Ghost hunting with Kelly

By Kelly Romlein


It’s imperative to our soul’s well-being to find passion, define ourselves, and, most importantly, learn and grow from this experience called life. My passion is ghost hunting, which involves much more than the cliché midnight graveyard stomping, and is surrounded by history, instincts, primal fear, and adrenaline. 

There are many haunted places throughout America that are open to the public, allowing guests to spend sleepless nights roaming the remains of old hospitals and prisons. To smell the dank air of the past and feel the electricity of something other-worldly is a remarkable experience and one that not many people probably have. 

Waverly Hills Sanatorium in Louisville, Kentucky is one of the amazing artifacts of American history that has recently opened its doors to those brave enough to spend a night inside. The building, which was constructed in 1908 as a small tuberculosis ward, was quickly inundated with patients as this extremely contagious epidemic made its way across America. This patient overpopulation led to deplorable conditions riddled with human suffering, and as a result, many of those being restless souls of the unfortunate victims who still remain within Waverly Hill’s walls.  

Waverly Hills’ lockdown began at midnight on a warm Kentucky night in August of 2012. The doors were closed behind me, and I was left, enveloped in darkness, to meander through the halls, looking to find the paranormal. Treatment for tuberculosis back in the early 1900’s involved allowing patients plenty of fresh air, so each room was equipped with a balcony that let the night flow freely through the vandalized and ravaged hallways. The balcony’s windows allowed moonlight to spill in and streak across the floor. 

The top floor of the ward was specialized for children, and the curator has a special relationship with the ghost of a small boy he calls Timmy. When the ghost of this boy was asked to turn on a flashlight with no one nearby, the light would get turned on without hesitation. Slowly the power drained from the flashlight and its light went out, all was silent for a few moments until the spirit was able to re-energize it. This spirit is notorious for interacting with guests, so visitors often bring him toys in exchange for communication. I myself approached Timmy once. The spirit fearlessly moved a ball across the floor right before me as if trying to play with me. As a witness to these events, I know what I have seen is real.

As the cool air of that Kentucky night settled through the decayed structure, shadowy figures were undeniably drifting through the open-door, in the studded hallways of the lower floors. It felt as if the spirits were curious about their visitors and wanted to poke their heads out of their rooms to see what the commotion was. Eyes could be felt from every direction, and the depth of their darkness was visible against the moonlit doorways. I saw figures darker than the night shifting through paint-peeled corridors, and could sense that undeniable feeling that you are not alone in a room, although you’re supposed to be. 

Finally, perhaps the most irrefutable piece of evidence that ghosts are more than fictional is something that I captured with my own camera. The basement of the Waverly Hills building featured a tunnel so infamously referred to as the “death tunnel.” Its grim name was given by people due to how it was used to remove bodies of the deceased from the building, which was done to spare the living patients from having to see the dead, and their own potential outcome, rolling through the front door. While walking down the tunnel, with only my sister slightly ahead of me, I snapped pictures the whole way down. Around 7 am, when the lockdown was over, we were released. I was scrolling through the photographs I had just taken during my pancake breakfast at a restaurant and I saw someone in front of my sister in one of the photos. The figure appeared opaque and large, the silhouette clearly of another person, but I am certain there was no one else in the tunnel with us that evening among the living.


Laughs, tunes, poetry showcased at open mic

SAPB invites students to show talents in student center

By Christine Abraham

The Student Activities Planning Board hosted their annual Open Mic in the Student Community Center Tuesday, Oct. 2, granting students a platform to perform a variety of different acts, including comedy skits, music performances and poem recitations.

Don Phelps, director of Campus Life said he looks forward to the event because it gives students a platform to showcase their talent in front of their peers.

“Open mic gives students an opportunity to share their talents with other students in a really low-risk environment and the audience tends to be super supportive ,’’ Phelps said.  “I expect to see singers, and occasionally a comedian or poet..I’m always blown away by the talent of our students …We’ve had a couple of artists that have performed and gone on to tour. Some of our students have gone on to do great things.”

Jessica Fraser, the SAPB vice president, said there is  extensive preparation that goes into this event.

“This event took a lot of planning such as creating flyers, planning when and where the event will take place, advertising and recruiting volunteers,” Fraser said.

Amy Albin, a liberal arts major performed an original acapella song titled “Life to the Power of Song.”

“The song has been about two years in the making, on and off,” Albin said.  “It came to me at this pre-summer college program where I was really sad and overwhelmed … I just kept building on it and I finished it this past August.”

Albin said singing is a passion of hers and plans on attending the next Open Mic.

“Singing is something that I love to do and I haven’t had the opportunity to perform since high school,” Albin said.  “I wanted to show CCM the musical side of me. I’ve been singing ever since I could talk. After I sang, I had people coming up to me, telling me I did a good job. I definitely plan to perform in the next open mic.”

Besides Albin, there were several other musical performances. Alexa Metro, a broadcasting major performed a duet song with Emmanuel Fotinis, a music and liberal arts major singing “All I Ask of You”  from the musical Phantom of the Opera.

“Alexa and I put something together at the last second,” Fotinis said. “I hoped the audience liked it. I sang all the time in high school. I was in the choir program at Roxbury High School, and I finally learned to sing a lot better with my voice teacher here at CCM. If I’m available for future Open Mics, I’ll definitely give it a shot.”

Following Fotinis and Metro’s duet performance, Andreas Mathikolonis, a game development major, performed a comedy skit. His act received a lot of laughs, beginning with his first joke, that he had never been in a relationship but always seemed like he was going through the worst breakup. He satirized his film class, saying the class was an excuse for his professor to make his class watch his rejected resume.

The last performance of the event was Tay Mathews, reciting a poem that she wrote herself, titled “What Depression Means.”

As the crowd dispersed, Fraser said she was pleased with the number of students who attended the event.

“The event had a really good turnout,” Fraser said. “There were lots of people with lots of talents. I loved Amy’s song, Emmanuel and Alexa’s duet performance, Joilenni’s song and Andreas Mathikolonis’ comedy skit. This event brings a lot of the students together and they’re able to connect more. I really enjoyed this as my first Open Mic and hope to see lots of people at the next event.”

Politics and award ceremonies: Where CCM students draw the line

By Jamie Corter

The flashing lights, glamorous gowns and emotional moments have drawn viewers to televised award ceremonies for years. The anticipation builds and then lingers in the air each time a category is called and a celebrity wins. The speeches that proceed can range from heartwarming, empowering, shocking and sometimes political.

As political acceptance speeches at major award shows become more common, students at County College of Morris have a variety of opinions regarding the appropriateness of the practice.

Brooke Preziosi- Arnott, a digital media major, said that it’s good for people to voice their opinions, but celebrities should do so on their social media platforms. In her opinion, incorporating politics into an award show is uncalled for.

“Instead of pushing their beliefs on someone, celebrities should just voice what they believe in, and they shouldn’t accuse other people of being wrong,” Preziosi- Arnott said.

Marilyn Mayorga, a respiratory therapy major, agreed with Preziosi-Arnott that social media, or even news outlets, are the proper places for celebrities to speak up.

“They can obviously speak their minds, that’s how you get people to open up, but I feel like right now, it’s just a bad time to do so,” she said.

Mayorga said that someone will be angry either way because there’s never one side to politics.

“Celebrities should try to limit that [kind of talk] because it can be controversial,” Mayorga said.

Mayorga related celebrities talking about politics at award shows to athletes expressing their political views on the field. From what she’s witnessed, sports fans don’t want to hear about the players’ political views; they want to know what’s happening with the sport itself. If sport fans want to hear about politics, they’ll watch CNN or some other news outlet, she said.

An award ceremony, Mayorga said,  is the perfect event for a celebrity to speak their mind if they wish to stir the pot and get a conversation started.

“If you want to spark controversy, then yes an award show is the place to do so,” Mayorga said. “You’ll definitely get the media talking, but you need to be careful. The media also has their own opinions as well. If you want people to notice that you are talking about politics, you’ll definitely stand out at the Emmys or any award show.”

Unlike Preziosi- Arnott and Mayorga, Michael Tartaglia, a psychology major at CCM, believes celebrities shouldn’t speak their mind about their political views at all.

“I don’t think it’s their place to,” Tartaglia said. “They’re there for entertainment purposes, and they shouldn’t be telling other people how they think or how their audience should think.

“No one cares about how Oprah feels about Trump or Hillary,” Tartaglia said. “She is in her own world, experiencing her own things. People in the working class perceive life so different. Oprah is kind of protected from [the struggles of common society] because she has fame and power.”

Tartaglia said  responding to followers’ questions about politics is fine for a celebrity to do on their social media, but to openly speak about their political views without being prompted to is not acceptable.

“They shouldn’t bring [politics] to the forefront of an award show,” Tartaglia said. “It should be about the award and about the entertainment. That’s their job, and they should focus on what the award shows are really about.”

Fashion has become a large canvas for celebrities to express their opinions in without verbally saying them. The 2018 Emmy Awards, which were held Monday, Sept. 17, had numerous celebrities decked out in politically driven attire.

Padma Lakshmi, a famous model and Top Chef host, wore a gown she had previously worn to the Vogue India Women of the Year Awards to highlight the toll fashion has on the environment, and also sported a small blue ribbon to support the American Civil Liberties Union. Black-ish star Jenifer Lewis dawned her Nike attire for the red carpet walk in support of the company’s decision to use Colin Kaepernick as the face of their most recent ad campaign.

Fashion is the most tasteful way to express your political opinion, Mayorga thinks.

“[Incorporating your opinion] into fashion is smart,” she said. “Your clothing speaks for you, like, you’re putting yourself out there but in a different way other than just speaking your stance.”

In recent years, the number of award show viewers has plummeted. According to the Los Angeles Times, the 2018 Emmy Awards only drew 10.2 million viewers which was down 10.5 percent from last year’s show. But the Emmys are not the only award ceremony hitting record low viewing numbers.

As stated by Forbes, the Oscars also took a hit in viewers this year by captivating only 26.5 million, marking a 19 percent decrease from the previous year. The New York Times found that this year’s Grammy Awards plunged 24 percent with only 19.8 million viewers. Rolling Stone said that the MTV Video Music Awards drew a mere 5.2 million viewers, which was an all-time low since Nielsen Media started tracking the views in 1994.

Art gallery depicts the college’s past, future with new exhibition

By Deanna Roma
News Editor

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Juan Becerra-Gomez’ ‘Drawing of CCM campus, year 2118’ Photos by: Brett Friedensohn

County College of Morris’ Art Design and Art Gallery is featuring a 50th anniversary exhibition called “Into the Future” which includes student artwork and old yearbooks, photographs, and documents of the campus.

This particular exhibition is going to feature the work of six students: Amy Albin, Juan Becerra-Gomez, Christie binger, Charlie Neely, Edward, Lee and Heather Stevenson. They are expected to depict their own personal vision on the college’s future. The gallery will be showcasing visual and audio documents from past artwork, consisting of historical records, photographs, videos, and announcements.

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Heather Stevenson’s untitled statue.

The show will take place through Monday, Nov 12  in the downstairs Sherman H. Masten Learning Resource Center.

“The gallery has been open for many years”, said photography professor Professor Hrvoje Slovenc. “It is not a new [event].”

The students chosen were commissioned by the college and are expected to develop artwork specifically for the anniversary show. They are expected to use graphic design, paintings, drawings, video, and poetry.

“It’s good that they do a little history [with] the articles and everything,” said Custodian Ray Arson. “I like the old memos and everything. I haven’t looked at the yearbooks to see how the school has changed. It seems good how far and advanced we have come.”


The gallery is showcasing visual and audio documents from past artwork, consisting of historical records, photographs videos and announcements.

“The gallery has been open for many years”, said photography professor Professor Hrvoje Slovenc. “It is not a new [event].”

The students chosen were commissioned by the college and are expected to develop artwork specifically for the anniversary show. They are expected to use graphic design, paintings, drawings, video and poetry.

“I think it’s very valuable to look back and to see where the school has come from [because] they’ve made so many strides. I hope people do come and visit it because one of the classes I teach is college student success which is going to be reconfigured as freshman seminar class and part of it is understanding the resources of your campus,” Said Anne Beacken, an adjunct faculty member at CCM. “And I hope students do visit to understand the resources that are here and all the history that [the school] has. It’s interesting to see where you’ve come from.”

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The gallery included copies of the CCMemo going back to 1973, along with student Edward Lee’s speculative design for the CCMemo of the year 2038.

Students demonstrate comedic, musical talents at open mic

By Katie Coyne


CCM student Nate Martucci performs stand-up comedy at CCM’s open mic.

Fifteen students had signed up for the event hosted by the Student Activities Programming Board.

The SAPB’s goal is to do one open mic day per semester and there is no charge for students to sign up.

“Everything here is free,” said SAPB treasurer Angela Galviz, a business administration major at CCM. “Any activity that SAPB does takes one or two dollars out of your tuition, so technically, you already paid for everything.”

Galviz said she was satisfied with the turnout.

“We actually have a pretty good turnout right now, so I’m pretty happy about that,” Galviz said.  “People are starting to show up for the acts.”

Galviz chose not to perform.

“I do not have talent,” Galviz said.  “I like playing sports.”

Broadcasting major Ethan Herzinger performed “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away” by The Beatles. He has been playing guitar since seventh grade.

“It felt good because I wanna do these things but I’m at college, you know,” Herzinger said. “It’s always busy.  I have to keep up with work, so it’s great to do these kind of things.”

Nate Martucci, a business administration major in his third semester at CCM, performed comedy.

“I always liked comedy and stand-up comedy, things like that, so I decided I’d try to go up and try my hand at it,” Martucci said. “I think it was a really good way for everybody to kind of show what they think they are good at and show off their talents.”

Martucci accidentally knocked over the microphone when he took the stage, but his nerves did not stop him.

“I got nervous; I’ll be honest,” Martucci said. “It was my first time doing a comedy act in front of people.”

Chris Rock is one of Martucci’s favorite comedians.

“He’s one of my favorites just because of the way he delivers his material,” Martucci said.

Other students performed musical pieces with instruments such as the harmonica and keyboard. Some performed rap, blues, and jazz pieces.

Some students danced along to the rhythm of the music. Nachos and salsa were served in case students wanted something to munch on while enjoying the entertainment.

Best scary TV shows to watch on Netflix while the weather chills

By Jannat Sheikh

Managing Editor

Some people enjoy the spooky season of Halloween by watching scary movies, so for those who love binge-watching shows on the video streaming service Netflix, here are a few of the spine-chilling TV shows that can be checked out.

  1. American Horror Story

This show was rated 77 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and 8.2 out of 10 on IMDb. It came out in 2011 and has six seasons streaming on Netflix; however, the season seven premiere aired Tuesday, Sept. 5. Netflix rated it TV-MA. American Horror Story is a “twisted Emmy-winning drama” that plays on the power of supernatural fears and everyday horrors while exploring the human capacity of evil, according to Netflix. This spooky show has two Golden Globe awards, according to IMDb. The creators of the show are Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk. A few of the cast members include Evan Peters, Sarah Paulson and Jessica Lange.

  1. The Walking Dead

This show was rated 86 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and 8.5 out of 10 on IMDb. The series came out in 2010 and has seven seasons streaming on Netflix. The season eight premiere aired Sunday, Oct. 22 on AMC. The Walking Dead is based on a comic book. The plot revolves around a terrifying zombie apocalypse.  Netflix rated it TV-MA. The show was nominated for a Golden Globe according to IMDb. The creators of the show are Frank Darabont and Robert Kirkman. A few of the cast members are Andrew Lincoln, Steven Yeun and Chandler Riggs.

  1. Lost

This show was rated 88 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and 8.4 out of 10 on IMDb. Lost came out in 2004; there are six seasons. The series concluded May 23, 2010. The show is about a diverse group of people stranded on a mysterious island that possesses enigmatic forces. Netflix rated the show TV-14. Lost won one Golden Globe award according to IMDb. The creators of the show are J. J. Abrams, Jeffrey Lieber and Damon Lindelof. A few cast members include Matthew Fox, Evangeline Lilly and Terry O’Quinn.

  1. Bates Motel

This show was rated 91 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and 8.2 out of 10 on IMDb. This horror show came out in 2013. There are four seasons on Netflix; however, the final episode aired Monday, April 24 on A&E. IMDb describes it as “a contemporary prequel to Psycho, a thriller that came out in 1960. Bates Motel focuses on the main character’s mental state that leads the show to a dark and violent path. The show was nominated for three primetime Emmy awards. IMDb rated it TV-MA. The creators of the show are Carlton Cuse, Anthony Cipriano and Kerry Ehrin. Some of the cast members are Vera Farmiga, Freddie Highmore and Max Thieriot.

  1. Supernatural

This show was rated 92 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and 8.6 out of 10 on IMDb. This show came out in 2005. There are 12 seasons on Netflix, but they are still rolling. CW aired the season 13 premiere Thursday, Oct. 12. This show is about two siblings going all around the country to investigate paranormal activities. As Netflix puts it, they are “picking fights with demons, ghosts and monsters.” Netflix rated it TV-14. It had been nominated for three primetime Emmy awards. The creator of the show is Eric Kripke. The main cast members are Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles.

  1. Black Mirror

This show was rated 96 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and 8.9 out of 10 on IMDb. Black Mirror is a Netflix original series that started streaming in 2011. There are three seasons on Netflix. The description on Netflix states that it is a “sci-fi anthology series” that explores twisted, high-tech near-future events where humanity meets its darkest instincts. The show has won two primetime Emmy awards. Netflix rated it TV-MA. The creator of the show is Charlie Brooker. A few of the cast members are Bryce Dallas Howard, Alice Eve, and Michael Kelly.

  1. Stranger Things

This show was rated 96 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and 8.9 out of 10 on IMDb. Like Black Mirror, Stranger Things is also an original Netflix series. It began streaming last year, 2016. Season two will premiere Friday, Oct. 27. You can find this show under the new “Halloween Picks” category on the Netflix app. This fantasy, horror show revolves around a disappearance of a boy which leads to an uncovering of mysterious experimentation, spine-chilling supernatural forces and a strange girl. Stranger Things is nominated for two Golden Globes. Netflix rated this show TV-14. The creators of the show are The Duffer Brothers. A few of the cast members include Winona Ryder, David Harbour and Finn Woldhard.

All of these shows are available on Netflix. There are three streaming plans that range from $7.99 to $13.99 per month. The basic plan ($7.99) can only be streamed by one person while the standard plan ($10.99) can be streamed by two people. The premium plan ($13.99) can be streamed by four people and includes Ultra HD resolution. Netflix also has a one month free trial option.

Open mic brings students together for bars, beats, banter

By Katie Coyne

Entertainment Editor

Comedian Gibran Saleem performed at the open mic day Thursday, Oct. 12. Photo by Katie Coyne.

County College of Morris hosted an open mic day Thursday, Oct. 12 in the Student Community Center where students followed comedian Gabriel Saleem’s keynote act to demonstrate their talents in areas including stand-up comedy, poetry, rapping, singing, storytelling, and beatboxing.

Saleem’s jokes have been selected for Stand-up NBC and NBC’s Late Night Program. The Student Center was filled with smiling and laughter during his act.

Saleem is from North Carolina and graduated from New York University as a psychology major.

After Saleem’s act, CCM students took the stage and performed.
“For the open mic we’re just doing anything that students want to perform,” said Angela Galvis, a CCM business administration major and treasurer of the Student Activities Programming Board.  
The SAPB is in charge of all events at CCM, such as September’s Welcome Back Bash and the upcoming Halloween Party Tuesday, Oct. 31 from 12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. in the student center. All events hosted by the SAPB are free.
Students can sign up for events the day of, but they are also encouraged to sign up in advance.

“We do a table event,” Galvis said.  “A table event is what our club does to promote.  We do one every Tuesday to promote the event.”  
Andreas Loizou, a digital media major at CCM, performed a comedy act in a style made up of dry humor and self-deprecation. He said his inspirations include comedians such as the late Bill Hicks and Carl Briar.

“It was great; there were a variety of talents,” Loizou said. “It was nice to see everyone come out.”
Johan Ruiz, a CCM alumni who majored in liberal arts, performed a piece of slam poetry.  
“After listening to so many artists, I realized that there are no rules when it comes to speaking your peace,” Ruiz said.  “Perhaps the only rule is to spread love.”  
Ruiz said he started writing verses in high school and is inspired by many different musical genres including jazz, hip-hop, soul, and salsa. His pieces that he performed were called “MC (Master of Ceremony) Teacher” and “Speak Your Peace.”  
“MC Teacher” was about what being an emcee means to him.
“You have to keep the people interested, so you have to be an intellect; you have to be centered; you have to be deeper than the surface,” Ruiz said.
“Speak Your Peace” was inspired by an open mic series hosted by The Peace Poets, a group of five emsees out of Bronx, New York.

“The lyrics in the piece are just my eyes reflecting the world through my pen,” Ruiz said.

Preparation of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” beginning for fall

By Katie Coyne
Entertainment Editor
​Out of the two plays County College of Morris will perform this fall, some students are gravitating towards Victor Hugo’s classic “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” because it has more of a musical aspect to it. Compared to the fall drama, John Steinbeck’s “East of Eden,” it will allow more chances for students in the campus’ drama and fine arts scene to showcase and hone their skills in live music and dance.

The college held four auditions for the musical from Wednesday, August 30 to Tuesday, Sept. 5.

Breanna Migala, a liberal arts major at CCM said she wanted to audition for an instrumental part rather than acting or singing.
​“I could play music for it,” said Migala, a clarinet player.  “That’s what I was more interested in.”

Austin Biss, a music recording major who has played drums for 13 years, said he is also looking forward to performing music for the play.
​“I’m actually the drummer for the musicals,” Biss said.  “I’ve been doing it for three or four semesters now. If you go see the musical, I will be playing the drums there.”

Professor Marielaine Mammon, chair of the music, dance, and performing arts department at CCM said that she is excited about the musical.

“The music is phenomenal,” Mammon said “ I researched it and I just got so excited about it.”

​    Two of Mammon’s favorite composers Alan Menken for “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”  and Stephen Schwartz for “East of Eden” have  featured works in their respective CCM productions.

Mammon said “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” will have a more similar portrayal to the novel rather than the Disney movie.
​“The storyline, the true storyline of how Quasimodo was treated and his demise, and Esmeralda’s death, and Phoebus, it’s a love triangle, and it follows the book more than the cartoon,” Mammon said.
Mammon said Hugo’s musical will be comprised of a large chorus featuring some of  the “challenger students,” high school students earning college credits at CCM.

“The Hunchback of Notre Dame” will be performed Wednesday Nov. 1 at 7:30 p.m. in the Student Community Center Dragonetti Auditorium. There will also  be a Saturday matinee at 2 p.m.
“East of Eden,” will be performed in the Dragonetti Auditorium Thursday, Nov. 16 and Saturday, Nov. 18 at 7:30 p.m.  Tickets for both productions are $15 for the general public and $10 for CCM students and senior citizens over age 62.

CCM parking lots drive students into a fervor


“It’s insane how long some students are willing to wait for a parking spot,” said Drew Mautz, a visual arts major at CCM.

The school has eight parking lots accessible for students, which should be enough for each student and faculty member. But when location preferences come into play, all the space in the world is not enough.

“It goes without saying that lot seven is the most popular,” Mautz said. “I personally refuse to even try and find a spot there since I know numerous people who try every day and they sit there for a while waiting for classes to end and students to give them their spots.”

Mautz usually tries for lots two or three, which often have available spaces.

Other students are not as willing to take a longer walk to avoid the wait in lot seven.

“I think waiting for the closest spot possible is worth it,” said Victoria Jones, a liberal arts major at CCM. “I hate walking from the far lots to the buildings for classes, I feel so exhausted by the time I reach my classroom. I refuse to park anywhere other than lot seven and will wait however long I have to in order to find a spot.”

Nighttime students have the advantage of using lot five, which is a faculty-only lot during the day.

“A majority of the classes that I take are night classes which begin at 6:30 p.m., meaning I can park in lot five because I park after 5:30 p.m.,” stated Giana Phillips, a liberal arts student taking a few courses at CCM. “I work full time so the night classes were my best option, and parking is super easy to find later at night. If I park in any other lot other than five, which isn’t often, I go to lot seven. The spots there are equal distance for me.”

Whether distance or hour of day determines the spot, CCM students feel strongly about their parking lots.

NBC’s ‘The Good Place’ revives the intelligent network comedy


Intelligent TV has become commonplace. Cable networks like AMC and HBO are turning out long-form stories now (Breaking Bad, The Sopranos) that are better than most films, and that is to say nothing about the quality behemoth of Netflix, with recent addition A Series of Unfortunate Events wowing critics.

However, these well-financed cable networks are leaving basic cable networks like NBC in the dust. Sure, NBC had 30 Rock and Parks and Recreation, but the intelligent, hilarious minds of Amy Poehler and Tina Fey have left a hole filled by sick star vehicles like Kevin Can Wait and pseudo-intellectual, mind-numbing, trite chuckle pieces like The Big Bang Theory.

So imagine my surprise at the depth created by Michael Schur’s (The Office and Parks and Recreation veteran) new NBC show The Good Place. Instantly establishing a lore of heaven that is both inoffensive to salient religions, and based on utilitarian principles of morality, The Good Place is set in The Good Place, where only the spectacularly moral are allowed access to the afterlife. Now imagine again what would happen if you placed an accident in heaven. Due to a clerical error, Eleanor Shellstrop (played by Kristen Bell), an all-around “bad person,” has been placed in The Good Place, while the woman who shares her name (who spent her life saving sick children in Africa) is condemned to The Bad Place. Top it all off with a soulmate who spent his life as a philosophy professor of ethics, and the maelstrom of transcendent consequences due to a “bad” person being in The “good” place, and we have a potential masterpiece for character development in a conceptually boring, perfect land.

The cast is led by the aforementioned Kristen Bell with Ted Danson playing the angelic/creator role of Michael. Newcomer William Jackson Harper plays Eleanor’s soulmate, Chidi Anagonye, and is a welcome addition to an already talent-addled cast. His moral deliberations are refreshing in a world of supposedly objective, but alternative facts.

The seeds are lain for truly spectacular character development in The Good Place with Lost-esque expository flashback scenes interwoven between the current events unfolding in each episode, and what’s even better, it’s actually funny. Poking fun at the esoteric and incomprehensible nature of philosophy in Chidi’s ethical manuscript, the upbeat but emotionless omnipotence of The Good Place guide and assistant, Janet (played by D’Arcy Carden, another spectacular fresh face), and the pretentiousness of Eleanor’s next door neighbor, Tahani (Jameela Jamil) all left me with more than a smile on my face.

The Good Place convinces me that fresh ideas can still be broadcast on broadcast networks, and that intelligence is being catered to in the realm of television. It will make you smarter, and it might even make you a better person.