November 26, 2015
by The OJBG Team

Where Are The Thanksgiving Movies? | MJ

In this consumer-based world, Thanksgiving is sandwiched between Halloween and Christmas. That is what the facades of stores and coffee shops tell us, it is what the inside of department stores look like, and it is what the radio will play for us. Thanksgiving is the dollop of cranberry jam spread between a bottom chocolatey piece of orange bread and the top candy-striped peppermint piece of red and green bread. It gets lost in there. It’s too much of a mouthful.

I began to think about this in the context of media. There are tons and tons of Halloween movies out there. They range from the horrific to the gentle, for adults and children alike. The one that pops to mind immediately is Hocus Pocus, followed closely by (duh) John Carpenter’s Halloween.

And Christmas? Hell, there are too many to count. It’s A Wonderful Life and A Christmas Story play on repeat on multiple television channels every year. Not to mention How The Grinch Stole Christmas and the Rankin/Bass Christmas specials.

So what can you tune to this Thanksgiving? This year, according to, AMC is airing the entire Godfather series, Syfy is marathoning James Bond films, ABC Family is showing Disney Pixar animated features back to back to back, and Spike is running through The Mummy franchise like it’s been doing forever.

Thanksgiving (in TV land) stacks up to a bizarre mish-mash of franchise films played all day, not a turkey-themed gem in sight. So many end-of-the-year holidays have television and movie staples that morph into family traditions. So why not Turkey-day? Well, let’s see.

Halloween movies tend to run in two different directions: family-friendly and horror-rific. Hocus Pocus and Halloweentown are on the front-end of that spectrum. Halloween is a mystical and fun-filled occasion, and it is aimed mostly at enticing children. Because it is a holiday built from a spiritual religion and myths, and warped over time into new practices, Halloween movies have a lot of material to work with that can still be molded into original stories. Ghosts and creatures, as well as stories of trick’r'treaters and candy-mongers. Look at films like The Nightmare Before Christmas or It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!:

peanuts nightmare

These are stories that kids can relate to, that travel with us into adulthood. Holidays are half nostalgia, after all.

On the other end of the spectrum is horror. And tons of it. Plenty of films have used Halloween as a stepping-off point. The Halloween films always marathon on some channel or another. A more recent example is the horror anthology Trick’r Treat, a film of different storylines (a serial killer buries a body; a girl is stalked by a werewolf; a group of bullying teenagers get their comeuppance) that converge in some way over the course of one Halloween night. Even if the spooky holiday is not the inspiration, millions of people take the night as a personal challenge to watch as many scary movies as they can handle.

Christmas is likewise divided into two-ish categories: family-friendly fluffy films and comedies. The Santa Claus, Miracle on 34th Street, and The Polar Express live in that first category. Again, the movies feed on nostalgia. In terms of comedy, Elf has somehow become a staple of the season, along with comedies like Home Alone and even, yes, Gremlins. I myself am partial to the best of all Christmas movies: Die Hard.

Looking now at how these films have become holiday classics, it’s easy to see why Thanksgiving doesn’t receive the same treatment. Thanksgiving is a straightforward holiday. Families eat dinner together. They are merry. There is no mythology to draw from. There is no playfulness in how the scenario can be handled. It all boils down to dinner. Where are the goddamn reindeer and vampires?

Films that are plotted around Thanksgiving don’t make a point of being a “Thanksgiving movie” for the most part (excusing the John Hughes classic comedy Planes, Trains, and Automobiles and flops like Pieces of April). Scent of a Woman (starring Al Pacino) takes place over a Thanksgiving break at a boy’s school, but it only serves as a jumping-off point for the plot to move forward. The same is true for a Thanksgiving scene in Rocky and this spectacular scene from Addams Family Values.

Y’know, in viewing this scene, I think I’ve unearthed the truth: Thanksgiving brings out the worst in people. It makes people start fires, try to kill each other, and have arguments over mashed potatoes. It’s not as though Thanksgiving has an innocent origin. Celluloid is apparently fuel for the fire that is human emotion. Be wary, friends. Be wary (but eat turkey).

November 24, 2015
by The OJBG Team

The One With All The Thanksgivings | MJ

Thanksgiving is a time in these United States for good food and merriment and naps after turkey. It is also a time for realizing how little you like your relatives and how few hiding places there are in your house. Goddamn, Uncle Dave just won’t stop drinking and no one will say anything. In some houses (like mine) the television is on as soon as the first family member is up and about (this person is more often than not my mother) and tuned to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. Are we paying attention to it? No, not really. Why would we be? The parade is a long B-list-star-studded commercial before the National Dog Show comes on at noon.

In checking the TV Guide for this Thanksgiving, I have found that TBS is airing each Thanksgiving-themed episode of Friends in a marathon, as big a staple in some households as turkey and cranberry sauce. I grew up watching Friends and could probably give a summary of each episode based on its title. “The One Where No One’s Ready”? Shit, that’s the bottle episode in which Ross wants everyone to haul ass to his benefit and Phoebe gets the hummus.

So here, as a tribute to both the holiday and my fondness for the beloved television show, is my ranking of Thanksgiving episodes of Friends.

#10 Season 2 – No Episode :(

Season 2 lands in last place purely because it has no Thanksgiving-themed episode. This is a bit bizarre, considering that every other season has the Thanksgiving episode. Even show creator David Crane has said that these episodes are “hallmarks” of Friends. Normally a Thanksgiving episode will be the eighth or ninth in the season, but Season 2′s eighth episode aired on November 16th and the ninth episode did not follow it until December 14th. Boo.

#9 The One With The Late Thanksgiving (Season 10)

Friends became less funny towards the end of its run and Season 10 was more concerned with wrapping up plotlines and character arcs more than anything else. Mike and Phoebe married and Ross and Rachel of course reconciled and got back together. Joey’s life was up in the air – not like he knew he would inevitably end up in California, in the cringe-worthy and ill-fated spin-off series Joey. “The One With The Late Thanksgiving” ends with the announcement that Monica and Chandler are able to adopt a child from a pregnant woman in Ohio (played by the always-lovable Anna Faris). This episode also gave us this beautiful and not-at-all creepy picture of Joey:

And the single greatest reaction from Ross:

#8 The One Where Chandler Doesn’t Like Dogs (Season 7)

Thanksgiving is tangential to this Season 7 episode (one might call it a moo point) in which the plot points are divided between Rachel trying to woo her attractive and much younger assistant Tag, Ross desperately trying to remember all fifty states for a game Chandler has brought to the gang, and Chandler admitting his fear of dogs to the obviously shocked and indignant group.

#7 The One With The Rumor (Season 8)

This episode is most well-remembered for being the one where Brad Pitt guest stars as an old high school friend of Monica’s who hates Rachel, going so far as to make an I-Hate-Rachel club back in high school. While Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt were a couple then and the episode drew on their popularity to make the situation all the more comical, it now has a different tone, what with all the publicity that swarmed Aniston and Pitt when the married couple split. Be that as it may, the episode is still hilarious. In my opinion, Phoebe lands the funniest lines with Joey in close second. The episode was also nominated for multiple Emmy awards, including one for Brad Pitt in his guest role.

#6 The One With Chandler In A Box (Season 4)

The most-viewed clip on Youtube from this episode is this zinger from Monica after being accused of grossness when she invites Richard’s son to Thanksgiving dinner. This episode is heavier than others on this list (accounting for my mid-ranking) as Chandler and Joey have not reconciled fully after Chandler kisses Joey’s then-girlfriend Kathy, prompting Joey’s “punishment” by putting Chandler in the eponymous box.

#5 The One With Rachel’s Other Sister (Season 9)

Christina Applegate is one of my favorite guest stars on Friends. This is her first appearance as Rachel’s self-absorbed sister Amy who crashes Thanksgiving dinner and gets into an argument with Rachel that culminates in the above catfight. Christina Applegate won an Emmy for her performance and it’s no wonder why. She is a comic scene-stealer and head and shoulders above Reese Witherspoon, who played Rachel’s other sister, Jill, in a single episode in season 6 and was never seen again.

#4 The One Where Ross Got High (Season 6)

“The One Where Ross Got High” is a definite highlight of Friends as a show because it introduced the world to Rachel’s trifle, which has since been made by many people to taste test if it really “tastes like feet!” as Ross so elegantly discovered. Jack and Judy Geller (Elliot Gould and Christina Pickles, two of my other favorite frequent guest stars) make an appearance at dinner, too, where we learn that they don’t like Chandler, and many many truths come out.

It is an ensemble cast at its best. And sitcom humor at its funniest.

#3 The One With The Football (Season 3)

Season 3 has a special place in my heart. It is the first full season my brother owned on DVD and we watched the shit out of it. “The One With The Football” aired after the 1996 Super Bowl and was the highest-rated Super Bowl lead-out program ever, as well as the highest-rated episode of the entire series. The gang plays a “harmless” game of touch football in the park, and it brings out the competitive side of Monica and Ross. Why else do you have to love it? Phoebe’s super cute shirt, of course.

#2 The One With All The Thanksgivings (Season 5)

Although there had been a few flashback episodes in the first four seasons, this episode takes the cake for the best use of it, both dramatically and humorously, delving into past Thanksgivings at the Geller house and the budding relationship between Monica and Chandler. Ross and Chandler got to look ridiculous in their dated fashion, while Jennifer Aniston donned a fake nose and Courteney Cox donned the fat suit for the second time. The episode also featured the Geller parents once more, as well as Morgan Fairchild in a quick bit as Chandler’s mother. Never one to be left out, Phoebe gets the last word:

#1 The One Where Underdog Gets Away (Season 1)

I suppose I’m a purist. “The One Where Underdog Gets Away” is the first Thanksgiving episode. Way back when Ross had a monkey (Why did Ross have a monkey?) and Joey had VD (not really) and Phoebe’s grandmother was still alive (RIP). It was the first Thanksgiving episode to introduce Chandler’s hatred for Thanksgiving food and the friends’ propensity to come together after a big fight, very much in keeping with the holiday spirit. These rankings are collapsible, dependent on mood, as you all must know, because I like Friends too much to say that any one episode is bad. Lists just look so damn beautiful, you know?

November 17, 2015
by The OJBG Team

Battle of The Binge| Shay B.

Confession: I’m intimidated by queues. Yea, there’s the traditional queues like the snaky one at the Chinatown Walgreens, or the one that decorates the exterior of a new restaurant with fare so good that my friends have added “totes” to the assertion that I try it. I’ll save those everyday atrocities for a later date. The queue that offers the most looming threat is tucked away in the dark and stormy cloud of Netflix. And Hulu. And HBO GO. And Amazon Prime Video. And oh, please don’t hip me to another streaming service.

Without romanticizing the jam-packed days that litter my life, let’s just say I don’t have the time. That should be simple enough. I don’t have enough time, therefore I do not watch and I should not worry. I don’t do simple. Nope. I love film. I love television. The casts of characters, the worlds produced, the showrunners, and even the wigs (I’m looking at you Juliana Margulies). Plus, each story offers a welcome and sometimes necessary jaunt into an alternate world. Still, I’m here with growing queues and too few eyeballs to enjoy them before the conversation shifts to something funnier, grittier or whatever-ier.

If I wasn’t so plugged in I may have missed one of the most beautifully frank series I’ve laid my eyes on in Catastrophe, the stunning cinematography of Beasts of No Nation or missed the opportunity to venture back to the visionary work of Errol Morris’ Thin Blue Line.


I have to know why Gina Rodriguez (Jane The Virgin) won the Golden Globe last winter.

I have to understand the 99% Rotten Tomatoes rating on Rosemary’s Baby.

What’s this I hear about a color theory on Breaking Bad?

I need to be visually informed before I read the umpteenth think piece about Aziz Ansari’s Master of None. (Also, will I still I cherish Ansari when he’s stripped of the baller on a budget characterization of Tom Haverford?)

Oh, and I have to get through all those “best of” lists, like 100 Best Streaming Right Now, The best movies a Hulu Plus subscription can buy and on and on.

I probably won’t get to it all, which is both frustrating and inspiring. Frustrating because I won’t quite understand the hype when Game of Thrones turns twenty. Inspired, because there’s always going to be good stuff out there.

I’m learning to pace myself, like I do outside the restaurant or waiting around at Walgreens. There is no rush. I’ll get to a lot of it. Or I could give up and read a book.

November 10, 2015
by The OJBG Team

The Soundtrack For A Stormy Day | MJ

For me, the pleasantness of any day rests heavily on its soundtrack. On a day like today, when the drizzle starts as a chilly pinprick and develops into a steady shower, disappears for those few hours in the afternoon, only to return at that unfortunate time when you have to drive home at rush hour, the music that accompanies rubber boot squelches is paramount. A good tune can turn a sour wet morning into something happy. A bad song on the radio could change the demeanor with which you will approach the day and make you hate everything. Good music is like a good breakfast: your day’s more than likely going to go to shit real quick if you don’t get that in you early.

Take this titular tune. “I’m Only Happy When It Rains”, to me, embraces how shitty a day can be and takes it in stride. “So it’s raining? Cool, time to show those puddles who’s boss with these kickass boots.” Shirley Manson don’t give a fuck. She’s here to be happy despite the misery (or maybe because of it?). I respect that. With her strong voice filling my ears on the morning train, I can forget the distinct pungent wet dog smell permeating from the gentleman squeezed into the seat next to me.

Garbage’s alt-rock single provides a different vibe from something like, say, “Singin’ in the Rain”. Who wouldn’t be balls-out happy and ready to jump in puddles and onto street furniture like Gene Kelly after listening to this classic? And that happy-go-lucky lovey-dovey tune is a distant relation to something like Oh Laura’s melancholy bittersweet indie track “Raining In New York”. Rain doesn’t mean doom and gloom, even if it does turn the sky gray, even in this chilly Autumn weather.

I started this morning with “Ten Thousand Lines” by Electric President. Again, a sort of melancholy song whose lyrics don’t necessarily match its chill tune. But that’s a rainy day in a nutshell. The weather might be dreary but that doesn’t mean that it will affect the order of the day. I like the feel of my shoes stomping through puddles and big drops of rain settling on the top of my head. Cold wet feet come later, socks stuck to toes under the desk, and the inevitable frizzy hair. But who cares?

Come on with the rain, I’ve a smile on my face!

What do YOU want to have pumping out of your headphones on a rainy day?

September 25, 2015
by The OJBG Team

Attack of the Falling Acorns – Carmen S.

When people talk about Autumn and the things they love about it, dodging falling acorns is usually not on the list. Oh sure, I love wearing hoodies and football games and the scenery and the Pumpkin Spice Life, but there’s something about falling acorns that really does it for me.

See, people who aren’t from Washington DC think it’s so awesome that we live here, some even going so far to say, “WHOA, you actually live IN DC??” We’re placed on a pedestal for some reason, so when I get the awed, wide eyed stares and relentless questions about life in DC, I’m often confused because this is home… and while home is comfortable and nice, home is boring! But then, in comes Autumn…

Along with the delicious chill in the air and the beautiful changing colors, it’s the acorns that make our tree-lined streets of DC just a touch more exciting. Ever pretend that your living room floor was lava so you jumped from couch to chair to couch as a kid? Well, I’m no kid, but I pretend that acorns are crazy falling bombs that I have to dodge!! I hear one hit the ground behind me and I breathe a sigh of relief knowing I’ve just survived, but then I tell myself that I have to get through the falling mine-field ahead! I hear one crashing through the leaves and I take a crazy diving leap back just in time as the sidewalk explodes in front of me. When the dust clears and I continue on my way, I smile and think, “You know, this place is pretty awesome.”

September 2, 2015
by The OJBG Team

Picture It … Brooklyn, 1995 | Nina H.

 They say “history repeats itself”, not sure who “they” are, but they are right.  We see this in all aspects of culture in today’s society. Whether it’s the bringing back of Polaroid cameras, the new obsession with the VHS camcorder app, or even the choker necklaces and rainbow colored hair, the 90’s have made its return.

 The 90’s was where fashion was timeless, the music was legendary and the television series and movies were original.  Despite the evolution of fashion, music and movies, I am constantly on the hunt for vintage Gucci from that time, purchasing all of my favorite albums from that era on iTunes, and have a biased opinion of the new “Jurassic Park”. There isn’t a week that goes by that I don’t see something that is reflective of that era in our present day culture.

 Just last week, I sat at a lounge in Brooklyn and the vibe gave me 1995 old school house party.  Despite being 6 in 95’, I’ve studied the music, film and fashion to a point where I have an understanding of what the culture felt like during that time. Ironically the topic about how much they missed that era of music came up, as New York  is known for their legendary Hip Hop , Reggae and Soca.  The live band took the hint and we danced all night to the music of that era including everyone’s favorite Chaka Demus and Pliers’s “Murder She Wrote.”

 Although history repeats itself, the 90’s seemed to be an era that everyone loved, enjoys reminiscing about and continues to reference.  I don’t think the question is will we ever escape the 90’s, the real question is do we want to?

July 6, 2015
by The OJBG Team

Beer & Burgers (not) | Sarah Hirsch

On the Fourth of July, the holiday of beer, burgers and blowing things up, I did what any cool 19 year old would do…I went to the movies with my parents. We watched other people blow things up in Spy with the brilliant Melissa McCarthy. (Seriously. That woman is magic. Go and buy a ticket right now. Go.)

I could have gone to a farm in the middle of nowhere (very American) with my twin brother and a bunch of people I didn’t know, but I honestly just didn’t feel like trying to learn everyone’s names.


Prior to the PG-13 rated fun, I did something even more badass. I made them dinner. My brother did too, but that doesn’t count because he’s not cool like you and I.

Here is what I (ugh, and the boy) made:

Recipe: Spicy Shrimp Kabobs

What you need:

Sauce - ¼ cup of olive oil, ¼ cup of lemon juice, ¼ cup of tomato sauce (or pureed tomatoes w/ oregano), 1 tsp of mustard (I used Dijon), 1 tbsp of paprika, 1 tbsp of chili powder, 1 tbsp of garlic powder, 1 tbsp of honey

Other stuff - 1 bag of cooked shrimp, 1 mango, 1 avocado, a medium/large pan, spoon or spatula, a patriotic demeanor, kabob sticks

First, leave the frozen shrimp in a container in the fridge to thaw over night.If you forget, like I did, DON’T PANIC. Just fill a pot with hot water, empty the bag and let those babies soak. While the shellfish are thawing, get your sauce ready! First mix the olive oil, lemon juice and tomato sauce, then add all your spicy powders, honey and mustard. If you want even less added sugar (as I did – no need to sugar crash before the cray-zay fun begins.), take a tomato, dice it and put that sucka in the food processor (a blender works too.) I added some oregano for more flavor.

Now for the other Supremes to your Diana Ross Shrimp – Mango and Avocado. Slice and dice those babies and put them on a plate for later. Check on your shrimp to see how they’re doin’. When they are thawed completely, shell them. Once that it done, it’s time for some heat! 

Get your pan on the stove, put some sauce up in there and put on medium to low heat. Put as many shrimp as you want and mix it all together. Keep the shrimp in there until you believe they’ve absorbed enough of the salt and spice and everything nice.

Whoo! Pat yourself on the back. You just did some grown up cooking type shit. Go you.

For the finale, either plate all the fixings in a decorative manner and allow the dinner guests (your loved ones) to make their own kabob. OR – Put them together your own damn self.

The finished product:


Now go make some kabobs and see a movie with your parental type figures. Whether they are a mother or father, aunt or uncle, brother, grandma, neighbor, friend – let them know you appreciate them. It’s incredible how happy my one decision this July 4th, made my parents.

What did you do for Independence Day?

July 6, 2015
by The OJBG Team

July 4th | Alex Siegman

Hi y’all! As I’m sure you know, sometimes circumstances just aren’t conducive to patriotic celebration. This year I headed back to my home in Florida to celebrate the holiday with my dad.

Unfortunately, my dad was in the hospital for most of the weekend (he’s fine, he works there!) and the rest of my family was abroad doin’ their own thing (summer camp, backpacking trips, etc.) To make matters even more interesting, the night of the 4th brought severe thunderstorms!

So I’m here to give y’all some tips about how you can celebrate 4th of July on your own in any circumstance!

1)   Chinese food is always a great option if you’re stuck without food on any national holiday.

2)   Let’s face it, Xbox can only entertain you for so long, but fear not! You can never underestimate the power of a jigsaw puzzle – they are fun, challenging, and a great time-killer.

3)   If the weather isn’t conducive, you can usually find a television station that is broadcasting fireworks from a major city such as New York or Los Angeles.

4)   Shark Week, the Discovery Channel’s annual event, often begins on July 5th, but there are some great lead-up shows on the night of the 4th!

5)   There’s no better time to cuddle up with your pet during a fireworks show – pet’s hate the noise, but love your company!

Never forget to have fun and be safe on the 4th of July! Go America!

July 6, 2015
by The OJBG Team

The Fourth of July

Hey guys, my name is John Ghadar. I hope you all had an amazing Fourth of July! Not everyone takes the Fourth of July as seriously as others. Some people just go out for some drinks, others stay home and watch fireworks with their friends and family, then there’s those people that goes absolutely crazy for the 24 hour period that is the Fourth of July.  If you ask me a good Fourth gets you mixed up with all of them.

I started my night around 8 pm with my friend Maddy. We went to Velvet which is a dive bar on U street where one of our friends works.  Once we got there we each had a beer and went onto the roof to set off some fireworks. Maddy got roman candles and I had a firework called a “Laser Dragon” needless to say we were excited to use them. We set them all off and people at Nellie’s, a bar across the street, started cheering at us and we cheered back. Then a lady from the bar next door came onto her roof and told us to stop, luckily we used all our fireworks right before she came up so we were happy to go back inside to the air conditioning.

After we hung out for a little longer we met up with my best friend Marcus. Remember before when I was talking about those people who go crazy for the 4th? Marcus is definitely one of those people. Everything he wore had the USA flag on it I’m talking shirt, pants, sunglasses, backpack, bandana, everything. You could’ve seen him coming from a mile away if you didn’t hear him singing the national anthem first. We went to a party in DuPont Circle where my sister and some of our other friends were so we could all spend the last hour of the Fourth together. The party was on the roof of an apartment building so we could see people setting off fireworks in every direction. At around 2 am some of us headed back to my house to go to sleep, all in all I got to spend my night with some of my best friends so I couldn’t have asked for a better Fourth of July!

June 30, 2015
by The OJBG Team

Folklife Festival, Cont’d

Hi y’all! My name is Alex Siegman – surely you have seen some of my previous blog posts! As you know, this Sunday I visited the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, and while I was there, I took some video on my iPhone. I’m back now to share a little teaser with you in the hope that you will be motivated to come out and visit the festival this week! Enjoy!


Click here to view!