On A Tangent

The ultimate site for a generation sidetracked by the fandom life


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Fandom Friday: “You Killed My Father. Prepare to Die.”

When I was in 10th grade, I was dual-enrolled at the local community college, which meant one of my elective courses during the school day was left gloriously blank. Of course at the time, I was only 15 going on 16 (you know you just sang the Sound of Music in your head), which meant I could go absolutely no where until my dad collected me at the end of the day.

My best friend at the time, who for purposes of anonymity I will refer to as KC, was likewise dual-enrolled with a free period, and in a fit of extreme generosity, our very young and very likable geometry teacher let us camp in her room, which was her free period as well. Her room shared an office area with three other teachers/rooms and we were ecstatic to be encouraged by another teacher in the quad-pod to delve into her old VHS movie collections to bide our time. (Seriously, as an adult myself now, I glory at these teachers’ letting us into their private time when they had to deal with teenagers ALL DAY LONG. Where ever you are, wonderful teachers, I thank you!)

Best. Movie. Ever.

Best. Movie. Ever. (Leah’s note: Is this a kissing movie?)

First of all, as sheltered, bookish child, I had missed out on a lot of pop media in my day. KC, who was as pop-media savvy as I was naive, and I were quickly mowing through a variety of classic films, when the subject of The Princess Bride sprouted.

“What do you mean you’ve never seen The Princess Bride?!” KC exclaimed one day over popcorn and a movie, our feet propped up on the adjoining desks. The revelation was so overwhelming she actually stood up. “This is completely unacceptable. It’s my favorite movie ON THE PLANET. How in the world could you never have seen it?”   Continue reading


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Celebrating Paris Geller: The Unsung Hero of Gilmore Girls

It probably goes without saying that every introverted pre-teen and teenage girl of the mid-2000s had a deep-seated camaraderie with the show Gilmore Girls, and a particular kindred spirit feeling for everyone’s introverted darling, Rory. (You’ll probably be seeing a lot more of Gilmore Girls from this blog in particular, as both of its authors share that kinship.) Rory was bookish, she was sweet, she was smart and driven; we got her and we loved her for being a different kind of leading lady from anything else on TV.

But, with full recognition of our love for Lorelei and Rory, our Worthy Women Wednesday blogs must take some time to focus on the zany characters that drove these two characters toward the very human perfection that was Gilmore Girls.

For many years, I have made a vocal argument that season 1 Rory could never have become season 7 Rory without one, single character: her foil, nemesis and ersatz friend, Paris Geller.

An oft-rehearsed debate between our sister bloggers, wherein Laney looks like she’s just come from the hair salon at all hours of the day or night, while Leah continually struggles to contain her curls. – Leah

Those of us who went to a private or advanced academic school all knew at least one Paris Geller. (Or maybe you WERE her.) They were loud. They were bold. Their drive for perfection drove everyone around them up a wall on group projects. Their ability to drop SAT-level vocabulary words at 6 am off of 3 hours of sleep was nothing short of astounding. And don’t get us started on their actual SAT scores. Which they probably took 4 times to score a perfect 800 on each section.  Half of our brain wanted to be them, the other half wanted to figure out how to make them disappear back to the planet from which they had sprung.

Rory and Paris are foils: both driven, both smart, both so hard-working it would make the Amish look lazy. They start out with identical goals: to be the top of their class, to make it into Harvard, to create waves in the world. In all of the Gilmore Girls universe, no one, not even Lorelei, can understand Rory at quite such a deep level as Paris can. Yet at the same time, they differ greatly.

In many ways, Paris is what Rory might have been if she had followed “The Gilmore Plan” to be raised by her grandparents instead of Lorelei raising Rory on her own. Rory is what Paris might have been if she was allowed to pause for two seconds and be appreciated for exactly who she already was. Where Rory ducks behind a book, Paris charges forward with confidence. Where Rory sidesteps conflict, Paris confronts. Where other characters worship Rory from a distance, they literally move out of Paris’ way. Both girls are, in their own way, isolated.

Paris is a character you love to hate. Her perpetual antagonism of Rory in the first two season of the show stems directly from these personality preferences on the part of the two characters. But what matters to the show, and to our deep appreciation of Paris Geller, is the results of their relationship: a stronger Rory, who realizes she is not a delicate princess to whom everything should be given, and a softened Paris, who can accept that someone might love her for herself and not her accomplishments.

The first turning point in their relationship comes in episode 13 of season one, “Concert Interruptus”, where Rory is forced to invite Paris and her sycophants to her house for a study group. In a twist of expectations, Madeline and Louise, the more sympathetic set of characters, end up breaking the rules at The Bangles’ concert and being distanced from Rory, while Paris drops her shell to admit that she actually had fun. This moment of humanity instantly breaks the ludicrous layers of Paris’ character and makes her real to the audience.

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Media Matters: The New Age of Being a Fan

All rights reserved to TriStar Pictures and the other producers of this amazing movie.

We have been lucky in our lives to float along like ships on to the sea with good friends, both real and in our imaginations. (All rights reserved to TriStar Pictures and the other producers of this amazing movie adaptation.)Welcome to the blog!

Welcome to the blog!

Leah: If I were to estimate how long Laney and I had been thinking about doing a collaborative project, I would probably be totally wrong.  I think the idea has always been in the back of our minds, to some extent, stemming from the very first days we spent writing together and editing one another’s childhood stories.  In the past few years, we’ve bounced around from the concept of a traditional blog to a website to a vlog, but all with one final goal in mind: to attract minions to overthrow the… umm, wait. Wrong project. Oops. Moving right along…

Laney: (Our first collaboration was me telling Leah fairy tales in her crib. But we digress.)

Leah: On a Tangent is a response to a culture that is increasingly supportive of and interested in subjects that would have been hidden under pillows and cloaked in basements twenty years ago. With the increasing popularity of phenomena like Game of Thrones and multi-movie franchises a la the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the mainstream has created a growing space for so-called “geek” culture. For those of us who grew up on a healthy dose of Star Wars, who devoured the Chronicles of Narnia, and knew Captain Picard’s “final frontier” speech as well as we knew our own names, this changing culture is both a blessing and a challenge that makes us reflect on how we consume media. In the here and now, the ideas that fueled every childhood daydream of battling monsters and traversing space are becoming an increasingly relevant part of how we live our day-to-day lives and understand the struggles of people around us. Continue reading