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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Things I Like: The Nostalgia Chick & Her Friends


The Nostalgia Chick (a.k.a. Lindsay Ellis) is one of the vloggers on That Guy With the Glasses. Yes, yes, I know I talk about that site too much, but hear me out. She's more than another snarky deadpanner who criticizes 80's movies.

See, to understand her, you must understand her origins. She was taken into the site as the female equivalent of the The Nostalgia Critic who, due to his penis, couldn't otherwise target those female-centric blasts from the past. So she started with videos like "Labyrinth", "Thumbelina", "She-Ra", and "The Babysitters Club". Her specialty is compare-and-contrast, like "Cruel Intentions vs. Les Liasons Dangerouseses" and why "When Harry Met Sally" works and "Sleepless in Seattle" doesn't.


She's a smart cookie. She's got a degree in film and she has ambition. So she's expanded her repetoire to documentary-style like "The Smurfette Principle", a metaphysical look at why she's there, and who's come before her. Plus whole story arcs like "The Dark Nella Saga" and the "Todd in the Shadows/Obscurus Lupa/Nostalgia Chick" love triangle. It's to the point where her entry in the web page menu has expanded to Team NChick.


Team NChick consists of Nella and Elisa Hansen. Nella is the BFF who frequently gets the best lines, like in Suburban Knights where she has a cameo as Ellis's stunt double to take a punch, or the Labyrinth video ("Hey, Lindsay? Do you want some cock?" ) or a prominent role as "Dr. Block" (lab partner to "Dr. Tease", who we'll get to in a minute) and "Dark Nella". To be honest, I didn't like Nella at first. To be perfectly honest (don't worry, this will become a compliment), I thought she was ugly and fat, with her bad hair and thick glasses. She reminded me of a frumpy Velma. I know, I'm a sexist who judges on appearances.



Then I saw more of her, through the Dark Nella saga, and her other appearances, like the specials. And I fell in love with her enthusiasm, her bright eyes, her geek charm, and her archetype of an oblivious doormat. Despite Ellis's role at the forefront, Nella shines when partnered with Ellis who takes a more passive, backseat, observant role. Or maybe that's just because Nella's character is so animated and passionate. All she wants to do is be herself. She's self-actualized, something I lack in myself. Nowadays I look forward to seeing her in videos.


The other main co-star is Elisa Hansen, the tall, auburn-haired, Phantom-of-the-Opera-obsessed roommate. She's played "The Makeover Fairy", lead singer of "The Misfits" (Jem's rival band), and "Dr. Tease" a mad scientist obsessed with sexual experiments. No, not that kind. The kind that involve clipboards, lab coats, surprise interviews, and Asperger's syndrome. And, I'll just say it, she's *hawt*. She's leggy, she's got great eyes and a great smile. In any other world, she'd be unapproachable, but she has this weird fan-girl/goth energy that makes her a little crazy.


But back to Ellis. I could talk about her videos all day. Doug Walker did a good job when he selected her as his female counterpart. She's broken away somewhat from her Nostalgia critiques (where is the "Rainbow Brite and the Star Stealer" review?!). I even bought the Dune RiffTrax she did with The Spoony One, another of my favorite vloggers. Instead of simply summarizing and critiqueing, she's using her knowledge of film to analyze what works and what doesn't in Roland Emmerich films, pop-girls like Ke$ha, and Disney vs. Dreamworks. What I'm trying to say is that she does good work. She's not just a counterpart, she's her own thing. She's not afraid to make the low-brow dick jokes just as she's not afraid to make intelligent examination of top film-makers.

But that's not why I like her. Lindsay does something the others don't. She's had a lot go down in her life and she's not afraid to open a vein about that. Example?


She had an abortion. And she made a documentary about it.

Of course, that's not one of her vlogs. It was for her end-of-term project. Most decide to make a movie about zombies or pretentious black-and-white art piece. Lindsay decided to make a film about her experiences, which are powerful. It's not about religion or politics. It's not propaganda. It's an honest look at what she went through. (Note: I haven't seen it, so I'm just reciting what's on the website. I'd like to see it though)

Not only that, but at the end of her TLC video she takes off the pigtails and makes some confessions regarding Lisa Lopes, the then-current death of Amy Winehouse, and some of her own struggles with friends and addiction. In a blog post, she writes about the adolescent pandering romanticism of The Band Perry's "If I Die Young", comparing it to the reality of dying young based on what she's experienced in own life.

Like Wil Wheaton, she's not afraid to speak openly about the hard personal issues. It's not easy to do that. I still haven't mentioned that my dad died a month ago. I prefer keeping my dark secrets to myself. The process of releasing them is worse than keeping them inside. But putting it on the Internet, it's like making a personal sacrifice in order to help other people. It takes great courage to do that, and that's why Lindsay Ellis is an awesome person.

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