Summer lovin': had us a blast

No matter where you were this summer — whether fighting for affirmative action in South Africa, working a high-powered internship on Wall Street or scooping ice cream at the local sweet shop — there are a few cultural landmarks you must have heard about. Google entered the stock market. Bill Clinton wrote his autobiography. Michael Moore continued to exist.

But scene knows what really mattered in the summer of 2004. Read on to find out what you may have missed.



Film

“Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” may have been the first big blockbuster of the summer, but another teenager beat Daniel Radcliffe and his Hogwarts buddies to the box-office punch and kicked off this summer’s war of the teen queens.

Lindsey Lohan not only starred in “Mean Girls” but received a surprisingly good critical reception in that movie before going on to host the MTV Movie Awards. Faring less well was Hillary Duff who, despite starring as Cinderella in “A Cinderella Story,” was dethroned as teen princess. The biggest error in judgment was the Olsen twins’ move from straight-to-video to the big screen. But scene wishes them the best of luck —- especially Mary-Kate — and hopes their time at NYU lasts longer than a “New York Minute.”

Though some Yalies feigned indifference, all eventually admitted to a preference for one teen star or another.

“You need to be in the 12-year-old crowd, I think, to have a preference,” Megan O’Connor ’06 said before settling on Lohan as her favorite. In an informal survery, Lohan trampled the competition, with the Olsen twins receiving a frightening amount of male admiration — and Duff faltering with zero supporters.

In other (real) movie news, M. Night Shyamalan’s latest film “The Village” met with mixed critical and popular reviews. But the film does have one particularly bright attraction for Yalies: a supporting role by our very own Fran Kranz ’05. Kranz took the fall semester of 2003 off to film his role in “The Village,” which included a sort of “boot camp” in the woods with the film’s stars Adrien Brody and Joaquin Phoenix, and an unreleased independent film.

“I was pretty starstruck to be with these people I really respected and admired, but I really liked Night and Joaquin,” Kranz said.

Kranz finally was able to see the finished product hit theaters this past summer.

“It was really wild,” Kranz said. “I’m really proud of the movie … I think it’s a good movie, some people don’t, but I’m willing to defend it.”



Television

Let’s be honest. With “The O.C.” off until November, there was little worth watching on television this summer. Or so you thought. But despite the networks’ push for new summer programming, the good stuff was the old stuff in new packaging. After finishing their run on HBO, Carrie and the girls of “Sex in the City” slummed their way to TBS — a change of real estate as unclassy as Sarah Jessica Parker’s new Gap ads. But they need a way to pay for their Manolos and Jimmy Choos.

In even better news, FOX finally learned the error of its ways. At least, in one respect. After a few years of exile to the Cartoon Network and DVD boxed sets, “Family Guy” reruns returned in all their glory to primetime this summer. And, as if to make amends to all those slighted “Family Guy” fans, FOX even offered two mini-marathons of the animated cartoon in August in anticipation of the new episodes coming this fall.



Music

Another summer, another song of the summer. And this summer, unfortunately, was also the summer that another Simpson sister entered the singing world. Ashlee Simpson somehow rode her famous name and MTV reality show to the #1 position on the charts with her single “Pieces of Me.” Usher came through with “Confessions,” and Maroon 5 finally proved themselves as the little band that made good (and became rapidly overplayed).

Some good music did emerge from the summer of 2004 — or, rather, reemerged. “Garden State” boasted tracks by Coldplay, The Shins, Nick Drake, Remy Zero and Simon & Garfunkel. New music wasn’t entirely hopeless either, with big debuts by Franz Ferdinand and The Killers.



Food

Just when you thought you were safe, this summer low carbohydrate terrorists managed to infiltrate America’s beverage supply. It’s bad enough to see low-carb value meals, but low-carb Coca-Cola with your lettuce-wrapped Big Mac? That’s the company’s plan with the introduction of Coke’s newest: C2 — half the carbs, half the cals, all the great taste and oddly marketed to men.

Marketed to both sexes, low-carb alcohol promises all the buzz with fewer carbohydrates. But even for those watching their waistlines, there are concerns about the efficiency of the product.

“Does it work?” Joanna Powell ’08 asked. “Because if you’re going to get drunk, you might as well have a good time.”

Not only that, but who wants to admit they are on a diet? We all know the true measure of college manliness is how many (full-carbohydrate) beers a boy can drink. And as if it were not threatening enough to our preconceived notions of masculinity, then the introduction of low-carb alcoholic beverages even threatens our lexicon. Whatever will become of the phrase “beer belly”?



So there you have it, Yalies. Just in time to drop into the dark abyss of classes. Check back in with us around finals to find out what you missed while locked in the library. Oh yeah, one more thing happened this summer … something about a convention? Don’t worry about it — just go eat some tapas, and make sure to take a picture with your new camera phone.

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