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Letter from the Editor
I Want to Be an Architect, or, Is it About the Pasta?
Kolleen Carney Hoepfner

 Bojack Horseman © Netflix.

Bojack Horseman © Netflix.

Hello, friends.

In January, Drunk Monkeys founder Matthew Guerrero, Managing Editor Chris Pruitt, and I convened at my house for pancakes and Vanderpump Rules and, most importantly, to build the February issue. We had just hired Chris and we wanted to make sure he knew the ins and outs of the site, and what better way to do that then to eat pancakes and watch trash TV together? Vanderpump Rules, if you don't know, is a mostly vapid spinoff of the equally vapid Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, focusing mostly on the people Lisa Vanderpump hired to run her WeHo restaurant, SUR.  It is one of my favorite shows ever. It's not very intellectually challenging. You don't really need to think. You can just get invested quickly in what Jax (I’m sorry, Jason) Taylor is fucking up, or if Tom Schwartz has gotten drunk and made out with someone behind his wife Katie Malone's back again, and go with the flow.

We had so much fun, we decided to make it a monthly thing: catch up on the season and spend some quality time together as a team. Vanderpump Rules is a show that got me through a very difficult period in my life, when I was transitioning from Massachusetts, the state I had always known, to California. It was the biggest change I had ever made. It was scary. So, silly reality TV it was; nothing soothes the soul like watching countless drinks being thrown in countless faces.

Vanderpump Rules is also where the title of this issue has come from. The ever-drunk James Kennedy gets into a fight with his friend, an equally ever-drunk La La Kent. Something about her eating his girlfriend’s pasta. It's not about the pasta! he screams over and over again. It's ludicrous. Is pasta a codeword for drugs? Are they actually fighting over Alfredo or something? The absurdity of it is what makes it hilarious. Thank you, James, for the title.

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Growing up, there was a television in almost every room in the house; I think at the most we had five (each bedroom, the living room, and the basement). My father would instruct us to record the shows he was missing while playing basketball, and become understandably upset when we would inevitably fuck it up (remember EP/SP/SLP?). At the time, I thought he was overreacting, but having recently deleted an episode of Ru-Paul’s Drag Race All Stars 3 by accident, I understand his frustration. On-Demand and DVRs were created solely for my father.

Pop culture has always been important to me. I associate some of my most precious memories of my husband with movies and songs and television. Singing lyrics to the Pixies as he gently kissed my forehead while I feigned sleep, the night I graduated from my MFA program (also my birthday). Yelling “CHICKEN SANDWHICH, CARL” for no real reason—we first bonded over this particular moment in The State when we would chat on a message board seven years or so before we ever met in person. Our wedding ceremony referenced both The Simpsons and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. I suppose every couple has their things.

A few years ago I went through a box of hundreds of movie and concert (and pro-wrestling, if we’re being honest) tickets dating from 1996 to about 2005. Why did I even keep these? What was the purpose? I don’t need a ticket to remember how my friend Brian dragged me out of American Beauty, my shoulders shaking with sobs. Or how, for some reason, I saw American Pie twice in one day (I don’t need to be reminded of that, period).

I watch a lot of shows in order to feel. That might sound silly, as I am pretty emotional person, and often get passionate about things fairly quickly. But I like shows that I identify with. I like seeing myself reflected in shows. Netflix’s Love mirrors a lot of my personal life and past. And, living in Los Angeles, Bojack Horseman speaks both to my present environment, and my love for it, while also speaking to my spirit. I think Bojack Horseman is one of the greatest examples of the human condition ever, even if it's about a horse. It's a love letter to Los Angeles, and I'm a sucker for love letters to Los Angeles. If your heart doesn’t break when you realize Sarah Lynn will never realize her dream of being an architect, well…

I can barely have any conversation without dropping a reference or two in there; it’s usually The Simpsons, ever-quotable in its prime, and usually people will pick up on it, throw one back. You can try this yourself: write “Lord Palmerston” on your Facebook or Twitter wall. If your friends are cool, someone will reply “Pitt the Elder”. And you’ll reply “Lord Palmerston”. And they’ll reply “Pitt the Elder”. And so on.

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This also works with “Dental Plan”.

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Some of my best writing revolves around pop culture. And I find that a lot of people work this way, too; writing about how media affects them: Musicians. Movies. Television shows. Art. We let these mediums speak to us and through us. We look forward to them. We like to deconstruct them. We devote time to Reddit threads and entertainment sites to discuss them. We look for Easter eggs. We hang posters. We get tattoos.

Thus, this issue.

This issue is huge, and, if anything, is our magnum opus. We put so many hours into it that it's almost unreal. I can't believe that it's coming to an end; it's almost as if we've always meant to do this. We have had a blast—an overwhelming, daunting, wonderful blast. And, if you do enjoy it, you'll be happy to know that we have decided every April from here on out will be a pop culture issue. So, if you did not get to submit to us, and wanted to, you can start working on something for next year now.


I really do hope you enjoy this issue, from N. Aleysha Lewis’ “Turn on the Tube” to Joanna Valente’s “Ode to Meatwad” to Arielle Tipa’s “Coney Island’s Finest Fairground Organ Donor” to Writer of the Month, the incomparable Jenn Ghivan’s poetry, so good she is considered in the Drunk Monkeys offices to be a pop culture icon in and of herself. And do take a look at our 50 Top Movies of the 21st Century; there was a LOT of drama surrounding it, so I want to think it was worth it in the end.

I would like to take a moment to thank our staff, who worked tirelessly on this issue, which is three times the size of a normal issue and thus time- consuming. I usually try to make them feel appreciated, but they really went above and beyond this time. And we would like to thank everyone who submitted to us. We had to turn down a lot of really great stuff, and I'm really hoping that it doesn't deter the submitters from submitting to us again, because we don’t plan on going anywhere.

Always,

Kolleen Carney Hoepfner, EIC