Fandom Flashback: ‘I Love Lucy’

1:30 pm EST, March 31, 2014

Hypable’s Fandom Flashbacks returns as we look back to the days of the comedy classic, I Love Lucy.

Fandom Flashbacks are a weekly Hypable feature that takes a look back at old shows (classic, vintage, and freshly dead) and takes our readers onto memory lane as we express our favorite moments, characters, and plots.

SHOW SYNOPSIS

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Lucy Ricardo is your typical 1950s housewife… well, mostly. Lucy is married to a Cuban band-leader named Ricky, but though Mr. Ricardo is a budding star in the New York entertainment scene, the couple remains firmly middle-class. They rent a typical brownstone apartment from their best friends, Fred and Ethel Mertz, who offered them a 99-year lease after meeting them.

greenquoteLUCY: RICKY, WE’RE REVOLTING!
RICKY: NO MORE THAN USUAL.

For the first few years of the series, life is pretty uneventful for the Ricardos and the Mertzes. (In between all of Lucy’s crazy schemes, of course.) The birth of Lucy and Ricky’s son in the second season only brings the group of friends closer together. In the fourth season of I Love Lucy, Ricky’s career as a singer, drummer, and actor begin to take off. To Lucy’s delight, Ricky attracts the attention of Hollywood executives, and the Ricardos and Mertzes head off for several months in California. (Many celebrities were scarred in the presence of Lucy Ricardo.)

After their time on the West Coast, a European tour sweeps the group off on more marital adventures in season 5. Fresh off their return in season 6, Lucy decides to move her family out of their brownstone and off to a house in the Connecticut countryside, where the quiet initially disturbs them. The Ricardos are incomplete without the Mertzes, however, and eventually the older couple become Lucy and Ricky’s tenants in their guest house. As the series closes, it looks like life in the country – though something of an adjustment – will suit them all hilariously well.

THE CHARACTERS

synopsisheader One of television’s most successful foursomes, Lucy and Ricky Ricardo and Fred and Ethel Mertz became an archetype for friendship and fighting, wedded bliss and murderous married moments.

LUCY3 LUCY RICARDO
Though on the surface she seems like your average 50s housewife, Lucy Ricardo has more than one surprise up her sleeve. A vortex of red-haired hilarity, Lucy dreams of stardom, hatching plot after plot to hop on her husband Ricky’s entertainment success. Lucy is also never far away from her best friend and partner-in-crime Ethel, with whom she cooks up schemes, stalks celebrities, and plays a mean game of canasta.
RICKY RICKY RICARDO
Lucy’s husband, a successful band leader and drummer from Cuba. His insistence that Lucy remain a housewife is the source of much conflict and humor, as are his accent and frequent outbursts in Spanish that punctuate Lucy’s crazy schemes.
ETHEL ETHEL MERTZ
Lucy’s best friend and landlady. A talented singer and dancer, Ethel used to perform on the Vaudeville circuit with her husband Fred. Now she manages the apartment building and – in between spats with Fred – is always there when Lucy gets that crazy look in her eye.
FRED FRED MERTZ
A stingy crumudgeon, Fred spends most of his time figuring out ways to save money and bickering with Ethel. But beneath that gruff facade, Mr. Mertz is really an old softie. He is fast friends with Ricky, loves a good song-and-dance number, and will do anything for his godson, Little Ricky.

BEST CHARACTER

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Though the entire cast of I Love Lucy is uniformly hilarious, there can be no doubt that Lucy herself (Lucille Esmerlda MacGillicuddy Ricardo, as she is occasionally known) must take the title of best character. Lucy is a dreamer, a schemer, and firebrand, never taking no for an answer. Though her skills at singing are questionable and her husband Ricky wants nothing more than to keep Lucy miles away from show business, the indomitable redhead is incapable of giving up on her dream to become a star. (Unlucky for Ricky, perhaps, but very lucky for the audience indeed!)

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“Spider” was the term used in the script to indicate Lucy’s classic “Eeeewww!” face.

And though her musical talents never improve (remember that unfortunate incident with the trombone?) Lucy eventually does manage to pull off a few wins in the performing arts category. Performing with Bob Hope at the Tropicana, dancing with Van Johnson in Hollywood, and catching the eye of an Italian director may not be super-stardom, but it’s definitely tons of fun.

And though Lucy and her exasperated husband Ricky do bicker frequently, the strength of their marriage can never be doubted. Though Lucy’s crazy schemes sometimes have unexpected consequences (we’re just going to say “Vitameatavegamin” and leave it there) she always managed to keep things exciting. From New York to Hollywood, from Europe to Connecticut, the housewife and the band leader always managed to persevere. For crying out loud, they wear matching pajamas!

Lucy is also fiercely loyal to her best friend and landlady, Ethel Mertz. Though Ethel sometimes plays the long-suffering sidekick, there is nothing she and Lucy wouldn’t do for each other. Lucy often takes Ethel’s side in contests of will between the married Mertzes, and even their spats (which occasionally involved ripping each other’s dresses to shreds) were usually inspired by the closeness of their friendship. As Ethel (and Fred) followed Lucy (and Ricky) around the world and back, it became clear that while Lucy’s marriage to Ricky was the heart of I Love Lucy, it was her unwavering friendship with Ethel that was the soul of the timeless comedy.

BEST EPISODE

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In “Sentimental Anniversary,” Lucy and Ricky decide to celebrate their anniversary with a quiet dinner at home – in secret. But a wrench gets tossed into their plans when it turns out the Mertzes have a surprise party planned for their best friends. What’s a sitcom couple to do?

The answer, it turns out, is loudly leave their apartment and then sneak back in for their dinner… a plan that is interrupted when Fred and Ethel arrive to set up their surprise. Lucy and Ricky find themselves trapped in their hall closet as the Mertzes set up the party, and their guests begin to arrive.

After several unsuccessful – but hilarious – escape attempts, Lucy and Ricky drink champagne by candlelight in the closet. After Ricky distracts the guests, the Ricardos stage their return, and get to celebrate their sentimental anniversary with their friends.

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LUCY: WE’VE ONLY BEEN MARRIED 13 YEARS!
RICKY: OH WELL, I MEAN, IT SEEMS LIKE 15!

“Sentimental Anniversary” is an episode that showcases the best that I Love Lucy had to offer. The storyline provided a twist on the formula of Ricky forgetting his and Lucy’s wedding anniversary; instead of arm-twisting and hint-dropping, the strength and love of Lucy and Ricky’s marriage is a central point of the episode. Both spouses go the extra mile to make each other happy on their anniversary. From the anniversary espionage, to the candle-lit dinner in their hall closet, “Sentimental Anniversary” presents Lucy and Ricky as a true team, capable of loving each other in spite and because of the hijinks they get up to together.

The episode also highlights Lucy and Ethel’s friendship, as well as the bond between the Ricardos and the Mertzes. Though Lucy starts off the episode by hilariously haranguing Ethel for information on her gift, the Mertzes still pull out all the stops to throw the Ricardos a surprise party – even if they fudge the numbers a bit on that cigarette lighter!

“Sentimental Anniversary” is also a genuinely hilarious episode. The dialogue is as snappy as ever, and Lucy and Ricky’s accidental imprisonment in the hall closet adds the slapstick element that I Love Lucy always did so well. The scene of their near-escape is not usually added to the list of Lucy’s funniest moments, but we really think it should be.

FUNNIEST MOMENT

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Another excruciating choice for such a brilliant comedy, but we’ve decided to go with one of the classics. Lucy’s hilarious turn as “The Vitameatavegamin Girl” made instant television history, thanks to a brilliant set-up and phenomenal execution by Lucille Ball, and we had to choose this scene as our funniest moment.

The Vitameatavegamin scene, from the episode “Lucy Does A TV Commercial,” is part of one of Lucy’s many schemes to make it into show business. This time, however, Lucy gets more than she bargained for. In a clever twist, the directors of her commercial reveal that Vitameatavegamin has a 23% alcohol content… a fact that they neglect to tell Lucy.

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The Vitameatavegamin was actually apple pectin – and alcohol-free!

Planting the seeds of disaster only makes Ball’s performance even more impressive. The audience is already primed to expect the drunken behavior that Lucy tumbles into as she slurps down more and more of the gloopy potion. The potential for humor grows exponentially as the complicated script for the product is revealed, it becomes clear just how much Vitameatavega-booze Lucy will have to swallow. (But hey – at least it tastes like candy!) Thanks to Ball’s incredible comic timing, Lucy more than delivers the laughs we are led to expect.

Next: Emotional moments and changing times–>

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Sherlock season 4, episode 3 is the last new material fans will see for a very long time. Was it a satisfying farewell to the series?

The Sherlock season 4 finale is a healthy mix of emotional highs and lows. But was it, as co-creators Stephen Moffat and Mark Gatiss describe, “television history?” No. It was not. It was not even the best episode of the Sherlock series.

However, it is what we have to left to unpack as we leave Holmes at Watson in 221B by the fire. Let’s get on with it, shall we?

Read full article

Sherlock season 4, episode 3 is the last new material fans will see for a very long time. Was it a satisfying farewell to the series?

The Sherlock season 4 finale is a healthy mix of emotional highs and lows. But was it, as co-creators Stephen Moffat and Mark Gatiss describe, “television history?” No. It was not. It was not even the best episode of the Sherlock series.

However, it is what we have to left to unpack as we leave Holmes at Watson in 221B by the fire. Let’s get on with it, shall we?

The final problem

The greatest flaw of Sherlock is when it gets stuck in its own heightened story telling. “The Final Problem” is the perfect example of retelling the past and not giving the audience any new information. It’s not hard to deduce. The episode does not suffer for this. Because it is not about the game at all.

Eurus’ game is well-crafted, brutal, and unforgiving. She is a master. The episode goes above and beyond to prove that over and over. Eurus wants to understand the complexity of human empathy. The only way she can do that is to cut the people open and see what makes their muscles move.

watson

The maze she crafts tests the resolve of Sherlock, Mycroft, and John. One great example of this is the use of Molly Hooper. It should be noted that Molly Hooper deserves so much better.

Using her love for Sherlock as a weapon, Molly Hooper’s life shatters with three words. Unfortunately, all of this is in service to unravel Sherlock with no resolution on her end.

As he smashes the coffin with his bare hands, John and Mycroft are there to reel him back in. They lend a hand to rebuild the walls that are falling down around him. That is until they literally fall at the doorstep of his childhood home.

The final problem is how do you deliver human connection to someone who does not know how to receive it? That desire to feel that her brothers appreciate her for more than her brain. If Eurus’ favorite person, Sherlock, could just take a moment to play her game, everything can end.

The test, it turns out, is for Sherlock to lean heavily on his capacity for emotional connection throwing logic out of the equation. He makes room for John, Mary, Molly, even Greg in his life. Can he find a way to make room for Eurus in spite of everything he just found out?

“You were always the grown up,” says Mrs. Holmes near the end of the episode. Sherlock takes the family into the next chapter of their life. One where music bridges the gap between them and the entire Holmes family can sit together without words getting in the way.

‘I’m a pirate’

The biggest twist, if you didn’t already work it out for yourself, comes when John discovers the bones of “Redbeard” in the well. They are not dog bones, but the bones of Sherlock’s best childhood friend, Victor.

But the best appearance is by far the inclusion of Mycroft’s Christmas gift — Jim Moriarty.

sherlock season 4 moriarty

Moriarty’s obsession with Holmes begins well before Eurus calls him in for a meeting. But did he succumb to being one of her agents? Probably. But Jim likely steered his own course to Sherlock. But the game… well, the game now reeks of Eurus.

Mycroft Holmes

The Holmes brothers, Mycroft and Sherlock, have the most fascinating relationship on Sherlock. “The Final Problem” highlights the complexity of their past and the trajectory of their future.

The most moving scene in the entire episode arrives when Mycroft, John and Sherlock are contemplating the reality of what may be their final moments alive. Hearing that Sherlock appreciated a talent of his, one that is not based on their familial intellect, moves him to a smile. Well before Mycroft sacrifices himself for Sherlock’s partnership with John, he gets the validation that their relationship is full of mutual appreciation.

mycroft sherlock

The minds of the Holmes siblings may be capable of great feats, but no fortress is entirely secure.

Mycroft’s home at the start of the episode is infiltrated by the combination of Holmes and Watson. Later on, his mind’s security system fails. He is a strong, put together person. After years of arranging Sherlock’s safety behind the scenes, it’s time for Sherlock to step up and do the same.

Is there room for more?

Perhaps we will all meet again at Anemoi. In the credits letters it is typical for the editors to highlight certain letters. The final sequence produces just a single word — Anemoi, the meeting place of the four winds.

While the finale ties up loose ends, recreates the scars that affect the duo the most, it does feel more like a beginning than an ending.

Sherlock may or may not return.

Tags: bbc sherlock

American Horror Story season 7 has yet to begin even filming and the show has already been renewed through 2019. Eager fans (including myself) have started to speculate what the next three seasons of the horror anthology series by FX might look like.

‘American Horror Story: Antichrist’

Ryan Murphy has already stated a future season of AHS will feature a crossover between Murder House and Coven. How that crossover might actually play out is unknown as of now. Although, Murphy has stated that it will not be season 7. In the meantime there are many different ways these two worlds could collide.

As the witches of New Orleans step into the Murder House a world of possible storylines could unfold: ghosts, séances, the afterlife, endless possibilities. However, for me, the final moments of season 1 are what hold the clue to what the crossover season is all about.

Read full article

American Horror Story season 7 has yet to begin even filming and the show has already been renewed through 2019. Eager fans (including myself) have started to speculate what the next three seasons of the horror anthology series by FX might look like.

‘American Horror Story: Antichrist’

Ryan Murphy has already stated a future season of AHS will feature a crossover between Murder House and Coven. How that crossover might actually play out is unknown as of now. Although, Murphy has stated that it will not be season 7. In the meantime there are many different ways these two worlds could collide.

As the witches of New Orleans step into the Murder House a world of possible storylines could unfold: ghosts, séances, the afterlife, endless possibilities. However, for me, the final moments of season 1 are what hold the clue to what the crossover season is all about.

Murder House ends with all of the Harmon family dead save for Michael, the third child of Vivian. Three years in the future shows the orphaned child being raised by Constance Langdon, previous owner of the Murder House. Most important of all, however, it is revealed that this toddler has murdered his nanny. Such an act suggests there is more to this child than is of this life.

Meanwhile, the end of Coven showed the existence of witches going public. The supreme witch, Cordelia Goode, opened her academy for young witches all over the country. It seems for now that there is peace with those possessing magical powers. Although, a child born of ghost and human might shake up that peace with powers to match that of the witches. Powers of darkness and a drive to use them for evil that will threaten the safety and security of witchkind. This conflict will ultimately lead up to a head-to-head confrontation between the child of the afterlife and the witches.

‘American Horror Story: Shipwreck’

AHS is no stranger to resorting to the use of supernatural forces as a form of horror. Every season except for Roanoke showed how the dead can walk among the living on Halloween night. Hotel brought us vampires and Coven showed the great and terrible power of voodoo. No season as of yet, however, has shown what horrors natural forces have in store for mankind.

In Shipwreck a luxurious Hawaiian cruise goes full-on Lost when a hurricane rips a passenger ship out of the sea. Crashing onto the shores of an uncharted island, families from all different backgrounds must come together to survive. Washed up with nothing connecting them to the civilized world, things can’t seem to get any worse. That is until trips into the dense jungle for sustenance show what horrors the island has in store.

Carnivorous primates, poisonous plants, flesh-eating bugs, and acid rain are just some of the terrors that passengers meet. Still, as days turn to weeks and time becomes an illusion the vacationers worst enemies become each other. A fight for survival turns into survival of the fittest and seemingly overnight the sandy beaches of this island are stained red. Allies shift into betrayal, families become strangers, and lovers descend into worst enemies. The island is reduced to a battleground with one clear goal: total sovereignty.

Who will become the last man standing, and will help arrive in time to stop complete annihilation of the island inhabitants?

‘American Horror Story: Virus’

Picture Grey’s Anatomy meets Contagion. Every season of AHS so far has been very localized and small scale, taking place in one central location. Roanoke set its roots at a farmhouse in North Carolina. Freak Show never left the small town of Jupiter, Florida. But in a not-so-distant future America, a virus begins taking the lives of unsuspecting citizens.

It starts in a hospital in New York City. A young man comes in presenting unusual symptoms; a fever, bloodshot eyes, a rash spreading quickly across his posterior. Without warning the rash metastasizes inward, eating his flesh from the outside in, killing him slowly and painfully. Across the country another case pops up in a hospital in California. Exact same instance. No warning, no explanation, no idea of where it came from. Soon the virus is nationwide and time is running out as top doctors are trying to find a cure and stop the spread of this viral infection.

Eventually a common denominator between some of the initial victims has shown up. Every single carrier was a survivor of a Hawaii-bound cruise that crashed on an uncharted island months previously. The passengers picked up the virus on the island and carried it to the mainland where it is spreading across the country like wildfire. Finding cure is the only thing left to do. However, with people dying across America by the second, chances of a cure being constructed are becoming sparing.

At the mid-season mark, after loss of hope, weeks of research, and the death of millions a cure is established. The antidote is distributed widely slowing down the spread so research on a preventative agent can begin. There is just one catch:

The dead are coming back to life.

‘American Horror Story: Incarceration’

Roanoke was the bloodiest American Horror Story season yet. Three characters had their innards yanked from their bodies, two hikers were burnt at the stake, and one character’s ear was cut off and pickled for eating. The fandom probably needs a break before the show goes back to using gore tactics as a source of terror.

Once the fans are ready for some more senseless and gruesome entertainment, AHS: Incarceration will be waiting to disturb them. At a penitentiary located in a middle American desert, miles from civilization a dire mistake is made. An innocent man is sent to a prison where the country’s most diabolical criminals are sentenced to live out the rest of their lives.

In this prison, however, there is a secret that few know about and even fewer are willing to share. Every couple weeks a prisoner disappears. Everyone claims to have no clue where they have gone, no one will say if they have escaped or if they are even alive. Those who know the truth are the key to this innocent’s only chance at freedom. Prisoners are selected at random and are given the chance at participating in a series of tasks that if completed will grant them their freedom. Not a soul knows who offers this opportunity, not until they are chosen, until it is too late.

These tasks are gruesome. Inspired by the Saw franchise, the participant must torture themselves in a way similar to that of how they have hurt others in order to gain their liberation. No one has ever succeeded, every prisoner who has attempted the mission has met their demise in the process. Escape, so it seems, is impossible. Even so, the masked tormenter feeds off the human will to attain freedom in order to assemble new victims.

‘American Horror Story: Ghost Stories’

AHS has utilized children in different and interesting ways in the past. Hotel turned children into misunderstood and messy villains using the blood virus. Roanoke centralized them as the heart of the show through Flora and Priscilla. What if, alternatively, the children were the victims?

Not all is right at a happy, sleep-away-camp in sunny and adventurous Colorado. Terrifyingly cheerful camp counselors, a bloodthirsty chef, and a chilling camp song set every child on edge. In the end, not one is surprised to hear something go bump in the night. Meanwhile, ghost stories around the campfire turn into a full-blown nightmare as children’s worst fears come to life.

Something is moving under the waters of the lake where campers swim and canoe. Children who misbehave come back from meetings with counselors acting strangely upbeat and vacant. At night a figure who looks different to each and every child who sees it, skulks in the woods. However, nothing can prepare camp goers for the day that one by one their friends start to go missing.

As events in the camp only become more disturbing the children start to suffer from nightmares that seem too realistic to be just dreams. Employees of the camp begin working even harder and harder to ease the minds of terrified guests. Meanwhile the children discover that there is more at work at camp that meets the eye. They must fight together against supernatural forces that take on the shape of the demons of their mind to save their friends and escape the camp that seeks to take their lives.

AHS: Ghost Stories will have you asking what really lurks in the forest at night?

What kind of storylines do you want to seen in future seasons of ‘AHS’?

We all know the names of these famous sci-fi novels, but have you actually read them? Ocean of Storms author Jeremy K. Brown tells us why we should.

About ‘Ocean of Storms’

In the near future, political tensions between the United States and China are at an all-time high. Then a catastrophic explosion on the moon cleaves a vast gash in the lunar surface, and the massive electromagnetic pulse it unleashes obliterates Earth’s electrical infrastructure. To plumb the depths of the newly created lunar fissure and excavate the source of the power surge, the feuding nations are forced to cooperate on a high-risk mission to return mankind to the moon.

Now, a diverse, highly skilled ensemble of astronauts — and a pair of maverick archaeologists plucked from the Peruvian jungle—will brave conspiracy on Earth and disaster in space to make a shocking discovery.

Read full article

We all know the names of these famous sci-fi novels, but have you actually read them? Ocean of Storms author Jeremy K. Brown tells us why we should.

About ‘Ocean of Storms’

In the near future, political tensions between the United States and China are at an all-time high. Then a catastrophic explosion on the moon cleaves a vast gash in the lunar surface, and the massive electromagnetic pulse it unleashes obliterates Earth’s electrical infrastructure. To plumb the depths of the newly created lunar fissure and excavate the source of the power surge, the feuding nations are forced to cooperate on a high-risk mission to return mankind to the moon.

Now, a diverse, highly skilled ensemble of astronauts — and a pair of maverick archaeologists plucked from the Peruvian jungle—will brave conspiracy on Earth and disaster in space to make a shocking discovery.

Ocean of Storms is an epic adventure that spans space and time as its heroes race to fulfill an ancient mission that may change the course of humanity’s future.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Goodreads

5 sci-fi/fantasy novels everyone pretends to have read (but actually should)

For many people, their knowledge of Dune doesn’t go much further than Sting in a metal Speedo. Time to put down the remote and delve into the original (and sometimes completely different) books that birthed these pop culture legends.

‘Dune’ by Frank Herbert

Herbert’s desert world of Arrakis (also known as Dune) is quite obviously the prototype for Star Wars’s Tatooine, and from sandworms to spice, Lucas clearly drew on the first three Dune novels while creating his galaxy far, far away. And who can blame him? Herbert’s galaxy-sprawling saga is stirring, invigorating and completely engrossing. The hero’s journey of Paul Atreides is only one thread in an infinite tapestry that encompasses six Herbert-authored novels and a slew of sequels penned by his son Brian and Kevin J. Anderson. This is world-building at its most epic.

‘Neuromancer’ by William Gibson

If all you know about cyberpunk is The Matrix, then you owe it to yourself to read this book and see where the term actually came from! Gibson put the genre on the map with this 1984 book that was light years ahead of its time, giving life to the concept of “cyberspace,” (a word actually coined by Gibson himself), creating an entire hacker culture and giving rise to legions of imitators. Plus, it has one of the best opening lines of any sci-fi book ever!

‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?’ by Philip K. Dick

It’s true that Blade Runner is a cooler-sounding title, but Dick’s novel is an even deeper and richer experience than the admittedly awesome (but somewhat loose) Ridley Scott adaptation. Taking place in a post-apocalyptic world in which owning an animal is a status symbol, Androids is a great meditation on finding empathy and humanity in an increasingly artificial world.

‘Earthsea’ by Ursula K. Le Guin

Sorry, J.K. Rowling, we love you, but when it comes to wizarding schools, Le Guin beat you to it. A story of a young boy learning to cope with his unimaginable powers (as well as defeat the shadowy creature they have wrought) is a fantastic, genre-bending coming of age story that instantly transports you to a world so complete and lived-in that you’d swear you were reading a true story.

‘Starship Troopers’ by Robert Heinlein

OK, let’s establish a few things first. Yes, Heinlein’s 1959 novel about Earth’s last stand against a race of arachnoid aliens is a little dated in terms of its politics. And yes, Paul Verhoven’s 1997 adaptation turns the book’s themes into a wicked satire of militarism, jingoism and just about every other “ism” you can think of. But, all that said, the book itself is a watershed piece of science fiction that influenced everything from Joe Haldeman’s The Forever War to James Cameron’s Aliens. Basically, any time you see a futuristic soldier in an exosuit, take a moment to thank Heinlein!

About Jeremy K. Brown

Jeremy K. Brown has authored several biographies for young readers, including books on Stevie Wonder and Ursula K. Le Guin. He has also contributed articles to numerous magazines and newspapers, including special issues for TV Guide and the Discovery Channel, and recently edited a collector’s issue on Pink Floyd for Newsweek. Jeremy published his first novel, Calling Off Christmas, in 2011 and is currently at work on another novel. He lives in New York with his wife and sons.