Beyond the Books

Your Guide to student life



Saturday, Dec. 26, 2015 12:39 p.m.

What to watch this break

This post was written by Hatchet reporters Crystel Sylvester and Grace Gannon.

With all the free time you’ve got this winter break, you can start a marathon of a new show and watch some classic movies.

Netflix – TV shows

Making a Murderer
If you like “Serial” or “The Jinx,” then “Making a Murderer” is for you. The documentary show tells the riveting story of Steven Avery, a man who was convicted of murder only a few months after serving 18 years in jail for a sexual assault crime he didn’t commit. The show is engrossing not only for the twists and turns in the case but also in its raw look at the justice system and the class struggles prevalent in Avery’s small Wisconsin town.

Master of None
As Aziz Ansari’s newest creation, this show is great for nostalgic fans of “Parks and Recreation.” The show follows Ansari’s lead character, Dev, an actor trying to make it New York City, as he deals with everything from romantic relationships to making a connection with his immigrant parents. More of a gentle and introspective comedy than a slapstick one, Master of None works well for a lazy day.

Nurse Jackie (coming to Netflix Dec 31st)
For those who enjoy a little drama, this show will serve well as a winter break timekiller. Seven seasons follow Jackie Peyton, a drug-addicted nurse navigating through a busy New York hospital.

The Great British Baking Show
If you enjoy cooking competitions on the Food Network or “Top Chef” but hate the time spent on bickering contestants, this show is for you. Like a mug of tea, this show is warm, gentle and inviting. No seriously, after a contestant is eliminated each week, the judges, hosts and contestants all gather around and give him or her a group hug. Instead of all living in one house together, the contestants, who are all home bakers, bake in a giant tent in a middle of a picturesque field every weekend. Whether you are interested in baking or not, you will be fascinated by the obscure British desserts and delighted by the charm and friendliness of all the contestants.

John Mulaney: The Comeback Kid
This comedy special riffs on everything from Mulaney’s newly-wed life to his French bulldog, Petunia, to the time he met Bill Clinton as a 10-year-old, all in Mulaney’s signature sharp comic style.

Netflix – movies

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
An 80’s comedy classic that everyone should see at least once, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” follows high school senior Ferris and his best friend and girlfriend as they parade around Chicago for a day of mischief.

To Kill a Mockingbird
You should revisit this classic book through film form before reading Lee’s controversial follow-up, “Go Set a Watchman.”


This critically acclaimed indie, which was shot with an iPhone 5, is the perfect new holiday classic. Set during Christmas Eve, ‘Tangerine’ tells the story of two transgender sex workers, Sin-Dee Rella and Alexandra, who set out on a mission of revenge against Sin-Dee’s boyfriend, who cheated on her while she was jail. A raw look at the transgender sex-worker subculture, this movie will make you laugh, cry, and feel grateful for your best friend.

Amazon – TV shows

Mad Men
A seven-season drama that ended earlier this year, “Mad Men” is set in the 1960s and follows the businesses of advertising agencies in New York City and the personal lives of its characters. One of the most critically acclaimed TV series of all time, this show is worth taking up when you’ve got tons of free time.

Based on creator Jill Soloway’s own life, this Emmy-winning show centers around the Pfefferman family, whose patriarch Mort Pfefferman has recently transitioned to become Maura Pfefferman. While the first season mainly focused on the reactions of Maura’s wife and three children to her transition, the second season widens its scope to delve into the identity struggles of all of the family members. Laugh at loud funny at times – you need to hear Jeffrey Tambor say “yaasss queen” – and visually stunning to look at, ‘Transparent’ is a show unique for its empathetic, honest portrayal of all of its many flawed characters.

The Man in the High Castle
This visually intricate Amazon original show imagines what the U.S. would be like if Germany had won World War II and taken over the East Coast while Japan controlled the West Coast.

A brisk six episodes, this romantic comedy features American stand-up comic Rob Delaney and Irish actress Sharon Horgan playing a couple who end up pregnant after a week-long tryst. Delaney and Horgan have a natural chemistry together, giving the show a lived-in vibe.

Amazon – movies

The Hurt Locker
This film is for those who enjoy watching movies that dig into real-life events. One of the most critically acclaimed films about the Iraq War, “The Hurt Locker” follows a three-man bomb disposal team.

The Bling Ring
Emma Watson fans will enjoy this satirical crime film based on a real-life crime ring made up of rich, bored California teenagers.

Toy Story trilogy
Revisit your childhood in your childhood home this break with the complete Toy Story trilogy, and laugh and cry all over again at your favorite toys and their adventures.

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“Black” is back.

At the end of Season 2, we saw inmate Miss Rosa make a jailbreak (and take down antagonist Vee along the way), Figueroa resign as prison director after being exposed for embezzlement and inmate Daya try to cover up her pregnancy by blaming prison guard Mendez.

If you didn’t pull an all-nighter Thursday to watch the episodes released early, bring the party to Litchfield Penitentiary on Friday night by catching up on Season 3 with this drinking game.

Drink if…

Pennsatucky recites a Bible verse

Morello wears red lipstick

Someone calls Mendez “Pornstache.”

Healy sends someone to solitary confinement for no reason.

Two inmates become each others’ prison wives.

Sophia gives someone an edgy haircut.

The opening credits are so long that you almost lose interest.

Take a shot if…

Crazy Eyes’ story line makes you tear up.

An inmate can’t get what she wants from the commissary.

Someone else finds out about Daya’s pregnancy.

You learn a new vocabulary word from Taystee.

Red plots a new way to take over the kitchen.

Two inmates get in a fist fight.

Someone using the phone next to Piper is sobbing uncontrollably.

Finish your drink if…

Piper and Alex end up happily ever after.

You actually start to miss Larry.

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Updated: Feb. 26, 2015 at 12:25 p.m.

The post was written by Hatchet reporter Grace Gannon.

The year-long wait to catch up with the District’s twisted (fictional) power couple is finally over: Season 3 of “House of Cards” will stream on Netflix starting Feb. 27 at midnight… Pacific Time.

When the last episode of Season 2 ended, Frank Underwood became president after he manipulated Garrett Walker into resigning, Claire Underwood experienced a rare moment of guilt after her military sexual assault awareness campaign turned sour and Doug Stamper was lying in the woods with his head bashed in.

Season 3 will undoubtedly present plot twists, but some things never change in the nation’s capital. Play our “House of Cards” drinking game as you binge watch – just be careful not to spiral downward the same way our dearly departed Peter Russo did.

Drink if…

The Underwoods go on a midnight couples run.

Frank taps his prized class ring on the table.

Frank breaks the fourth wall.

The Underwoods share a smoke in the window.

Claire uses the rowing machine.

David Fincher’s signature dimly-lit set forces you to turn your laptop brightness up all the way.

A real-life newscaster makes a cameo.

Frank retreats to play video games.

Take a shot if…

The Underwoods have switched to e-cigarettes for their late-night toke.

There’s a motorcade (take another if the Vex is stuck behind it).

GWireless goes down in the middle of an episode.

You make it back to bed with another snack before the absurdly long theme song ends.

Claire is told she needs to “soften her image” as First Lady.

Frank finds another grimy barbecue joint to satisfy his ribs craving.

Down your whole drink if…

Another handsome member of the Secret Service is seduced into an Underwood threesome.

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This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Ariana Mushnick.

Finals season is winding down, and chances are you’ll soon be home for the holidays with little to no responsibilities. Take advantage of your free time with the best of Netflix’s latest, from Britney Spears’ 2002 cinematic debut to 236 hours of “Friends.”


Promotional poster for “Almost Famous.”

“Almost Famous”
Available: Dec. 1
Take a journey into the ‘70s with a movie full of corduroy, platform shoes and Kate Hudson circa 2000 rocking round blue-tinted sunglasses at all hours of the night. The semi-autobiographical film directed by Cameron Crowe tells the story of an aspiring teenage music journalist who has the adventure of a lifetime. Touring with a rock band as a writer for Rolling Stone at age 15, he witnesses all the sex, drugs and rock n’ roll with hilarious awkwardness and coming-of-age moments.

“Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues”
Available: Dec. 6
Ron Burgundy is back in action. The 763 new jokes the trailer brags about may be stupid, but they sure will make you laugh. Unwind from finals season with this cast packed with comedic icons: Will Ferrell, Steve Carell, Paul Rudd and David Koechner. Even if the plot seems silly, watch until the end for the epic fight scene even funnier than the first film’s, this time featuring Harrison Ford, Kanye West, Will Smith and Tina Fey.

“American Beauty”
Available: Dec. 1
Before Frank Underwood, Kevin Spacey was Lester Burnham, who leads just about the opposite life of his “House of Cards” character. Watch Spacey’s Academy Award-winning performance as a miserable father facing a mid-life crisis. The twisted plot unravels as Lester becomes fed up with his neurotic wife and infatuated with his teenage daughter’s best friend. You may be dreading a month of holiday family dinners, but after this you’ll be glad you weren’t born into the Burnham family.

Available: Dec. 1
If you’re looking for a more casual movie night, “Crossroads” is an option for some fluffy entertainment. Three young friends bury a box and make a pact to open it the night of their high school graduation, but by the time senior year rolls around, they’ve ended up in separate cliques. Kit (Zoe Saldana) is the popular prom queen, Mimi (Taryn Manning) is a pregnant rebel and Lucy is the innocent good girl, who is played – ironically – by Britney Spears. Despite their diverging paths, they fulfill their pact to open the box and end up reuniting for a roadtrip in a yellow convertible with jam sessions to “Bye, Bye, Bye” along the way.

Available: Jan. 1
If binge watching TV shows is more your style, Jan. 1 is your lucky day. All 10 seasons (that’s 236 episodes, 83 hours) of the iconic series will be available New Year’s Day to help you kick off 2015. “Friends” is on just about every list of “Top TV Shows of All Time,” but if you’re not familiar with the series, it follows Rachel, Joey, Chandler, Phoebe, Ross and Monica as they try to make their way through life as young adults in Manhattan.

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This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Jeanine Marie.

Oct. 3 may be the unofficial holiday celebrating the pervasiveness of “Mean Girls,” but this week, another lady-led pop culture marvel will upstage Tina Fey’s “plastics.”

Promotional poster for "Gilmore Girls."

Promotional poster for “Gilmore Girls.”

“Gilmore Girls” premieres Wednesday on Netflix.

The show first debuted in 2000 on the WB and ran until 2007. In its pilot episode, producer Amy Sherman-Palladino introduced a cult-ish audience to the Gilmore girls: Lorelai, a quick-witted 32-year-old who runs The Independence Inn and her 16-year-old daughter Rory, a bookworm with the same blue eyes and keen, sarcastic sense of humor as her single mother.

The duo frequent Luke’s Diner in Stars Hollow, a fictional small town where they know every quirky resident.

Kirk, who has held 15,000 odd jobs, and Lane, Rory’s best friend and the owner of a rock n’ roll CD collection that would infuriate her strict Korean mother if she ever found it, are just two members of a dynamic cast that make the show worth indulging in whether it be for the first time or the fourth.

Here’s what to expect from the mother-daughter duo and their wacky friends.

Season 1

Essential episode: “Cinnamon’s Wake” packs everything funny, sweet and real about “Gilmore Girls” into 45 minutes. There’s a cat funeral for a neighborhood feline, two Lorelais dancing around each other’s feelings, a lot of pie and a Nazi joke told by the typically demure Emily Gilmore.

Season 2

Essential episode: “Red Light on the Wedding Night” will tug at your heart strings a thousand times as the logistics of Lorelai’s impending marriage are called into question. The episode also features Luke in all his grumpy, affectionate, plaid-wearing glory.

Season 3

Essential episode(s): “They Shoot Gilmores, Don’t They?” followed by “Let the Games Begin” are 90 minutes that drastically change the course of “Gilmore Girls.” Lorelai is a staunch hater of Yale University and Jess, a local bad boy, but Rory has a change of heart about both. Stars Hollow holds the 24-hour dance marathon we all wish our hometowns had and the Gilmore grandparents appear in their most pretentiously fun form.

Season 4

Essential episode: “Raincoats and Recipes” is chock-full of typical Gilmore behavior: Lorelai locks Rory in her room when she catches her doing laundry in the middle of the night, Lane hides food under the floorboards from her roommates and the whole town shows up for the The Dragonfly Inn test-run weekend.

Season 5

Essential episode: In “Norman Mailer, I’m Pregnant!” Rory dishes some harsh advice to her estranged father and does some investigative work for the Yale newspaper. The episode involves a pizza pie, a gorilla mask and an excessive amount of iced tea drunk by author Norman Mailer, and serves as an excellent setup for the rest of the season.

Season 6

Essential episode: “The Prodigal Daughter Returns,” for which you will need Kleenex and your phone to call your mom as soon as the credits roll.

Season 7

Essential episode: Despite the awkwardness of the last two seasons without creator Amy Sherman-Palladino, “Bon Voyage” meaningfully wraps up the whole series as Lorelai finally realizes what’s most important in the man she marries, and Rory gets a job covering the political campaign of a senator from Illinois named Barack Obama.

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Adjunct Professor Matthew Wilson appears in Season 2 of Netflix's 'House of Cards." Photo courtesy of Netflix.

Adjunct professor Matthew Wilson appears in the second season of “House of Cards.” Photo courtesy of Netflix.

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Morgan Baskin]

“If you blink you, might miss me,” acting and movement adjunct professor Matthew Wilson said of his cameo in the third episode of the second season of “House of Cards.”

Wilson plays a senator from Georgia, opposite Kevin Spacey’s Frank Underwood, who presides over the Senate during a Republican-led attempt to stall the vote on an important bill. Wilson said he’s read for more than 50 roles since the inception of the show – including speechwriters, White House staffers and CIA operatives – before finally being cast in the second season, which was released Friday on Netflix.

Photo used under the Wikimedia Commons license

Photo used under the Wikimedia Commons license

Wilson, who has a master’s degree from the Shakespeare Theater Company’s Academy for Classical Acting at GW, said he sent in costume measurements and received the script before he even found out who he would play. So how’d he prepare for the role? By watching “House of Cards” of course.

“We only filmed for two days in the Annapolis State House, and they really streamlined that whole subplot quite a bit,” Wilson said of his time filming in early June 2013. “It was pretty straightforward because of how truncated it got, so I just wanted to get a sense of the show’s style.”

Once he arrived at the set, Wilson said Spacey was “very business-like.” He was particularly impressed by director David Fincher’s (“Fight Club,” “The Social Network”) attention to detail. The costume designer, for example, gets intricate notes ranging from how to knot the senators’ ties to which fabric to use for curtains in the White House.

“I think you can see from the top down how careful and well-constructed the whole piece is,” Wilson said.

Up next for Wilson: work on a production of “Titus Andronicus” with his theater company, which will open this May.

He is teaching an introduction to acting class this semester.

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Does it disappoint you to know the Netflix hit series “House of Cards” isn’t filmed in D.C.? Apparently it’s frustrated Foggy Bottom’s representative on the D.C. Council.

Jack Evans, who is also vying for the Democratic nomination for mayor in the spring, is calling on the city to fork over $25 million so it can bring back a film inventive fund that’s been out of commission for years.

That sum would be much more than what the fund, which was exhausted after doling out $2 million for the 2010 romantic comedy “How Do You Know,” ever held when it was active.

TV shows such as “House of Cards” and “Veep,” both set in D.C., are now filmed in Baltimore, while political thriller “Homeland” is shot in Charlotte, N.C.

“We have as much to offer as Baltimore,” Evans told the Washingtonian. “There’s no reason we can’t do that.”

But Baltimore has been more friendly to filmmakers, the Washingtonian reported, offering tax credits to production companies and gaining thousands of jobs for local electricians, carpenters and cameramen in return.

Producers for “House of Cards” originally aimed to film in D.C., but the city said it didn’t have the money to hire residents to work on the show or cover hotel stays for cast and crew.

The first season of “House of Cards” generated almost $150 million in economic activity and thousands of jobs. Maryland now boasts a film incentive fund of $22.5 million.

Evans could face an uphill battle as a proposal to revive the District’s fund last year fell flat. Council member Vincent Orange, who is also running for mayor, put forward a plan to pay for the fund by taking a slice of money from grants to real-estate contractors. Evans is instead proposing to fund the program with sales tax revenue.

He could also come up against resistance for the past program’s track record. For every dollar the city gave to “How Do You Know,” which ended up flopping at the box office and with critics, it got back 18 cents.

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This post was written by Hatchet reporters Allison Kowalski and Andrew Avrick.

Hatchet reporters woke up at 3 a.m. on the East Coast to binge-watch Season 4 of Arrested Development, released May 26, and chronicle one of the 15 new episodes each day.

Episode 12: “Señoritis”

“STEVE HOLT!” shouts: 1

Number of lifetime achievement awards earned: 1

Best one-liner: “First my parents don’t notice that I drowned, and now my cousin doesn’t care that I’m at the height of my sexuality.” – Maeby

Centered around: Maeby Fünke

It’s starting to seem that the stronger the character, the later they’ve appeared in Season 4, and Maeby shows up stronger than ever.

In earlier seasons, Maeby (Alia Shawkat) was never the strongest character of the bunch, especially in the beginning when all her plots focused on her being an angsty teen trying to get back at her mother. Once she jumped into the Hollywood business, she finally was on par with the other characters and even had her own awesome catchphrase – “Marry me!” – to accompany her newfound relevance.

Sadly, we see that Maeby loses her job as a movie executive because she never completed high school in one of her failed stints to grab her parents’ attention. This was a scary setup at first, as George Sr. (Jeffrey Tambor) did not fair well outside his prison/refugee gig, and it looked as if Maeby was headed for a similar fate. But there was no reason to fear: we still see her tough-businesswoman act while she pimps out her mom to politician Herbert Love (Terry Crews), and takes the stage to accept a lifetime achievement award for her film career. This is the same Maeby we know and love.

Just like Gob’s latest episodes, Maeby’s offered great character catharsis while still keeping the mood light. Maeby is searching for her strength, and after she lost her movie executive title, is floundering around, quite lost. But she’s not dwelling and mulling in sadness; she’s resilient, and attaches herself to new projects, including George Michael’s (Michael Cera) Fakeblock app. It seems that this season has surprised us by reviving some of the more forgotten characters of the previous seasons and giving them new life.

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This post was written by Hatchet reporters Allison Kowalski and Kelsey Renz.

Hatchet reporters woke up at 3 a.m. on the East Coast to binge-watch Season 4 of Arrested Development, released May 26, and chronicle one of the 15 new episodes every day.

Episode 11: “A New Attitude”

“Did somebody say ‘Wonder’?” jokes:  3

Dead doves: 1

Best one-liner: “Listen, if you insist on talking to me like you’re my wife, then don’t be surprised to find my dick in you and then you never hear from me again.”- Gob to Michael

Centered around: Gob Bluth

Gob (Will Arnett) is back and ready to enact his revenge on Tony Wonder (Ben Stiller). Wonder’s new act centers around the fact he’s gay, so Gob goes to a gay bar in an attempt to woo him and ultimately break his heart. Seeing Gob at the gay bar leads Wonder to think Gob is gay, so he devises the same plan.

Except, of course, both men are secretly straight. It’s such a bizarre setup that you’re just waiting for it to implode on itself.

Except, something odd happens – they start legitimately falling for each other, and while “Arrested Development” isn’t really a duo-type of show, it’s actually the most genuine relationship the show has ever presented us. Still, it doesn’t get too gooey and fits in with the show’s oddities with their back and forth “pretend” gay personas. Even their first time sleeping together only happens because Ann (Mae Whitman) manipulates them by having them wear a mask of the others’ face on it, which reads as absurdly as it plays out on screen. The only downside to this is that Ann has started showing some personality, which starts to take away from her “Her?” anonymity that made her appearances so enjoyable.

The episode even has Michael (Jason Bateman) and Gob finally confronting a lot of their frustrations with each other in the middle of a ballpit in a children’s gym. It’s probably one of the most cathartic episodes of the series, while also being one of the most absurd and hilarious. The writers have managed to find a sweet spot that allows them to be ridiculous while hashing out internal issues between characters. If anyone were to argue that the show wasn’t leading anywhere or coming up with anything substantial, this episode would completely null their theories.


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This post was written by Hatchet reporters Allison Kowalski and Andrew Avrick.

Hatchet reporters woke up at 3 a.m. on the East Coast to binge-watch Season 4 of Arrested Development, released May 26, and chronicle one of the 15 new episodes every day.

Episode 10: “Queen B.”

Gene Parmesan appearances: 1

Number of Country Club Prison gangs: 1

Best one-liner: “This toast has hook holes. Again!” – Lucille

Centered around: Lucille Bluth

Two-thirds through the season is a pretty late introduction for our matriarch plot line, but the writers must be saving the meatier stories for last. Especially after the bomb last season, where we found out that Lucille (Jessica Walter) was the mastermind behind the dealing in Iraq, it’s exciting to see the story filtered through her evil mastermind. And we’re not disappointed.

It’s Lucille’s turn to spend some time away for what she’s done, but instead of the ice cream sandwich-serving men’s prison George (Jeffrey Tambor) attended, she’s comfortably set in what’s effectively a resort with an ankle bracelet.

We’re also back to some unsettling racist humor. In jail, Lucille joins a gang, known as “The Real Asian Prison Housewives of Orange County,” which is just three other Asian women who speak loudly in thick accents and eventually attempt to stab Lucille with a sharpened noodle. Again, the show has done great bits playing off of the obviously offensive, but when it’s not funny, it just seems cheap and uncomfortable.

Luckily Lucille schemes her way out of jail, and comes home to find all her items labeled with the names of her family members: they’ve claimed her belongings while she was away. Her release also comes with stipulations that she attends Lucille 2’s (Liza Minelli) clinic, and shows up in the middle of Tobias’ (David Cross) play, where she takes over the stage as a villain  (surprise, surprise). Lucille’s revelation towards the end where she mistakes Tobias’ recasting from the villain to the invisible woman as insightful therapy is arguably the most human we’ve ever seen her, yet she still manages to stay sharp and conniving.

Unsurprisingly, the setup of this season has shown us that the most flamboyant and outrageous characters shine in their episodes (Gob and Lucille), while other peripheral characters only used as side-gags tended to flop (Michael and Lindsay). It’ll be interesting to see if these last few episodes stand by that.

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