Caroline the Future Librarian

Caroline Davis | LIBR 265-10 | SJSU | Wrenn-Estes

10 Things I Hate About You

Title: 10 Things I Hate About You (TV show)
Channel: ABC Family
Date: July 2009

Plot Summary: Based on the popular 1999 film of the same title, which in turn is inspired by Shakespeare’s play The Taming of the Shrew, this TV series follows the exploits of sisters Kat and Bianca as they navigate their separate ways through Padua High School.  Bianca, wanting to take advantage of being the new girl in town, does her best to make a great first impression on the most popular girl in school, Chastity Church, the head cheerleader.  Kat, on the other hand, would rather stand out than blend in, and isn’t afraid of alienating others with her strong opinions.  She makes friends with vandal/artist Mandella, and inadvertently catches the eye of Patrick Verona, the resident bad boy.  An awkward schoolmate named Cameron instantly develops a crush on Bianca, but sees his chances of getting to date her slipping away as she inches her way up the popularity ladder.  In any case, Bianca is not allowed to date until Kat does – can they find a way around this rule?

Critical Evaluation: As a fan of the film myself, I didn’t have high expectations for this series when I started watching it shortly after it premiered.  I was surprised to see how they were taking the show in a different direction from the film – rather than trying to stay too faithful to the original, which would have fallen flat, the comedy gave new life to the story and reimagined the characters and setting.

I think the strength of the show is in the casting, particularly the characters of Kat Stratford and Patrick Verona.  Patrick is played by Ethan Peck, grandson of the actor Gregory Peck, who holds his own in the character originally portrayed by Heath Ledger.  The star of the series, in my opinion, is Lindsey Shaw as Kat, the “shrew” character, who Shaw portrays with warmth and humor.  There aren’t enough portrayals of teen feminists, at least not in a positive light, so Kat’s character alone makes the show worth watching.  Sadly, it was recently announced that the show has been canceled.

Annotation: Based on the film of the same title, 10 Things I Hate About You is about sisters Kat and Bianca, making their way at a new high school.  Kat prizes her intellect and individuality, while Bianca will do anything to achieve popularity.

About the Creator: Carter Covington was born in 1973 and raised in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.  After graduating from the University of Virginia in 1995, where he earned his degree in foreign affairs and Spanish, Covington taught English in Mexico and worked in advertising.  He went on to study entertainment business at UCLA’s business school, graduating in 2001.

Working on ABC Family projects, Covington occasionally collaborated with Gil Junger, director of the 1999 film 10 Things I Hate About You, of which Covington is a huge fan.  He had discussions with Junger about reimagining the movie as a television series, which lead to the creation of the show.  Covington currently lives in Los Angeles.

Genre: Comedy, Relationships

Curriculum Ties: Possibly could be connected to the Shakespeare play, but that’s a stretch.

Discussion Ideas:
1) Is Bianca right for wanting to be liked or is Kat right for wanting to stay true to herself?  Can they both be right?
2) How does the TV show compare to the film?  Or to The Taming of the Shrew?

Interest Age: 12 and older.

Challenge Issues: alcohol references, sexual content

Challenge Defense Ideas:

• Become familiar with the TV show and its content.

• Refer to the collection development policy of the library, if none, see here to develop one right away.

• Refer to reviews available for viewing on Amazon.com.

• Try to get reviews of the TV show from teens who watch it.

Selection: This was a series I actually started watching when it premiered, and I never watch teen programming.  Although it’s not perfect, I really enjoyed it and think it would fit well in a library collection.

Extras:

Official show website.

10 Things I Hate About You on IMDB.com

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May 15, 2010 Posted by | TV Shows | , | Leave a comment

Seventeen

Title: Seventeen
Editor-in-Chief: Ann Shoket
Company: Hearst Corporation

Summary: Celebrity gossip, fashion advice, makeup and relationship tips – Seventeen magazine has it all!  The magazine is divided into themed sections, with color coded borders that make it easy to flip to the articles you want, whether fashion, beauty, health, love life, or your life – which features interviews with real Seventeen readers!  The issue I reviewed, May 2010 (pictured), had themed articles within each section.  For instance, the fashion portion seemed to be primarily devoted to pages of shoes, and the beauty section was all about using self tanners and protecting your skin with sunscreen – a great lead in for summer.  Since it’s graduation season, there was advice on dating after high school, and tips on how to thrive at college.  It was also a “freebie” issue – chock full of giveaways, from gift cards and shoes to cameras, a bike, and even a computer!  The cover article was an interview of actress Shailene Woodley, from The Secret Life of the American Teenager, and there were lots of other celebrity tidbits.

Critical Evaluation: I have to say it: Ads.  Lots of ads.  Of course, this is not surprising, but the ads and articles are so similarly formatted that it was sometimes hard to tell the difference (other times it was obvious they were intentionally juxtaposed – after Seventeen recommended a Clinique sunscreen in the self-tanner promoting article, the next page opened to a two-page spread advertising the exact same product).  I don’t have a big problem with marketing, I just hope that the teen readers are perceptive enough to view them with a critical eye.  There were some things I was pleased to see – I didn’t expect to find a health section, including a work out and some healthy eating tips.  They also had an article about teen pregnancy, which I thought was fairly balanced – they portrayed keeping the baby, putting it up for adoption, and abortion as equivalent options without placing judgment, and mentioned abstinence as a choice but promoted safe sex as an alternative.

Reader’s Annotation: Check out Seventeen magazine for fashion and makeup advice, relationship tips and even celebrity gossip!

Editor-in-Chief Information: Prior to her position at Seventeen, Ann Shoket was the Executive Editor of CosmoGIRL! magazine, where she developed the friends, love and celebrities sections.  She also worked as the Web Editorial Director of cosmogirl.com and redefined the magazine’s online presence.

“Shoket has a B.A., cum laude, from New York University and a certificate in Media Management from The New School. She currently lives in New York City.” (Source)

Genre: Alternate Formats, Non-Fiction, Relationships, Fashion

Curriculum Ties: N/A

Discussion Ideas:
1) How does seeing so many advertisements make you feel?  Does it bother you?
2) How well do the headlines on the cover actually portray the content of the article?
3) Do you have a favorite section of the magazine?  Do you think they provide good advice?

Interest Age: 12 and older

Challenge Issues: sexual content

Challenge Defense Ideas:

• Become familiar with the magazine and its content.

• Refer to the collection development policy of the library, if none, see here to develop one right away.

• Try to get reviews of the magazine from teens who read it.

Selection: I wanted to include a magazine that was targeted to a teen audience.  I knew that Seventeen would be a good choice – I used to read it as a teen!

Extras:

Official website

May 14, 2010 Posted by | Magazine | , , , | 3 Comments

Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist

Title: Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist
Studio: Sony Pictures
Date: October 2008
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 89 minutes
UPC: 043396253032

Plot Summary: Nick, who is heartbroken after being dumped by his girlfriend, Tris, is convinced by his friends to go out to their concert in the city.  Norah, who goes to school with Tris, has never met him but admires Nick’s taste in music from the mix tapes he made that Tris discarded.  When they all end up in the same club, Norah grabs Nick and asks him to pretend to be her boyfriend, not realizing that he is Tris’s ex-boyfriend.  Nick’s friends are desperate for him to get over being dumped and encourage him to go out with Norah while they promise to take Norah’s drunk friend, Caroline, back home.  Nick and Norah head out on a search for their favorite band, Where’s Fluffy, which is rumored to be playing somewhere in the city.  Complications arise when Caroline goes missing, Tris decides she is still interested in Nick, and the secret concert proves difficult to find.

Critical Evaluation: I was initially reluctant to watch this film, put off by the pretentious sounding title (which it shares with the young adult novel that it is based on, by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan), and I was pleasantly surprised by the sweet love story that it tells.  While they are clearly high school students (we see Norah at her locker wearing her private school uniform), they live an enviable life without adults or curfews and are allowed the luxury of spending an entire night out in New York City, in pursuit of music and love.  Actor Michael Cera, who always seems to play the same slightly goofy and awkward character in all of his projects, portrays an endearing Nick, and we are rooting for him to end up with the right girl at the end of the night.  And although I definitely don’t condone underage drinking, the scenes with a drunken Caroline wandering around the city were laugh-out-loud hilarious.

Annotation: Norah wants to prove to her classmate Tris that she has a boyfriend, so she grabs Nick at a concert and kisses him, not realizing that he is Tris’s ex.  An all-night adventure through New York City ensues.

About the Director: Peter Sollett was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of a newspaper photographer.  After studying film at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, he wrote the screenplay and directed the semi-autobiographical film Raising Victor Vargas about characters from the Italian-Jewish neighborhood where he grew up, originally seen in his short film Five Feet High and Rising.  Sollett currently is a faculty member of Columbia University School of the Arts.

Speaking about how he relates to the plot of Nick & Norah, Sollett says, “When I was 20, I met a girl in Manhattan — I was going to NYU at the time. I was living in Staten Island; she was living in Manhattan. I would commute in every night to spend the evening with her but didn’t have a place to stay. So I would sort of stay until 2, 3, 4, 5 and then go home and go to work the next day. So I just really identified with what these characters were experiencing.” (Source)

Genre: Realistic Fiction, Relationships

Curriculum Ties: N/A

Discussion Ideas:
1) Is their search for the band Where’s Fluffy symbolic of anything?  What are they really searching for?
2) Compare Nick’s feelings for Tris and Norah as the movie progresses.
3) Does New York City serve as a character in the film?  How would it be different if it was set in Chicago or London?
4) Is music a good indicator of whether people are compatible?

Interest Age: 14 and older

Challenge Issues: underage drinking, profanity, sexual content, reckless driving

Challenge Defense Ideas:

• Become familiar with the film and its content.

• Refer to the collection development policy of the library, if none, see here to develop one right away.

• Refer to reviews available for viewing on Amazon.com.

• Try to get reviews of the film from teens who have viewed it.

Selection: I picked this movie for the collection because it was a recent film about high school kids.  Although I was initially reluctant to watch it, I had heard some positive reviews from friends and decided to try it.  I especially think it would be good for a library collection because it is based on a novel.

Extras:

Official Movie Website

Nick & Norah at IMDB.com

Trailer for Nick & Norah:

May 7, 2010 Posted by | Movies | , | Leave a comment