Friday, April 26, 2019

Daniel Chun

In the past, I would write biography posts on this blog....About Australians. Because this used to be an Australian blog.

Now it's no longer an Australia blog.  I'm not sure what kind of blog it is now, but I'm kind of leaning towards making it mostly about all the TV shows I watch.

I want to try getting back to doing biography posts. Though this isn't the first time I've tried to do that. I think this is maybe the 3rd time?  Each time has been a failure.

You know what, though. What happens is I think the post totally sucked and it's not going to work anymore. But then months later, I reread the post and kind of like it. It ends up not being as bad as I thought.

Anyway....

What I've decided to try is biography posts about people in the television industry who are not white males.  I think mostly this will be the offscreen people—writers, directors, set designers, special effects coordinators, etc.

I guess it's Daniel Chun who got me here.

I've been watching season 3 of Speechless and was looking at an episode on IMDb. I saw his name in the writing credits; then saw that he also wrote some episodes of The Office.

Before I go any further, let me explain the non-white guy thing. I am guessing that's going to be offensive to some.  I offer no sincere apologies to them.

The film and television industry has been way too dominated by white males the last several decades. Now people are trying to change that.  I'm very much in support of that effort and that change.

Well, I should say the AMERICAN film and television industry has been way too dominated by white males. There are plenty of Asian men working on films and TV shows in Japan, China, Korea, etc.

Does the same go for Asian woman?

Probably not. Unfortunately.

Anyway, for the most part, the change has to be made by the people in the industry who have the most power. Producers, I guess?

But I think content consumers, like me, can do our little part by making conscious choices about what we watch.

Here's one thing I've been doing:

I have a massive to-watch list.

Well, there are actually two lists.

The first list has 150 movies/shows on it. I use Random.org to pick which show I'm going to watch next. When I'm done with a show or movie, I delete it from the list and then add something new to replace it.

The something new comes from my  MASSIVE to-watch list on IMDb.

At some point, I started making rules about what shows/movies I could add.

Here are my rules:

If the show/movie was made in 2000 or later, at least 1 of the 4 actors featured in the top cast has to be a person of color.  Or....

Okay, well I just looked on my laptop and saw that on the IMDb website there are actually much more than 4 actors featured. So...this is an IMDb app only thing.

If there is no person of color among the 4; then I look to the writers and directors. If at least 1 of the top  3 writers or directors listed is a woman or a person of color; then I can add the show to my list.

Now I've been kind of lazy about the writer thing. I'm mostly looking for women, because I don't often click on the male names to see if they're not-white.

I do better when the names are pretty obvious. Like Daniel Chun. If Daniel had been like my husband—adopted by a white family and given a white family name like Smith, Johnson, Anderson, etc. I'd probably skip over him and his work.

As for movies/shows made before the year 2000, I'm more lenient. Then my only rule is that at least 2 out of the 4 featured actors needs to be female. And since I still have a little bit of that Australia thing going on, I also have that amendment for all Aussie programs (new and old).

Now I didn't remove anything off my list after making that rule. So I still have white male dominated programs. And I also don't have that rule regarding the shows I watch with Tim....which explains how/why I'm allowing myself to watch Game of Thrones.

Anyway....

I used to write my biography posts in one day. I'm not up to doing that now, because we're trying to sell our house. Life is a bit overwhelming at the moment.  It's kind of nuts because our used-to-be very cluttered and dirty house is now very clean and very uncluttered.  But it still takes a lot of time to get it ready for showings. There are so many last things to do.

We're having a broker open house in a few hours. I've already swept the dining room and living room. I still need to sweep the kitchen, do a last minute trash emptying, and get rid of all the yellow rags we have scattered around the house. Plus...other stuff I'll see at the last minute.

I was thinking this morning that I don't actually need to confess that I'm no longer writing posts in one day. But now I've decided that it's better if I do.

First of all, it's better for me because it allows me to blab more about my own life. I like doing that sometimes.

More importantly, though. Something might come up between writing sessions. For example, I might end up watching another episode of Speechless and want to talk about what I saw.

You know...maybe what I'll do is actually mark the time jumps with a * * *.  Although that one doesn't count. It's just an example.  I haven't yet moved my eyes or hands away from my laptop.

Okay. Now I'm going to go for real. I'm going to grab something to eat and then start on more cleaning.

Maybe later today I'll actually get onto writing about Daniel Chun.

* * *  

I'm back.

According to our realtor, the broker open house went well. On Sunday, we have the regular open house.  I'm not looking forward to that. It will be a bunch of strangers in our house, and from what I've heard, it's mostly about neighbors being curious and not so much about people actually having interest in buying our home.  

But let me get on with Daniel Chun.

On his IMDb page, there's a photo of him. He looks young. Like he could play a college student. Or even maybe a high school student. Though I could also picture him on a sitcom playing a dad in his 30's.

He actually IS in his 30's.  He was born in 1980...which means he's actually very close to 40.

I was thinking that maybe he doesn't usually look so youthful. He could usually look old. Then he loved this particular photo because it makes him look young. So he chose it for his IMDb picture.

OR....

It could be the opposite. What if he usually looks even younger? What if he often looks like he's in junior high? And he was so excited to finally get a photo where he looks more mature?

I just noticed his birthday is in September. So he's actually not so close to 40. He still has to finish 38 and do the 39 thing.

What else?

Chung was born in Los Angeles.

I wonder if he went to Disneyland a lot.

That's what we do in Los Angeles.

Well, we've done it twice.

And the other times we've gone to Los Angeles it's is for a layover in LAX.

Oh! And I spent a few months at film school there. 

I sometimes forget I'm a film school drop out.

Now I'm looking at Chun's filmography.

He has credits in soundtrack, directing, miscellaneous, writing, and directing.  

Wait. There's also producing.

I missed that; then scrolled up some more.

I'm going to try to work chronologically. Though I usually mess up with that. IMDb confuses me sometimes.

So...

His first credit on IMDb is for being a story editor for The Simpsons. This was in 2005. And it seems he got a promotion. Because then in 2006, he became an Executive story editor.

That seems like a pretty prestigious job.  I wonder how he got it.

Though I just remembered that I consulted Lord Wiki about Daniel Chun after seeing his name the other day.  I think yesterday, actually.

He went to Harvard.

Or was that someone else I looked up?

I imagine Harvard students have good connections.

He wasn't in an entertainment major, though.

For a second I couldn't remember what it was. But now it's come to me.  He studied biological anthropology.

I think.

Let me make sure I have the right person.

You know...I Google a lot of things and people every day.  It wouldn't be a total surprise if I got two people confused.

Okay. Yeah. I got it right.

Lord Wiki says his major was biological anthropology. I wonder what sparked his interest in that. And how did he go from that to television?

Or did he always plan to go into television and biological anthropology was a secondary interest? Plan?

I wonder what people do with a biological anthropology degree.

Back to the filmography....

If I'm reading things right, Chun's first episode on The Simpsons was "The Heartbroke Kid".  Bart gets fat from a school vending machine and goes to fat camp.

I don't remember that episode.

When Jack was a young child, he went through a stage of being a big fan of The Simpsons. We watched a lot of it.

Was that before 2005?

I wish I remembered.

And it's quite likely we watched the episode and I just don't remember it.

Actually, I can just look in our cabinet. We have a lot of the DVD's.  I'll see what year we ended with.

Just checked....

It's season 10.

The Heartbroke Kid is from season 16.

Jack probably wasn't even born when season 10 came out.

Yeah. I just looked. That was before his time.

So I guess we were mostly watching old ones.

Did we ever watch the televised ones....or did we stick to DVD's?

Am I ever going to talk about Daniel Chun?

Yeah.

Maybe.

I want to know what a story editor is.

Well, Lord Wiki explained it to me.

It sounds similar to a book editor.

I think they kind of fix things up...make improvements?

So....

I just looked up the starting date of The Simpsons. It was 1989.  Chung would have been 9-years-old when it premiered. I wondered if he watched it. And if he did...did he like it? Did he ever have wishes of working on the show?

Oh! Shit!!!!

I got things wrong again.

Seriously.  I am so bad at IMDb.

I always mess up with the dates.

So Chun did not start in 2005.

He started in 2003.

His maybe first episode was in 2003—"Today I am a Clown"

He started as a staff writer.

I guess story editor is more prestigious than staff writer?

Chun's last staff writer episode was "Don't Fear the Reaper".  That aired in May 2005.

"The Heartbroke Kid" aired on the same day.

Did they used to have double episodes??

Anyway, I'm trying to imagine what happened. Because I have fun doing that.

Was it a big deal for him that May—going from staff writer to story editor?

Was he happy? Excited?

Chun has 6 episodes of The Simpsons where he is listed as the writer. I think that means he's the main big deal for that episode...I mean writing-wise.  On IMDb, most show episodes, under writing, have the creators and then one or two other writers. Or maybe it's usually just one writer.

Either way.  I think it's a pretty huge deal. It's definitely an impressive thing to have on your resume.

Well, more importantly. It's something you can brag about at family reunions or your high school reunion.  I mean being a staff writer is super cool too  But it's kind of stretching the truth to sit there and say, I wrote that episode of Friends, when really you're just part of a large staff.

Wait. Is it a large staff?

I'm looking at Chun's first "written by" episode.  It's "Marge's Son Poisoning."  That was in September 2005...a few months after he switched from staff writer to story editor.

Now I'm looking at the cast and crew for the episode.  I don't see any massive long list of writers.

Maybe there isn't a big staff?

Or maybe it's the type of credit that goes on your resume but is not seen in the actual show credits?

I'm going to look at an episode where Chun was listed as staff writer.

I'm back with the clown one.

It's totally not what I expected.

Again...no long list of staff writers.  And Chun's name is listed right under the written by person.

There's 5 people listed—Matt Groening as creator and developer.  James L Brookes as developer. Sam Simon as developer. Joel H Cohen as writer. Then Chun is there as staff writer.

I wonder how much Chun contributed to the episode.

Did he get along well with the other writers?

Was he shy at all?

Did he feel intimidated?

Did he already know one or more of the writers?  Maybe they were old friends, and he felt totally comfortable with them?

I'll probably never have answers to these questions. I guess I have fun wondering. And imagining.

Like...did he ever share a joke for the show, and the writers looked super unimpressed; then Chun felt super embarrassed—a total failure?

Or did he have any other types of awkward moments when his career on The Simpsons began?

Well, I'm going to stop for now.

I can't believe this post is so long and I haven't even gotten past The Simpsons yet.

* * *

I spent most of the last few hours stressing about our house and moving.

Things have been really hard on me.

Sometimes I'm okay. Other times...not so much.  Parts of today have been in the "not-so-much" category. 

Back to The Simpsons.

I was going to look at YouTube and see if I can find a clip from one of the episodes. The problem with finding, clips, though is if it's uploaded illegally, it will probably be taken down. I know that a lot of my biography post links have become dead links. Unfortunately.

Oh well. The link might at least work for readers who come by in the next week or two.

I was going to find the Daniel Chun's The Simpsons episode with the highest IMDb. rating and look for that on YouTube. Well, I found the highest rating and it was unfortunately not so impressive. They are are in the 6-7 range rather than 8-10 range.

The highest is his Treehouse of Horror episode which got a 7.3 

By the way, Chun's Treehouse of Horror name is Edward Danielchunhands.  

I wonder if he's a fan of Edward Scissorhands.  

I'm guessing he is, because it's not like the name matches well with his name.  Do you know what I mean?

Anyway...too counteract the mediocre ratings news, I will say that when I was looking at Chun's writing credits the other day, I saw he wrote one of my favorite The Office episodes—"Murder".  And that got a rating of 8.6.  So...Yay for Daniel Chun. Good job on that one.  

I might do some rambling about "Murder" later.  Later as in tomorrow or later this week.

For now I'm going to watch the opening to Treehouse of Horror XX.  You can click on the link if you want.  Don't be surprised, though if it no longer works. Sorry.  

Finished watching it.

It didn't make me laugh, but I thought parts of it were cute and clever.  It involved classic monsters (like Dracula, Frankenstein's invention, and the Wolfman) trying to be cool on Halloween by dressing up in popular costumes of the day. One was Harry Potter. Another was Spongebob. And maybe there was an Ironman?  

I wonder if Daniel Chun is the one who came up with the idea.

I have no idea. He could have been the one who tried to veto the idea. Maybe he said, Guys let's do an homage to Edward Scissorhands. That's such an awesome movie. And then they were like no, but since you like the movie so much, you can honor it with your credits name. Okay?  

I'm going to end with The Simpsons soon—at least the IMDb stuff. But I thought first I should mention that Chun did a lot of producing with the show.  From 2006-2010, he was a producer of 69 episodes.  

Sometimes he was coproducer. Sometimes he was producer. Sometimes he was supervising producer. Sometimes he was co-executive producer.

I have no idea what any of that means!

Maybe I'll look up ONE of them.  I don't really want to learn them all.  

So....

I'm on the Producers Guilt of America website.  They say,

The Co-Executive Producer reports directly and immediately to the Executive Producer, from whom the Co-Executive Producer assumes direct supervisory responsibilities for above and below the line operations.

Uh...yeah. Whatever.

I might be wrong. But I have a feeling it's about money and being honored. I kind of imagine people wanting a producer credit but not knowing what it really means or what their responsibilities are supposed to be.

Here's a website that tries to make things clearer.

John August says that with television, the producing credits usually go to the writers.  And if I'm understanding him right, there are often multiple producers.

Chun's last produced episode of The Simpsons was Postcards from the Wedge.

There are 44 producers listed for that episode!

I was thinking that Chun had high honors in that episode because his name is pretty high up on the list. Then I realized it's in alphabetical order.

* * *

It's morning now.  A new day. And this post is already very long. Today I might end up doubling it.

Yikes.

I was thinking that I had planned to go in chronological order. But then I ended up more going in TV show order.

I guess I'll do a combination of both.

Also, I'm not sure I like the * * * (time breaks). I'm not going to change it for this post, but I might change it for the next post. If there is a next post.

Maybe instead I'll use * * * for all the awkward breaks I end up having. I could say * * * instead of  things like....

So....

Anyway....

Well.....

I thought I was done with The Simpsons for now. But I just glanced back and reminded myself that Chun wrote song lyrics for "Tree House of Horror XX".

I'll see if I can find any of the lyrics...or the songs on YouTube.  

Here. Someone uploaded some of the songs. It's from a segment called "Moe Musical".

Okay. Now I AM leaving The Simpsons.

In 2008, Chun wrote an episode for a TV show called The Drinky Crow Show.

I've never heard of it.

It was on from 2007-2009.  The only actor I recognize from the cast is Pamela Adlon. I watched her show Better Things; then learned she was the voice of the kid on King of the Hill. That was kind of shocking to me.

Chun wrote an episode called "God of Monkeys."  Only 8 people have reviewed it on IMDb. So I don't think it's a very well known show...at least in terms of people who have IMDb accounts.

Here's a scene from the episode. Or it might be the whole episode. It's only two minutes, but I'm wondering if the show was one of those that have very short episodes.

Finished watching. It's cute...in a gory, dark humor kind of way.

Lord Wiki says what's unusual about the show is that despite using CGI and computer animation, it uses a light color-palette. This gives it a look of a 1950's cartoon.

I think that's really cool.

Maybe that's why I liked what I saw. It probably made me nostalgic for my childhood. No I didn't grow up in the 50's. But I think in the 80's, we were watching a lot of old cartoons.

Chun's first episode of The Office ("Murder") aired on November 9 2009.  That was only a week or so after his Treehouse of Horror episode aired.

I wonder if he worked on The Simpsons and The Office simultaneously. Or did he quit one show to work on the other?

Though he was still a producer for The Simpsons into 2010.

And NOW I'm seeing he produced an episode of The Office "Gossip" in September 2009, before "Murder" and "Treehouse of Horror XX".

"Gossip" has a smaller list of producers than The Simpsons episode I looked at yesterday. It has 24 people rather than 40-something.

I'm going to take a break. When I come back, I'll maybe ramble on about The Office. It's more fresh in my mind, because we finished watching the series a few months ago...unlike The Simpsons which I haven't watched in many years.

* * *

Onto "Murder".

I think that episode was my biggest crying episode.  Usually when I say a show made me cry, what I really mean is I got all choked up.  But maybe with that episode I actually did cry? Though I think I cried a bit later. Maybe after I went to bed. I think I thought about it and cried.

Now I just read the description of the episode and I'm feeling a bit choked up.  

I'm wondering if I should attempt my own summary.

I'm leaning towards not.  I'll just say it's kind of like the movie Life is Beautiful. Both are about entertaining those we love in order to distract them from difficult times.

Granted. Being in a concentration camp is a bit more difficult than being in the midst of a company take-over. But still.  

You know, though, I think what made me cry the most is the fact that Michael Scott's (Steve Carrell) intentions were misunderstood. From what I remember, we're given the idea that he's simply being ridiculous and stubborn.  He's the manager of the office, and while the serious people are facing their jobs being threatened head on, Michael insists on playing a murder-mystery game. The game is pretty inappropriate for most office-work days, but on this day, it seems even more inappropriate.

But then at the end, we learn Michael knew very well what was going on. He wasn't sticking his head in the sand.  He was simply trying to....

Well, he was just trying to do something kind for the people he loves.  

The official The Office YouTube channel has a highlight from the episode. This is good. Since it's official, there's a fair chance this link won't be broken very soon.  

The clip reminded me that not only was the show a tear-jerker for me, but it's also very funny.  I love it.

Chun wrote 5 other episodes of The Office—"The Delivery-Part 1", "Nepotism", "Training Day", "Doomsday", and "Tallahassee".  

I'm sure I liked all of those but probably not as much as "Murder"

Chun also directed an episode—"Turf War".  

I was just looking at some of the episodes, Chun wrote and saw that "Training Day" is the one with Will Ferrell. Or one of the ones with Will Ferrell. I think Ferrell was in a couple of episodes.

I tried to find a clip on YouTube but didn't have any luck.

So...moving on.

Chun was a consulting producer for Happy Endings, and he also wrote one episode of that.

We watched Happy Endings. I don't remember it very much.  I think we liked it, but I don't think we loved it.  

What is a consulting producer?  

I should go back to that website I was on earlier. 

Well...no. That didn't help. John August mentions consulting producer, but he doesn't explain what it means.  Or at least he doesn't on that particular page. 

This website says a consulting producer is a former executive or co-producer who used to work on the show.  So it's like someone left, but they've come back as a consultant.

I'm not sure if that fits Chun's filmography. Because it looks like he was always a consulting producer.  

Though sometimes people are consultants for things even if they haven't worked at the company/project before.  

Oh! Also I reread the website's definition and they use the term "usually".  So it's not always someone who used to work there.

Chun's Happy Endings days happened in 2012-2013.

Also in 2013, he did producing and writing for a Stephen Merchant TV show called Hello Ladies. Like with Happy Endings, Chun was the writer for one episode.  

I like Stephen Merchant. I loved him in Extras.

We saw him in something sort of recently. What was it?

Oh!  The Good Place!  Thanks IMDb for helping me remember.

Well, no it didn't really help me remember. It just told me the answer.  But that's cool too.

Back to Daniel Chun.

For Hello Ladies, he was a co-executive producer instead of consulting producer.

I wonder if Chun met Merchant via The Office.  Or did they know each other from elsewhere. Did Merchant write for The Simpsons at all?

As far as I can see...no.  

HBO has a clip from Chun's episode of Hello Ladies.  

I liked the scene; though I wish Stephen Merchant was in it.

Fortunately HBO has a trailer for the episode which DOES have Stephen Merchant.  

From 2013-2014, Chun went back to the consulting producing thing. He did 21 episodes of something called Trophy Wife. And he was the writer for 2 episodes.

Oh! Bailee Madison was in that. I just saw her in The Fosters

I'm going to watch the trailer for the show.  

Phyllis from The Office is on the show!  

Besides that...I'm not sure it's something I'd like.  

Well, it looks kind of cute.

And it might actually be good.

Maybe the trailer doesn't do it justice.

In 2015, Chun was a writer and producer for a TV movie called Delores and Jermaine.  

In the olden days, TV movie used to mean disease of the week kind of thing—or disturbing crime or injury of the week.  But now there are so many networks with so many different genres. A TV movie can be ANYTHING.  

I think often it's a romantic Christmas kind of thing.

Delores and Jermaine doesn't seem to be a heartwarming Christmas romance.  

It's about a slacker who moves in with his tough grandma.

Whoopi Goldberg is the star. I guess she's the grandmother?

Ernie Hudson seems to be the other star. Is he the grandson? He seems kind of old.  I mean...not elderly old. But I was picturing a teenager.

Well. No. Wait.

Ernie Hudson IS elderly old.

He was born in 1945.  That's even older than my parents, and they qualify as senior citizens.

Maybe Ernie Hudson is the grandfather. Or maybe he's the boyfriend of the grandmother? Or he could be a neighbor. 

The show has only 15 ratings on IMDb...so it's probably not very popular.

AND, the average rating is 2.4. Out of 10!

Ouch.

I don't think I've ever seen anything that low on IMDb.  

I personally don't give anything a low rating like that unless it actually offends me. And even then, I usually will give it a 5 or 6.  Not a 2!!!

Why did these 15 people hate the movie so much?

Is it really that bad?

I wonder if I'd like it.

*  *  *

Next in Daniel's Chun's filmography....

He became a creator of a show.

As a TV fan, I see the whole TV show creator thing as very prestigious. I think it's very cool.

It's like you're the God of the show.

So, in that regards, Daniel Chun was the God of Grandfathered. 

I've heard of it but never watched it. 

John Stamos was the star. And Josh Peck (From Drake and Josh!) was in it.  

According to IMDb, the premise is a man suddenly learning that not only is he a father but also a grandfather.  

The IMDb rating is 7/10...which is not bad.  I mean it's not fabulous. But it's a fairly decent score.

Chun was the creator of the show and also the executive producer.  He was one of four executive producers.  

Dan Fogelman was one of the other four. What do I know him from?

Is he the creator of This is Us?

Yes!  

He is!

I'm impressed with myself for remembering that.

So apparently Grandfathered had a bit of a Drake and Josh reunion. I'm going to watch a clip of that via YouTube. 

The scene wasn't as exciting as I expected it to me.  I mean I didn't have any type of joy or other emotional reaction. I guess it's been too long since I've watched Drake and Josh.

I'm going to move on.

Next we have another TV movie. This one's called Gorgeous Morons. Joy Osmanski is in it!  I've been watching her on Santa Clarita Diet.  I am loving that show!

Gorgeous Morons has NO ratings which makes me wonder if it was even released. Or maybe it was released but failed in the whole distribution thing.  It's like my novel. I managed to write it. I managed to get it Kindled. I'm working on getting it online. But I'm really fucked when it comes to the whole distribution thing.  

So last on the filmography (at least the website version) is Speechless.  On the App they have upcoming stuff, and if I remember correctly Chun is working on a film about The Guinness Book of World Records.  That sounds fun.  

But back to Speechless.....

I've been currently catching up with it's most recent season (3). 

Chun has been a producer for 60 episodes and a writer for 17 episodes.

Sometimes he's the written-by person. Sometimes he's the teleplay-by person, and other times, he's the story-by person.

I really want to know what all that means.  

Someone on a forum explains it. I'm not sure I should trust them. But what they say sounds like it could make sense.

They say that story-by means the person came up with the story, but they didn't actually write the script. Then the person who DID write the script would be the teleplay-by person.  

I guess then if you came up with the story AND wrote the script, you'd be the written-by person.

Lord Wiki says that it's a misconception that someone can get a story-by credit for just sharing their idea. He says you have to actually write something to get a writing credit. This could be a draft of the screenplay, a sypnosis, treatment, etc.  

Chun's first writing credit for Speechless was for the 3rd episode of the first season—"B-O-N--BONFIRE".  So he was there from almost the beginning.   

Well, and he was producing from the 2nd episode.

So where was he the 1st episode?

I'm just curious.  

Well, I'd like to talk about why I love Speechless. But I'll have to do that tomorrow, because my cat keeps crying at me.

I don't know what she wants.

I fed her. I cuddled her.

But she keeps whining!

Wait.

Now she's stopped.

Still...who knows when she'll start again.  I'm going to get ready for bed.

* * *

New day.

Lots of trucks on our street doing work.

And we lost our garbage and recycling bins in the storm.

Onto Speechless.....

There's a certain mindset that some people have when it comes to disability. This is the idea that disabled people are noble and holier-than-thou. They're special BECAUSE of their disability. They're inspiring.

And then there's the parents of disabled children. They're automate heroes. We're supposed to watch what they endure and the courage they display; then feel grateful for our own lives.

Speechless throws all that out the window. And sometimes the show even pokes fun of it.

JJ (Micah Fowler) is in a wheelchair and cannot speak. But he's not an inspiring angel glowing with goodness as he passes through his high school halls.

Yeah. He's kind of sweet...just like any non-villain male teen character on television.  And he's also a little shit sometimes (like most non-villain male teen characters)

In the most recent episode I watched (non-Chun-written), JJ lies to Kenneth, his aide (Cedric Yarbrough), telling him he left his history paper at home.  He needs Kenneth to go retrieve it.

What JJ really wants is for Kenneth to leave school so he can sneak his way into a poker game.

And then in the poker game, JJ manages to lose his wheelchair.

Yeah. Nice kid but also sneaky and irresponsible.

In a season 2 episode, JJ fakes interest in visiting a college campus. But he's not interested in higher education.  The truth is, a movie is being filmed there— a trashy film that exploits women.

Oh! And I see...Chun wrote that one.  Very cool.

As for the special-needs parents thing....

JJ's mother, Maya, (Minnie Driver) is an obnoxious yet endearing helicopter mom. She often finds it challenging to give JJ the room to grow and be independent.

All in all, I'd say if you want a heartwarming show that will inspire you, Speechless is NOT for you. But if you want a funny show with quirky, fun characters, you might love Speechless.

I'm going to glance at the episodes that Chun wrote and see if any memories and/or insights jump out at me.

Well...no. Nothing really is. Or maybe I just feel I've said enough about Speechless for now.

* * * 

Now I'm going to do some Googling. Maybe I can find some articles or interviews with Chun.

I'm going to concentrate on things related to The Office and Speechless, because those are the shows that mean the most to me.  That might be selfish. But this is MY blog. So...there.

Write your own post about Daniel Chun if your thing is Grandfathered...or The Simpsons.

Oh! You know what. I might also want to know more about that TV movie that got a super low rating.  

You know what. Maybe I'll start there.  

According to this article, Delores and Jermaine was actually an ABC TV pilot.  

The description says:

Based on comedian Jermaine Fowler’s real-life experience, this comedy finds lazy-yet-inventive millennial Jermaine moving in with his strict, football-obsessed grandmother, who also happens to be a former cop. Fowler will co-write with Daniel Chun

The premise doesn't sound bad to me.

Here's an article about Chun in a Harvard publication.  It answers my earlier question about whether Chun planned to be a writer.  They say, For Chun, comedy writing has always been the game (with a degree in biological anthropology on the side).

You know what I like imagining? That he decided to be a writer but not major in writing; instead learn some random thing.Then he wrote down a bunch of majors and picked one randomly out of a hat.

Chun is Korean-American.  I wasn't sure if he was Korean or Chinese.  Names like Chang and Kim are easy for me. Beyond that....I'm ignorant.

Wait. Chang IS Chinese, right?

Yes. From what I see on Google. It is. Though I'm also seeing stuff about Korean.

Oh well.

Chun grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania. The article says it's near the fictional town of Scranton.

I thought Scranton was real!!!????

Okay. Googled again.

Scranton IS real.

Maybe I'm misunderstanding the writer.  His exact quote:
Chun, who is Korean-American, grew up in a small town in Northeastern Pennsylvania not far from The Office’s fictional home of Scranton.

I guess he means it's fictional in the sense that there's no real office. But I think it's understood that a fictional show is not going to have a REAL home. Maybe it would have been better to say, Scranton, the setting of The Office.

Reading more.....

Chun became interested in writing in seventh or eighth grade.

That's around the same time I became interested in writing!

Although it seems maybe Chun had other dreams besides writing. He had Dead Poet's Society aspirations.  He wanted to be a super popular teacher with lots of people at his funeral.

I don't think I've ever had big funeral fantasies.

He wrote for a Harvard comedy publication called Lampoon. That's not related to National Lampoon. Is it?

Oh! Wow. Lord Wiki says National Lampoon is a spin-off of the Harvard publication.  I kind of pictured the opposite—like the Harvard publication was inspired by National Lampoon.

Further down in the article, Chun explains why he chose biological anthropology.  He felt he didn't need a lot of writing training, and it didn't really matter what he studied. So he just went for something that sounded interesting.

Chun was friends with BJ Novak. That helped his career a bit.

I think he was very fortunate.

It doesn't seem like he had much of a struggling period. He went from Harvard to Los Angeles and quickly got an agent.

I'm not jealous or anything.

Not at all.

Though wait. I just read further down.  Chun says, It never happens as quickly as that. I mean, it felt like forever just because I was young and unemployed and terrified, but I realize in hindsight how lucky I am that it came together quickly.

That makes sense. I think there are times where things are really scary because we don't know if it's going to work out and how long it will take to work out...if it IS going to work out.

Like right now I'm terrified about selling our house. It's going to feel like forever, because the unknown is so scary. What if takes years to sell our house? What if we never sell it?  What if we're one of those cases where we're stuck with our house and it keeps getting listed and re-listed.

It's hard when you don't know if things are going to work out or not.

It's nice, though, when you can look back and think, Cool. Things actually ended up working out very well.

We're about to eat dinner. So I will continue reading the article later. It's longer than I expected. Though not as long as this damn blog post.

* * *  

I'm back.

We ate dinner.

And now I have this Nashville song going through my head.

I love that song.

And I'm picturing an alternate reality where I'm a lesbian and marry Juliette Barnes.

But...

Back to Daniel Chun and the Harvard article.

Chun wrote for The Simpsons. Then he got attention from The Office folks by writing a lot of jokes on MySpace. That's really cool.

Speaking of....

The next thing I plan to do for this post is look at Chun's social media. I already glanced at Twitter (before beginning this post).  I think he had some political stuff. HOPEFULLY he's on my side of things.

I'm not very tolerant of the other side these days.

Chun describes Speechless as being not cloying or condescending.

I'm not sure what he means by cloying. But I agree about condescending.  

I had to look up the definition of cloying.  One of the definitions is, excessively sweet or sentimental.  

Yeah. Speechless is NOT that. 

I like what Chun says at the end of the article. You have to stand out, and the way to do that is trying to be special and not just trying to fit in with the rest of what's on TV.

I like it, because I feel sometimes I ACCIDENTALLY do things that are too different. I mean writing-wise.  Like deciding to write a novel in present-tense, because that's accepted these days. But when I finish the novel I realize that all those present-tense novels were FIRST person not third person like mine.

And I don't think anyone else writes long biographical blog posts where they keep talking about themselves.

That being said. If I was going to try to be a TV writer and try to be special—come up with something different. Well...nothing comes to mind.

I don't often think of TV show ideas, though. The only thing I think of, in that regards, is my fantasy of my The Dead are Online becoming a TV show.  I guess that would be different/special because I don't think there is a show yet about dead people being online.  But also my novel has this concept of....a sort of character train?  It's hard to explain but it would be like character A is connected to character B. Character B is connected to Character C.

Well, I should be more specific. OR I shouldn't, because it's too self-indulgent.  But I'm going to do it anyway.

So....

 I have Eugene in Manhattan and he is connected to Jessica in Gainesville. They met while vacationing in Australia.

Jessica is roommates with Taylor from Atlanta. Her whole family has a big part in the novel.

Loretta, in Sydney, is Taylor's aunt.

Christina in Hawaii is Loretta's online friend.

Dennis in San Francisco is Christina's father.

I guess instead of train I could just say it's a seven degrees of separation kind of thing. And each degree has its own storyline.

I think THAT is kind of original.  But also...very expensive. A few weeks ago, I once again had the grand idea to adapt the novel to a screenplay. Then I thought about how it would probably be too expensive to film. There are too many locations. But not only that, I have scenes in popular tourist attractions (tourist traps, really).  I think it would be hard to do that. And super expensive.

It's hard enough being hopeful enough to fantasize about ANY filmmaker finding my screenplay and wanting to turn it into a TV show.  But to hope for one who has a big budget?

Easier to fantasize about my lesbian wedding with Juliette Barnes or stealing the heart of Lucifer Morningstar.

And....

There's also the one where Tim announces that we're moving to Australia, London, or Tokyo.

* * * 


Should I start on Twitter, or should I try to find another article or interview?

Well, maybe I'll start with Twitter, and if I'm still wanting to learn more about Daniel Chun, I'll try to find more stuff.

Chun has been on Twitter since July 2008.

How long have I been on?  

Checking...

Since November 2008.

So Chun got there a few months before I did.

Like a proper blue-checked celebrity, Chun has more followers than he's following—17.7k and 726

I'm going to try to find Chun's first Tweet. I'm looking for advice on how to do that via Google.

Problem: I can't even find the advanced search option.  I have done this before...I mean I've used advanced search.  Did they change things? Or was I smarter in the past?

Okay. Sorry. I give up.

Maybe they're trying to make it harder for people to search old Tweets—avoid the drama of, You said something offensive 10 years ago!

No. You know. I think it's a problem with my laptop, actually.  

It's not scrolling down where it needs to scroll down.

I guess I'll just look at recent Tweets.

Chun's first Tweet is a Retweet about an auction selling a cast picture from The Office.

The auction is to raise money for a PTA.  Dixie Canyon?  

It's an elementary school in Sherman Oakes, California.  I like them, because they do STEAM instead of STEM.  The A is for the Arts.  

I like that. Sometimes the over-emphasis on math, science, and technology annoys me. I know those things are super important. But some people are better at art stuff...and that's important too.  

Chun's next 

On April 24, Chun Tweeted about someone named Damien Lillard. I think it's sports related?

Okay. Yeah. Damien Lillard is a basketball player.

So now we know that Chun follows basketball.

Chun has a Tweet on April 20 that goes way over my head. He says,  
Hell yeah, I for one am pumped for a fall TV season where the guy who did The Slap and a guy who just thought an avocado toast joke was worthy of a CALLBACK each have fifteen shows.

Is he being sarcastic? 

It kind of sounds like it.

The only thing that is familar to me in that Tweet is The Slap.  I wonder if he's referring to the Australian version or the American one.

Okay. And I also know what avocado toast it. It's just I'm clueless about the joke.

* * *

I just realized I was looking at Tweets and not Tweets with replies.

Now I'm looking at the replies.

On April 20, Chun tried to watch a PPV event and it wasn't working. So he was complaining to their customer service about that.

I've complained many times on Twitter. 

Sometimes it feels like it's the only way to get the company to listen to you.  

Here's a dramatic Tweet from Chun: incredibly damning of CAA that they represent the hack who wrote that dogshit letter.


I saw something before (maybe in the Harvard article) about some kind of fight between writers and....



I think this is related to that.



I'm guessing The Slap/Avocado toast Tweet is related as well.



Maybe the creator of The Slap is on the opposite side of the fight?



What is the CAA?  



Oh!



Thanks, Google. It's the Creative Artists Agency.



What's going on there??


Chun has a Retweet from Matt Pearce. And Pearce quotes from a piece written by Mary McNamara.  

It seems writers were unhappy with their agents, so they fired them.

Here's the actual article. I'm going to read that.

The main fight is between the Writers Guild of America and Association of Talent Agents.

The ATA did something that the WGA didn't like. I don't understand it—something to do with packaging?  

Then the WGA instructed their writers to fire their agents. They also made plans to sue four agencies.

In response, the ATA told its agents to keep a list of the writers working without an agent. And they said that this was illegal.

Really? There's a law against working without an agent?  I kind of just thought it was a very rigid tradition—one that people very rarely stray from.

I think one of the big things in the article is that the ATA told the WGA that, without agents, there'll be chaos. This sounds pretty manipulative to me.  

Too often people try to keep up their own sense of self-importance by scaring others into believing things will turn to shit if they (the manipulator) is not around.  

It reminds me of doctors who insist that you don't Google or read medical books, because THEY are your doctor, and you should listen only to them. They don't want educated patients, because...I guess it makes them feel less powerful? Less needed?  That why did they go to medical school if they could have just watched a season of The Good Doctor?

I'm skipping over several Tweets—just kind of reading through them.

I see that Chun IS anti-Trump...which is good. I kind of expected that. But it's nice to have it confirmed.

On April 12, Chun Tweeted. I know that statistically, a workplace in Scranton should have many Trump voters. But then again, they were all close friends with a gay Latino.

I don't really think that matters. I think there are probably many Trump supporters who have Latino friends, black friends, gay friends, etc.

I think it goes with the mindset of, you're one of the good ones.

That being said, hopefully SOMETIMES friendships, coworkers, etc. do make people less Trumpy.

It's just I have Trump supporters in my life. And it's not like their life is full of white friends and white acquaintances only.

Oh wait. There's a whole conversation about who in The Office would support Trump.  A guy named David Byler has all these theories about who would vote for who.

He says Andy would vote for Trump but lie and tell people he voted for Hillary.

Pam went for Clinton and is now for Beto. I can picture that.

I mean not that I can't picture the Andy thing. But I don't WANT to picture it.

Dwight is a Republican that supports Trump and is involved in a local Pennsylvania Dutch party.

Oscar voted for Sanders but is now undecided.

Undecided about what? The primary? Which democratic candidate he likes?

Anyway....Chun Tweets back that he disagrees about Dwight and also Andy.

It's scary and sad imagining our favorite characters as Trump supporters.

Here's a Tweet with Chun announcing that he directed an episode of Speechless.

I think I forgot to talk about his directing stuff.

Oops.

But...anyway I shall probably watch the episode in the next weeks.

I love this Tweet—Chun responding to a Tweet by Beto O'Rourke.

Beto says: The unprecedented concentration of wealth, power and privilege in the United States must be broken apart. Opportunity must be fully shared with all. We must all have the opportunity to succeed. Together. As one country.

Chun's reply: How would you do this?

And Beto never replied.

The sense I'm getting from Chun is that he's anti-Trump but also tough on democrats.

We need actual plans, not just smoke blown up our ass.

And this together-one country stuff.

We ARE one country.

And we fight and we disagree. Often we hate each other.

That's what countries do.

There's never going to be a time where we all agree and get along.

Even if extraterrestrials invade and plan to eat us.  Because some people are going to side with the aliens.

Here's a Tweet about a K-pop related episode of Speechless. Chun says, this is the Korean-est episode of TV I've ever made.

He also says that some of the actors on the show are better with Korean pronunciation than he is.

Our family is part Korean—more biologically than culturally.  Well Tim DID cook Korean on Monday night; then Tuesday we went to a Korean bowl restaurant. Does that count for something?

I think twice I bought Tim Korean language lessons. He didn't really use it much.

And I think in the beginning of our relationship I tried to learn Korean.

Jack has worked on it. He's really into languages. We both hang out on Duolingo a lot. Do they have Korean?

Right now I'm working on Spanish and French. Jack had this idea of getting through the first checkpoint of every language. I loved the idea, so I'm doing it too. But I've been doing French full-time since like...2016?  I'm going to continue with that.  I mean I'm going to do all the French and not just to the first checkpoint.

Wait. One more thing.

Tim has made Kimchi. That's very Korean. So we should get points for that. Though he doesn't bury it in the yard or anything exciting like that.

Well...I'm scrolling through Tweets and feel like I should comment on them. But I'm too lazy.

I think that's a clue that it's time for me to finally end this post.

So...bye.

See you next time!


P.S-After finishing writing this post, I went to check my texts. There was a message from the realtor asking if he could bring someone over to see the house at 4:00. It was almost close to three.  I had to rush like crazy to get things together. Like I said before, our house is very clean lately. But there are so many last minute things! 

Monday, April 22, 2019

What's the Deal with Robert Quinn?

I've finished watching season two of The Fosters.

I'm trying to get my head around Robert Quinn (Kerr Smith).

Robert is the biological father of Callie ((Maia Mitchell).  He didn't know Callie existed until she was 16 (I think that's her age), and her foster family was forced to contact him so they could get permission to adopt Callie.

Callie has been in and out of foster homes since she was very young. She's been raped. She's been in juvenile detention. She's ran away.  Oh...and she's had to deal with the fact that her believed-to-be father (Jamie McShane) killed her mother in a drunk driving accident.

Callie has had a rough life.

But something good has finally almost happened to her and her brother Jude (Hayden Byerly ). They have bonded with a family who wants them to become a permanent addition to their lives. Callie and Jude have found love and stability

Well...maybe not stability.

Because Robert doesn't want to relinquish his parental rights.  Although he hardly knows Callie, he wants her to be his full-time daughter and come live at his house.

Even though this makes her unhappy.

Even though this will separate her from her brother.

Even though this will cause more upheaval in a life that has already had too much upheaval.

Why?????

Could it be he doesn't like or trust her foster family? 

Well, maybe but, as far as I can remember, he has said nothing against them. He seems fine with them minus the fact that they're his competition in the I-need-to-win-Callie game. 

Could it be that he doesn't want to lose Callie—that he wants her in his life?

Uh...no.

Signing the papers is not some kind of restraining order agreement.

Callie and her father can STILL have a relationship. They can still be friends. He can still do generous things like pay for her college education. He can STILL be her father. He just doesn't have custody or legal rights.

Maybe he feels insecure about not having the legal rights? Maybe Robert is afraid Callie won't want to hang out with him, so he wants the courts to force her to. Is that what's going on with him?

Is he that desperate?

Is he that STUPID?

Isn't no relationship better than a forced one where you are despised?

The show made me think about that 1990's TV movie The Face on the Milk Carton

Janie (Kellie Martin) learns that she's a kidnapped child. I forgot the exact happenings, but the people she considered her parents were innocent of wrongdoing. It was something with their daughter?  She gave them Janie and they didn't realize she was kidnapped?

Anyway....

When her birth family finds Janie, they want her back.

It's sad to watch, because though they love her, Janie doesn't love them back. She's uncomfortable with them. She wants to go home...to the parents who have her illegally.

And I'm pretty I had negative feelings towards Janie's biological family. Yes, Janie was theirs. But couldn't they understand how horrible it would be to be taken from the family you know and be forced to live with strangers?

At least with those parents, though, I can have some sympathy.

Robert Quinn never knew Callie existed. He never lost anything.

The milk carton family DID know their daughter. When she was young she lived with them. They became attached to her. They lost her. They went through the whole absolutely-horrible missing child trauma.  Of course they'd be overjoyed that they finally found her. Of course they'd want her back. 

I can't remember how the movie ended. Did her original family keep her?  Or maybe they realized she needed to go back to the family she knew as her family. Maybe unlike Robert Quinn, they realized that relationships work better when neither party feels like a prisoner.

Well, Robert Quinn does FINALLY sign the papers. But that's after he learns that Callie is so desperate she's trying to get emancipated.  Then I got the sense that he feels all noble—like one of the moms in the King Solomon story.

But really.  It shouldn't have taken all that for Robert to see the light. 

Despite Callie being created from an orgasm he once had, he was never a father to her.  But then life gave them a second chance. He was given the opportunity to know of Callie's existence. He was given the opportunity to meet her. He was given the opportunity to befriend her and play a part in her life.  And he messed it all up.

I wonder what happens in the rest of the series.  I saw from IMDB that Robert does appear in a few episodes in the later seasons. So he's not completely expelled from her life.  I'm wondering...does Callie end up forgiving him for his greed and selfishness?  If so, does he behave in a way that merits the forgiveness?  Do they become friends?  Or is the relationship strained?



Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Anna from The Fosters


In my post about God-narcissists and demon-narcissists, I used Anna from The Fosters (Alexandra Baretto) as an example of a demon-narcissist.

Demon-narcissists are how I describe narcissists who are disliked by most. They're pathetic, desperate, and an embarrassment to their family. They're the type of narcissists who will lie and manipulate their children in order to get money from them.

Anna is a addict who abandoned her twins when they were five. Later she pretends to want a relationship with them and all along she just wanted money from them...so she could buy drugs.

BUT....

Now Anna has been clean/sober for a few months. She's working on the amends stage of the AA program.  It SEEMS that she might have actually changed.

It makes me wonder.  If a person is a narcissist/toxic person only when using, are they really a narcissist or toxic person?  Or is it just the drugs that make them that way?  Is their need to get high so strong that they'll do ANYTHING to get what they need even if it involves manipulation?

I'm also wondering, are all addicts that desperately manipulative?  Are there some addicts who manage to have standards?  Like, I'll steal to get high. But NOT from my own children!

If some addicts have lower standards and are more manipulative, could these manipulative traits be there before the addiction began and after they've become sober?  Could it simply take a more subtle and different form?

I guess basically what I'm wondering is if some people's narcissism/toxicity is situational and whether their behavior will improve once their situation changes.

The same goes for God-narcissists. These are narcissists, who despite their toxicity, are highly respected by the community. They're wealthy, powerful, charming, etc.  

Would they change if something forced them off their pedestal, and they came down to earth? What if they lost a huge chunk of their fortune?  Or what if they lost some of their prestige? 

For example, let's say a movie director is wealthy, winning awards, and very popular. He's THE big thing in Hollywood.  Everyone adores him.  Not only is he very creative and brilliant, but he's very fun and generous. Yet to members of his family, he's self-centered, arrogant, and manipulative.

If he starts making crap movies and the public loses interest in him, will he lose some of his toxic traits?  Or might he become even worse?

I guess the answer might partly depend on how he was before the fame. If he was non-toxic before; then it could be a simple matter of the fame going to his head.  If he was self-centered and manipulative before the fame; then the narcissism is probably just a permanent part of his personality.  

I think there are also cases where the God-state can actually make a narcissist somewhat less toxic.  Before the fame, they might have boosted their self-esteem by making others else feel small.  They might bully people in their life with cruel jokes, yelling, belittling, teasing, etc.  Then once they start gaining wealth and prestige, they might not need that bullying-self-esteem boost, because they're getting a boost from all the adoration from the public and community. 

Well...I shall see what happens with Anna.

I'm GUESSING her desire for redemption is genuine and not trickery. But I could be wrong.  

And what if Anna starts a YouTube channel about her struggles and it becomes very popular?  What if she has millions of subscribers and makes a ton of money?  Is there a chance she might transform into a God-narcissist?

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Something I Left Out

In my last post, I left out something.

Before Callie (Maia Mitchell) tells Jude (Hayden Byerly) that it's selfish to be silent, she says, I won't ever see Sophie again if it hurts you.

Sophie (Bailee Madison) is Callie's newly found half sister. 

Jude's elective mutism began around the time that Sophie came into Callie's life, so Callie believes this might be the cause of Jude's silence.

Maybe it was.

Maybe it wasn't.

Maybe Jude doesn't even know.  Actually. I bet he doesn't. He's probably as confused as anyone.

The thing is, though, Callie has every right to get to know her sister...even if it hurts Jude.

I think by making such a promise to him, she could be training him to use silence as a manipulative tactic.  He could end up learning that anytime he doesn't like something, he can go silent and wait for it to bother people enough that they make a change.

This is what I think Callie SHOULD have said.  Jude. I'm guessing you feel hurt and scared about Sophie. Maybe this is the reason you're not speaking?  I want you to know that it's okay not to talk. You can talk when you're ready. And I will keep loving you no matter what. I do want to get to know Sophie. I'm sorry if that hurts you. But I want you to remember that no matter who comes into my life, I will always love you. You will always be very important to me. You will always be my favorite brother.

Yeah. That's kind of very corny. But the show has a lot of corny lines, so it would probably fit. 

In the episode I just started watching ("The Longest Day") Jude comes along with Callie to spend the day with Sophie, Callie's biological father (Kerr Smith), and Sophie's mother (Valerie Dillman).

Did Callie break her end of the bargain?

Or did it turn out that Jude actually didn't mind Callie spending time with her sister?

OR maybe he did mind a bit, and Callie realized the best solution was for the THREE of them to become friends. 

I hope it works out for all of them. Really. I do. Especially Jude. He's a really sweet and adorable kid.




Silence

An episode of The Fosters annoyed me today. 

In a previous episode, Jude (Hayden Byerly) suddenly stops speaking. He's diagnosed with elective mutism, and the plan is to be patient and understanding towards him.

There's a really sweet scene at the beginning of "Mother" where Jude's sister Callie (Maia Mitchell) acts very understanding and tells him not to let her or anyone else pressure him to talk. I thought about how that was so nice and how I wish my family members were like that.

But then....

Towards the end of the episode, Callie tells Jude he has to talk to her, and the other people who love him, because not doing so is selfish. 

What!?

No!!!!!

Okay. Maybe we should give Callie a break. Because the reason she says this to Jude is that earlier her other brother, Brandon (David Lambert) pushed her to stop keeping her rape a secret.

Yeah. How many women (or men) have come forward about rape and not been believed?

In season one, Callie herself was actually punished for coming forward about the rape. 

It is not selfish to want to keep things to yourself...even your whole voice.

For personal reasons, I really could not stand Callie calling Jude selfish. Then the episode pisses me off, because her insult works. Jude starts speaking again. 

I really don't like the idea that the show is pushing—that we can cure people of their emotional problems by calling them selfish.

Fuck that.

Anyway, I took the episode personally because I have closed up at times.

I don't go completely silent.

But I do go through phases where I keep things to myself. I avoid talking about myself. 

This comes from years of experiencing things like emotional invalidation, minimizing, gaslighting, blatant disinterest, misunderstandings, etc.

A couple of summer ago, I was very upset.

A new cat had found its way into our lives. No I was not upset about the new cat. That was a very happy thing.

But....

I felt Annie was too young to be left alone while we all went to the lake house. Someone needed to stay home with her.  The fourth of July weekend was approaching. I suggested to Tim that we split the weekend up. He spend a couple of nights; then I spend a couple of nights.

Tim got very tense and talked about how he needed to be there to cook the vegetarian part of the meal. 

I was quite taken aback by this, because, besides me, there's only one other vegetarian.  (And now I'm thinking, couldn't he have also made something ahead of time and then just had someone reheat it).

Tim changed his tune slightly in the days approaching the weekend. But it was too late for me. The thing is, I already had a huge amount of insecurity about my family preferring Tim over me.  I mean not from this one conversation but years of things said, not said, done, and not done. 

What I really wanted was for someone in my family to question why I was the one staying home with Annie and not Tim. No one said anything. 

Now, to be fair, it wasn't in the plans for me to be completely absent from the lake house. Tim picked me up for an afternoon visit. 

I was not doing well on that visit.  Annie was in heat, and that was very stressful. I was still very hurt by the fact that Tim was getting all the nights at the lake house, and no one seemed to care. I was dealing with my new neurological symptoms. And on a lake house boat ride, my sister said something that really hurt me and stressed me out.

I ended up crying at the lake house. Sobbing.

It was not a good time for me. 

I went home.

My mom texted me and offered to pick me up the next day if I wanted to come back to the lake house.

I texted back and told her maybe but that my brain and emotions were not doing well. So..also maybe not. 

I very stupidly expected her to text back and be a sympathetic listener.

She didn't do that. She responded by saying, Let me know if you need a ride. Love You!!!!

On the surface that sounds very nice. She offered to give me a ride. She says she loves me. What's there to complain about?

But...well, below the surface was my problems and feelings being ignored. 

The next day I kind of bitched her out about this, and I really let my feelings out. I talked about how the Tim thing really hurt me. I talked about how the family often acts that Tim is more important to them. 

I also talked about how the family is often asking Tim to do them favors, and how, when at the lake house I asked Tim to do me (His wife!!!) a favor, I was mocked. 

The message I was trying to convey to my mom is that A) With my family, I should come before Tim B) With Tim I should come before the family.

I am not self-centered enough to think I should come before everyone in the whole wide world. But with certain people I should come before other certain people. 

Make sense?

Well, somehow this message got completely twisted. From what I could gather from future angry messages from my dad is that me feeling not-loved-enough somehow turned into me accusing my parents of treating Tim like a slave.

WTF????!!!!!

Between the dramatic text conversation with my mom and the angry email from my dad, we went on a cruise where, I might have imagined it, but I felt a coldness from my parents. Well, the fact that my dad later revealed he was angry about what he thought I said during the conversation, I had with my mom, makes me think it was probably NOT in my imagination.

OR maybe not, because sometimes I have very suppressed anger towards someone, and I feel completely fine towards them until we get in a fight that suddenly reminds me of the suppressed anger.

So...I don't know.

Anyway, I became so frustrated by my parents twisting my hurt feelings into a criticism of them not treating Tim well enough that I suddenly decided to become estranged from them.

It was a fairly mild estrangement that lasted about 2-3 months.  I still wished them a happy anniversary. I still said happy birthday to my mom and gave her a gift. I didn't completely shut them out of my life and I wasn't completely cold towards them. 

I give a range for the ending, because it didn't suddenly end over night. It just slowly faded.

In October I went to my sister's 40th birthday party.  My mom and I had a hug there.

I spent a night at the lake house over Thanksgiving. I didn't totally kiss and make up with my parents. But we were civil with each other.

In December, my niece had surgery.  My dad and I lifted a lot of the ice between us via conversations about Apple Pay and vending machines. 

A short time after that, I started having conversations with parents again. One such conversation was about a parenting issue I was having.

On a later date, I talked to them a lot about my neurological issues. 

The estrangement was very much over.  Not only was I no longer estranged with my parents but I was (stupidly) opening up to them.  I was letting down my guard and letting them in.

Then about six months after the end of the estrangement, I got angry with my dad. Throughout the non-estrangement months, I had told him a LOT about my neurological issues. I wrongly believed he had listened and understood. But he said something that made me see he had NOT been listening well. He had totally NOT understood.

We got into a fight about this, and my dad then told me he was worried about my estrangement from the family AND criticized me for not talking about my child as much as my sisters talk about their children.

Here I am upset that my dad didn't listen well enough to me and he's complaining that I don't talk enough???!!!!

Why the hell should I open up to him or my mom when I did so for months, and he labels that time as me being estranged?  Did he not notice I had been talking to the family a LOT for the last several months? 

It takes courage for me to share my feelings with my family, especially my parents. Because opening up to my parents is like putting quarters in a slot machine.  Once in awhile, they SEEM to be listening and understanding. On rare occasions, they will say something wise and comforting. But most times, they end up making me feel invalidated, angry, and hurt.  And well...really. When I win, it's more like winning money in the slot machine; then later learning out the money has poison ivy oils all over it. 

It might SEEM like they're listening and empathizing/sympathizing. But later they'll say things that make me realize they totally do not get it. 

Note: I have poison ivy rashes right now, so that's why I'm using that analogy

Anyway, I spent months of not being estranged from my parents. I spent months bonding with them, talking to them, etc.  And all my letting down my guard and opening up seems to have been for nothing.

So yeah. It really rubs me the wrong way when someone is labeled selfish for being silent. 

Now if someone becomes silent, or holds back, because they WANT something and are trying to get what they want with a manipulative silent treatment?  That's very different. That IS selfish. 

Holding back, though, because you're scared, insecure, distrustful, etc. that is not selfish.

And sometimes opening up to certain people is NOT courageous. Sometimes it is foolish.