<i>The White Spell</i>: Exclusive Excerpt The White Spell: Exclusive Excerpt Lynn Kurland "The unavoidable truth was, he was stunning. " <i>Hero in the Highlands</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Hero in the Highlands: Exclusive Excerpt Suzanne Enoch "Unexpectedly she rose up onto her tiptoes and kissed him on the cheek." <i>So For Real</i>: Exclusive Excerpt So For Real: Exclusive Excerpt Rebekah Weatherspoon "I leaned up on my toes and kissed him some more." <i>All the Little Liars</i>: Exclusive Excerpt All the Little Liars: Exclusive Excerpt Charlaine Harris "He put his big hands on my shoulders and looked down at me intently."
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September 29, 2016
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September 28, 2016
Video Games that Are Essentially Romance Novels, Part 3
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A Lady's Guide to Historical Dress
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September 27, 2016
H&H Bloggers Recommend: Best Reads of September 2016
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Team H & H
Showing posts by: Rachel Hyland click to see Rachel Hyland's profile
Fri
Sep 23 2016 11:00am

A League of Her Own: Pitch Season 1, Episode 1 Ginny/Mike Heart-to-Heart

Pitch on Fox

Show/Episode:Pitch Season 1, Episode 1, “Pilot”
Ship(s): Ginny/Mike

Captain's Log, Pitch Episode 1

A true story on the verge of happening. So the marketing hype surrounding Pitch would have us believe, that a woman may be close to playing in baseball’s Major League. While this may or may not be true, the show makes you feel like it is, as it gives us Ginny Baker (Kylie Bunbury), a twenty-three-year-old called up from the minors as starting pitcher for the San Diego Padres, a move that instantly turns her into a symbol, a statement, and the cynosure of all eyes.

There is a lot to love about Pitch, a sports movie in multiple parts from co-creator Dan Fogelman (who also has This is Us to his credit this season). We all know the basic sports movie formula, so it will surprise no one to learn just how abysmally Ginny’s first go on the mound turns out. But it is in the small details that Pitch is set apart from its often similar (but ever-awesome) brethren—and yes, most of them are indeed brethren. Here’s what makes Pitch’s pilot so great:

[Read more...]

Mon
Sep 12 2016 9:30am

8 TV Shows Every Romantic Should Watch This Fall

What TV show should I watch this fall?

This week, the first new shows of the season premiere. From the dour plains of OWN’s Queen Sugar to the part-animated shenanigans of Son of Zorn, there will surely be a little something for everyone offered up across the next several weeks. (And, indeed, months.)

But while it is my tradition to essay the first episode of every new show, to see if it is worthy of adding to my already overburdened schedule, I must confess that I tend to be predisposed towards any with even a modicum of shipping potential. Of course, some ships come out of nowhere, not even a glimmer in the pilot’s eye—last season, Captain Cold/White Canary of Legends of Tomorrow, for example, took me entirely by surprise—but more often than not, at least for us veteran shipper types, we can just tell. Often even before the very first scene.

Here, a look at the new shows I am most excited about, ship-wise...

[Get ready, shippers!]

Fri
Aug 12 2016 9:30am

A YA Melting Pot: Karpov Kinrade’s Court of Nightfall

Court of Nightfall by Karpov Kinrade

You think you know what is right and what is wrong? Then tell me if this man should die. He is my enemy. He is to be my end.

He is the one I love.

I have spent my life in shades of grey. I have died and returned to a world of color. I have fought an Angel and lived. I have kissed the Prince of Ravens. I have faced the Lord of Night and made him kneel. I was accepted into the Four Orders, and I created the fifth. I freed the Shadow of Rome. I sat upon the Twilight Throne.

The man asks for my surrender. He asks for peace. He is too late. The girl he knew is gone, and death is in her place. I am Nightfall, and this is my story. You think you know it?

Think again.

The literary mashup phenomenon has come and gone–with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies being both its originator and pinnacle–but the literary genre mashup lives on, and rarely has there been a more thorough example than Karpov Kinrade’s Young Adult dystopian / superhero / supernatural / theosophical paranormal romance ephemera, Court of Nightfall.

[Read more...]

Thu
Aug 11 2016 12:30pm

Ranking the Women of the Harry Potter Universe, A Potterverse Hotness Scale

Who Are the Hottest Women in the Potterverse?

Who Are the Hottest Women in the Potterverse?

NOTE: The below contains some slight, mostly indirect, spoilers for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Continue at your own risk.

Yes, the Men of the Potterverse most certainly have their appeal, but so too do some of their female counterparts in this, another look at the more age-appropriate objects of adult affection across the sprawling series. It is perhaps worth noting that an equal number of worthy women was considerably harder to come by, just due to sheer numbers, and it got so that Aunt Petunia was even briefly considered for inclusion. When you are vacillating between a vindictive, vain, abusive and envious woman and Dolores Umbridge, something is very amiss in your bower of available ladies.

Still, here is a ranking of the Potterverse women you can feel free to sigh over without counting down to when Hermione becomes legal. (You know it’s happened.)

[On to the ranking!]

Sun
Aug 7 2016 11:00am

A Formula for Love–Hallmark Movies as Category Romances

 

Source: Straight From the Heart screencap

There was a time when I would devour category romance novels as enthusiastically, as mindlessly, as popcorn. My teens were largely characterized by lazy weekends spent with stacks of Sweet Dreams, Loveswepts and Silhouettes, working my way from bookish high school girls catching the eye of the quarterback to bookish historical maidens catching the eye of His Grace, the sixth Duke of Whateverbury.

The formula was ever the same, and in that time of upheaval in my nascent adulthood, it was one of my few constants: the meet cute, the attraction, the third act misunderstanding and the ultimate reconciliation. In an uncertain world promising only chaos, knowing there was somewhere I could be guaranteed a happy ending was endlessly comforting. I loved being able to pick up a book, identify within a couple of pages which trope I was about to see play out, and know almost exactly where the story was going to take me, if not in detail then certainly in denouement.

[As good as comfort food...]

Thu
Aug 4 2016 4:30pm

Ranking the Men of the Harry Potter Universe, A Potterverse Hotness Scale

 

Who's your hottest Harry Potter character?

Who are the best Harry Potter male characters?

One of the great joys of reading is falling in love with well-drawn characters. It’s like a magic trick we play on ourselves. These people don’t exist, but if we suspend our disbelief hard enough they somehow become real to us; we can see them in our minds and we come to care about their lives long after their on-page adventures have ended.

But sometimes when we fall in love, we fall in love, and it is the rare reader who doesn’t have a book boyfriend–or girlfriend–or two. This is especially true in the Romance genre, where of course our protagonists are eminently loveable, else how could they get together? (Grey and Anastasia notwithstanding.)

But how does this tendency to romanticise our literary heroes work when our heroes are twelve years old? Sure, it is all very well to ship Harry/Hermione or Draco/Ginny as an adult, but a romantic attachment to any of our school-aged Harry Potter characters is just unthinkable. Sighing exquisitely over their total obliviousness? Absolutely fine. Empathizing with their angst? Certainly. A glow of contentment when the ever-awkward Ron gets the girl? Yep. But, as grown-ups, we must naturally turn elsewhere for an object upon which to bestow our more grown-up imaginary affections.

Here, a ranking of the Potterverse men worthy of that singular honor…

[A magical hotness equation...]

Wed
Nov 26 2014 5:30pm

Should I Watch?: The Episode 2 Test, Fall 2014, Part 3

The Affair(Check out this fall’s earlier premiere coverage, with Part 1 and Part 2.)

With the first casualties of the fall TV season already announced (a bittersweet farewell, A to Z and Selfie!; you sadly deserved this, Bad Judge!; good riddance to you, the horrible Manhattan Love Story!), and the final new show of the regular season—Katherine Heigl’s State of Affairs—at last having made its debut, let’s take a look at the season’s remaining new shows, and whether or not it’s worth sticking around for their sophomore outings…

The Affair
Sundays, 10/9c, Showtime

It’s about…that time Manhattan family man Noah (Dominic West) headed to his in-laws’ palatial Long Island estate for the summer and on the way met sultry, haunted waitress Alison (Ruth Wilson). Their subsequent affair will, it seems, shock us, since it leads them to an interrogation room sometime in the future telling their similar-but-very-different sides of the whole tawdry story.

Reason I tuned in: What a stellar cast!

Where’s the love?: Well, the affair, obviously, but both cheating cheaters also seem to really love their respective spouses. Which, since the one is Maura Tierney and the other is Joshua Jackson, just makes sense.

Episode 2 Test: FAIL

Grade: B+

Comment: You know what? I’ve seen True Detective, so the whole unreliable narrator/dueling perspectives/mysterious incident under police investigation thing feels derivative, and while the infidelity in question is assuredly intriguing, as is whatever has brought our unfaithful pair to this interrogationized pass, I just don’t think I have the energy to try to work out what the hell is going on week by painstaking week. It’s a good show, though (Showtime has already renewed it for Season 2), and the cast really is amazing—Tierney, Jackson, even the Bunheads alum playing a sulky teen daughter is well-cast, though it must be said that Wilson’s American accent holds up better than her fellow Brit, West’s—so I can see perhaps marathonning it when the summer hiatus is upon us, and/or when there are some imminent answers available.

[+reviews of 8 more shows...]

Fri
Oct 17 2014 9:30am

Because Nothing Says Love Like a Makeover: Top 10 Pygmalion-Style Romances

The MakeoverFirst performed a century ago this very year, George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion has long captured the public fancy. The tale of ragamuffin flower seller Eliza Doolittle learning to better herself at the hands of disdainful linguist Professor Henry Higgins in pre-WWI London, the play was named for the Roman sculptor of myth who created himself the perfect woman—though in Shaw’s lengthy postscript to the play, Eliza ends up marrying not her maker but Freddy, her respectable, but ultimately improvident suitor.

With ABC’s Selfie recently arrived on our screens, in which Karen Gillan plays social media obsessed millennial Eliza Dooley to John Cho’s disdainful marketing expert Henry Higgs, the time seems right to look at some previous attempts to bring the story, much like Galatea, to vibrant life. The “Pygmalion” trope, by the way, is vastly different to the “Ugly Duckling to Swan” trope, since it is as much the presence of the ever-so-superior teacher and his (or her) stormy relationship with the spirited student that defines it, as much as does that student’s requisite new beauty and/or ability to use the right fork.

So that being understood, I here submit my favorites...

10. The Makeover (2013)

Thank you, Hallmark, for this gender-flipped attempt, in which uptight and unlikeable politico Hannah Higgins (Julia Stiles) grooms charismatic delivery guy Elliot Doolittle (David Walton) for office—when what he believes she’s training him for is an office job. While I think we can all agree that Stiles hit her rom-com peak with 10 Things I Hate About You and that Walton’s handsome charm is the kiss of death when it comes to TV (every show he’s starred in has barely lasted a full season), nevertheless this cotton candy-light exploration of honesty in politics, embarrassing family members—Frances Fisher as Elliot’s blousy mother is a hoot—and the snobbery directed against South Boston accents is as enjoyable as it is, most surprisingly, thought-provoking. But... Doolittle for Congress? Isn’t that just a given?

[Yeah, they didn't really think about this, did they...]

Wed
Oct 8 2014 9:30am

Should I Watch? The Episode Two Test, Fall 2014, Part 2.

A Kiss in A to ZFollowing on from last week’s look at the first round of fall TV premieres (see Should I Watch? The Episode Two Test, Fall 2014, Part 1), let’s now move on to the latest crop of newbies to enter our television landscape, and see whether any of their series pilots were able to grab my not-so-fickle attention enough to warrant a viewing of Episode 2…

A to Z
Thursdays, 9:30/8:30c, NBC

It’s about…: Andrew (Ben Feldman) and Zelda (Cristin Milioti), two singles who are work neighbors in a nondescript office park and who embark on what we are told is “eight months, three weeks, five days and one hour” of dating. For our amusement, apparently.

Reason I tuned in: Of all the attempts at half-hour romantic comedy the networks are throwing at us this fall season, this one seemed to have the most chance of success.

Where’s the love?: Duh.

Episode 2 Test: PASS

Grade: B+

Comment: The sepulchral narration of Katey Segal (see, you did know that voice!) is the show’s least appealing facet, but Feldman and Milioti are comely and snarky-sweet—if perhaps a tad too similar; seriously, they could totally be cast as brother and sister elsewhere—and the addition of some endearing and/or obnoxious sidekicks gives the show an ensemble feel belied by its two star premise.

[That's a pretty promising start...]

Thu
Oct 2 2014 2:00pm

Should I Watch? The Episode Two Test, Fall 2014, Part 1

ABC's Black-ishMy goodness, fellow TV fans. So many new shows this fall season! So. Many. New. Shows. Fortunately for me (or for my free time, anyway, if not my soul) many of my favorites wrapped up before the summer hiatus, and so my returning roster is relatively light, which means I can take a look at all the new recruits with a charitable eye and select rather more freely from their swollen ranks than in recent years.

But still, the shows will have to pass my rigorous Episode 2 Test, which states that when I reach the end of the pilot of a new show I must be positively clamoring to discover what comes next in order to bother with it at all. If I feel merely ambivalent about the show and/or suspect that its respective Episode 2 will simply fester on my DVR for weeks and/or months, awaiting an excess of free time (which will probably never come) then it is excised from my personal regular schedule—though I do, of course, reserve the right to return to it if proven wrong. (Which occasionally happens; last season, Reign failed the test, to my later chagrin.)

So let’s take a look, now, at the shows premiering in these first heady days of the 2014 Fall Season, and see which ones make it into the rotation… (and then check out the Episode 2 Test, Part 2)

Blackish
Wednesdays, 9:30/8:30c, ABC

It’s about…: Successful advertising exec Dre Johnson (Anthony Anderson) and his idyllic suburban life, interrupted by a mid-life cultural crisis that makes him doubt his, and his family’s, “urban” identity.

Reason I tuned in: Sitcoms only last 22 minutes, if you skip the commercials. (And don’t we all?)

Where’s the love?: Dre is married to feisty pediatric surgeon Rainbow (Tracee Ellis Ross), and there are a couple of teenage kids in the family who will doubtless bring with them some first love hijinks.

[Hijinks are good, but did it pass or fail?]

Fri
Sep 26 2014 9:30am

We Laugh Because We Love: Top 10 Romance Parodies

Photo courtesy of 50 Shades, The Musical! websiteObviously, we all love Romance as a genre. None of us would be here if we didn’t. (Here, as in at this site obviously, not here as in alive and in the world.) But loving something does not mean we cannot mock it, or enjoy it when others do so for us. In fact, if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery then parody must surely be the sincerest form of affection; to spoof anything really well you must know it inside and out, and such thorough acquaintance with the minutia of anything can only either lead to—or, more likely, be born out of— a deep and profound fondness.

Here then, the Top 10 romance parodies that are funniest when you know enough—and love enough—to really get the joke…

10. 50 Shades! The Musical (2013)
Parody of Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James

This stage parody promising live BDSM (“Best Damn Songs and Music”) was a hit in Chicago before making its way to Manhattan, the New York Post reporting that “the opening scene centers on a middle-aged ladies’ book group, then plunges, like a cougar’s neckline, into sketches making fun of the erotic, best-selling novel.” Conceived by musical improv comedy troupe Baby Wants Candy, the show features songs like “Red Room” with lyrics such as “How much can you take/How much can you handle?/Clamps upon your nipples?/Hot wax with a burning candle?” Rarely, if ever, has soft-core erotica been so jaunty.

[We like a little laughter with our bondage...]

Wed
Sep 24 2014 2:00pm

Love and Laughter, Coming this Fall: The Romantic Possibilities of TV’s Upcoming Sitcoms

Black-ishFrom Sam and Diane on Cheers to Ross and Rachel on Friends to last season’s most absorbing comedy couple, Danny and Mindy, sitcoms can surprise and delight with their romantic escapades. Sure, we usually tune in for the candy floss lightness of the rapid fire one liners and the easy superficial silliness (not to mention the bite-sized running times), but very often we are given more – for examples, see Big Love on the Small Screen: Top 10 Current Sitcom Romances.

This Fall TV season brings us a whole bunch of new sitcoms trying to earn our interest and/or obsession, from all the major networks. But will they deliver the ship-worthiness? Let us see…

ABC

Black-ish
Series Premiere: Wednesday, Sep 24 at 9:30/8:30c
Starring: Anthony Anderson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laurence Fishburne
From the official website:

Andre 'Dre' Johnson has a great job, a beautiful wife, Rainbow, four kids, and a colonial home in the 'burbs. But has success brought too much assimilation for this black family?”

Thoughts: Anthony Anderson’s can be a frenetic, fractious presence and this exploration of race relations in the suburbs feels like it might be full of uncomfortable stereotype, like Stuff White People Like but without the irony.

[So can we like it, un-ironically?]

Mon
Aug 11 2014 1:00pm

Cedar Cove Season 2, Episode 4 Recap: Calling Out the Relationships

Grace and Olivia in Cedar Cove Season 2, Episode 4Cedar Cove, the Hallmark Channel television series based on Debbie Macomber's romance novel series of the same name and starring Andie MacDowell, is back for Season 2 and H&H is all over it! Stay tuned for weekly recaps of this year's small-town shenanigans, and if you're just catching up, be sure to go back and read Rachel Hyland's Season 1 posts, plus recaps of 2x01, “Letting Go, Part 1”; 2x02, “Letting Go, Part 2”; and 2x03, “Relations and Relationships, Part 1”.

This post contains SPOILERS for all aired episodes of Cedar Cove, including Saturday night’s 2x04, “Relations and Relationships, Part 2.”

Stop the presses, sound the alarm, hear ye, hear ye, one and all. The most important, thrilling and withal game-changing event ever has occurred in our merry little town: Cedar Cove now has cell towers within reach, and no longer do its denizens have to take turns making their calls from one particular spot at the end of the pier. “End of an era,” laments Moon (Timothy Webber), and yes, damn straight! How else will we know that this is a really small and remote town—full of people who seemingly don’t know how to use a landline? Darn progress, always messing with the narrative.

[Who you gonna call?]

Mon
Aug 4 2014 11:34am

Cedar Cove Season 2, Episode 3 Recap: New Favorite Couple!

Olivia and Grace in Cedar Cove 2x03Cedar Cove, the Hallmark Channel television series based on Debbie Macomber's romance novel series of the same name and starring Andie MacDowell, is back for Season 2 and H&H is all over it! Stay tuned for weekly recaps of this year's small-town shenanigans, and if you're just catching up, be sure to go back and read Rachel Hyland's Season 1 posts.

This post contains SPOILERS for all aired episodes of Cedar Cove, including Saturday night’s 2x03, “Relations and Relationships, Part 1.”

If Cedar Cove episodes have a theme, and most of them do, then the theme of this one is “Olivia and Jack are Awesome." There is a secondary theme, of exes and the fact that new loves are emphatically not them, but mostly it’s the Jack and Olivia thing.

So, let’s see how they, and our other couples, fared this week, shall we?

OLIVIA AND JACK

I’ve always quite liked Jack (Dylan Neal), but this week he is super-adorable. He is desperate for Olivia (Andie MacDowell) to take a key to his house, and comes up with an elaborate attacked-by-a-bear scenario to try and convince her; he also is struggling with a title for his new granddaughter to call him. “Which one makes me sound youngest?” he asks on a grin. None of them, dude! Get used to it. Also, he goes on this whole broccoli rant, and I loved it! “It’s an oxymoronic vegetable.” You’re a funny man, Jack.

[He even makes ranting look good...]

Fri
Aug 1 2014 9:30am

Romance’s Most Hated: In Defense of Outlander’s Laoghaire

Nell Hudson as Laoghire in OutlanderPoor Laoghaire.

Yes, you read that right. Oh, I am not about to suggest that she is a paragon of all the virtues—or, indeed, any. But I have always felt mighty sorry for the poor wee lass, and now even more so, since she (like Tara Thornton, Lori Grimes and Sansa Stark before her) is about to be hated by whole new multitudes, courtesy of the forthcoming Outlander TV adaptation.

For those who have read Diana Gabaldon’s epic historical time travel romance series, Laoghaire is often ranked second only to the ruthless, power-hungry sociopath that is Black Jack Randall in general and abiding villainy. But I beg leave to offer a dissenting view. A view that takes into account her tender years, the times in which she lived, her father’s brutality, her station in life and, above all, the bitter pangs of love unrequited.

First, a little background. When Laoghaire MacKenzie is but sixteen years of age, she is accused by her father of “loose behaviour; consorting improperly wi’ young men against his orders.” As a result of this (unproven, but who cares, even if it was?) charge, she—a member of Clan MacKenzie, and therefore under the stringent command of a Laird who has not the slightest problem with the public beating of women—is sentenced to be whipped at the hand of the clan’s massive, terrifying enforcer, right in front of everyone.

[Terrifying to us and we were just reading it!]

Tue
Jul 29 2014 11:04am

Cedar Cove Season 2, Episode 2 Recap: Baby Daddy

Maryellen and Grace in Cedar Cove 2x02Cedar Cove, the Hallmark Channel television series based on Debbie Macomber's romance novel series of the same name and starring Andie MacDowell, is back for Season 2 and H&H is all over it! Stay tuned for weekly recaps of this year's small-town shenanigans, and if you're just catching up, be sure to go back and read Rachel Hyland's Season 1 posts.

This post contains SPOILERS for all aired episodes of Cedar Cove, including Saturday night’s 2x02, “Letting Go: Part 2.”

Who knew Cedar Cove had the power to surprise me? Oh, not in terms of plot twists or anything—I have read the Debbie Macomber books on which the show is based, and while their fairly forgettable details may not exactly stand out in my mind, I well recall the general gist, the vibe of each novel’s relationship rollercoaster(s). And even where the books and series diverge, well, it’s hardly The Sixth Sense. But the fact that this episode provided some of the most romantic and exhilarating moments the show has ever given us courtesy of, of all people, John Bowman (Charlie Carrick) and Maryellen (Elyse Levesque)... well, I never would have believed it possible.

Let us see how that happened, shall we? One couple at a time...

OLIVIA AND JACK

Cedar Cove royalty Jack (Dylan Neal) and Olivia (Andie McDowell) continue to wrangle with Jack’s sulky son Eric (Tom Stevens) and his recalcitrant inamorata this week as an emotional Shelly (Hayley Sayles) still lies abed at the (surprisingly state-of-the-art) local hospital on the very verge of a) having a baby and b) giving up said baby for adoption, to the never-ending whining protest of Eric.

[Quit yer cryin', dude...]

Mon
Jul 21 2014 10:02am

Cedar Cove Season 2, Episode 1 Recap: The More Things Change...

Cedar Cove Season 2 posterCedar Cove, the Hallmark Channel television series based on Debbie Macomber's romance novel series of the same name and starring Andie MacDowell, is back for Season 2 and H&H is all over it! Stay tuned for weekly recaps of this year's small-town shenanigans, and if you're just catching up, be sure to go back and read Rachel Hyland's Season 1 posts.

This post contains SPOILERS for all aired episodes of Cedar Cove, including Saturday night’s 2x01, “Letting Go: Part 1.”

Welcome, friends, back to Cedar Cove, Washingon, where the living is easy and the focus is soft upon mature beauties Olivia (Andie MacDowell) and Grace (Teryl Rothery) being expertly wooed by their attractive, appropriately grizzled, beaus. Meanwhile, among the next generation one finds romantic entanglements aplenty, with Olivia’s feisty artist daughter Justine (Sarah Smyth), Grace’s feisty curator daughter Maryellen (Elyse Levesque) and Jack’s sulky son Eric (Tom Stevens) all the object of some oftentimes problematic affections.

This year, we’re going to do a little something different with these recaps; my thinking is, since this show is based entirely on Debbie Macomber’s million-selling sweet romance series of the same name, clearly we’re in it for the relationships. So instead of a play-by-play, let’s just take this one couple at a time, shall we?

[Now boarding all 'ship passengers...]

Mon
Jul 7 2014 4:45pm

You Bet Your Love: Gambling in Historical Romance

Gambling cat picture by gchampeau via Flickr Creative CommonsWhist. Vingt et un. Hazard and Loo and Faro and Piquet. If you have ever read a historical, and certainly one set in London between, say, the two Queens Elizabeth, then chances are you have come across reference to at least a few, if not all, of these games of chance, once popular with the ruling elite. Only Vingt et un remains with us virtually unchanged (you might know it as Blackjack), though both Whist and Hazard have survived in modified form, as Bridge and Craps respectively. But even the most enthusiastic of today’s high rollers would be hard put to call themselves as dedicated to Lady Luck as were the scions of the Upper Ten Thousand back in the days of yore, for whom gambling was as much occupation as it was hobby and/or addiction. It was like they were an entire class of World Championship Poker players, only with less tattoos (though, possibly the same number of wigs).

Historical romance would have us believe that a gentleman of breeding spent much of his time at the gambling table—or gaming table, as it was much more pleasingly known (“gaming” has a much dorkier connotation now, of course), winning and losing enormous sums, bonding with each other in the camaraderie of excess, and occasionally becoming accidentally, often resentfully, engaged to some benighted fellow’s innocent young daughter, sister or (soon-to-be) widow.

[Place your bets now...]

Wed
Jul 2 2014 2:00pm

Love Among the Wreckage: Adrenaline-Fueled Romance at the Movies

In the closing moments of 1994’s Speed, Sandra Bullock’s Annie tells Keanu Reeves’s smitten Jack that “...relationships that start under intense circumstances, they never last.” Clearly she’s right, because by the time Speed 2: Cruise Control rolls around three years later she’s gotten tired of his constant life-in-peril routine and has moved on to Jason Patric—who, however, ends up being even more disaster-prone (in more ways than one). But despite the evident wisdom of this oddly self-aware heroine’s words some twenty—can you believe it? – years ago, filmmakers persist in giving us whirlwind romances shoehorned into even the most aggressively boisterous of explosion-filled blockbusters, because they think that’s what it takes to make us womenfolk happy.

And guess what? It makes me happy.

[We LOVE happy, too!]

Mon
Mar 31 2014 12:00pm

Big Love on the Small Screen: Top 10 Current TV Sitcom Romances

Mindy Kaling and Chris Messina in The Mindy ProjectFOX’s The Mindy Project comes back on Tuesday, April 1, after more than two months on hiatus. Two months spent by many in a fever of anticipation, wondering what the future will hold for frenemies Mindy (Mindy Kaling) and Danny (Chris Messina), whose slow-burn snark-filled almost romance has become one of the most captivating on TV, as H&H’s Heather Waters so gleefully articulated in her post regarding the show’s game-changing winter finale.

Of course, romance in comedy is hardly new, and on the small screen, and in the half-hour format, we have seen a lot of compelling relationships develop under our amused, at times angst-filled, eyes. From 86 and 99 to Joni and Chachi to Sam and Diane to Ross and Rachel, we’ve seen many a love bloom under the aegis of a helpful laugh-track (or, so it is often claimed, a “live studio audience”-track), and it is most when dealing with the vagaries of such emotions that sitcoms elevate themselves from mere short bursts of entertaining nothingness to actual thought-provoking worthiness, by delivering a surprising punch of piquancy, passion, and pathos.

Here, a list of the Top 10 couples from TVs current sitcom crop that have brought us more than just the funny. (A note on the use of the word “sitcom”: true, some of the shows on this list don’t necessarily fit the textbook definition of the term, what with the variable sets and the lack of laugh-track, but “Top 10 TV Half-Hour Comedy Romances” just doesn’t really have the same ring.)

[Did your favorites make the cut?...]