7 Favorite Family Robots in Pop Culture History

Notable robots who were part of a family.

We’re reaching a point when science fiction is quickly turning into real life. Technology is becoming an ever-increasing presence in our lives, and said technology is becoming ever more sophisticated and useful.

In recent years, the robotics field has made enormous strides: iRobot has recently sold off its defense and security division to focus on the growing home market for Robotics, and Alphabet’s Boston Dynamics has been making the rounds of the internet with their Atlas Robot. Robots are in the home, and will be here to stay.
This is something that science fiction has been predicting for as long as it’s been around. From the genre’s earliest robots, such as Tik Tok from the world of Oz, to BB-8 from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, we’ve been imagining facsimile individuals that exist alongside people.
Over the course of that history, we’ve imagined how they’ll interact with families. Here’s a small handful of notable robots who were part of a family:

1 – Andrew Martin, The Bicentennial Man, Isaac Asimov

The Bicentennial ManIgnore the Robin Williams film: Isaac Asimov’s brilliant novella The Bicentennial Man (which the film is loosely based on), charts the life of an NDR robot after it was purchased by the Martin family. They named him Andrew, and over two centuries, he transitions from being a robot to a person.
Andrew’s story is an interesting one, because it’s the epitome of how we anthropomorphize objects such as robots, imagining them to be like humans. Andrew starts its life as a machine, and ends his life declared a human, right before he dies.
The Bicentennial Man is at its heart, the yearning of a robot to become part of a family, first as part of the Martins, but then, a larger one: the larger human family.

2 – | CHAPPiE

chappie_2015_movie-wide
In Neill Blomkamp’s 2015 film CHAPPiE, a robotics scientist working in South Africa conducts an unauthorized experiment while working for a defense contractor. He creates true artificial intelligence, placed in the body of a discarded Scout robot.
The robot is kidnapped and activated, and is awakened with the intellect of a child. “Raised” in a quasi-family environment of criminals, it displays an unusual curiosity and is disturbed by the darker realities and complex morals of its surroundings.
Chappie is an interesting robot, and its journey from innocent to adult mirrors that of a child growing up and coming to terms with the world we live in.

3 | David, A.I. Artificial Intelligence / Supertoys Last All Summer Long

AI
This is another example of a point where the book is better than the film, but each iteration of David is an interesting one. At their core, they are about the same thing: the love of a child for its mother. In this case, the child is a robot.
In the film, David has been brought in to the family after a tragic accident, while in the book, he is the only option for a family in an overcrowded world. In each, David is replaced by a real child.
In many ways, this once again goes towards the concept of anthropomorphizing an object explicitly designed to do just that: in this case, it is discarded once it’s no longer needed. Good for the family, but with devastating consequences for the robot, which still yearns for its mother.

4 | Helen O’Loy

Helen O’Loy
Lester del Rey’s story of a robot falling in love with a man first appeared in Astounding Science Fiction’s December 1938 edition. It’s an extremely problematic story that carries with it some outdated gender roles, but it does prove to be an interesting example of robots in families.
In the story, two men modify a household robot, and it begins to develop emotions. They name it Helen of Alloy – Helen O’Loy, and it slowly begins to appear more and more human. On one hand, it’s a story of a man designing an overly idealized wife, built to worship its owner/lover.
While the story is problematic, it serves as a very good warning for how robots can be utilized, and how gender roles can be applied to artificial humans. The results can reveal some harmful attitudes that can persist into familial units, where they can have devastating consequences.

5 | Marco and Jax, The Lifecycle of Software Objects, Ted Chiang

The Lifecycle of Software ObjectsThe cover flap of Ted Chiang’s brilliant novella The Lifecycle of Software Objects cites Alan Turing, who muses that the best way to raise an artificial intelligence might be to raise one as though it were a child, from the first building blocks of intelligence all the way to adulthood.
This is a complicated, dark story, one that follows a designed named Ava as she helps her company, Blue Gamma, create an AI. Jax and Marco are child-like digients (robots with AIs), and over the course of two decades, their personalities grow, based on their environments.
Raising a child of my own, there’s a lot of parallels here as Jax and Marco grow and develop complicated personalities, and a new desire for independence and even a loss of innocence. It’s an interesting, and difficult, but ultimately rewarding read that takes on new meaning as a parent.

6 | Robbie, “Robbie,” Isaac Asimov

I-robotThe lead story in Asimov’s famous collection of robot stories, I, Robot, “Robbie” is a story about technophobia and how children can sometimes be far more accepting of the world than adults.
In this story, the Weston family owns an RB series robot nicknamed Robbie. Their daughter, Gloria, grows firmly attached to the robot, and the family sends it away to the city, away from their daughter. Gloria is distraught, and when they take a trip to the city, Gloria is almost killed by a car, saved only by Robbie, who happens to be nearby.
Children anthropomorphize objects far more easily than adults will, something I’ve noticed in our own home, with our Roomba. Even as robots are literally inhuman, we, children and parents alike, will include them in our families, imagining a personality or traits upon them.

7 | Rosie, The Jetsons

This list would not be complete without Rosie, the housekeeping robot for the Jetsons. The rosie jetsonrobot is designed for housework, keeping their futuristic house clean, and acting as a quasi-mother figure to the family as a whole.
Rosie has become a go-to catch all for housekeeping robots. Our Roomba? We totally named it Rosie. But it’s a character that also represents a bygone era where wealthy families often kept a housekeeper, someone who essentially became a member of the family in the long term.
If humanoid robots ever become the norm and widespread in homes, it shouldn’t be surprising if families go out of their way to include them as part of the family – either by dressing them in clothes, bestowing them with a name, or even altering their programming to fit in.

How to Help Your Kids Understand the Ugly Truth About Photoshop

We’re all bombarded with images of men and women – famous or not – who look perfect. It’s important to teach kids about the reality behind the images that surround them.

Walk past a supermarket checkout stand and you can’t help but see models and celebs in bikinis and slinky outfits plastered across magazine covers.
Tween favorites such as Taylor Swift and Beyoncé appear all over the internet in glamorous outfits with incredible hair and makeup. Ads on billboards, buses, and subways display long-legged models selling everything from liquor to lipstick.
We’re all bombarded with images of men and women – famous or not – who look perfect. Too perfect. And that’s thanks to photo editing, which, as many of us know, can eliminate a model’s pimples, make a celeb’s cellulite disappear, lengthen legs, slim waists, and erase wrinkles.

Pull back the curtain

But kids may not understand the powers of Photoshop. They see unrealistic bodies and faces and clothing, especially on folks they admire, and feel inadequate as a result. Several studies have shown that reading women’s fashion magazines or looking at images of models has a negative effect on women’s and girls’ self-esteem.
Even photos of friends on Instagram or Snapchat appear perfect, thanks to flattering filters and selfie-editing tools.
That’s why it’s important to teach kids about the reality behind the images that surround them. Empowering kids to see behind the photo spreads and advertisements can help combat the negative effects of these images.

Add your voice

The good news is, some kids – and even some celebrities – are talking back to the beauty and advertising industries and taking action to encourage more realistic images. Young people have asked magazines that cater to kids and teens, such as Seventeen, to do more photo spreads that don’t use Photoshop.
Glamour magazine opted out of Photoshop for its February 2017 issue. Some clothing companies, such as ModCloth, have agreed to not alter the images of models they use in their ads.
Celebrities (including Zendaya and Lena Dunham) have stepped up to show a more realistic image of themselves online and in photo shoots. In doing so, they help pull back the curtain on the amount of retouching that goes on in Hollywood and beyond.
Not sure how to approach this subject with your kid? Here are some ideas:

Do a reality check

Make sure kids know that almost every photo in magazines and advertisements has been altered. Show examples before and after photos of models and celebrities to underscore the stark difference between them. (My Pop Studio is a great site to help kids understand what goes on behind the scenes at magazines and other media outlets.)

Play “Spot the Photoshop”

See who can spot the retouching on any ads or photos you come across. Search online for “Photoshop fail” and you’ll come across some amazing examples of how poorly the tool can be used.

Talk about the disconnect

Plenty of celebrities have come out against being Photoshopped. Meghan Trainor explicitly calls it out in her song “All About That Bass” with the lyric “We know that s–t ain’t real.”
Ask your kids why they think the industry insists on putting out unrealistic images (it’s usually all about the money). What would they do as the photo editor of a magazine? Would they airbrush the models or let their so-called imperfections shine?

Connect the dots

Discuss the connection between fantasy images and the products being marketed. Talk about how photos are used to sell magazines, specific products, celebrities’ brands, and more.

Ask questions

Get kids to think about how images affect both male and female viewers, and how images can distort our ideas about what’s healthy or beautiful. What would your kids say to a friend who felt bad after looking at an unrealistic image? How might you encourage them to celebrate their inner qualities? What kinds of things can you do to make yourself feel good?

Look for backup

Help kids locate resources to take action. Find out how to sign or start petitions. Encourage kids to speak up about these images in their classrooms, through their social networks, and among friends. (Check out Common Sense Media’s list of sites that encourage social action.)

 This post was originally written by Sierra Filucci for Common Sense Media.

Laurie Kilmartin on Life, Death, and the Jokes That See Us Through

Comedian and Emmy-nominated writer Laurie Kilmartin live-tweeted her father’s death. She talks to us about love, laughs, and letting go.

In 2014 when Laurie Kilmartin’s father was dying from stage IV lung cancer, the stand-up comedian and Emmy-nominated writer for CONAN, did what she does best: she cracked jokes. Laurie documented her father’s decline by writing 140-character bits of observational comedy – dark, raw, visceral, and hilarious – tweeting them out into the ether for her followers to capture and read. 
And read we did, laughing and crying our way through Laurie’s loss. Or maybe more accurately, through our own losses, uncovered by Laurie’s words, her play-by-play on death and dying granting us permission to – perhaps at long last – examine our own grief.


Laurie’s new comedy special, 45 Jokes About My Dead Dadnow streaming on Seeso, offers a documentary-style backstory – including interviews with Patton Oswalt, Andy Kindler, Conan O’Brien, and Cheryl Holliday – followed by Laurie’s cathartic stand-up.
I had the opportunity to speak with Laurie about the experience of losing a parent while also raising a young son.
When you were tweeting about your dad – I’m sure so many people have said this to you – but it really hit home, having lost both my mom and dad, and having survived so much of it by laughing with my brother. 
Oh, I’m sorry to hear about your parents.
Thank you, I’m sorry about your dad. It’s such a loss. And you’re a parent yourself. Really – authentically – how are you? 
I’m okay now. It’s weird how the first year is really surreal, and then you kind of get used to the new order.
It’s a year of firsts.
Yeah. There are still times where I miss my dad intensely but the intervals are further apart, and I also feel like I grieved him properly. I think about him a lot and – this sounds incredibly trite – but he has a permanent place in my heart, and I feel like I can remember him and access him all the time. That makes me happy.
How old was your son when your father was dying? How did you weave him into – and/or protect him from – the experience of this loss?
He was seven when my dad died and I know he has memories of my dad, but when I look back on being seven, I don’t remember anything. It’s all from photos that I’ve seen.
I’ve really tried to mention my dad a lot and say, “Grandpa would love that.” and, “Grandpa would think that was so cool.” as a way to keep my dad a living thing in his life.
I guess my son’s primary memory will be how important my dad was to me. That’s how he’ll be important to him.
I think, much like yours, my father was central to my life. He died when I was pregnant and I’m always remembering him to my son. It feels like a sort of oral tradition. 
It does. It’s odd though, I think our dads are the last generation whose every move is not completely recorded. They’re the last unknown people in a way, and they’re going to exist only from a few old photographs and what we say about them.
What would you say to people trying to raise young kids while also caring for sick parents and coping with death?
It’s about how you talk to your kid about death. And it’s weird – just talking about death in general – when the person you’re talking to hasn’t lost a parent yet, they’re frozen in fear. It’s almost like you have this contagious thing and they don’t know what to say.
And, really, that’s fine. I was the same way when my parents were both alive and people would say, “My dad died.” I’d be like, “How can you even say that?” I almost thought, “No, they can’t die. They didn’t die. That doesn’t happen.”
It happens. It’s an emotional river and, once you cross over, you have an empathy that you won’t get until it happens, so you can’t fake it.
With my kid, I don’t think he understood when it was happening. He knew I was sad, and I’m not super religious, really, so I didn’t have a thing to say like, “Oh Grandpa’s going (wherever) now.”  But after my dad died, my sister noticed there was just one mourning dove at the house – and mourning doves travel in pairs – and my son said, “That’s Grandpa.” It was profound. Until the other dove showed up and we were like, “He’s already found a new girlfriend.”
Oh, great. Now we have a wicked step-dove.
[Laughs] Exactly.
Do you feel like you hear your dad’s voice in your head?
I guess I hear his laugh more than anything, and I can see his eyes crinkling. Especially when my son does something funny, I know my dad would have this kind of high, loud laugh. I keep that in mind.
And I have a lot of my dad’s stuff. I took his drafting table, and I refinished it. He had it for 50 years and now that’s my desk, so I think about him all the time. I just like seeing it and knowing that he touched it.
What was the the most surprising thing for you about watching your dad die?Besides actually losing him?
With hospice – and I did jokes about this in the special – but when they tell you you can’t call an ambulance – that’s so shocking. You just have to let this thing happen. They make you sign something. It’s like I even can’t believe this is legal.
It’s so counter-intuitive.
Basically, death is counter-intuitive. I think you summed it up perfectly.
Thanks! I guess we’re done here since I just nailed it. I’m going to put that one in the bold – quote my own self.
[Laughs] You should. Give me an assist on that one, but that’s you. That’s all you.
Once your dad was gone, what was surprising about life without him?
That everyone else goes on the next day as if my father didn’t die. You go to the store and people are shopping and they’re not upset, they’re not sad. Everything just goes on. I’m in this horrific despair and no one else seems to give a shit. My friends do, but the rest of the world doesn’t care and that’s so weird.
My mom wanted my dad’s cell phone number for sentimental reasons and I had to go to Verizon to transfer all the stuff over and I remember walking into the store after we’d been crying for three or four days straight. And people are working and cheerful and I felt like, “Guys, the greatest man who ever lived just died. How can you even be at work right now?”
Yeah. Go home.
Right. Why are you here? Why are flags not at half mast? But then, you think about it, it’s kind of comforting. You probably wouldn’t want everyone else crying and mourning and apocalyptic. We need somebody to be in control here.
It just makes you realize – when you’re out at Safeway or wherever – there’s probably someone in the store who’s really horribly upset about something and this is a surreal day for them.
A hospice nurse told me that sometimes people need permission to go. One of your tweets describes your dad’s nurse saying something similar. Did you have that experience?
Yeah, I was like, “No. You do not have my permission.” [Laughs]
When he was just shutting down, and he knew he was shutting down, he seemed content, as much as he could be. I remember my cousin Kathleen called – she couldn’t be there – but she called him and said, “Well, Ron, you did it. Everyone’s healthy. You have two daughters, you have grandchildren, you did it.”
My dad’s one of those guys that worried about everything possible thing happening all the time –  a terrorist attack, all the calamities that can befall humanity or the family. So, I remember watching him take that information in and going, “Yeah.”
He could feel like, “I did it.”
Yeah – he did it, he delivered us as far as he could, and we’re okay.
When it was all happening, did you feel more like you were losing your dad, or that your son was losing his grandfather, or a combination of both?
Oh yeah. I was really upset that my son was losing his grandfather.
No one loves you like your grandparents. Grandparents love grandchildren – I think – more than their own children. As much as my mom drives me crazy, my son has never had the sort of devoted love that he gets from my mom.
You cannot replicate it, you cannot find another alternative. It only exists as long as the grandparent’s alive, you know? It’s a unique, special bond, and it really sucks when it ends early. 
How many times a day do you look at your son and think, “I wish my dad was here to see that.”
My son’s funny, and my dad would have just enjoyed him so much. Also, my son apparently has the math gene that my dad had. It skipped me. He would be so excited my son’s doing well in math. He never had a son, so a grandson was just exactly what he loved.
What was the darkest moment?
The night he died, I was in his office, and being around his things knowing he was never going to touch them again. It felt like there had been movement in the air when my dad was alive, and now that he was gone, even the air was still.
There was this stillness, and just knowing it would not be broken up by my dad walking in again. It was really devastating. Then I just started screaming, really loudly. I did that for a while, until I was out of screams.
Yeah. I know that feeling. It’s not a choice. It’s very primal, very animalistic.
It’s totally primal. It’s beyond your brain and it connects you to every single person alive and it connects you to the stars and it connects you to everything.
Here’s to the dads.
Yeah. Here’s to the dads.

7 Things I Learned About Raising Kids From Watching the “Gilmore Girls”

It’s just a show but I’m not above taking parenting tips wherever and whenever I can get them. And I picked up a lot from Lorelai Gilmore.

Sure, it’s just a show. It’s not meant to be a parenting bible or Parenting 101, but whatever. I’m not above taking parenting tips wherever and whenever I can get them, and I picked up a lot from Lorelai Gilmore.

Maybe it was the picturesque setting of Stars Hollow that captured me, or maybe it was because my first child was a girl, but I was hooked on this show and I wanted my relationship with my daughter to be JUST like Lorelai and Rory’s. Here’s what I learned from two of the coolest brunettes in Connecticut.

1 | It’s okay to be friends with your kid.

Best friends even. Probably the greatest thing to me was how close Lorelei and Rory were. Skeptics will say, “but parents aren’t supposed to be friends with their children!” and many mothers would agree (Lorelei’s sure did), but maybe that’s why I appreciated it so much. It is possible to be a good mother, provide discipline, but also be close with your children, especially as they get older. It’s a delicate balancing act to be sure, but the results of mastering this act are worth the trouble. So get out your tightrope-walking shoes!

2 | For God’s sake, give your kid a brownie.

The amount of junk food Lorelai and Rory consumed on the show is obviously exaggerated but for me the message came across loud and clear: It’s okay to enjoy your life and eat a cheeseburger. Especially if you get said cheeseburger from a handsome man at Luke’s Diner…Bonus!

We all want our children to eat healthy and get the proper nutrition. However, you are not a bad mother if you allow your child to enjoy their life. Food is a big part of life. Amidst the trend of “clean eating,” it was refreshing to see someone going against the norm. Or perhaps I just wanted to justify my sweet tooth. Either way, Lorelai was a wonderful mother, and she actually encouraged her child to eat junk. *Gasp!*

3 | Follow your own dreams.

It is actually possible to follow your own dreams while still encouraging your children’s. Throughout the show Lorelai actively puts Rory first, but is still able to have dreams for her own future, and by the end of the series she has become a successful entrepreneur. I particularly liked this idea because so many of us think we have to put everything on hold until our kids are out of the house. This is not the case. It is possible to do both. Chase your dreams. Your kids will thank you for it, and they will copy your behavior.

4 | Communicate with each other. 

It’s no secret that communication is key in any successful relationship, so I try to emulate the communication and trust this mother and daughter demonstrated on the show. Lorelai and Rory tell each other everything, and I do mean everything — the good, the bad, and the “big bag of weird in there.” They don’t lie, they don’t judge, and they support each other. They communicate a lot, they communicate fast, and their communication is funny as hell.

5 | Deal with your issues in a way that doesn’t impact your kid.

Most of the parenting tips I learned from Lorelai were positive, and I mostly wanted to be just like her. But there’s one case wherein she taught me what NOT to do.

Her relationship issues with men were notorious throughout the show. She constantly dated men and could never settle for one (even though some of them were pretty great, “Max Medina…Max Medina”), and she picked the worst and most insecure of the lot to marry. She made a lot of poor decisions with men and I felt this could have been detrimental for Rory. The commitment issues, and tendency to sleep with Christopher whenever things were going bad in her life, demonstrated a lack of strength of character and self-love. Everyone makes mistakes, but I cringed every time she jumped into Christopher’s bed.

6 | Do a lot of fun stuff with your children.

Lorelai and Rory spent a lot of quality time together. Whether it was hanging out at home watching “Willy Wonka,” or eating together at Luke’s Diner, or shopping, or all the thousands of small town festivals — my goodness the festivals — they were bonding all the time.

I make it a point to spend as much time as possible with my kids, and I try to do things we all enjoy. I don’t force my kids to do things they don’t want to do. Rory was not into sports and I love that she wasn’t forced to play soccer when she didn’t want to. Make the time count, our littles aren’t small for long, but the memories of good times will keep you full long after they leave the nest.

7 | Have friends other than your kid, too.

Lorelai built a life full of supportive friends, people she trusted and loved. She didn’t make Rory her whole life, and I feel this is a healthy thing to do. It puts a lot of pressure on a child to feel like they are your one and only, especially if the parent is single. It’s good to have other people who can meet your needs. Give yourself permission to care about other people, and spend time with them. They will be there after your kids are grown, and if you have a chef friend like Sookie, you will get to eat pretty well, too. 

5 Han Solo Quotes That Show What Being a Parent Really Means

We see a different side of Han Solo in The Force Awakens. (If you’re the only person in the world who hasn’t yet seen TFA, turn back! Spoilers within.)

The Force Awakens comes to Apple TV, Blu-ray, and other home platforms on April 5.

If you’re the only person who hasn’t seen the The Force Awakens, turn back! Major spoilers below.


 

Harrison Ford returns as the adventurous, wise, and ever-handsome Han Solo. We see a different side of him in The Force Awakens, though, because since his last appearance he has gone through the great transition of becoming a father.

Some of his lines in the film, then, truly capture what being a parent is all about.

If you’re the only person who hasn’t seen the The Force Awakens, turn back! Major spoilers below.

“You changed your hair.”

In the movie, Han and his wife, Princess Leia, separated when their son Ben went over to the dark side. That alone speaks of a parenting truism: kids can put a strain on the husband/wife relationship. But when Han sees Leia for the first time in years, the first thing he says is “you changed your hair.” He shows us that even when parenting gets tough, you and your partner can get through it by just showing that you care in those small simple ways. They’re real cute.

“That’s not how the Force works!”

During the film, Han becomes a father-figure to the two fugitives, Rey and Finn. Finn devises a plan to invade the First Order, but once they arrive there Han discovers that Finn is a little bit overconfident about his use of “the force.” Han speaks this line that resonates with parents everywhere when we just need to teach our kids the hard lessons, even if that means knocking them down a few pegs.

“Take off the Mask. You don’t need it.”

No matter how hard you try, your kid is going to make mistakes. Big ones. Han Solo’s realization that his son Ben has been completely taken over by the dark side is an obvious demonstration of that fact. But when Han meets Ben (now Kylo Ren) for the first time in years, this is what he says. He wants his son to know that he doesn’t need to pretend to be someone he isn’t anymore, and that he is perfect just the way he is. Han shows us that sometimes parenting is just being around to remind our kids of that fact.

“Yes. Anything.”

During their meeting, Kylo Ren asks Han Solo if he will help him. Without hesitation, Han administers this line, showing that being a parent means being prepared to give our all for our children, no matter what. Of course, only moments later, Kylo Ren stabs his father with his lightsaber and throws him off of a bridge to certain death. And that shows us that parenting really can feel like it’s going to destroy us in those tremendously difficult moments. But Han’s line here shows that he is ready to go down swinging for his kid and we should be too.

“How do we blow it up? There’s always a way to do that.”

Han Solo oozes confidence plenty of times during the film, but this line takes the confidence cake. He is working with the resistance to plot their attack of the First Order, and he is ready to do whatever it takes to defeat them. This quote shows his understanding that the good will prevail, no matter what. And sometimes we parents need to remind ourselves of that too. Even when things look extra challenging, we have control. And we can be confident about our parenting skills because we’re just damn good parents.

5 Rules of Parenting According to “Fuller House”

The new Netflix series “Fuller House” is built on 60% nostalgia and 40% laugh tracks.

The new Netflix series “Fuller House” is a spinoff of the favorite after-school nineties sitcom “Full House.”

Its combination of 60% nostalgia and 40% laugh tracks somehow create something 100% awesome and totally addicting. DJ Tanner welcomes her sister Stephanie and friend/annoying sidekick Kimmy Gibbler to come live with her and help take care of DJ’s three sons.

The three unite to become a super parent while teaching us very important lessons about the job. The rules of parenting according to Fuller House are:

1. It’s okay to take credit for your elders’ parenting methods as long as you are significantly hotter than them.

Since the show is a continuation of Full House, it makes reference to the old Full House gang a lot. The girls are always considering what their dad or their Uncle Jesse or their Uncle Joey might do in a given situation. They even replicate identical solutions to the ones devised by their old parent figures.

But it works out because the girls are just way hotter than Danny, Jesse, and Joey were, so we forget that we’ve seen those exact scenes before most of the time. And when we remember, we have a moment of that precious, beautiful nostalgia I was talking about earlier and move on.

2. Babysitters don’t actually require that much screening.

DJ does little to no work when it comes to choosing sitters for her boys. Did their mom live nextdoor to her as a kid? Does she know next to nothing else about them? They’re hired! (Cough cough Ramona.)

3. Don’t worry too much about your kids

Tommy is fine. He’s just completely alone in the other room for most of the show.

4. Electronics are the best because they are the only tool you have for punishing your kid

I loved Fuller House, but I definitely cringed at how often those kids were on their electronics. The on-going joke was that the kids would really only do what was expected of them if their cell phones were involved in the deal. Ramona only agreed to babysit so she could videoblog about it. Brilliant Max was devastated when uncle Joey took away his iPad on which he was watching a live stream of satellites on Pluto.

I know that’s actually how life is, but I don’t watch full house so I can watch how life actually is. Bring back Joey and the woodchuck puppet!

5. In order to be a good parent you must be lame.

DJ is the only good parent on the show because every time she even comes close to being cool she catches herself and turns right around. She’s pretty smoking hot, but somehow manages to be extremely awkward around men. Even Kimmy, annoying as ever, is interesting to guests and is also sort of a doormat when it comes to parenting and therefore her daughter totally digs her.

Stephanie of course is the present-day Uncle Jesse who no one expects to be a good parent because she just oozes cool. Lorelai Gilmore is rolling in her fictional (she’s not actually dead) grave.

The One Where We Learned Life Lessons from “Friends”

Over the course of a decade, the cast of Friends not only made us laugh, they taught us valuable life lessons along the way. Take a look.

Could a TV sitcom about friendship, love, and life be more relatable?

When “Friends” burst onto the screen in 1994, I immediately jumped on NBC’s must-see-TV bandwagon to follow the lives of six 20-something friends living in New York.

As a 20-something myself at the time, I wanted to live vicariously through Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, and the guys. Like millions of viewers, I grew so attached to this amiable gang of Manhattan buddies that I wanted to be their friend.

From the characters’ funny catchphrases (“How you doin’?”) to the show’s long-running gags (hello, Ugly Naked Guy), “Friends” wiggled its way into our hearts for good. After an incredible 10-year run, the show ended its successful, award-winning run with a generation of fans wanting more, including me.

Over the course of a decade, the cast of “Friends” not only made us laugh, they taught us valuable life lessons along the way. Take a look.

[su_highlight background=”#f1c40f”]#1:  Good friends are like family.[/su_highlight]

For better (and for worse), good friends can love us, support us, and offer advice, as well as disappoint us, keep us grounded, and tell it like it is (whether we want to hear it or not).

Monica (to Rachel): Welcome to the real world. It sucks. You’re gonna love it! 

Joey (who tried to pee on Monica to take away the sting of a jellyfish): That’s right, I stepped up. She’s my friend, and she needed help. If I had to, I’d pee on any one of you!

Phoebe: Yeah, I definitely don’t like the name Ross.

Ross: What a weird way to kick me when I’m down.

Joey (watching a home video of Monica when she was heavy): Some girl ate Monica!

Monica: Shut up! The camera adds 10 pounds.

Chandler: Oh, so how many cameras are actually on you?

Joey: Why do you have to break up with her? Be a man. Just stop calling.

Rachel (to Monica): Oh, are you setting Ross up with someone? Does she have a wedding dress?

[su_highlight background=”#f1c40f”]#2: Ask for what you want in life.[/su_highlight]

No matter how strong of a support system we have in our circle of friends and family, we also need to be able to stand up for ourselves and ask for what we want.

Phoebe (after she finishes playing a song at Central Perk): If you want to receive e-mails about my upcoming shows, then please give me money so I can buy a computer. 

Monica (proposing to Chandler): You wanted it to be a surprise.

Chandler: Oh my God.

Monica: Chandler, in all my life, I never thought I would be so lucky (she starts sobbing) to fall in love with my best, my best.. (more sobbing) There’s a reasons why girls don’t do this!

Rachel (to an over-zealous laundry bully trying to steal her cart): “Maybe I wasn’t being clear, but this was our cart.”

Lady: “Hey, hey, hey, there aren’t any clothes in it.”

Rachel: “Hey, hey, hey, hey, quit making up rules.”

Rachel: (as they continue to fight over the cart and Rachel finally climbs into it, sits down and stakes her claim): “Listen, missy, if you want this cart you’re going to have to take me with it.”

[su_highlight background=”#f1c40f”]#3: Love your friends in spite of (and sometimes because of) their shortcomings.[/su_highlight]

Self-centered Rachel, control-freak Monica, eccentric Phoebe, dimwitted Joey, judgmental Ross, and smart-aleck Chandler all showed us how to overlook each other’s weaknesses.

Joey (trying to use words he doesn’t really understand): Rach, you gotta find out if he’s in the same place you are. Otherwise, it’s just a moo point.

Rachel: A moo point?

Joey: Yeah. It’s like a cow’s opinion. It just doesn’t matter. It’s moo.

Rachel: Have I been living with him too long or did that all just make sense? 

Phoebe (apologizing to Monica after giving her a haircut that looks like Dudley Moore)

Joey (confused as usual): Awright, when was 1990?

Chandler (always amazed at Joey’s obtuseness): OK, you have to stop the Q-tip when there’s resistance.

Joey (dressed in all of Chandler’s clothes): Look at me. I’m Chandler. Could I be wearing any more clothes? 

[su_highlight background=”#f1c40f”]#4: No matter how old you are, never lose touch with your inner child.[/su_highlight]

The crazy antics of the sometimes child-like girls and often sophomoric guys regularly reminded us that being young is a state of mind.

Ross: What are you doing?

Chandler: Making chocolate milk. You want some?

Ross: No thanks, I’m 29.

Phoebe (joining Rachel for a jog and running like a joyful, carefree child)

Chandler: We’re getting a house.

Monica: We’re getting a baby.

Chandler: We’re growing up.

Monica: We sure are.

Chandler: So who’s going to tell them?

Monica: Not it.

Chandler: Not it. Damn it!

[su_highlight background=”#f1c40f”]#5: Parenting is hard work. Do whatever it takes to make it work.[/su_highlight]

Whether they’re trying to decide on their baby’s name, figuring out childcare arrangements or getting their baby to laugh, Ross and Rachel showed us that parenting is hard work. It often requires compromise, trade-offs, creativity and, of course, a sense of humor.

Ross (trying to agree with Rachel on a name for their baby): OK, how about Ruth?

Rachel: Oh, I’m sorry, are we having an 89-year-old woman?

 Rachel (trying to make arrangements with Ross to watch their baby while she goes back to work for the first time after her maternity leave): Can you take care of Emma just for today?

Ross: Sure, just lend me your breasts and we’ll be on our way.

 –

Rachel and Ross (singing “Baby Got Back” to make Emma laugh)

[su_highlight background=”#f1c40f”]#6: Keep your sense of humor—it will get you through a lot of life’s rough patches.[/su_highlight]

Whether dealing with death, divorce, dysfunctional families, gay parents (or ex-wives), infidelity, broken hearts, or infertility, “Friends” found a way to find the funny in life’s biggest struggles.

Chandler: I’m not so good with the advice. Can I interest you in a sarcastic comment? 

Ross: If you’re going to call me names, I would prefer Ross, the Divorce Force. It’s just cooler.

Rachel (after learning Ross brought home a new girlfriend from his trip to China): Well, isn’t that just kick-you-in-the-crotch, spit-on-your-neck fantastic?

Spray Tan Worker (giving instructions): Alright Mr. Geller, right this way. So, how dark do you want to be? We have 1, 2 or 3.

Ross: Well, I like how you look. What are you?

Spray Tan Worker: Puerto Rican.

Ross: Two, I think a two.

Chandler (to Ross): Three failed marriages, two illegitimate children . . . the personal ad writes itself.

[su_highlight background=”#f1c40f”]#7: It’s OK to fail.[/su_highlight]

Whether they were getting fired, getting dumped or just getting your teeth whitened, our favorite friends showed us how to handle the big (and not so big) bumps in the road.

Ross (to Joey on the phone, as he’s freaking out trying to get his leather pants back on
in the bathroom of his date’s apartment): They’re still not coming on, man! And the lotion and the powder have made a paste.

Monica (mad at everyone and pointing at each friend with accusations): Fine! Judge all you want, but married a lesbian, left a man at the altar, fell in love with a gay ice dancer, threw a girl’s wooden leg in a fire, lived in a box!

Joey (apologizing to Ross with “air quotes” for accidentally proposing to Rachel)

Rachel (to Ross): Just so you know, it’s not that common, it doesn’t happen to every guy and it is a big deal.

Chandler (to a model he’s stuck with in an ATM vestibule): Gum would be perfection.

Ross (to Rachel): We were on a break!

[su_highlight background=”#f1c40f”]#9: Embrace your own quirkiness.[/su_highlight]

Although Phoebe played the most eccentric character on “Friends,” everyone on the show brought their own brand of crazy, which is one of the things we loved most about them.

Joey (after eating an entire turkey): Here come the meat sweats.

Monica (being overly competitive) 

Ross (trying to direct friends helping him move a sofa): PI-VOT! PI-VOT!

Phoebe (official video): Smelly cat, smelly cat, what are they feeding you?

 

[su_highlight background=”#f1c40f”]#10: Friends make life better.[/su_highlight]

In the end, “Friends” taught us that, despite life’s hiccups, everything will turn out okay—if you’ve got good friends by your side. To give us their insights, the friends share their final thoughts in this interview as they wrap up their last season.

In this Warner-Brothers interview (also included in “Friends: The Complete Tenth Season” DVD), Aniston and Schwimmer reflected on the perfect casting of the show.

“They filled it the way I imagined it sounding,” said Aniston.

Schwimmer agreed, “Not one of us could have been traded out. It was like the six of us were like the perfect pieces of this puzzle, and it was great.”

I couldn’t agree more.

“Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” Turns 30! 17 Things You Didn’t Know About this Iconic 80s Film

“Bueller? Bueller?” Ready to fall in love all over again with Ferris Bueller’s Day Off? Check out these fun facts about the film on its 30th birthday.

“Bueller? Bueller?”

Saying these two words to anyone over the age of 14 usually evokes a smile and conjures up images of Ferris Bueller, the loveable high school slacker who ditched school to romp around Chicago with his friends all day in John Hughes’ iconic ‘80s film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

Can you believe it’s been 30 years since the movie’s debut?

Released in 1986 (the same year as Pretty in Pink, another Hughes’ cult classic), Ferris Bueller’s Day Off follows endearing rule-breaker Ferris (played by Matthew Broderick), his gorgeous girlfriend Sloane Peterson (played by Mia Sara) and nervous best-bud Cameron Frye (played by Alan Ruck) as they cleverly concoct a get-out-of-school alibi to explore Chicagoland for the day.

Ferris Bueller Turns 30

After sly slacker Ferris fakes an at-death’s-door illness to skip school, he teams up with Sloan to convince worrywart Cameron to come along for the ride.

All hell breaks loose as they dodge the malevolent principal Ed Rooney (played by Jeffrey Jones) staying just one step ahead of him until the bitter end where Rooney boards a school bus disheveled and defeated.

Ready to fall in love all over again with Ferris Bueller’s Day Off? Check out these fun facts from IMDB, Mental Floss and other sources:

[su_highlight background=”#f1c40f”]1. John Hughes wrote the entire script for Ferris Bueller’s Day Off in only six days.[/su_highlight]

Released in 1986, the movie was #10 at the box office that year.

[su_highlight background=”#f1c40f”]2. In the original script, Hughes had Ferris stealing from his father to fund his day-long shenanigans.[/su_highlight]

He ended up cutting the scene because he didn’t want Ferris to look like a thief. Also in the original version, Ferris had a younger brother and sister.

[su_highlight background=”#f1c40f”]3. Can you imagine anyone but perfectly cast Matthew Broderick playing the role of lovable Ferris?[/su_highlight]

But a roster of A-listers were considered for the lead, including John Cusack, Jim Carrey, Johnny Depp, Tom Cruise, Robert Downey Jr. Eric Stoltz and Michael J. Fox.

 

[su_highlight background=”#f1c40f”]4. John Hughes named the lead character after his childhood friend Bert Buehler.[/su_highlight]

 

[su_highlight background=”#f1c40f”]5. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was not the first time Broderick and Ruck had worked together.[/su_highlight]

They both appeared on Broadway in 1985 in Biloxi Blues, Neil Simon’s semi-autobiographical play.

[su_highlight background=”#f1c40f”]6. Who needs teen actors when you can hire twenty-somethings to fill the roles?[/su_highlight]

Both Broderick (23) and Ruck (29) had been out of high school at least five years when they portrayed Cameron and Ferris.

 

[su_highlight background=”#f1c40f”]7. Ruck was not the first choice for the part of hypochondriac Cameron.[/su_highlight]

Emilio Estevez turned down the role first.

 

[su_highlight background=”#f1c40f”]8. In a 2015 interview with MovieFone, Ruck said he (gasp!) hated Ferris Bueller’s Day Off for a short time since it typecast him as a “one-trick-pony” who couldn’t snag another role.[/su_highlight]

With hindsight, however, and a successful 30-year career behind him (including a six-year stint on Spin City), Ruck has grown to appreciate the movie and its cult following.

 

[su_highlight background=”#f1c40f”]9. Jennifer Grey (who played Jeanie Bueller, Ferris’ sarcastic older sister) and Matthew Broderick got engaged after filming wrapped.[/su_highlight]

But after they were involved in a fatal car crash while vacationing in Ireland, they ended their engagement.

 

[su_highlight background=”#f1c40f”]10. John Hughes loved the Detroit Red Wings hockey team.[/su_highlight]

This explains why Cameron wears a red Gordie Howe jersey throughout the entire movie.

 

[su_highlight background=”#f1c40f”]11. It pays to have friends in high places.[/su_highlight]

After they appeared in the 1984 movie Red Dawn together, Jennifer Grey recommended Charlie Sheen for the role of the spaced-out drug addict in the police station. To prepare for his scene-stealing cameo, Sheen didn’t sleep for two days.

 

[su_highlight background=”#f1c40f”]12. Hughes filmed the movie’s famous “Twist and Shout” scene—where Ferris takes center stage on a parade float—during a real parade.[/su_highlight]

Every year, Chicago hosted the Von Steuben Day Parade (an annual German-American event) that included a route through downtown Dearborn Street. However, according to Noah Graff in his documentary called Saving Ferris, the parade no longer runs the same route.

Why? Since the Oklahoma City bombing and 9/11, authorities felt that the federal buildings in the area posed too much of a security risk.

 

[su_highlight background=”#f1c40f”]13. Some of the best moments in the film are unscripted.[/su_highlight]

These include the dancing construction worker and window washer who got their groove on during the parade. Finding it funny, Hughes told his cameramen to film the spontaneous dancing.

[su_highlight background=”#f1c40f”]14. Another unscripted moment?[/su_highlight]

Broderick, who could not play the clarinet at all, improvised the scene by picking up the prop, squeaking out a few horrible notes and deadpanning to the camera, “Never had ONE lesson!”

[su_highlight background=”#f1c40f”]15. Hughes wrote no dialogue for the droning economics teacher (played by Ben Stein). [/su_highlight]

Instead, Stein delivered an actual lecture on supply-side economics in his now-trademark dry delivery.

According to a CNN interview transcript, Stein’s impressive resume includes former presidential speech writer, attorney and economist.

 

[su_highlight background=”#f1c40f”]16. Check out these 10 Bueller blunders in this fun YouTube video compiled by Movie Mistakes.[/su_highlight]

 

[su_highlight background=”#f1c40f”]17. Ferris Bueller the movie spawned Ferris Bueller the TV series which ran for only 13 episodes from 1990-91.[/su_highlight]

Guess who played Jeanie Bueller in the TV show? None other than Jennifer Aniston before she hit it big in Friends.
ferris-bueller-group-shot-431x300-opening-sequence-for-ferris-bueller-tv-show-with-jennifer-aniston-could-be-the-weirdest-thing-you-watch-t-jpeg-150162

 

[su_highlight background=”#f1c40f”]In the infamous words of Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”[/su_highlight]

Arguably the most famous (and most loved) let’s-play-hooky movie of all time, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is currently available on Netflix. But their movies can go in and out pretty fast, so if you don’t stop to watch it soon, you could miss it.

What Taylor Swift’s Instagram Tells Us About Success in 2016

Maybe you didn’t download Taylor Swift’s album 1989 in the first five minutes or weep audibly when you saw her video for “Wildest Dreams,” but you can’t deny that she is one of the most successful artists of our time.

She’s happy, she’s healthy, she looks great in knitted sweaters… it truly seems like she has it all. And not only that, but she has taken over a huge part of the internet world by being the most followed person on Instagram (at a whopping 60 million followers) in 2015. What a gem.

A photo posted by Taylor Swift (@taylorswift) on

When I first heard that she was the most followed person on Instagram I:

  • 1. Gasped
  • 2. Felt a little bit bad for Beyonce, and…
  • 3. Well… followed Taylor Swift on Instagram.

I simply had to know what everyone saw in her social media presence.

Once I started following her on Instagram, I saw that she had single handedly transformed the idea of success since becoming the Queenstagram. Indeed, her Instagram life unknowingly reveals the most important elements of success in 2016.

First, Taylor Swift’s Instagram is full of something we can all get behind.

A photo posted by Taylor Swift (@taylorswift) on

That, of course, is cats.

Ok, success isn’t really about having cats, but moreso the metaphor behind the cats.

See, to Taylor Swift, her cats, Detective Olivia Benson and Doctor Meredith Grey, are two of the things she loves unconditionally- whether or not the world approves.

Approximately one in ten of her Instagram posts involve these girls in some way- in the background, casually prowling in Taylor’s hotel room, or at the forefront purring their little whiskers off on Taylor’s bedspread.

They represent the love we all have for certain things, no matter how strange others may find them. They are those interests that make us quirky, and that people like the most successful singer/songwriter of our time encourage us to express often and robustly.

Taylor Swift’s cats show us that success in 2016 is more than just selling records and performing with Justin Timberlake (while all of that is nice too). Success is loving what we love and being proud of it.

You are an inspiration to us all, Olivia and Meredith.

Second? Gratitude.

“Cause we’re celebrating no more drama in our lives…” @therealmaryjblige

A photo posted by Taylor Swift (@taylorswift) on


Next to cute little furbabies, Taylor Swift’s Instagram is full of images and videos of the star having fun. About once a week Taylor sees or does something that causes her to experience great joy, or, more specifically, what I would call the very definition of exuberance. And while the idea of happiness being a huge part of success is not at all front page news, Taylor Swift’s happiness isn’t your run-of-the-mill smiley face emoji. It is a surreal sense of stokeage that approaches everyday niceties with transcendent glee.

Stars generally know other stars and converse with each other in pretty normal ways, but when Taylor Swift meets and performs with Mary J. Blige, she very nearly melts.

Most singers hear their songs on the radio every so often (especially if you are on almost every radio station, like Taylor Swift is), but when the pop princess hears her song on the radio she shrieks and simply has to record the moment on video for her fans.

She reveals that success is being grateful for the good in your life, no matter how familiar it becomes. And of course, some of her haters (who are just simply going to hate hate hate hate hate) will say that this joy may not always be 100% real. Perhaps it isn’t. But I think that the message of being happy is an even more profound one if it isn’t always genuine. Because that means that success is showing proper gratitude no matter how you feel in that moment. And T-Swift kills the gratitude game.

Third. Homegirl can chill.

Cold New York. Hot tea. @marhunt

A photo posted by Taylor Swift (@taylorswift) on


While T. Swift’s IG offers innumerable glimpses of the performing life (especially where it follows her recent 1989 tour), it also shows life off of the stage. Indeed, for every ten or so photos of Taylor in a sparkling leotard being incredibly glamorous, there is at least one shot of her in an oversized hoodie being incredibly chill. That’s right, Taylor Swift shows us that in 2016 a huge key to success is being able to relax like a boss after a long day.

She snuggles with her cats, she bakes batch after batch of cookies, she jots down C.S. Lewis quotes, she paints with watercolors, she wears flannel pajamas, and she drinks tea with Martha Hunt. If I didn’t know any better I would say she is Koselig AF. Taylor’s Instagram reveals to us that success in 2016 is all about knowing how to wind down happily, warmly, and, dare I say it… swiftly.

Fourth. Don’t take yourself too seriously.

You used to call me on my elf phone.

A photo posted by Taylor Swift (@taylorswift) on


In her collection of photos she appears in many different costumes, from a pegacorn in an elevator to an elf who makes bad Drake puns. She posts videos of herself conversing with goats, accidentally singing Blink 182 songs, and messing up stunts in her music videos. Her captions are hilarious, whether she is giving her cats the credit for her millions of followers, or comparing her outfits to Paddington Bear’s. Taylor Swift’s posts on Instagram are lighthearted and laughable because she knows that being too serious isn’t what success is about in 2016.

Finally, and most importantly, give your time to the people you love.

Happy Birthday, Dad. Thanks for all the unconditional love, sarcastic comments, and interesting Christmas presents.

A photo posted by Taylor Swift (@taylorswift) on


Not only does her Instagram have tons of photos of her with her very close group of girl friends, but it is also packed with photos and blurbs about the people she loves most: her family. Do you want to spot Taylor’s dad hanging out with the members of Haim? That’s on her Instagram. Do you want to see a video of Taylor and her brother hunting for Easter eggs? That’s on there too. Twice. Taylor knows that success in 2016 is about spending quality time with the ones you love, especially the ones who knew you before you were successful.

Thanks, T. Swift. You’re the Queen.