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EW Community book review: 'Nobody's Cuter Than You'

Pop culture is full of women who celebrate the genetic need to claim a best friend. Oprah expects Gayle to ride shotgun on road trips. Amy Poehler thrives on the energy in the room when she shares a stage with Tina Fey. Rachel was there for Monica when she cried tears of angst because she had to live with a boy. And where would Laverne be without Shirley?

If we learned anything from Meredith Grey and Cristina Yang, it’s that we understand the importance of having “that person” in your life. You know the one. She makes you laugh. She makes you think. You cry together. You grow together. She’s always there, even when you didn’t realize you needed her. She’s your person.

Melanie Shankle’s new book, Nobody’s Cuter Than You, celebrates these special friendships. She takes the reader on a nostalgic journey that spans several decades. We follow Shankle through the ’80s, where a mutual love of the musical Grease and Nacho Cheese Doritos brought two young girls together. Her high school besties bond over hair bands and hairspray. But Shankle meets her ultimate “person” in college—a girl named Gulley.

The majority of the book focuses on this friendship, which has sustained through the good times and the bad, for more than 25 years. These two women stand side by side, cheering at Texas A&M football games, rejoicing in the births of children, cleaning the puke from sick children, mourning the deaths of relatives, figuring out their faith, praising a generous God, and navigating this thing we call life.

Nobody’s Cuter Than You also paints a beautiful picture of friendship. With every new person introduced into our lives, our story is unfolding. Each laugh and each tear help mold us into exactly the person we are supposed to be. Shankle takes a personal walk down Memory Lane, examining each woman who made an impact on her life. Readers can’t help but look back at their own lives, mentally taking note of the women who transformed them forever and the God who weaves the tapestry.

The book is also full of delightful pop-culture references. Shankle has a knack for peppering each of her stories with glorious details from the decade she revisits. If you’re a fan of Xanadu, matching your eyeshadow color to your socks, and the marvel known as the convenience-store diet, this is the book for you. You’ll giggle, you’ll relate, you’ll tear up, and then you’ll go call your “person”—for no other reason than that it’s a Thursday.

Melanie Shankle lives in San Antonio, Texas, with her husband, Perry, and her daughter, Caroline. She began writing her blog, Big Mama, in July 2006. She is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Sparkly Green Earrings and The Antelope in the Living Room. She is a regular contributor to The Pioneer Woman blog, and in her spare time she likes to shop good sales, watch too much television, and laugh at things that are sometimes inappropriate.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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