The Year in Geekdom - 2009

This really was an epic year for Jake and I. We were lucky to not only enjoy a lot of recreational geekdom, but also to plant some seeds for many future professional geek ventures. I'm officially 25% Master of Creative Writing, have enjoyed many fun freelance writing assignments and creative side projects this year and began my fledgling career as a voice-over artist.

All in all, I have to say, settling into my geekdom truly paid off in ways that I really couldn't have anticipated. I guess that just goes to show you, being yourself (no matter what) can really pay dividends, both professionally and personally. So please, do follow your geeky white rabbit down the nerd hole this year...you won't be sorry.

I made a list, and in no particular order, here are...


The Women Film Critics Circle Awards

I'm proud to be a part of the WFCC and I'm ashamed to say that I missed voting this year. Something that won't happen next year. The best thing about the WFCC is the fact that it provides a forum for the discussion of the still under-represented women in the film industry.

You can find hundreds of forums for fans of multiple genres of film and plenty of "film" sites that critique women's appearance alongside the films they appear in as though that's just the accepted status quo. Giving out awards like, "hottie of the day", as though reviewing film and the immature ogling of women must go hand-in-hand.

So the fact that a network like this exists is beyond helpful in an industry that not only objectifies women, but also many people, people groups, and ideas on a regular basis. Some say it's just the nature of the business, but the WFCC begs to differ, and dissenting and intellectual voices can make a difference in an oversaturated critical world that often links itself inextricably to the use and abuse of female sexuality for no other reason than the fact that it can. The WFCC offers an alternative viewpoint and perhaps a more finely tuned criticial lens with which to view film.

It's not that the members of the WFCC always agree with one another, you may even notice a small disclaimer in the awards this year regarding this fact. It's the idea that they are determined to keep these important discussions alive and keep asking the tough questions while calling filmmakers out on two-dimensional and unrealistic female characters. But the WFCC isn't just the stereotype police, they take the time to notice the well-done films and characters and to reward female filmmakers for their excellent works.

So here are this year's awards. Whether you agree or disagree, you are invited to join in on the discussion in the comments section here or over at the WFCC website at http://wfcc.wordpress.com/


Coco Before Chanel
My One And Only

Julie & Julia: Nora Ephron

BEST WOMAN STORYTELLER [Screenwriting Award]
Sunshine Cleaning: Megan Holley

Abbie Cornish: Bright Star

Ben Foster: The Messenger

Sidibe Gabourey: Precious

Meryl Streep: Julie & Julia


American Violet
The Baader Meinhof Complex
Inglourious Basterds
Lemon Tree
The Messenger
My Sister's Keeper
Sweet Crude

BEST THEATRICALLY UNRELEASED MOVIE BY OR ABOUT WOMEN [Includes films released on DVD or TV, or screened at film festivals, in recognition of the limited opportunities available for films by and about women on screen]
Grey Gardens

Julie & Julia

Princess And The Frog: Anika Noni Rose as Tiana


LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD: Gertrude Berg [Posthumous]: Yoo-Hoo Mrs. Goldberg: Aviva Kempner, director

ACTING AND ACTIVISM: Emma Thompson - For her work on and off screen against sex trafficking

*ADRIENNE SHELLY AWARD: For a film that most passionately opposes violence against women:

*JOSEPHINE BAKER AWARD: For best expressing the woman of color experience in America
American Violet

*KAREN MORLEY AWARD: For best exemplifying a woman's place in history or society, and a courageous search for identity
An Education

COURAGE IN ACTING [Taking on unconventional roles that radically redefine the images of women on screen]
Isabella Rossellini: Green Porno

THE INVISIBLE WOMAN AWARD [Supporting performance by a woman whose exceptional impact on the film dramatically, socially or historically, has been ignored]
Olivia Williams: An Education


GROUNDBREAKER: The Beaches of Agnès, Agnès Varda

ABOVE AND BEYOND: American Casino, Leslie Cockburn

COURAGE IN FILMMAKING: Tattooed Under Fire, Nancy Schiesari


Antichrist: The cinematic equivalent of nails down a chalkboard. Pretentious pornography, satanic sex, and Willem Dafoe as an artsy New Age femocidal sexorcist.

Deadgirl: Again the theme is vile sexual violence to women. In this case, the woman is dead and the men can do what they like with her And they do. This film brings out the worst of male fantasies towards women, and it wasn't a pretty sight.

Downloading Nancy: The sexual violence towards Nancy, even though she asked for and seemed to want it, was difficult to absorb.

Ghosts Of Girlfriends Past: Matthew McConaughey as cardboard cutout misogynist, in one too many phone-it-in rom-coms featuring toxic bachelors.

Pirate Radio: Horrible male characters who treat women like a floating meat market.

Precious: If this film were a poor 'white trash' family/community, it wouldn't have received the applause that it did. The point is that it promotes prejudice against blacks, fat women, unmarried women, less educated women and a whole lot more. That it is successful screams out for another film from the same neighborhood where the family is kept above the fray of stereotyping, by a strong unmarried mother.

Twilight Saga: New Moon: Bella (lead human female) is completely pathetic, the whole giving up one's soul thing. How sad is it when a gal in a small town picks two boys she likes, one is a vampire and one is a werewolf.

Up In The Air: 'Just think of me as yourself, only with a vagina.' Oh, puh-leez! Who was this corporate female predaor [Vera Farmiga] supposed to be, this gorgeous, available babe with no back story and the magic ability to pull two sexy black dresses from her rollaway with no prior notice?!?!?

Two words: Judd Apatow. Some more words: perfect, beautiful women exist to save overweight schlubby men from their otherwise inevitable fate as complete no-hopers.

Worst Full Frontal Male Nudity 2009: Observe And Report's comedic flabby flasher. Ha Ha.

*Please Note: The WFCC Top Ten Hall Of Shame represents the 'don't tell me to shut up' sidebar contribution of individual members, and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the entire Circle. Also, members may be objecting to particular characters in a film, and not the entire movie.

*ADRIENNE SHELLY AWARD: Adrienne Shelly was a promising actress and filmmaker who was brutally strangled in her apartment in 2006 at the age of forty by a construction worker in the building, after she complained about noise. Her killer tried to cover up his crime by hanging her from a shower20rack in her bathroom, to make it look like a suicide. He later confessed that he was having a "bad day." Shelly, who left behind a baby daughter, had just completed her film Waitress, which she also starred in, and which was honored at Sundance after her death.

*JOSEPHINE BAKER AWARD: The daughter of a laundress and a musician, Baker overcame being born black, female and poor, and marriage at age fifteen, to become an internationally acclaimed legendary performer, starring in the films Princess Tam Tam, Moulin Rouge and Zou Zou. She also survived the race riots in East St. Louis, Illinois as a child, and later expatriated to France to escape US racism. After participating heroically in the underground French Resistance during WWII, Baker returned to the US where she was a crusader for racial equality. Her activism led to attacks against her by reporter Walter Winchell who denounced her as a communist, leading her to wage a battle against him. Baker was instrumental in ending segregation in many theaters and clubs, where she refused to perform unless integration was implemented.

*KAREN MORLEY AWARD: Karen Morley was a promising Hollywood star in the 1930s, in such films as Mata Hari and Our Daily Bread. She was driven out of Hollywood for her leftist political convictions by the Blacklist and for refusing to testify against other actors, while Robert Taylor and Sterling Hayden were informants against her. And also for daring to have a child and become a mother, unacceptable for female stars in those days. Morley maintained her militant political activism for the rest of her life, running for Lieutenant Governor on the American Labor Party ticket in 1954. She passed away in 2003, unrepentant to the end, at the age of 93.


Rest in Peace, Dan O'Bannon

In all the hubub of the holiday, the sad news of Dan O'Bannon's passing was lost in the shuffle. Which is, in a way, characteristic of what happened to O'Bannon throughout his career. He was never a celebrity of the showbiz scene, and perhaps that's because he was truly one of "us". Just another geek. And I don't say that to marginalize him in any way. I say it with pride, to claim him as one of our own. He made it in the industry, able to channel all that passion and knowledge into a formidable career. And if he can make it, so can any of us. In fact, we may all want to consider striving to be more like Dan O'Bannon than Steven Spielberg or George Lucas.

I'm sorry to say I had never even heard of him until my Dad gifted me with the deluxe box set of Alien a few years ago. I'm a special features junkie, my whole family has always craved behind-the-scenes info, so when my Dad saw the box set, he passed it onto me quickly.

When Dan O'Bannon popped onscreen, I thought I had kind of died and gone to geek heaven. He was so blissfully uncool, relating his harrowing tales of trying to make it in the film industry. Sleeping on friends' couches, living with frustration while his freshman efforts were scoffed at, and continuing on no matter what criticism or trouble he faced. Because what he loved more than anything in the world was to tell a story and get a reaction out of an audience. There was nothing arrogant about him, he shared credit, he had no shame when talking about weeping the first time he saw Alien on the big screen. He was so incredibly easy to love.

Only later did I find out that he was also responsible for another one of my kinder-traumas, the apocalyptic sci-fi horror film, Lifeforce. He also did the surprisingly well-done Invaders from Mars, which seems like it should be silly now simply because of the time and budget with which it was made. But it lives on like the kid's version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. In fact, movies like The Faculty borrowed heavily from that film. I still get a kick out of watching it.
O'Bannon was charming and down-to-earth. He was the perfect example of why "geek" is a way of life. Geeks can never become cool, because they can't help themselves. They can become successful and respected and well-loved. But we will always be those child-like, some would say over-enthusiastic people. And when one of us breaks through the way Dan did, there's just no looking back. Dan was grateful for his success and gracious about it.

Watching O'Bannon talk with a gray head of hair was probably exactly like watching him in his younger days. (When he was quite the handsome fellow.) He never changed who he was and his trademark style was all over his amazing screenplays. He was a master of tension and suspense and he consistently payed homage to the comics and films that he loved as a child, never willing to separate his work from his inspirations and therefore never creating anything he needed to be ashamed of, whether something he worked on became a timeless hit or a cult classic.

He will be sorely missed and I'm truly sad I never had the chance to sit down and talk with him about any of his work or his life.

Dan O'Bannon


Merry Christmas

Have a great holiday, in the spirit of unlikely pairings!

P.S. Jake got me a ukelele for Christmas. I think my head is going to explode with joy.


Zombie Girl - Interview with Co-Director Aaron Marshall

As the year draws to a close, I'm still cleaning out ye olde freelance closet. That means some
articles written for publication that hit the floor are getting a second life here on my blog.

This one was written in August and due for publication around Halloween...

It's an interview with the co-director of the endearing documentary Zombie Girl. I call it a must-see for any film geeks, fans of the zombie and documentary genres or aspiring filmmakers. Consider watching the trailer first (if you've never seen the documentary) before reading the interview.


Interview with Aaron Marshall

You may have heard of the documentary Zombie Girl. It’s the Austin-based film about a 13 year old girl who set out to make a full-length feature film. A zombie movie she wrote called, Pathogen. It’s gaining notoriety in the public eye after winning a handful of awards and making a memorable appearance at Comic-Con this July. (The Zombie Girl screening was completely full.)

The plot may sound quirky, but Zombie Girl has more to offer than an interesting premise. Sure it’s fascinating that a teenage girl made a horror movie. But after the initial impression fades, you're drawn into the world of Emily and her parents. A sense of awe develops for their practical approach and sheer dedication to an almost impossible task.

Someone who knew nothing technical about filmmaking got the job done, despite the multiple roadblocks that filmmaking inevitably presents. Out of all the people in the world who want to make films, thirteen-year-old Emily Hagins did it. Thirteen. Was it innocence or bravery that lead her to undertake such a daunting task?

Aaron Marshall, one of the film’s three co-directors says, “Emily just dedicated herself to it, and she’ll be the first one to tell you that her film is not this perfect work of art or anything. She just realized that the only way to learn is to make mistakes and grow from it.”

The documentary began after he and his co-directors noticed a casting call posted in Austin that needed kids to play the flesh-eating undead, “That in and of itself was probably the most unique casting call we’d ever seen. We started by contacting her and her parents to find out more and see if we could maybe talk to them and a week later we were sitting there at her auditions.”

Following Emily, while she made Pathogen presented special challenges. Marshall said the main struggle was resisting the urge to help. “We would see her make a mistake sometimes and go, ‘Oh, she’s gonna regret that later.’ which she did and then learned from them. That was probably the most important thing was that we knew if we stepped in and just told her how to do something we’d be robbing her of the learning experience.”

Zombie Girl also showcases the fact that technology has made such a leap that kids everywhere have all the tools to make a feature film, quite literally at their fingertips. From sophisticated Mini HD cameras to the editing software that comes standard on many home computers, kids can now learn by doing in an industry that was once reserved only for those who went to film school.

Marshall says that was an intentional focus, "Zombie Girl is an example of what is going on out there with cameras nowadays. Emily’s story is extremely fascinating because she’s a girl and she chose to make a zombie movie and that itself is maybe a little rare. But kids making movies is not. There are lots of kids out there doing it and its really exciting. Zombie Girl is going to shed some light on the fact that kids today are getting started in making movies at a much younger age. I definitely want people to take that from the film.”

That shouldn’t take anything away from Emily’s accomplishment. Availability of technology doesn’t necessarily mean that anyone can (should or will) pick up a camera and become a filmmaker. It just means they can get started earlier if they're so inclined.

In fact, Marshall can vouch for Emily’s artistic progress since Pathogen. “She just finished last week (at the time we spoke in early August) her second film. It’s a mystery/ghost story. She shot it over last summer and has had to work (finishing the film) around her school schedule. Emily is pretty…level-headed, so I think she’ll just keep taking it all one step at a time. She’s still in high school, she’s still making movies, I don’t know where she’s gonna go, but I do know that her goal is to just keep making movies for as long as she can.”

The documentary is at times funny, but it’s not always easy to watch. Like any good documentary, there's plenty of real conflict. In this case, it's the stress of making a full-length feature and the toll it takes on Emily, her schoolwork, and her family. Making a film is a huge stressor on even the most experienced professionals. You can imagine what it might do to a thirteen-year-old and her parents.

The end result is a motivational tale for any aspiring artist. Marshall himself was affected by the process of making the documentary. Marshall says, “As a direct result of, Zombie Girl I did end up writing a horror script. Before it had never really been my genre, but getting deeper involved with Emily and in editing Zombie Girl, I was watching more zombie movies and it’s been a bit of an inspiration.”

The film takes a step away from the typically glamorous portrayals of filmmaking to prove anyone can get themselves behind the velvet ropes of a world that seems reserved for the elite. If they're willing to invest their time and efforts making the independent film they want to create, instead of banging on industry doors.

Outside of its motivational aspects, it also plays as a sort of parenting fable, where the nurturing effects of supportive parents can be directly linked to a child’s drive and ability to succeed in reaching their goals. The key relationship in Zombie Girl is the one between Emily and her Mother, who does everything on Pathogen from special effects to feeding extras to holding a home-made boom mic throughout much of the filming. While most parents are content to let their kids burn through the hours playing video games as long as they stay quiet, Emily's mother teaches her a valuable lesson about following through, especially when things become overwhelming.

Marshall talks about the two main ideas of Zombie Girl that took shape during filming and editing, “There are a couple of things that you can take from watching the film. One is, no matter what goals you have, just (taking) the idea of pursuing your passions and your interests and dedicating yourself to stuff and just being able to make things happen, you know, work hard at it. Also just the role of the parents in helping to nurture their children and helping them follow their dreams and how important that is to have that as well.”

Marshall says the main goal for Zombie Girl now is some kind of distribution deal. “We like the movie, we like the message, we want as many people to see it as possible, that’s kind of our goal, just get it in front of as many eyes as possible. We’re hoping for distribution to get it out there.”

With Emily having just finished her second movie, it’s almost certain that we’ll continue to see her making films well into the future. (I know I'll like be following her progress.) No doubt Emily’s story is just one of many young filmmakers coming up in an exciting time in the history of a relatively young medium. (After all, when compared to the fine arts, film is only about a century old.)

Zombie Girl is more than just an entertaining documentary about the making of a horror film. It’s a record of a new time in filmmaking, a “how to” manual for parents who want to know the best way to encourage their children, and a motivational tool for anyone who ever felt like they couldn’t do something because they didn’t know where to begin.

As with every good documentary, the target demographic is…everyone. Marshall explains, “It’s a movie that will very much appeal to genre lovers everywhere… all of us genre lovers can see a little bit of ourselves in Emily. But I think it can also appeal to any field of interest, it’s about a mother and daughter working together to accomplish a goal. I’m still excited about it here four years into it. It’s still a movie I enjoy watching and I still think it’s a good story.”

Once you watch this, you'll realize there really are no excuses for not doing whatever you want to do with your life. It's entertaining, it's funny, and I'm not gonna lie...perhaps I shed a tear or two watching Emily standing at her premiere in the famous film landmark, the Alamo Drafthouse.

This is a talented young lady who reminds us all that the only person really stopping you from accomplishing your goals, more often than not, is yourself.


UPDATE: Emily totally "made it". 


Did You Hear About the Morgans? - minor spoilers

This movie is getting slammed by critics everywhere. Rather harshly, I believe. I saw it this weekend with my best friend, and I tend to avoid reading any other reviews of movies before I write my own. But one arrived in my inbox today, so my policy went briefly out the window.

However, I think this movie is the perfect segue to a subject I've been wanting to talk about in regards to film reviews for a long time. For starters, it's the notion that critics should go into seeing a film with a fairly blank palette...


Vikings, Sea Monsters and Mel Gibson...no, seriously.

This week's script news over at fivesprockets.com. Read it and weep. Oh, how I LOVE you Universal monsters...but especially you Gill Man. In fact, my second ever freelance writing assignment was a eulogy for Ben Chapman, the original Gill Man himself as seen in this picture. In fact, I can remember watching the original, "Creature from the Black Lagoon" as a kid, and between that and, "African Queen", and seeing, "Jurassic Park" in the theater at the age of ten, my love of the jungle adventure genre was born!

On a random note...it's just occuring to me how often I write eulogies...weird.

Ten Points for Vulnerability

I guess since I'm in graduate school for creative writing, I should probably start to share some of that every now and then, huh?

The Year I Looked My Best
A fictionalized account of the unnattractive side of youth and beauty...
Read More

And here's a Haunted Mansion inspired short fiction...

When the Lights Go Down in the Haunted Mansion
What if the animatronics of the Haunted Mansion weren't just parts and electricity? I wrote this for a live reading, so it may lose a bit without being performed...
Read More

My One and Only - Movie Review

My One and Only is a movie that quietly came and went this year. I received a copy of it for the end of the year Women's Film Critics Circle awards voting, and out of all of the films I received, this was one that I wanted to watch immediately. I'm a bit of a documentary freak, so this was a welcome genre break for me...


Director of Confessions of a Superhero Responds to Dennis Interview

Matt Ogens, the director of the captivating and entertaining documentary, Confessions of a Superhero, sent me an email after I posted my last entry. He wanted to let his side of the story be known, and of course, I am more than happy to oblige...


Catching up with Superman - Christopher Dennis of the documentary Confessions of a Superhero

I did this interview with Christopher Dennis last May. It was slated for publication in Geek Monthly this summer, then again most recently for the Digital Subscriber's issue in November.

This was, hands down, my favorite interview. Dennis was a genuine joy. Sincerity is a quality sorely lacking in today's world. He and his colleagues have it in spades.

Speaking of which, the article will also catch you up on a few of the other superheroes from the documentary. Please enjoy. Heaven knows, the world needs a Superman.


If you’ve seen, Confessions of a Superhero you already know the name, Christopher Dennis. If you haven’t seen the quirky documentary about struggling actors in Los Angeles, perhaps you’ve heard of The Hollywood Superman.

You may have seen him on Jimmy Kimmel Live as part of a troupe of performing superheroes. You may have seen him posing for photographs with tourists in front of the iconic Grauman’s Chinese Theater. Then again, maybe you’ve never heard of him at all.


Still Remembering Bea

Hard as it may be to digest, we're already coming up on the end of the year. You know what that means? Retrospective city. Everywhere you look, from the internet to those horribly obnoxious entertainment shows (that I watch with deep shame on a fairly regular basis) you can expect to find lists of those celebrities who have passed away in 2009. The worst one for me, that's still stinging, was Bea Arthur. I'm still thinking of her, still mourning the fact that I will never meet her, and so I thought I too would jump in on the retrospective action and publish my eulogy for Bea here. It was originally posted on forcesofgeek.com...


I’ve been resisting writing about this since I heard the news last Sunday. I quite literally don’t know how to deal with it. I got the news via text message and I started crying, in a very public place. This is worse than the feeling I had when Majel Roddenberry passed away. You see, Bea Arthur was the one famous person I really and truly wanted to meet.

I’ve always had a place in my heart for strong women, and most of that place has been occupied by various action heroines and comic book characters. So Bea Arthur being thrown into that mix might strike some people as odd, seeing as how she dominated in the genre of television comedy. She never threw a punch or knocked out a bad guy. But her wit was lightning quick and her comedic timing was absolutely razor sharp.

She was the queen of strong women on television. She was a powerhouse. She could reduce you to absolute tears of laughter with a single facial expression. She was so smart with her comedy that she could slay an audience with a single line.

Like most women my age, I grew up watching Bea on The Golden Girls with my grandma. I own all seven seasons, my Golden Girls t-shirt is my favorite item of clothing, and the show gets played on regular rotation at my house. Sometimes it’s just on as background noise; the mere familiar sounds of it comfort me as I cook dinner or do chores. I have my favorite episodes, and my favorite moments and lines. They don’t call it a cult classic for nothing. You see, fans like me are not rare. I know at least a handful of them in my close circle of friends.

Sure, Golden Girls is fodder for a lot of jokes today, a lot of tongue-in-cheek humor, particularly at the expense of Bea Arthur. Because she just never fit into anybody’s mold. She didn’t technically belong anywhere. Her voice was “too deep”, she was “too tall”, and the criticisms go on and on. She made people uncomfortable, and that’s what she thrived off of, it’s where her comedy came from. She took what was surely her source of pain and made it into her gift, and her income.

So it makes sense to me that she’s just a joke to a slew of people, and not in a good way. I guess it’s that high school boy hiding inside of the general public that just can’t resist taking a stab at her appearance or her stature. Pardon me if I'm a bit defensive...I told you, I loved this woman.

Bea once told a story on a Golden Girls behind-the-scenes special feature about trying to be a jazz singer, and how she got laughed off the stage because of her deep voice. That would crush most people. Forever. But not her, she figured out right then and there that she was meant for comedy and she just went for it, metaphorical guns blazing. That, to me, takes great strength. Years later, she finally got the opportunity to sing on the show, and she did a beautiful rendition of Irving Berlin’s stunning, “What’ll I do” that will take on a whole new meaning to me now. Naturally, she still found a way to make it into comedy gold.

I’ve been putting off writing about this, because it’s so hard for me to find the words. I know how kooky I sound. It’s all very, “Leave Britney alone!” I know that. And I’ve written about the Golden Girls many times before, usually defensively, trying to convince people that it is a truly great show and not something to be mocked. (You can find my most impassioned plea HERE.)

But what can I honestly say? All I could do would be to trip over myself begging for you to genuinely give Bea a chance. But actually, I think everyone really loves her, even if they feel they have to in secret because they don’t want to admit flipping to the Lifetime channel to watch her in re-runs.

She was so intelligent about choosing roles, even post-Golden Girls. She lent her voice to a classic episode of Futurama and managed to literally give me chills with just her voice. She had me grabbing my sides with her cameo on Malcom in the Middle, and I didn’t even like that show. I hated it actually, but hey, for Bea...

She, like every other legend of comedy, knew how to draw all of the attention from the audience at all times and every scene she was ever in, she stole completely. What made her even better? She knew this about herself, and she was gracious with her larger than life presence. She wasn’t a scene hog. She wasn’t a diva. She even chose to leave the Golden Girls after the seventh season, when it likely could’ve gone on for much longer, because she was afraid she didn’t have it in her anymore. So maybe it wasn’t humility, but perhaps that which lies at the heart of every true comedian, self-consciousness.

Whatever it was, I can’t tell you how sorry I am to have never experienced it in person. I can’t tell you how much more I will cherish my worn down DVD’s of my favorite television show. Now, every time I crack up at one of her scathing looks to the also departed Estelle Getty, I’ll feel a twinge of sadness. Because there’s just nobody like her. There are no young Bea Arthurs out there, no up and coming character actresses that even come close to her genius. It’s a different world now than it was when she came up in the entertainment business. You have to look a certain way, for the most part, to get anywhere now.

Can you imagine anyone on television or in the music industry looking the way people did even 20 years ago?

But I’m getting off topic. The death of Bea Arthur is a tragic loss, even if it was to be expected. I’m just beside myself. I know that’s completely irrational, but I feel like I lost my grandmother. Because really, wasn’t Bea the third grandmother we all secretly wished was ours? Maybe that was just me…

I’m just doing a really awful job of this. I’m a writer, I’m supposed to know what to say, exactly how to put it. But I can’t. So I guess I’ll just say how I really feel, despite how obnoxious this makes me sound.

Bea, you have no idea how much I respect you. How much I wish I could make a dent in the world even one tenth the size that you did. To break barriers, to inspire such raucous laughter, to take such great strides for women in the entertainment industry, and to so completely get over myself the way I’m sure you had to after facing the criticisms that you did in this world.

You will be sorely, sorely missed, even by people from a generation born after Golden Girls started airing. You didn’t realize it, but you were an absolute legend. You affected our lives, deeply. An entire generation of little girls grew up watching you, and you taught us that it’s better to be smart than to be a bimbo. That there’s a place in this world for women who don’t fit the mold and that it’s very important to always have a good comeback. For that and more, I am genuinely thankful, and I’ll continue to draw inspiration from your legendary comedy for the rest of my life.