Wednesday July 12, 2017

Suits returns tonight for a 7th season.  More below.

I said this earlier in the week, but if you have not yet watched HBO's The Defiant Ones, you're doing yourself a disservice.

TruTV premieres I'm Sorry tonight.  Here's a look at the trailerVeep‘s Andrea Savage writes and stars in this semi-autobiographical comedy about a comedy writer, wife and mom whose inner immaturity and neuroses seep out during unexpected situations.  It looks worth a shot. 

If Ink Master or Million Dollar Listing ran 90 minutes as opposed to 60, who's complaining?

The Daily Show With Trevor Noah has added Michael Kosta to 'The Best F#@ing News Team.' The stand-up comedian will make his first appearance on the show tonight with an in-studio desk piece. Kosta most recently was host and co-executive producer of The Comment Section on E! He was also a co-host on Fox Sports 1’s Crowd Goes Wild, on which he and Regis Philbin lead a panel of experts in a lighthearted look at the world of sports."

An L Word sequel is in the works.

I don't watch America's Got Talent, but check out this guy's audition.

This season of The Bachelorette is not rating all too well.

Olivia Munn has signed on for season 2 of SIX.  She’ll play Gina, a ruthless and smart CIA operative who rose from shooter to a high-level Operations officer, per History network.

Lucy Liu is directing the season 2 premiere of Luke Cage.

Now seems about the right time for Clay Aiken to speak up about Trump.

Someone needs to help Shia LeBeouf.  Where's the kid I remember from Project Greenlight?

"MSNBC fixture Joe Scarborough says the current state of the GOP has pushed him to the point where he’s leaving the party. It’s a revelation he shared during the taping of [last] night’s Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Scarborough, who you may also know from the President of the United States tweeted jabs, slammed Republicans for the direction they’re steering the country to. Asked by Colbert how that impacts the former congressman as a member of the party, the Morning Joe co-host broke it down. 'I am a Republican, but I’m not going to be a Republican anymore,' explained Scarborough. 'I’ve got to become an independent.'”

Did you think that I would lead with anything but a story about Suits?  Per EW, "Suits is entering uncharted territory in season 7.

"For the first time, Mike Ross’ secret (Patrick J. Adams) is no longer driving the show’s action and threatening to destroy everything Jessica (Gina Torres), Harvey (Gabriel Macht), Louis (Rick Hoffman), and everyone else at the firm have built. At the end of last season, Mike was admitted to the bar and agreed to return to Pearson Specter Litt—but only under the condition that he be allowed to work on one pro-bono case for every corporate case he does. Harvey, who plans on taking over as managing partner in the wake of Jessica’s departure, accepted that deal. However, Suits creator Aaron Korsh says we can expect that deal to 'bite Harvey in the ass.'

"Ahead of the USA legal drama’s seventh season premiere, EW caught up with Korsh to discuss what’s in store for Louis, Rachel (Meghan Markle), and Donna (Sarah Rafferty) this season, as well as what Korsh and the writers have planned for the show’s 100th episode:

Season 7 sounds like it’ll be a slightly different beast because it’s the first time that Mike’s secret isn’t hanging over everyone’s heads. How does the show move forward from that when it returns? 
The good news is, we’ve had six seasons under our belt of getting to know these people. In season 6, because Mike was in prison, many of the other characters’ drives were no longer about Mike’s secret. I think after six seasons, you’ve established these characters enough on their own outside of Mike’s secret that they have a lot of things going on in their lives we need to pick up after season 6, regardless of Mike being there or not — one of the examples being Jessica. Jessica being gone was half-handled in 6B, but there were so many other things going on that we still have to deal with that in season 7.

How will season 7 continue to deal with her departure? 
The back half of season 6 was largely about trying to turn Mike into a legitimate lawyer. That sort of took precedence over Harvey really dealing with the fact that Jessica’s gone. We had some dealing with it with Louis, but now that Mike is back at the firm, and now that it’s Harvey’s firm, Harvey, in his mind, is thinking, “What am I going to do? How do I make my mark now that Jessica’s gone and I’m not distracted by getting Mike into the bar?” It’s almost like a fresh start, and I think he’s starting to think, “Oh my god, I’m the captain of the ship. I need to take this ship over. How am I going to do it?”

How does Harvey fare in this new leadership role? 
Harvey is not used to being the leader of the firm; he’s used to being the gunslinger of the firm. In some ways, it’s easier to be the gunslinger because you don’t have to worry about the consequences of your actions as much. But when you are the patriarch of the firm, all of a sudden you can’t behave the way you used to, [even if] your instincts are to behave that way. So I think it’s his instincts are maybe going to get in the way. When I say get in the way, I think it’s a growth process and a learning curve he has to go up to. Anybody would have to do it, whether they were Harvey or anyone else. Jessica likely had to do it. So, I think it’s really about him coming into his own. When we say, “how does he fare,” I think he has his challenges, his rocky parts, but he also has his successes and his good parts. I would say the season is about that.

It’s also about [how] one of his first early decisions was to offer Mike this deal to come back and one for you-one for me…That deal is going to come back to some degree and bite Harvey in the ass. Certainly, it’s going to have ramifications for Harvey within the firm and outside of it. At the same time, he didn’t quite have it inside of him to step up and say, “Louis, this is my firm. I’m taking it,” but he’s going to do that in season 7. That’s going to have its consequences, too. At the same time, Donna obviously has said, “I want more,” and she’s going to answer that question for herself, and that’s going to present challenges for Harvey, probably personally and certainly professionally. We don’t explicitly say this in the episode, but she got money from getting bought out by that business [in last season], and she’s going to use that money to further her career in some form or fashion that we’ll find out early on.

This season also finds Mike working on both pro-bono cases and corporate cases, which are sometimes at odds with one another. Will Mike be able to actually handle doing both?  
The contradiction is in the whole philosophy of advocacy law versus corporate law. In one arena, advocacy law, which is the pro-bono cases, you’re often times trying to help people who are being preyed upon or taking advantage of by people who are in power. Often those people in power are clients of corporate law firms, so there is an inherent contradiction in the purpose of the two types of law that he’s agreed to practice. I think it’s a contradiction within Mike, too, because Mike has always had a lot of empathy for people and wanted to help people, but he also, as Harvey pointed out to him in the finale, has a competitive streak in him and likes being smarter than the other side and beating the other side. The higher level the other side is playing at, the more of a challenge it is. So, Mike, his character, is inherently conflicted between wanting to compete at a high level, which is the corporate law firm world, and wanting to help humanity and individuals, which is not the corporate law world. He’s made this agreement and this bargain where he thinks he can do both, and I think this season for him is about coming to terms with [the fact that ] he may or may not be able to do both. As the season progresses, that’s going to play out more and more.

Louis ended season 6 with a broken heart, so what’s in store for him when the show returns? 
Because he broke up with Tara and he’s going through some tough stuff, when we start the season, the people who care about him in his life are worried about him and worried on his behalf. He says he’ll be fine, and he’s not fine. He has to sort of go through a process of dealing with the loss of Tara, and I think it’s going to be evident throughout most of the season. It’s not all that’s going on for him, but it’s a lot of what’s going on for him. Because of that, we’re going to meet some new characters—maybe some we’ve wanted to meet before or heard of before. In the end, I do believe it results in growth for Louis, but growth comes in fits and starts.

Rachel’s finally a lawyer, too, this season. How is she handling that transition from paralegal to newly minted lawyer? What can we expect from her professional life this season? 
Rachel’s going to continue her progression. She’s obviously no longer aspiring to be a lawyer, she’s a lawyer. Now, she’s dealing with a different set of issues in the firm, and early on, one of them is dealing with Louis and the way that he’s possibly lashing out at people who don’t deserve it for what’s going on in his life. It’s almost like she’s changing roles from being just a paralegal to someone who’s saying, “Hey, listen, this firm is at risk because of the way Louis is behaving.” It’s almost, in some sense, [like she’s] stepping in a managerial role. She’s doing it. She’s not asking for it. Then, we also have her being asked to do some other higher level stuff. There’s an incident with one of the new associates that she’s asked to handle. From a professional standpoint, her challenges are higher than they used to be.

At the same time, she’s got some personal stuff going on with Mike, because they’re both becoming lawyers and are dedicated to succeeding at this early point in their careers (even though Mike’s been a lawyer for a long time). So, that’s not going to create an issue really, but they have to figure out how much time they’re gonna devote to their personal lives versus their corporate lives. As we move forward, she’s going to step up. The old question of “is she being respected as a lawyer and as an adult?” is going to pop up again, and she’s gonna kind of earn some additional respect from some of our other characters. That’ll lead to something that we’re sort of in the works formulating right now.

Finally, this season will also feature Suits‘ 100th episode. Did you approach this landmark episode like a typical hour of Suits, or did you use it as an opportunity for introspection, to reflect on how far you’ve come?
I would say that introspection and the reflection does not occur on screen… [but rather] amongst us as writers, amongst the cast (we did the ATX festival). As the family of people who make the show Suits, it’s a big accomplishment, it’s emotional, and it marks a passage of time because nothing lasts forever. So, I’d like to think it sort of made us all appreciate how good we have it right now.

On the onscreen side, we always try to make the best episode we can. I don’t care what episode it is, you’re trying to make the best episode you can. So, I didn’t want to approach it totally from the perspective of, “This is 100, it has to be some outstanding thing.” The good news is that episode 8 in any season of ours, which is where the 100 falls this year, is usually [where the season starts] building toward the climax, if not the climax, of the first half of the season. That’s baked in just by nature of where the episode lands. Even though I didn’t want to approach it from that standpoint, I definitely said, “Look, this is 100th episode. Let’s try to do some things that are little bit more special if we can, when we can.” Hopefully, people are going to love it. We really loved writing it. Rick Muirragui wrote it. We always go through a rewrite process afterward, but it was really a lot of fun, and he’s written some of the first few flashbacks. Rick is very good at writing special episodes."

Per Deadline, "MTV has announced its new summer slate, which includes five new, including previously announced SafeWord, and four returning series. Nick Cannon Presents: Wild ‘N Out kicked it off with its return on June 29, Teen Mom 2 debuts July 17 at 9 PM; limited series Teen Mum premieres July 10 at 10 PM; and Season 30 of The Challenge XXX debuts July 18 at 9 PM.

"New series are summer soap Siesta Key, set for premiere July 31 at 10 PM (see trailer above). From the producers of Laguna Beach, Siesta Key follows a group of young adults confronting issues of love, heartbreak and looming adulthood; Catfish: Trolls, offshoot of long-running MTV docuseries Catfish, is an investigative series that chronicles internet trolls; and Win Big, a live game show hosted by Rob Dyrdek gives away $100,000 to help young people fulfill life goals. Catfish: Trolls and Win Big are both set for premiere in September. New series MTV Undressed is a dating experiment in which two strangers must undress each other before getting to know one another. It premieres August 16 at 11 PM. They join previously announced comedy series SafeWord, hosted by Terrence J, in which celebrity guests partner with comedians to play games in front of a live audienceset for premiere July 13.

"The network is coming off its best June in six years in P18-34, up 12% in share and +3% in ratings, MTV says. Fear Factor was the network’s highest rated premiere in two years, delivering 0.83 rating in the key demo, up 164% vs. its time period average. Additionally, teen-targeted series continue to bring young viewers back to the network.

“'By embracing a new generation of young people, we are seeing record ratings increases at MTV and our new summer slate will fuel this growth,' said Chris McCarthy, President of MTV, VH1 and Logo.

"Below are complete descriptions of MTV’s new series:

SIESTA KEY
July 31 at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT
From the producers of Laguna Beach comes Siesta Key, the ultimate summer series that follows a group of young adults confronting issues of love, heartbreak and looming adulthood. As these friends spend the summer together in their beautiful hometown, they come of age while trying to figure out who they are and want they want to be.
CREDITS: Executive producers are Tara Long and John Morayniss for Entertainment One (eOne), Mark Ford and Kevin Lopez for Creature Films. Mark Scheibal, Elizabeth Jones, Gary Kompothecras and Warren Skeels also serve as executive producers.
EP. COUNT: 10

MTV UNDRESSED
August 16 at 11:00 p.m. ET/PT
MTV Undressed is a one of a kind social experiment that strips away the distractions and superficiality of the digital world. In each episode of this dating experiment, MTV brings together two strangers who must undress each other before getting to know one another for the next thirty minutes, answering questions and performing simple challenges – all designed to test whether or not romance can blossom. At the end, each partner must press a YES/NO button to decide if he or she wants to continue the fledgling relationship or say goodbye.
CREDITS: MTV Undressed is produced by Bunim/Murray Productions (The Real World and The Challenge) and Kreativ, Inc. Executive producers for Bunim/Murray are Gil Goldschein and Julie Pizzi and from Kreativ, Joel Karsberg.
EP. COUNT: 16

WIN BIG (working title)
September 2017
As a pro-skater, television star, and serial entrepreneur, Rob Dyrdek, is a professional 'dream-achiever' who carved his own path to fame and fortune by transforming his passions into reality. Now, Rob is teaming up with MTV for a revolutionary new game show where $100,000 will be given away in every episode to help young people take life to the next level.
CREDITS: Win Big (wt) is produced by Superjacket for MTV. Rob Dyrdek, Shane Nickerson and Blake Levin serve as executive producers for Superjacket.
EP. COUNT: 10

CATFISH: TROLLS
September 2017
Radio host, television star and internet provocateur Charlamagne Tha God, and co-host Raymond Braun, will give everything they’ve got to stop internet trolls, the most pervasive and consistent troublemakers online. Using the Catfish brand of investigating the truth, Catfish: Trolls unmasks the internet’s most vocal trolls to drag them out of hiding and into the light.
CREDITS: Catfish: Trolls is produced by Critical Content.
EP. COUNT: 10"

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A review of new Netflix series Friends From College, which will be available to stream on Friday: "Netflix’s new Friends From College seems like it was created on a dare:

“'I bet you can’t make an audience hate characters played by beloved TV stars like Keegan Michael-Key and Fred Savage.'

“'Hold my beer.'

"Though its title and its cast — which also features Cobie Smulders, Annie Parisse, Nat Faxon, and Jae Suh Park — suggest a hangout comedy in the vein of Happy Endings, the actuality of Friends From College (it debuts Friday; I’ve seen all eight episodes) is a shrill and unpleasant dramedy about the dangers of maintaining youthful friendships deep into adulthood.

"In fact, it’s often barely about the whole group of friends at all, frequently sidelining Savage, Faxon, and Park to dwell on the fact that Key’s Ethan and Parisse’s Sam have been having an affair since their undergrad days, even though he wound up married to college pal Lisa (Smulders) while she has a wealthy, adoring husband (Greg Germann).

"Adultery and/or toxic friendships can both be fodder for dark comedy, and Friends From College — co-created by Nick Stoller and Francesca Delbanco — has no illusions about what it is. It’s not a would-be hangout comedy that accidentally stumbled into making the audience find the pals insufferable, but a very intentional commentary on the dangers of valuing your friends over your family, and of failing to grow up because it’s so much easier to fall into old habits with old pals. In any other show, the Germann character (a smarmy investment bro who can never remember the names of any of Sam’s friends) and Felix, the fertility specialist in a long-term relationship with Savage’s Max, would be the irritating characters — Felix is played by Billy Eichner, whose entire acting career is built on playing characters other people have to have a lot of patience for — but here, they’re by design the most sympathetic ones the show has to offer.

"For that matter, we’ve seen plenty of great comedies built around people of questionable likability, from the Bluth family to the Always Sunny gang to Larry David. The problem isn’t that the Friends From College are all irritating and corrosive to the world around them, but that Stoller and Delbanco’s main approach to generating laughs out of them is for EVERYONE TO YELL AT THE TOP OF THEIR LUNGS AS OFTEN AS POSSIBLE. Multiple times per episode, something goes wrong — often, but not always, involving the threat of Ethan and Sam’s affair becoming public — and the response is inevitably a collection of panicked shrieks that goes on and on and on and on and on. (Ironically — but also appropriately if the creators are deliberately trying to upend expectations — Felix is by far the most subdued character, even though Eichner traditionally works at top volume.) Whereas the protagonists of other anti-hero comedies tend to be awful in clever or creative ways, none of these people are even good at being bad — are in fact frequently startled to realize how bad they are — so they just melt down and scream, even as they’re unwittingly hurting themselves, each other, and even innocent bystanders. (Among the low points: Ethan inadvertently causing injury and property damage at another college friend’s wedding because he’s jealous of the presence of Sam’s ex-boyfriend, played by guest star Seth Rogen.) It’s the comedy equivalent of crawling over broken glass in order to get to a meal of broken glass.

"The actors involved are so talented, and so fundamentally appealing, that they can’t help but be charming on occasion. Max tap dances in one episode, for instance, and rocks out to Hanson’s MMMBop in another. Moments like those aren’t in there by accident, but to show why the group can’t entirely see how unhealthy their relationships are with one another; the problem is that I kept wishing they were right to think this way, because the brief glimpses of the sincere hangout version of the show felt so much better and more watchable than what Friends From College actually is.

"The fifth episode finds Ethan organizing a friend trip out to the vineyards of Long Island to cheer up Lisa after an unsuccessful IVF cycle. Everyone seems happy to be on a party bus, drinking wine, and cracking jokes, but every time the trip seems on the verge of being a success, Lisa will bring everyone down with a graphic reference to her infertility. This, unfortunately, is Friends From College in a nutshell: theoretically, you expect it to be nonstop fun, but the reality is perpetually uncomfortable for everyone, whether they’re on the show or watching at home in the stubborn belief that a comedy with this much talent can’t possibly be this grating this often.

"It can be."

Say what you will drip, I'm all in on this one.

From The Hollywood Reporter: "CBS is looking to the music of Michael Jackson for its next project.

"The network has teamed with the estate of the late pop star for a new animated special for which his extensive discography will serve as the soundtrack, it was announced Tuesday.

"Titled Michael Jackson's Halloween, the hour-long telecast will follow millennials Vincent (MacGyver star Lucas Till) and Victoria (The Flash film's Kiersey Clemons), who meet “accidentally” on Halloween night and find themselves, along with Ichabod the dog, at a mysterious hotel located at 777 Jackson Street called This Place Hotel. Once inside, Vincent and Victoria go an unexpected, magical adventure of personal discovery, culminating in a spectacular dance finale featuring an animated Jackson.

"CBS has tapped a variety of network stars past and present for voice roles, including Christine Baranski, Alan Cumming, Jim Parsons, Lucy Liu, George Eads and Brad Garrett.

"Optimum Productions created the special and will produce, with animation production by Hammerhead. John Branca and John McClain, co-executors of the Estate of Michael Jackson, will exec produce. Daniel Chuba will serve as producer, and Mark A.Z. Dippé is attached to direct.

"The special will air sometime this fall.

"Since Jackson's death in 2009, his estate has continued to release new projects featuring the pop star, most notably the concert film This Is It, which was released shortly after his passing and showed his final days rehearsing for what was to be a new tour of the same name. More recent releases include Michael Jackson Live at Wembley July 16, 1988 in 2012 and a 25th anniversary special for his album, Bad, released the same year."

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Per The New York Post, "Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica was more accurate than fans might think.

"Sue Kolinsky, a producer on the series for all three seasons, spilled behind-the-scenes details of the MTV reality show to Complex and revealed some truths about Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson‘s former marriage.

"Lachey and Simpson split after the final season, but that wouldn’t come as a surprise to those on set.

“'You could feel there was tension between the two of them. They were very different people. He was a blue collar guy—he did a lot of things himself, like he and his brother would build things. He was frugal, and she had excessive taste. In the end they weren’t suited for each other. The only thing they really had in common was their music,' Kolinsky explained. 'She was really young; I think he’s seven years older than her. He wanted a family, and her father thought maybe she was too young. Her father was very involved in her life.'

"As for the famous 'chicken or fish?' moment from the series, in which Simpson wondered whether tuna fish was either, Kolinsky said it wasn’t part of an act to portray her as a 'dumb blonde.'

“'There were times when we were like, "Hm, does she really not know what this means?" I truly believe the whole "chicken & fish" situation was accurate. She really did not know,' Kolinsky recalled. 'I remember there was a scene where there was a dead mouse by their pool and it had been dead for a while. Nick said, "It’s in rigor mortis" and Jessica said, "Riga-what?" I truly believe she didn’t know what that meant.'

"Although Simpson was dragged for her naivete, she was able to make light of it more than 10 years later with a cheeky Instagram post, but that doesn’t mean she’s itching to watch a rerun."

"Two years after it was put in development, Netflix has scooped up the Umbrella Academy TV series.

"The streaming giant has handed out a 10-episode straight-to-series order for the adaptation of Gerard Way (My Chemical Romance) and Gabriel Ba's beloved graphic novel. The drama will launch on the streaming service in 2018. 

"Based on the Eisner Award-winning comics, the live-action Umbrella Academy follows the estranged members of a dysfunctional family of superheroes (aka the Umbrella Academy): The Monocle, Spaceboy, The Kraken, The Rumor, The Séance, Number Five, The Horror and The White Violin. Together, they work to solve their father’s mysterious death while coming apart at the seams because of their divergent personalities and abilities. The series was praised for its alternate and twisted take on the superhero genre.

"Steve Blackman (Fargo, Netflix's Altered Carbon) serves as showrunner and executive produces alongside Bluegrass Television, Mike Richardson and Keith Goldberg from Dark Horse Entertainment. Way will co-exec produce. The pilot script was adapted from the comic book series by Jeremy Slater (The Exorcist).

“'I am thrilled that The Umbrella Academy has found a home at Netflix. I couldn’t think of a better place for the vision Gabriel Ba and myself had when creating the comic, and cannot wait for people to experience that world as a live action show,' Way said.

"For Netflix, The Umbrella Academy joins a deep roster of Marvel dramas, including Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, The Punisher and upcoming mini The Defenders."

"Actress Melissa Rauch and her husband Winston are expecting their first child in the fall of 2017. In her own words, here is Melissa's emotional and heartfelt story of the long road to parenthood.

"Here is the only statement regarding my pregnancy that doesn’t make me feel like a complete fraud: 'Melissa is expecting her first child. She is extremely overjoyed, but if she’s being honest, due to the fact that she had a miscarriage the last time she was pregnant, she’s pretty much terrified at the moment that it will happen again. She feels weird even announcing this at all, and would rather wait until her child heads off to college to tell anyone, but she figures she should probably share this news before someone sees her waddling around with her mid-section protruding and announces it first.'

"During the time when I was grieving over my pregnancy loss or struggling with fertility issues, every joyful, expectant baby announcement felt like a tiny stab in the heart. It’s not that I wasn’t happy for these people, but I would think, 'Why are these shiny, carefree, fertile women so easily able to do what I cannot?' And then I’d immediately feel guilt and shame for harboring that jealousy—one might call this 'the circle of strife.' (A song I imagine is somewhere deep in the extended director’s cut of The Lion King.) I’ve always been one to keep my eyes on my own paper, but when it came to having a baby, that proved to be a challenge. So when I thought about having to share the news about expecting this baby, all I could think about was another woman mourning over her loss as I did, worried she would never get pregnant again, and reading about my little bundle on the way. It felt a bit disingenuous to not also share the struggle it took for me to get here.

"(Just to be clear, I’m not saying everyone who publicly announces cheerful news should also report the crummy journey they embarked on before getting to the other side of it. I personally just wanted to express what I’ve experienced in the hopes that it could—in some small way—help someone going through a similar pain. Ideally, the more we talk about this issue, the more we can chip away at the unnecessary stigma around it, with the end result being that those of us struggling with loss and infertility will feel less alone. Perhaps with increased overall awareness, women dealing with these extremely challenging circumstances won’t feel like they’re getting sucker punched in the uterus by well-intentioned people.)

"The miscarriage I experienced was one of the most profound sorrows I have ever felt in my life. It kickstarted a primal depression that lingered in me. The image of our baby on the ultrasound monitor—without movement, without a heartbeat—after we had seen that same little heart healthy and flickering just two weeks prior completely blindsided us and haunts me to this day. I kept waiting for the sadness to lift...but it didn’t. Sure, I had happy moments and life went on, but the heartbreak was always lurking. Inescapable reminders, like the unfulfilled due date, came around like a heavy cloud. A day I had once marked on my calendar with such excitement was now a memorial of a crushed dream. I was constantly wishing that the feeling of being desperately lonely in my own body would dissipate. It didn’t help that I was also fighting against these feelings with thoughts like, 'You should be over this by now,' and 'People go through a heck of a lot worse, you miserable sad-sack!' (Can you tell that I am awesome at self-compassion?) What I realized, though, is that because this kind of loss is not openly talked about nearly as much as it should be, there really is no template for how to process these emotions. You’re not necessarily going to a funeral or taking time off from work to mourn, but that doesn’t change the fact that something precious has been unexpectedly taken from your life.

"Then there’s the guilt. As a Jewish mother-to-be, this was something I was expecting to be instinctually good at. But I was supposed to be harnessing this power to guilt my future child, not using it on myself! I knew in my heart there wasn’t anything I could have done to prevent what happened, but that didn’t stop me from the futile exercise of mentally replaying every day of the pregnancy up until that point over and over again, wondering if there was something I did that could’ve caused the miscarriage.

"'Miscarriage' by the way, deserves to be ranked as one of the worst, most blame-inducing medical terms ever. To me, it immediately conjures up an implication that it was the woman’s fault, like she somehow 'mishandled the carrying of this baby.' F that so hard, right in its patriarchal nut-sack. It’s not that a better name would make it less awful to go through. But for a while, my husband and I just started saying to each other—without any judgment or acrimony to the baby, of course—that the baby 'bailed' instead.

"When even the perversely stupid medical term involved felt like an endorsement for the blame game, it was hard for me not to take the bait. If you’re doing that to yourself, please take these words in (as I also reminded myself many times): You did nothing wrong. Babies are born in all sorts of extreme conditions. If it was a viable pregnancy, it would have made it. Due to reasons beyond anyone's control, miscarriage is estimated to occur in anywhere from 15 to 20 percent of recognized pregnancies. There was nothing you could’ve done to change the situation. Most importantly, please be kind to yourself. As much as I wanted to 'move on' and gain some sense of control over what happened by beating myself up, I came to understand that thoughts like that have no productive place in grief. Our pain is something to be worked through until it isn’t anymore. So on my better days, rather than being a big jerk to myself, I just started saying: It is OK to not be OK right now.

"During this time, I was continually surprised by the constant assault of emotions—and how severely unlike myself I felt. In addition to the intense grief, the hormonal drop-off is something I was not prepared for in the least. I wish I had known that this physiological response is an extremely prevalent and real component of pregnancy loss. In retrospect, it would’ve helped me to be aware that many women essentially go through a form of postpartum depression after a miscarriage, without a baby to show for it. If nothing else, having this knowledge may have put some of my darker 'what the shit is happening' moments in context for me.

"I remember watching House Hunters International one night about three weeks after my miscarriage. Out of the blue, I began what I can only describe as 'projectile crying.' Like tears were literally spurting out of my eyeballs towards the TV, and they would not stop. Nothing in particular set it off. I surely wasn’t crying about whether or not the young ex-pat couple would find a flat close enough to the city center in Lisbon. It was just something going on hormonally. I didn’t know it at the time, but I’ve since been informed there are small doses of estrogen, progesterone, or herbs that can be taken under the guidance of your doctor to help. Acupuncture can potentially offset these hormonal changes as well. The sadness on its own is hard enough; the least we can do for ourselves is talk with the medical professionals in our lives about ways to alleviate the hormone plunge that occurs after pregnancy loss.

"One of the perks to sadness is the time it gives you to think when you’re somberly staring at a wall. Something that kept coming to mind is how arbitrarily we all talk about baby-making. I know I’ve asked women about their reproducing situation in the past (as most of us unintentionally have at some point or another). It comes from a well-meaning, good place. My hope is that if we as a society become more aware of how common fertility struggles are, perhaps we won’t be so cavalier in questioning females about what's on their baby agenda. There are so many other things to ask women about other than procreating…ya know, like what we’re wearing. I kid!

"Ovary-probing like the following constantly happens to childless women of a certain age: 'Are you pregnant?' 'When are you going to have a little one?' 'You’re getting up there, you worthless old empty baby dispenser...isn’t it time you breed already?!' Okay, maybe the last one isn’t as common, but the sentiment is there. And I have friends with kids who tell me it doesn’t stop there. It transitions to: 'When is Lyla getting a sibling?' (And yes, if you’re wondering, all of my friend’s kids are named Lyla.) Yet, on the flip side, we’d never inquire of a man: 'When are ya going to shoot a virile load up in someone and create human life?' So, before any of us ask a woman about popping out a baby, let’s think to ourselves: We don’t know what she’s going through, what her body is capable of, or what she personally desires. Whether a woman wants to have children or not, if she wants to share that information, she will.

"Bottom line: I’ve come to the conclusion that unless I clearly see an infant emerging from its uterine homeland and its mother is shouting at me: 'Over here! Look at me! I am birthing a baby right now in the back of my 2007 Saturn!' it’s probably best not to ask her about reproduction. Incidentally, if anyone does see a baby being birthed in the back of a 2007 Saturn, congrats to you on that awesome and rare sighting!

"Many times in my life I’ve been able to get through difficult situations by reminding myself of the classic adage: 'Everything happens for a reason.' But as it turns out—for me, anyway—miscarriage was more of a 'this straight-up f*cking sucks' situation. Some things just are. The simple acceptance of this reality actually proved to be the most helpful course of action for me. This was a below sea-level moment amongst the proverbial peaks and valleys of life. There was something very healing about simply acknowledging where I was, rather than trying to completely make sense of it or wrap my head around some cookie-cutter rationale. We all process grief differently. If you are dealing with prenatal loss, I hope you find something, anything, to bring you comfort (whether it’s planting a tree, having a small ceremony, or giving a big double middle finger to the universe). The unknown is a scary place, but it's also where hope and possibility live. I’m trying as much as I can to embrace the reality of that uncertainty.

"All I really know for sure is that this experience has changed me forever. I know it’s made me grateful for every moment of my current pregnancy, and I hope it will make me a better mother in some capacity when I can finally hold the child that has been in my heart in my arms. Although I can’t categorize these lessons of humble appreciation and gratitude as “reasons for this happening,” I will consider them a silver lining. (But to be honest, I would’ve much preferred to learn said lessons from either a fortune cookie or by watching a few heartfelt reruns of Full House.) So, to all the women out there who are dealing with fertility issues, have gone through a miscarriage or are going through the pain of it currently, allow me to leave you with this message: You are not alone. And, it is perfectly OK to not be OK right now."