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.


Office Ladies

After watching A Quiet Place for the sake of Emily Blunt, I realized it wouldn’t really be fair if I didn’t go down her husband’s rabbit hole as well. I knew he got his start on the office, but that’s where my John Krasinski knowledge ended.

So I started watching the show, and I was already on season 3 when Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey – two other stars of the office – decided to start their podcast about it called Office Ladies. I backed all the way up to season 1 so I could watch along with the podcast.

Each week, Pam and Angela – Fischer and Kinsey, respectively – watch an episode of the show and break it down. The show is about an hour, but it’s worth it to hear all the fun behind-the-scenes anecdotes. It’s also interesting to learn what it’s like to work on TV. I just finished listening to season 1, and they’ve already started to break down season 2.

If you love the office as much as I have come to, you’ll really enjoy this podcast.


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.


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?