While many romantic comedies are chided for their predictable plotlines, it was William Shakespeare who first created these well-know story arcs. So give chick flicks some cred, and check out how the ultimate wordsmith, the William Shakespeare, contributed to the genre through an analysis of four of his comedies.

I am a Shakespeare junkie for sure. When I backpacked through Europe, the highlight of my trip was seeing Much Ado About Nothing performed at the Globe. (My favorite play in my favorite place … I pinched myself at least seven times.) I also like romantic comedies (I searched for the bookstore from Notting Hill with earnest while abroad).

Apparently liking Shakespeare makes me intelligent and well-read, but liking romantic comedies makes me pithy and shallow. Woah now. I think one could draw a line connecting the dots between Shakespeare’s revered plotlines and the commonly mocked rom com stories.

Overall, Shakespeare’s comedies are predictable. The girl and the guy end up together and the whole story ends in a marriage. What makes the plays interesting is how this all comes together. (Sounds a little bit like why people love rom coms, does it not?)

This column will briefly analyze four of my favorite comedies Much Ado About Nothing, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Taming of the Shrew and Twelfth Night and their contributions to the genre.

Much Ado About Nothing:

In this crazy, mixed-up shenanigan of a play there are two couples Beatrice & Benedick and Hero & Claudio. Hero and Claudio are your classic couple. They fall in love at first sight, scandal rips them apart, but they are eventually reunited with little or no damage to their overall relationship. Beatrice and Benedick are the far more interesting pairing. The audience knows the two are made for each other by the way they spar for the first few scenes, but they are cunningly tricked into loving each other. In the end, both couples marry.

Story lines this has spawned: Lovers made for each other who are torn apart by scandal and misunderstanding before reuniting (Notting Hill?), and lovers who never expect to be tied down wind up together (The Ugly Truth? When Harry Met Sally?).

A Midsummer Night’s Dream:

Another four-some, Lysander & Hermia and Demetrius & Helena. Basically, the four run to the woods, because Hermia’s father wants her to marry Demetrius, but she loves Lysander so they run off together. Helena loves Demetrius, so she joins the gaggle soon after. Though both couples are enchanted (literally) in various ways, and they all seem to turn on each other as the story continues, Lysander ends up with Hermia and Demetrius with Helena. In essence, everybody wins.

Story lines this has spawned: Lovers made for each other are torn apart by scandal and enchantment before reuniting (Ella Enchanted?), one lover who seeks another finally earns a fantastic partner she didn’t expect (Legally Blonde?).

The Taming of the Shrew:

The two sisters, Bianca and Kat, are very different. While Bianca is demure, Kat is crass and bold. Petruchio courts and eventually claims Kat making her a domesticated housewife, and many suitors fight for Bianca with her disguised tutor Lucentio eventually winning out. Both end up in happy relationships (and yes, if you have not read the play, this is the plot of Ten Things I Hate About You).

Story lines this has spawned: The woman who can’t be tamed is won by the man (Pretty Woman?) and the woman that everyone loves is won over by the man who actually deserves her (Bridget Jones’ Diary?).

Twelfth Night:

A shipwrecked Viola dresses as her brother Sebastian, whom she believes to be dead, and becomes a page for Duke Orsino who loves Olivia. Olivia has lost many family members, so the Duke woos her through Sebastian/Viola. Olivia falls for Viola as Viola falls for the Duke, and as an added twist, Sebastian isn’t really dead. In the end, Viola ends up with the Duke and Olivia winds up with Sebastian. (And again, yes, this is the plot of She’s the Man.)

Story lines this has spawned: The important person falls for the slave/lower status character (Hugh Grant plot in Love Actually?) and the page boy/lower status character woos the King with their smarts (Pretty Woman?).

Look I know these connections aren’t perfect and are kind of a stretch in some cases, but this analysis still manages to demonstrate that the story lines we now mock were created by the genius of men. So give rom coms some cred.

What connections did I miss? What is your favorite Shakespearian comedy? What is your favorite rom com?

Disney’s released a minute-long clip from Beauty and the Beast, and it’s a great one: Emma Watson performing “Belle.”

Belle skips around town as the townspeople observe the “funny girl” in this uplifting sequence from the movie. You can’t help but get excited for Beauty and the Beast after watching this, and Emma sounds great!

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Disney’s released a minute-long clip from Beauty and the Beast, and it’s a great one: Emma Watson performing “Belle.”

Belle skips around town as the townspeople observe the “funny girl” in this uplifting sequence from the movie. You can’t help but get excited for Beauty and the Beast after watching this, and Emma sounds great!

In related news, the cast and crew kicked off their press tour today in Paris. Disney released the following adorable photo of Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Josh Gad, Luke Evans, director Bill Condon and composer Alan Menken as they start publicizing the movie, which opens in theaters March 17:

Can’t wait to see it!

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×15 brings the L.M.D. storyline to a truly wild end. Here’s what to expect from “Self Control”!

You don’t know what’s coming

Yeah, there’s a synopsis for “Self Control” — “Suspicion turns to paranoia when the team doesn’t know who can be trusted as more LMDs infiltrate S.H.I.E.L.D.” But that’s the equivalent of saying that Iron Man is about a goateed man who can fly.

Sure, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×15 answers a lot of questions about who is and who isn’t a robot. More profoundly though, the episode goes in for a final knead and punch of the ideas that have been floating around all season.

Read full article

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×15 brings the L.M.D. storyline to a truly wild end. Here’s what to expect from “Self Control”!

You don’t know what’s coming

Yeah, there’s a synopsis for “Self Control” — “Suspicion turns to paranoia when the team doesn’t know who can be trusted as more LMDs infiltrate S.H.I.E.L.D.” But that’s the equivalent of saying that Iron Man is about a goateed man who can fly.

Sure, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×15 answers a lot of questions about who is and who isn’t a robot. More profoundly though, the episode goes in for a final knead and punch of the ideas that have been floating around all season.

Free will and humanity. Sacrifice and love. The nature of reality — and even of life itself. Beneath the plot, surprises, and pain, that’s what’s really going on in the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. spring finale.

That, and the characters who get caught in the middle.

Jed Whedon is Not. Playing. Around.

Executive producer and showrunner Jed Whedon is the man behind the pen and the camera in “Self Control,” and he’s there for a reason. Whedon’s first try at the director’s chair on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is operatic, incisive, and perpetually gut-clenching.

Yes, there are lovely and disturbing vistas, an artistry that comes from a deliberate and careful eye. But more important is the unshakable Whedon impulse that animates Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×15, that builds through the episode like a cresting tide.

You know that unmistakable sense that someone is laughing behind the scenes? Yeah. That’s why Jed Whedon is here.

What’s next?

Well, that’s a very good question. “Self Control” leaves us with a few razor-like possibilities, all of which lead down spiky corridors of questions. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×15 is here to leave us thirsty for the season’s final seven episodes, and that’s exactly what it does.

Oh, and to answer your next question…

Cliffhanger?

Uh, yes. Cliffhanger.

Oh boy, cliffhanger.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×15, “Self Control,” airs Tuesday, Feb. 21 at 10:00 p.m. on ABC.

What are your top theories for ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ 4×15?

Have President’s Day off? Here are some movies, TV shows, and soundtracks with which to celebrate President’s Day.

‘Hamilton’


Even if you were somehow lucky enough to have already seen the musical, you might as well celebrate today with another listen to the soundtrack. In case you have been living under a rock, Hamilton is a hip-hop, rap, musical about Alexander Hamilton. Yes, Hamilton never became president, but the musical does include multiple would-be presidents. Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and even birthday boy himself George Washington are heavily featured in Hamilton. Based on the biography by Ron Chernow, you can get a history lesson while you listen to great music.

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Have President’s Day off? Here are some movies, TV shows, and soundtracks with which to celebrate President’s Day.

‘Hamilton’


Even if you were somehow lucky enough to have already seen the musical, you might as well celebrate today with another listen to the soundtrack. In case you have been living under a rock, Hamilton is a hip-hop, rap, musical about Alexander Hamilton. Yes, Hamilton never became president, but the musical does include multiple would-be presidents. Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and even birthday boy himself George Washington are heavily featured in Hamilton. Based on the biography by Ron Chernow, you can get a history lesson while you listen to great music.

‘Liberty’s Kids’


Liberty’s Kids aired in the early 2000s on PBS. Liberty’s Kids follows three teenagers from varying backgrounds throughout the American Revolution, mentored by Benjamin Franklin. It is geared for children but is still pretty enjoyable for adults. In each episode, the teenagers encounter a significant person or event from the revolution, giving a concise and entertaining history lesson. The show features many important figures throughout the revolution, showing even more presidents than in Hamilton. As one can imagine, Washington is among these.

‘Lincoln’


Lincoln is a 2012, Oscar nominated movie, directed by Steven Spielberg based on Doris Kearns Goodwin’s biography of Abraham Lincoln, Team of Rivals. Instead of a biopic of Lincoln’s entire life, Lincoln is specifically about his passing of the 13th amendment. Essentially directed between each of his science fiction blockbusters, Spielberg also made many significant historical movies, Lincoln among them. Lincoln not only shows his power as a president, but also humanizes him through an Oscar winning performance by Daniel Day-Lewis.

‘1776’


Hamilton is not the first musical about American history. Thankfully, though, because this way there are other options, one of which is 1776. Even more conveniently, the musical 1776 was adapted into a movie in the early 1970s. Heavily implied by its name, 1776 is about the signing of the Declaration of Independence. 1776 definitely has a more classical musical theater vibe than Hamilton. The strange combination of American history and musical theater allows for a humorous yet educational experience. However, as reflective of the history of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Washington is not a character in the musical; yet, it obviously includes many other significant historical figures.

‘The West Wing’ or ‘The American President’


Unlike the other items on this list, these two are about fictional presidents. But it would be nice if they were real. Of the many politically charged movies and television shows by Aaron Sorkin, these two are specifically about presidents. If you have the day off and want to attempt to binge watch seven seasons, then you may want to check out The West Wing. The West Wing follows President Bartlet and his staff and advisors during their time in the White House. If you want a movie to help you transition between Valentine’s Day and President’s Day then The American President is worth watching. It is a romantic comedy about President Shepherd, who falls in love with a lobbyist.

How else will you celebrate President’s Day?