Safe Spaces: Jim’s Room and Lord Stafford

I recently watched Season 2, Episode 9 (“Email Surveillance”) of The Office for a second time. Basically, Michael installs software that allows him to see everyone’s email, and he’s hurt when he realizes he’s the only one Jim didn’t invite to his barbecue.

So, obviously, part of the episode takes place at Jim’s house. And it affected me in a way I didn’t expect. When Jim and Pam went into Jim’s room, a sense of safety came over me. If I was in the room with them – and in that moment, I wished I was – I’d feel completely comfortable there. And if I ever were to actually meet John Krasinski and Emily Blunt, I’d probably feel safe with them as well.

Part 2, Episode 7 of The Spanish Princess affected me similarly. Warning: spoilers ahead. There’s a scene where Catherine is “walking off a cramp” in the middle of the night. Lord Edward Stafford just happens to be walking by when the pain is too much for Catherine. She pleads for him to help her. He replies that it would be improper, that she should call for her ladies. But he also sees her desperation, so he picks her up and carries her back to her room anyway. Once Catherine is back in bed, she begins to bleed; she’s lost another child. And Stafford is there to comfort her.

In that moment, Stafford is Catherine’s safe space, where she is allowed to let her guard down and cry. That’s why his death a few scenes later is so upsetting for me. Catherine has few allies left at court, and she just lost an unlikely one. Even though he was a jerk face in Part 1, Stafford clearly cares for the queen, and she trusts him enough to let him see her vulnerability.


Google, please stop

At this point, it shouldn’t be a secret that I love – and admittedly have a crush on – Emily Blunt. My posts about Mary Poppins Returns are more than enough proof.

Unfortunately, Google has noticed this as well. The first thing I saw when I opened up Google on my phone the other day was an article about her Met Gala dress. That wasn’t what I was searching for at all.

It makes me feel like I’m unhealthily obsessed with her, even though I know I’m not; her work just so happens to mean a lot to me. I’m not one of those crazy people who is going to find out where she lives and stalk her. I know she’s (apparently) neighbors with Jimmy Kimmel, and that’s enough for me.

Nor do I want her to myself. I’m not a home wrecker. She and John Krasinski are pretty much relationship goals. If they ever get divorced for some reason I will be very, very sad.

So, Google, can you please not shove Mrs. Krasinski in my face so much? I’m not saying I never want to read about her (or John, for that matter), but I don’t need to be bombarded with articles. Okay, thanks, bye!


It’s scary because it’s not

I’ve now watched A Quiet Place four times. Four. And before you ask, it’s not just because of my affinity for Emily Blunt – although, I have to admit, she is the main reason I wanted to watch it for the first time.

I think one reason I like it so much is that the film is not a blood-and-guts horror movie. It’s more … is intellectual the right word? I don’t have to cover my eyes for anything. The only thing it occasionally triggers is my startle reflex, which comes into play with loud noises and sudden movement.

Another thing that makes the movie watchable for someone like me – who usually steers clear of the horror genre at all costs – is the family dynamic. After the apocalypse, there’s not much to do but try to survive. All the normal day-to-day activities are gone – no cell phones, no TV, etc. So it basically forces the Abbott family to spend time together, perhaps more than they normally would.

And going along with the family dynamic is the protection factor. It’s clear that Lee and Evelyn (John Krasinski and Emily Blunt, respectively) would do anything to protect their children. When their son Marcus (Noah Jupe) is understandably nervous about going outside to learn survival skills, Evelyn is basically like “Don’t worry, you’ll be fine, your father will protect you.” Most of this in sign language, of course. There are only approximately three minutes of spoken dialogue in the entire hour and a half run time of the movie. Because if anybody makes any noise at all, they’re pretty much dead on the spot.

Looked at individually, these reasons for liking the movie make a lot of sense. Taken together, however, I can’t seem to put my finger on what the movie represents for me as a whole. All I can say is it gives me a bunch of feelings that have nothing to do with horror.


I like that you’re broken

“You feel the things most of us run away from, the things the rest of us are too bottled up to feel”

Colin Firth, Arthur Newman

Picture this: Colin Firth and Emily Blunt’s characters are sitting by a motel pool.  Emily Blunt’s character (Mike) is having a panic attack like you’ve never seen because she’s afraid that she will end up schizophrenic like her sister.  Colin Firth’s character (Arthur) sits with her and says the above.  And it hit me like a ton of bricks; I don’t think I’ve ever related to anything more.  Because I’m the same way.  I feel everything so powerfully, especially when I’m trying to make sense of something.  

Hearing Arthur say that to Mike was liberating for me.  Someone finally said that it was okay to be overwhelmed by feelings some times.  It’s not necessarily fun, of course, but it doesn’t make me crazy.  And as long as I have a grip on reality — for example, I don’t start thinking fictional characters are real — it can actually be an asset as a writer.  If certain characters didn’t mean as much to me as they do, I wouldn’t be able to come up with my own stories about them.  My fan fiction wouldn’t exist.

However, there’s also another reason I love Arthur Newman.  And no, it’s not just because Emily Blunt is important to me, though she is the reason I wanted to watch the movie in the first place.  I was able to relate to the movie as a whole.  Colin Firth’s character was actually a man named Wallace Avery, a man who faked his own death to get a new lease on life.  He sees Mike in the aftermath of a car accident and takes her to the hospital.  

After she’s released from the hospital and she hitches a ride with him, Mike realizes Arthur isn’t who he claims to be — she find his real ID in his car, which he stole (or maybe he paid for it, I can’t remember).  Wallace/Arthur is obviously annoyed, but he doesn’t get mad or tell her to go away.  He’s not afraid his secret will be exposed.

As they spend the next few days together and get to know each other, Mike spills her own beans — her real name is Charlotte.  “Mike” is actually a nickname of sorts for her sister, Mckayla, whom she dropped off at a mental hospital and whose identity she stole.  She wanted a fresh start in life, too.

This next part gets a little crazy.  In the course of their whirlwind relationship, they break into people’s houses and … hang out, to put it lightly.  It was a bit triggering for me because I didn’t want them to cross the line and lose their grip on reality — that’s my own worst fear.  At the same time, I gave them the benefit of the doubt because I know what it’s like to want to be someone else.  Their brokenness and need for escapism brought them together, and that’s what really resonated with me.  They eventually went their separate ways and back to their own realities, but it was nice while it lasted.


Psychology in Mary Poppins Returns


The other day, I asked my Amazon Alexa to play the Mary Poppins Returns soundtrack. I was somewhat surprised when she found it, even though I knew she’d probably be able to.

Listening to the soundtrack, I fell in love with the songs even more. And I noticed some new things I didn’t pick up on while I was watching the movie, while I reinforced the things I did notice. I am going to try and break down my observations. I’m no expert though, so please take this with a huge ton of salt.

Reverse: Can You Imagine That?

When Mary Poppins arrives, John, Anabel, and Georgie Banks (Nathanael Saleh, Pixie Davies, and Joel Dawson respectively) insist that they don’t need anyone to take care of them because they’ve basically been taking care of themselves since their mother passed away.

So Mary Poppins kicks it up a notch with a little reverse psychology aimed at John, by far the most skeptical of the three children.

John, you’re right

It’s good to know you’re bright

For intellect can wash away confusion

Georgie sees

And Anabel agrees

Most folderol’s an optical illusion

You three know it’s true

That one plus one plus one is two

Yes, logic is the rock of our foundation

I suspect, and I’m never incorrect

That you’re far too old to give in to


Later in the song, Georgie says “Wait, I want to take a bath!”

Mary Poppins follows Georgie and Anabel into the bathtub, whispering “Off we go!” Let’s face it, she probably hasn’t had this much fun since she looked after Michael and Jane. And that was forever ago.

Too many questions: Royal Doulton Music Hall

When Mary Poppins, Jack, and the children go inside the bowl, Mary Poppins asks the coachman to take them to the Royal Doulton Music Hall. When the children ask where they’re going, Mary Poppins says

We’re on the brink of an adventure, children. Don’t spoil it with too many questions.

But what’s wrong with the kids asking where they’re going? Mary Poppins could’ve said something like “You’ll see”. That would’ve kept them on their toes and encouraged excitement. She didn’t need to be a buzzkill.

Reframing: Turning Turtle

In order to get the Royal Doulton bowl fixed, Mary Poppins takes the gang to her cousin Topsy’s house. But Topsy is all out of sorts because it’s the second Wednesday of the month, and that means her house is going to turn upside down, like a turtle on its back.

Toward the end of the song, Mary Poppins says

When you change the view from where

you stood

the things you view will change for good

And Topsy replies

I never thought of things that way

Reframing, or thinking of things in a different way, is a nice idea, but sometimes it’s easier said than done. I know from experience.

Acknowledgement: The Place Where Lost Things Go and There’s Nowhere to go But Up

“The Place Where Lost Things Go” is sort of a turning point in the movie. It’s definitely emotional. The children realize that it’s kind of nice to have a mother figure around, though Mary Poppins is no replacement for their own mother. That’s okay though, she doesn’t expect to be. Their mother is the whole reason for the song anyway:

So, when you need her touch and loving gaze

Gone but not forgotten is the perfect phrase

Shining from a star that she makes glow

Trust she’s always there, watching as you


Find her in the place where the lost things go.

The penultimate song in the movie is “Nowhere to go But Up”. Michael Banks finally acknowledges that what happened with Mary Poppins was real:

Jane, I remember! It’s all true! Every impossible thing we imagined with Mary Poppins – it all happened!


A Quiet Place plot hole?


For a horror movie, A Quiet Place wasn’t all that scary. I usually avoid horror movies like the plague, but Emily Blunt is my “Rachel Platten of Movies”, so I decided to give it a chance. (If you’ve read my blog at all, you already know how important Rachel Platten is to me).

However, there seems to be a bit of a plot hole. Set in a post-apocalyptic Midwest, the movie follows the Abbott family (Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe) as they fight for survival. Their enemy is a creature that responds to sound. If anybody makes any sort of loud noise that’s not muffled by other noise, it will kill them.

But here’s the thing: Regan Abbott is deaf. (Fun facts: Millicent Simmonds is actually deaf – it was an important thing for John Krasinski, who also directed the movie. He wanted someone who had experience with not being able to hear anything). Her father, Lee Abbott (John Krasinski) spends pretty much the entire movie trying to get her hearing aids to work so that she won’t be caught by one of the creatures if she happens to accidentally make a noise.

And this is where the plot issue comes into play. I guess I should say it’s a spoiler alert too. It turns out that Regan’s hearing aid actually repels the creatures. She held it up to a speaker, turned the volume all the way up, and let the hearing aid squeal with feedback. The creature backed away, almost as if it were hurt somehow. But other than that, they seem to kill anything that makes the slightest noise – hence hardly any spoken dialogue in the movie.

How does the creature function? Maybe they’ll explore/explain that concept in a sequel?


Mary Poppins Returns



Years after her first visit, Mary Poppins returns to help the Banks family – Michael, his sister Jane, and his children John, Anabel, and Georgie – through difficult times.


This movie was magical. There’s no other way to say it. It was almost like Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda were crashing a mini Mamma Mia! reunion: Julie Walters, Colin Firth, and Meryl Streep were in the movie as well, though they didn’t have any scenes together.

It was slightly weird to see Lin-Manuel Miranda not playing Alexander Hamilton, and his English accent took some getting used to, honestly. That’s not saying it was bad, just different.

There’s no replacing Julie Andrews in the original Mary Poppins, of course, but Emily Blunt really did the role justice. No other person could have filled Andrews’s “Mary Poppins” shoes. And those are some big shoes to fill; Julie Andrews is iconic. However, there is a special appearance by someone who was in the original Mary Poppins. Sorry, no spoilers. Just go see the movie.

Just like the original, this movie combined live-action with animation. It was really fun, not to mention laugh-out-loud funny. It’s a nice, warm, and fuzzy world to escape to for two hours. Pity it doesn’t last longer.