samantha and Felicity). She’s the rational one of the group, and is constantly untangling the other girls from their messes. She works at an independent bookstore/coffee shop, and although she loudly decries Starbucks every chance she gets, she secretly adores their caramel macchiatos and peppermint mochas, and disguises them in her refillable coffee cups. She’s into theatre and sometimes runs stage crew or stage manages for community theatre productions. She loves watching sports on TV but would rather not play because of, you know, her glasses. The other girls talk her into contacts, and she gives in for a brief period of time, but only wears them when begged to. Her drink of choice is cappuccino.

Addy lives with Molly, who she found through a Craigslist ad. She teaches middle school, and is completely overworked, doing things like coaching the girls’ volleyball team, heading up the pep squad, representing on the PTA, and basically whatever her principal throws her way. She is a pessimist and hates her job, but has a soft spot for the kids. She looks great in pretty dresses, but prefers sweats. She’s constantly trying out new names, and will one day get around to changing hers; she’s narrowed it down to Ghebremariam, Tyleisha, or Crystal. Her drink of choice is apple juice with a little something extra.

Kirsten is one of those people who you look at like, “what the hell is up with her,” but little do you know, she’s got her whole life figured out but is not telling anyone. She’s always hanging out at one of the two apartments, sleeping on Samantha/Felicity’s couch until she drools or drops some olive tapenade on it one day and is banished to Addy/Molly’s, who take care of her for awhile, but then somehow manage to move her back across the hall. No one is quite sure what she does all day, or where she actually lives. She does do her fair share of the cooking and cleaning, though, wherever she is, and she’s pleasant to be around, so nobody really minds her that much. She has been seen dumpster diving, and she makes a lot of jewelry that no one really wants or needs. She seems to make friends everywhere she goes, and she may or may not have a boyfriend. Every so often, one of the girls will walk in on her either in the bathroom or hidden in a corner, talking in angry, rapid-fire Swedish, and when she notices, she turns red with embarrassment, hangs up, and asks how the weather is outside today. Her drink of choice is water from the kitchen sink, or just straight vodka.

5

How To Spend Your Birthday Laughing Instead of Crying

So, I turned 27 years old today. Happy birthday to me.

It started off with a fire alarm at 8 AM, but other than that it was mostly a good day. My parents sent me cookies, Twizzlers, and coupons, and even my sister gave me a call. I even got a surprise bag of donuts.

As most people who know me know, my birthday always brings me anxiety. It only comes once a year and then it’s gone. 364 days until I am special again. It’s also a symbol that yes, that number’s only going up, but I have to just remind myself that it’s a good day, a happy day, just for me. It also helps that tomorrow is my lunar birthday, so that kind of softens the blow going from balloons and singing to…nothing. Here’s another thing about me: I love it when people sing me the birthday song on my birthday.

It also helps to know that although I’ve probably had more memorable birthdays than this one, I’ve undoubtedly had much, much worse ones.

What I do know:

Today, I am having a happy birthday. I am so glad that I am alive, healthy, and independent. I am safe, and I am free. Those are the best gifts I could ever receive.

But enough sappy stuff.

I spent much of my morning watching videos that make me laugh and smile, so in addition to ones I’ve already shared, here are the top five videos that will fill your birthday with laughter and happiness.

Top Five Videos that Make Me Happy

5. Clueless as performed by the Golden Girls.

4. Wanda Sykes goes skiing.

3. Rosie O’Donnell and Bea Arthur singing the Maude theme song.

2. Ellen DeGeneres and her cubicle.

1. Aliens singing the birthday song.

Oh, and a bonus video, of course.

I just imagine Celine is singing right to me.