The Take

Video Essays

Why Everyone On Screen Kind Of Has The Same Face Now | Explained

From always having to look picture perfect even during the literal apocalypse, to “smartphone face” – aka actors who just look too modern to fit into period settings, to the rise of plastic surgery and other cosmetic procedures leading to so many people we see on screen starting to have nearly identical features, the effect of aesthetic trends has become more and more talked about in recent years.

And while the expectation certainly isn’t that everything on screen has to be exactly true to real life all of the time – it is entertainment after all – it is interesting to take a deeper look at what drives these kinds of societal trends. The judgment is usually placed on the actresses themselves, but there is much more at play here. So let’s take a deeper look at the truth about these on screen trends, how they alter our viewing experiences, and can even affect how we see ourselves.

Broad City's Ilana, Explained: Being A Hot Mess Can Be A *Good* Thing

Broad City’s Ilana Wexler was an iconic hot mess – but no matter how crazy life got she was always ready to find a way to make things work for her. And with the help of her best friend Abbi Abrams, there was no obstacle she couldn’t overcome. The duo itself is iconic, and Abbi’s struggles with work and life are incredibly relatable, but Ilana’s more free spirited nature made her standout as the unbothered badass we all want to be in our 20s. Let’s take a look at the impact of Ilana Wexler, how she was relatable and aspirational, and what makes her hedonistic character so enduring a decade later.

"Content Creator" Finances Onscreen v Real Life, and the Real Costs of the Career

From shows like Emily in Paris and You to movies like Not Okay and Ingrid Goes West, influencers and content creators of all kinds have begun popping up more and more as they become a larger part of our everyday lives. And just like their real-life counterparts, these on-screen influencers can give us some pretty unrealistic ideas about what it’s like to be a full time content creator. But sometimes they give us a more realistic, deeper look into the darker side of influencing that social media stars often try to hide… So, let’s look at what the media constantly gets wrong about these careers and their associated finances, the ways all creators are portrayed as uber-wealthy, and why they still get so much hate.

Rom-Com Heroines: Why Their Romantic (Yet Unrealistic) Stories Ruled The 90s

She’s smart, beautiful, just Hollywood enough to feel aspirational but also just regular enough to feel relatable: she’s the 90s rom-com heroine! Meg Ryan and Julia Roberts ruled the decade - from Sleepless in Seattle to Pretty Woman to You've Got Mail to My Best Friend's Wedding and beyond - but there were a whole host of iconic heroines that popped up during the rom-com boom of the 1990s. So today, let's unpack what made the 90s rom-com heroine special, where the archetype came from, and how they might have given us some pretty unrealistic expectations about life and love (and why we love them anyways!)

30 Rock, Revisited: Why Jane Krakowski's Jenna Is An Unhinged, Relatable Icon

30 Rock’s Jenna Maroney still managed to stand out in a sea of hilarious characters. She was unbelievably vain, shallow, manipulative, unstable, thin-skinned… but instead of being annoying and unlikable, she became one of the most entertaining, iconic characters of modern television. So, how did Jenna manage to capture that ‘beloved star’ status that she was so desperate for on the show in real life? Let’s take a deeper look at Jenna’s character arc, the way she perfectly embodied all of the wild pressures that the industry puts on aging actresses, and how such an outlandish character managed to be so oddly relatable.

Movies & TV’s Most Unrealistic Personal Finances: Friends, SATC, Emily in Paris, & more

Film and TV love to show partly-relatable, partly-aspirational lifestyles that… actually don’t make a whole lot of sense when you really think about them. Of course, we’re not always watching movies and shows just to see real life, and it can sometimes work well when media choses to let go of realism a little bit to have more fun. But this can also lead to some pretty unrealistic ideas about life and money…

New Year's Resolutions: Why They Suck & What To Do Instead

Being surrounded by the optimism inspired by a new year can also inspire us to overwhelm ourselves with an excessive number of resolutions and goals in the hopes of becoming a “new and improved” version of ourselves. But if we’re not actually ready to make drastic changes... it’s unlikely that we’ll be successful. So why do we keep setting ourselves up for failure year after year, knowing the anxiety that lies ahead? Let’s unpack this annual tradition, why it often sparks an existential crisis, and how to find ways to stay positive while we reinvent ourselves.

The "Quirky Black Character" - How Black Creators Challenge Stereotypes

The Quirky Black Character dares to be dorky, imperfect, and most of all, themselves. Their nerdy obsessions and screwball antics are deliberate rejections of the one-dimensional, often offensive Black caricatures that long dominated film and TV. But the history of the Quirky Black Character’s rise is one of having to constantly fend off criticisms of whether or not they’re perceived by audiences as “Black enough.”

Black Swan - A Cautionary Tale about Perfectionism

Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan is a cautionary tale about toxic perfectionism. In the final moments of the film, Natalie Portman’s Nina thinks she’s destroying her rival ballerina, Mila Kunis’ Lily, but in reality, she’s destroying herself. On stage, we see her at last fully become the black swan, now free from the controlling repression of the “white swan” within herself. So, what are we to make of this ending?