To our anonymous asker… you asked, she answered. Maggie Mathison will be back in Homeland season 8.
Amy Hargreaves: “I’m thrilled to be able to play Maggie again before the show rides off in the sunset.”
She couldn’t say anymore about what Maggie will be up to.
At the end of season 7, Maggie took custody of Carrie’s daughter Franny as Carrie left for a CIA mission in Russia. As we all know, that didn’t end well for Carrie… so we expect that Maggie’s storyline will have plenty of suffering, anger, and nagging (even though she is the most virtuous of all characters).
This hiatus is just so blissful and uneventful that I’ve been able to catch up and discover so many new TV shows.
But today, I’m not telling you about a conventional TV show. Today I want to talk about the Bon Appétit YouTube channel.
I try to cook a real meal at least 2x week (thanks, Blue Apron! #notsponsored) and I genuinely love food but let me tell you that neither having experience cooking real food nor really enjoying it are required to fall in love with the cast of characters at the Bon Appétit YouTube channel (though I’m sure it helps a little).
What this channel gets so incredibly right (and, I imagine, why it’s so much more successful than other food channels on YouTube, not that I watch them, but again here’s why) is that it recognizes that people watch TV–whether on their TV boxes or their computers or phones or wherever– for the people. That’s why you keep coming back. And the BA channel has assembled a true cast of characters in its main test kitchen chefs. Together, they’ve gathered a near-cultishfollowing.
First, there is Claire, BA’s resident Baking Queen. I need to say this: I LOVE CLAIRE. She may be my favorite Claire at the moment. Are you understanding what I’m saying?? Claire’s main series is a show called “Gourmet Makes, where she attempts to create the “gourmet” version of popular junk foods like Doritos, Twinkies, Kit-Kats, and the like. It is as addictive as the junk foods themselves. I binged about 10 episodes when I first discovered it, which is how I fell down this k-hole to begin with.
Claire is … perfect. Everything she does is perfect. She is brainy and witty and loves to get super scientific, though in an approachable way. She is a perfectionist, and watching her struggle to recreate these extremely specific foods on Gourmet Makes is such a delight, in an “oh my god she’s really struggling can I give her a hug” sort of way.
As she’s talking you through why she’s doing X or Y to make her version of a Dorito (which I won’t ever even eat!) I find myself thinking “God, she’s so fucking smart.”
Claire’s most chronicled relationship in these videos is with Brad. Depending on your deal, you either ship them romantically (apparently there is fic?? which is cringe), think they’re an old married couple, or are like sparring brother and sister. I fall into the last of those camps, but their dynamic is so charming and fun to watch.
Brad’s main series on the BA channel is a show called “It’s Alive,” where he makes all kind of stuff that is, literally, alive! Like yogurt. Or sourdough. Or kombucha. The production on It’s Alive is really fantastic and leans into Brad’s totally bizarre persona and habit of saying the word “water” like “wourder.” Basically Brad is like Ron Swanson if Ron Swanson ABSOLUTELY LOVED HIS JOB AND CO-WORKERS.
Our next test kitchen cook is Carla, who is the food director at BA. Her main series is “Back-to-Back Chef,” where she attempts to instruct a famous person (take your pick! From Troye Sivan to Elizabeth Olsen to Natalie Portman to Al Roker) how to cook a dish with only verbal instruction (they are literally back-to-back and Carla just talks through the recipe as they both make it). This is actually my favorite concept for a food show because it highlights just how challenging cooking can be but also how amazing a good teacher is. They make pretty involved stuff but Carla’s instruction is so perfect. Even if it’s not always technically correct ( “so, my sauce looks like it’s doing bubbly stuff, does yours look like that too”) she perfectly captures the exact way we viewers actually cook and talk about recipes.
Carla has frequent interactions with Molly, who is my favorite chef after Claire. Again, if we’re going back to Parks & Rec analogies, Molly is like a perfect amalgamation of Leslie, Ann, and April. My favorite thing about Molly is that she abbreviates everything. But not in a cutesy or annoying way. “Casear salad,” which is her favorite food, is “Cae Sal.” You get the dealio. Anyhoozles, I love Molly both for her love of made-up words and also for her fun, yet also endearingly serious demeanor in the kitchen. You can tell she just LOVES food. And she has OPINIONS and HERE THEY ARE. We stan.
I’m going to describe the last of the main test kitchen chefs together because they have similar personalities: Chris and Andy. They frequently hang in the back of other people’s videos, specifically Claire’s, and are known to give very good and very honest opinions about whatever she’s cooking up, usually with a side of comical commentary. Chris is well-known to have a perfect palate and Andy is a type A personality whom I believe really shines when he has to deal with the likes of (decidedly type B) Brad.
(There are other personalities you’ll see regularly, like Alex or Gaby or even BA EIC Adam Rapoport (they call him “Rapo”). They are all lovely and wonderful.)
I individually love all of them, especially the ladies (duh), but my true adoration and stanning reached a new level when they all came together, Avengers-style, for the most epic crossover of all time in a new series called “Making Perfect,” where they attempted to make the perfect pizza. I am being 100% serious when I say it was genuinely thrilling to watch this true mix of personalities (and chefs!) come together for this quest. I’m not even a huge pizza person and I found myself watching a FIFTY MINUTE VIDEO WHERE CARLA AND MOLLY MAKE CHEESE. GIVE THIS SHIT AN EMMY. IT WAS ICONIC.
Beyond that, what I love so much about the BA channel is just how… fun it seems to work there. The channel has all the familiar elements of a workplace reality show (oh, in case it wasn’t clear by now I desperately want a reality show starring these people. If the New York Times can get a show on Hulu WHY CAN’T THEY??? Get on it Condé Nast) while also being genuinely funny and charming and quasi-educational. I’ve yet to actually make anything featured on a video but I can wholeheartedly tell you that I enjoyed every second watching them make it.
How to watch: this shiz is free. The channel is here.
P.S. My basic hard and fast rule is to NEVER read the YouTube comments of anything but the comment section on their videos is where the true BA fandom/memes come together and I love reading them. *CHEF’S KISS*
Well, it’s been a minute since we talked about anything around here, let alone something non-Homeland-related.
As always, I got your back with a cutting-edge, of-this-moment recommendation for the next thing you should watch.
That’s right, we are going BACK IN TIME to when Showtime still put that horrible watermark on all their shows and we are going to talk about United States of Tara, a show I recently entrely devoured in the span of a week.
That gif above is about 50% of the reason to watch the show which is to say: ALL THE AWESOME LADIES. Since the concept of United States of Tara is a suburban middle-class family struggling with the dissociative identity disorder (fka multiple personality disorder) of its matriarch, played by Toni Collette with total and utter abandon, we actually get four, five, six, sometimes seven awesome ladies for the price of one!
The central plot of the show is very late 2000s Showtime, in that “oh Carrie is just difficult? Can we give her some sort of pathology or….” way. But in the hands of Toni Collette, all is well.
The show was created by Diablo Cody and the characters and story bleed through with her signature “fucked-up suburbia” vibe (while I’m at, please go watch Young Adult and Tully. You’re welcome in advance).
Toni Collette stars as Tara Gregson, a sometimes-artist who spends most of her life trying to wrangle in her multiple personalities and give her two kids and husband a semblance of a normal life (the real thesis of this show is something along the lines of “normal is lame”). When the show starts, she’s got three “alters”: Alice, a 1950s-era Stepford wife; Buck, a Vietnam veteran/lethario; and T, a 16-year-old high school dropout.
(T is my favorite alter: This is T:
As the series goes on, Tara attempts multiple avenues to try to figure out why she’s like this and how to fix it (one of the really interesting subplots the show explores is the concept that so many people believe that DID is just… not a thing).
She’s surrounded by a truly incredible all-star cast. John Corbett plays Max, her ever-loving husband, a Mr. Fix It type who takes all the craziness in stride. He is a true Cool Dad and their love is the anchor of the show. Rosemarie DeWitt plays Tara’s sister Charmaine, a real hot mess of a person who is one of those people who denies Tara has an actual mental illness. She likes to get her hot mess on with Patton Oswalt, who plays Max’s employee Neil. BABY BRIE LARSON plays Tara’s older daughter Kate. I have no words for how much I love Kate ok she is perfect please act shocked at this information. Kier Gilchrist is pitch perfect as the younger son Marshall, the “adult” of the family who’s also trying to figure out his identity. This is just the main gist. The show features guest stars like Viola Davis, Zosia Mamet, Joey Lauren Adams, and Ezzie Izzard.
But you really come for the main cast and the Gregson family, who with each season grow messier and more fucked up and more absolutely and completely lovable. And love them I do.
PREVIOUSLY ON THINGS CARRIE WORE THIS WEEK: Not much!
This week will be a lot more interesting. She wears a few things and even goes into her JAM PACKED closet. Let’s get going…
Well, kids. Here it is. The first known instance of Carrie wearing two t-shirts to bed.
If you’re counting, that means she’s wearing THREE layers, plus sweatpants, in what is supposed to be June in Virginia (and what was actually June in Charlotte). I hope they were running the AC!
The next day she’s dressing decidedly more weather appropriately. I absolutely love this sleeveless blouse. Firstly, she looks great in it. I like the extra detail of the black stripe down the side.
Very few people can rock a sleeveless blouse like Carrie Mathison. I also love that the literal second Carrie is allowed back into Langley she goes back to her de facto wardrobe of sleeveless blouse and black trouser.
Does anyone notice something strange about this photo? Perhaps that it looks like a Claire who’s about 4-6 weeks more pregnant than in all the other scenes before or after her little jaunt to the CIA? I had never noticed this before. This is really circa-2.05 or 2.04 Carrie, which is confusing, because 2.03 was actually shot after 2.04 (check the episode timeline in this video). So like… ???? When were those other Carrie scenes shot? Was there a massive break for Claire to go get a haircut?
Note the layers on the right side of her face.
And then we’re back to a pre-CIA look. There is just no way this episode was shot in a single span of ten days.
Anyway, here’s Carrie’s massive walk-in closet where everything is folded and hung up neatly and there are only two sleeveless blouses in it, both of which she takes out to put on (yes, more layers!). Look at that red sweater she’s clutching? Or the patterned blouse in front of that?? Holy shit, look at the short sleeve blouse in front of that! This is a hoax!!!
(Although I keep seeing these Instagram ads claiming that women only wear 20% of their wardrobe and Carrie Mathison is proof of that, apparently.)
It feels weird to talk about this outfit since it’s, y’know, the thing she decides she may want to die in. The whole thing is just sad. The faux engagement ring, the too-short skirt, the peep-toe (??) pumps. It’s all just very sad. I do like the top though.
I don’t buy in any universe that Carrie would have purchased this robe. Which is not a knock on the robe (hello, have you read any other post in this series?!) but rather a reflection of her complete disinterest in color. I’m gonna go with “got it as part of a promo offer after buying cosmetics at the mall.”
As I mentioned in the last post, Carrie only wears one thing in this episode, which I think is actually pretty great, from a Carrie perspective at least (Brody sending a BBM that saves Abu Nazir’s life is absurd and funny if you just give in to this show being absurdly funny/funnily absurd).
It’s this green/grey/beige (greinge?) top with those khaki pants and a real heinous pair of brown shoes. Whatever! She looks very pretty in this episode. If I ignore the footwear I’d give it an A-.
I do think she changes her undershirt (thank God) – this episode takes place over a weird timeline of somewhere between 2 and 3 days.
So I guess there’s not that much to talk about. But this episode includes some wonderful Carrie moments (Claire acts her ass off, and I love that she gets to play like 400 versions of Carrie in the 45-minute span of the episode). Unsurprisingly, they’re both with Saul. And, for as much as I rag on Saul (and will continue to until he, y’know, owns up to his overall shittiness the last 6-7 years), I can’t deny or deflect that Carrie’s most interesting, affecting relationship over the course of the series is with this man. This confounding, perplexing, infuriating man. Maybe they’re made for each other, in that kind of friendship soulmate way. That kind of way where they’ll just be alone together for the rest of their lives.
I’m thinking specifically of the scene on the rooftop where Carrie has to convince Saul to trust her. Or, at least, some past version of her that maybe doesn’t exist anymore. Carrie keeps becoming new and different people as this series has gone on. I debate whether it’s like a reverse shedding-of-skin, Carrie growing new layers and bodies on top of each other. Or whether it really is a shedding of skin, peeling of layers, one after one, until we get down to her elemental being, who she is, the very core of her.
Then there is the scene as they are both waiting patiently by the phone for the Nazir operation to start. Carrie asks quietly why Saul stopped calling and he says he was having a negative outcome on her prognosis, reminding her of work (their work). “Did you ever think we’d be doing this again?” Saul asks. “I hoped,” Carrie says, and she smiles in that self-conscious Carrie way.
In so many ways these scenes are polar opposites of each other. The first is filled with Carrie’s frantic, anxious, pleading energy. The second is quiet, modest, and the moment becomes filled with things left unsaid–this strange acknowledgement that the universe has brought them together again, maybe for the last time.
But they’re both rooted in this relationship and in Carrie’s earnest, often misguided, misrepresented, and misallocated desire and push for goodness. I believe this.
The show has brought us and this character to a lot of uncomfortable, heinous, sometimes downright disgusting places. Places that made us hate and loathe her. I guess some of us remained stuck in that place. Watching this episode and seeing Carrie’s self-conscious, knowing smile when she admits she “hoped” she’d get to do this some day again with Saul, would get to be in the action, make herself useful, do something she believed to be righteous and good and true… it reminded me of this passage from Jacob Clifton’s recap of “Game On,” itself an episode centered around the fucked up soulmate relationship Carrie and Saul entered into together, the bargains they made, the goals and worldview they shared:
“A round-robin edit goes through the various medical facts, if you’re interested: They’ve titrated her lithium up to 1800mg, she’s doing okay in group and crafting, particularly ceramics, she’s a Helpful Hannah when it comes to delivering food on the ward, she’s a “good example for her fellow patients.” Which we missed, but it’s easy to believe. She gives such a shit about people, it’s amazing. Maybe her trainwreckiness, her patriotism, her heroism and her compassion all come from this same thing, this lack of ego that allows her to do a job that would have most of us suicidal in three months.” [x]
Some six years later, that passage has stuck with me. I think about it a lot. And I know some of you are probably thinking, “Carrie? Giving a shit about people? HAH!”
We could all argue for days (literally, we have) about Carrie’s various merits, about what she does actually care about, about her selfishness or selflessness, about her giving a shit or not giving enough of a shit, about how she uses people, how wayward she’s gone, how she’s not a good enough this or that. But I’m not really in the business anymore of convincing people that my Carrie journey is theirs or convincing myself that theirs is mine.
The most I can do now is give you all insight into what this character has meant to me, how I see her and why, in all the 400 and counting ways that she is.
Everyone, please buckle in for the ride of your life. Carrie’s season two wardrobe starts out ok but becomes gradually, fantastically more terrible.
Together we will chronicle every baggy pantsuit and bootcut jean.
Actually, this moment of ~Zen~ as Carrie gardens I find to be super interesting because this is basically the same thing she wore in “The Weekend.” I choose to think this is intentional. Her grey Converse sneakers are adorable.
I also love that Carrie decided to become a teacher in her “I need a low-stress job to occupy my time” phase. Teachers are fucking heroes (though I don’t actually believe teaching to be a low-stress job)! They all need 8000% raises.
I chose this shot because you can kind of see that Carrie is wearing tan peep-toe sandals with this ensemble, which is decidedly fall-like? Even though it’s supposed to be early summer? The timeline of season two makes no sense at all. I guess we just go with it?
This outfit is actually good though! The top is cute and it goes well with the sweater. Yes, we are giving credit for Carrie pairing a dark-wash jean with two neutrals but whatever! Grading on a curve and all that jazz. A-.
…that she sleeps in? Why is she sleeping in this? At least she didn’t wear two t-shirts to bed.
This travel outfit is nice though. The jacket is flattering, although she paired it with a BRIGHT RED top. I guess she really wanted to blend in? That scarf is really cute and THAT WIG DOES NOT LOOK REAL.
Why is the CIA’s budget for wigs approximately $24?
My fave detail in this episode is that Carrie is so nervous she sweats through that aforementioned bright red shirt. Poor Carrie.
And so here’s the outfit she changes into, which is also looks good on her. Claire Danes can really rock a double-breasted button down (which is apparently Carrie’s go-to overseas uniform) and white linen pant. Anyway, we’ll talk about this outfit next time because it’s literally the only thing she wears in the second episode. I also like her headscarf!
But the best thing she wears, by far, in this or any other episode (except for hat and probably black boatneck sweater) is THIS SMILE.
I can’t even look at this shot without smiling. It is contagious, it is infectious. The world snapping back into focus. That’s my girl.