With classes already in full swing, the season for carefree media consumption has come and gone. From here on out, reading will be mandatory and any TV-watching will be tinged with guilt and anxiety as readings pile up and assignments loom. For the remaining few days of add-drop, however, here’s some stuff that we at the Tribune liked this summer.
TV Show: Euphoria
Premiering on June 16th on HBO, Euphoria follows the trials and tribulations of a group of students navigating relationships, mental health struggles, drug abuse, and body image issues. The remarkable cast includes Zendaya, Hunter Schafer, and model Barbie Ferreira who star as uniquely exceptional yet relatable small-town teens. The show tackles its often sensitive subject matter with empathy and tact. Filled with much-coveted outfits, hazy fever dreams, and dazzling makeup, Euphoria is a heartfelt and theatrical spin on the coming-of-age narrative.
Album: Cuz I Love You by Lizzo
Lizzo’s third studio album, Cuz I Love You, dropped triumphantly on April 19. Lizzo’s bold persona, mesmerizing vocals, flute solos, and upbeat lyrics undoubtedly defined the summer season. The track “Truth Hurts” will go down in history as one of 2019’s most iconic summer anthems, hitting the number one spot on Billboard Music’s top 100. “Tempo,” featuring the legendary Missy Elliott, is also an amazing collaboration between two iconic vocalists. The album is an unapologetic manifestation of self-love and confidence that is meaningful and fun in equal measure. As a plus-size Black woman, Lizzo decares her space, thrives in it, and ensures that everyone joins her.
Book: The Overstory
With The Overstory, Richard Powers joins a canon of media and literature begging us to stop killing our planet. With the creative liberty that fiction allows, Powers makes trees his novel’s protagonists and conceptualizes them as the resilient backbone of our natural world. Powers paints trees as benevolent and mythical creatures, alive not only in a technical sense but also as active participants in nature, interwoven with each other but also with all life that extends past the boundaries of forests or jungles. By structuring a narrative around non-human characters, The Overstory challenges the hierarchical assumptions of the relationship between humans and the natural world, scorning our view of an environment meant to be consumed or commercialized. The Overstory is a thoughtful celebration of a towering presence we’ve learned to ignore in our concrete and steel urbanity.
Podcast: Why Won’t You Date Me? by Nicole Byer
Nicole Byer says she’s been single for decades, so, in a podcast, she attempts to find the reason behind her unlucky track record. Host of Netflix’s original series Nailed It, where home bakers without any professional training attempt to make gourmet pastries, Byer has already won over audiences with her audacious humour. Why Won’t You Date Me? discusses important subjects concerning sex and love: Commitment issues, polyamory, fatphobia, dating apps, and long distance to name a few. Alongside an impressive list of guests, such as Jameela Jamil from The Good Place, comedian Zainab Johnson, drag queen Eureka O’Hara, and plus-size model Tess Holliday, Byer investigates modern romance thoroughly and with a sense of humour. Why Won’t You Date Me? is a positive, witty, and hilarious exploration of the challenges of navigating love.
Movie: The Art of Self Defence
The Art of Self Defence, directed by Riley Stearns and starring Jesse Eisenberg, might seem, at first, to quite ordinary: Just another tale of finding inner strength following trauma through martial arts. As the film progresses, however, the rug is slowly pulled out from under the audience, and what started off as a generic narrative quickly becomes a sinister tale of madness and revenge, rife with entertaining characters and shockingly dark humour. Eisenberg may play the same character in every movie, but, give him a good director and you will be too engrossed to notice.