Television Tuesday :: No Trope Bingo, featuring season 7 of True Blood

26 Aug

So!  It’s time to look at the No Trope Bingo cards and this season of True Blood.  It’s… shocking, to say the least.  Almost as if Brian Buckner et al actually sat down with these cards and went “how much can we fit in?”

R1C1, Bechdel fail: the first few episodes of the season passed the Bechdel test pretty well.  Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll) talking to Adilyn (Bailey Noble), Willa (Amelia Rose Blaire) talking to Lettie Mae (Adina Porter), etcetera.  But… then that devolved.  Almost every conversation Sookie (Anna Paquin) had with another woman exclusively was about Alcide (Joe Manganiello) or Bill (Stephen Moyer), suddenly Jess’ conversations fell into the same trap, etcetera.  The last episode did pass thanks to a scene between Pam (Kristin Bauer van Straten) and Sarah Newlin (Anna Camp), but.
R1C2, disregarded logic: otherwise known as everything.  But this is a good place to bring up the most glaring continuity error: in episode nine of this season, Jessica asked Bill to release her, but… Bill had actually already released her.  In season three, episode eight, “Night on the Sun.”  I’d actually recently looked this up just for other reasons and when this took place I twitched so much, then looked it up again just to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating.
R1C3, underused/invisible POC: well, they killed Tara (Rutina Wesley) off in the first five minutes of the season.  For some reason they spent more time with Lettie Mae than they have in the entire rest of the show, and Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis) did get dragged into that as well as have a… horrible bisexual love triangle, but he wasn’t hardly in the last few episodes.  All Nicole (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) did was get kidnapped and talk about being pregnant/having a baby.
R1C4, dead family manpain: primarily fulfilled by Bill’s ridiculously tedious flashbacks to the Civil War.
R1C5, invisible lesbians: or bi girls, or girls who are some stripe of queer.  Well, they killed Tara off in the first five minutes.  (They’d effectively nullified her relationship with Pam, and this also ended any potential for a relationship with Willa that was totally there, I mean seriously, just look at Willa’s face when she was talking about Tara.  Love comes in at the eyes.)  And while Pam had some lines about being queer, the closest she got to acting on it was expressing her initial approval of Amber (Natalie Hall).  Also I read an interview with Bailey Noble where she said something along the lines of “well, Adilyn was originally supposed to be a lesbian, I don’t know what happened to that idea.  (nervous laughter)”  It all adds up.

R2C1, vicious female rivalry: a little bit Amber and Sarah (though that was with reason), primarily fulfilled by Violet (Karolina Wydra) and Jessica.
R2C2, ho-yay: primarily fulfilled by Jason (Ryan Kwanten) and his completely pointless, gratuitous sex dream about Eric (Alexander Skarsgard) at the beginning of the season (despite the fact that it had been at least six months since Jason had Eric’s blood and in the past that particular effect of vampire blood had never lasted that long).
R2C3, infectious diseases: was the hep V the Big Bad of the season?  I just don’t know.  It was certainly the Big Pain in the Ass.
R2C5, dead little girls: mostly just in reference to that element of Adilyn and Andy’s (Chris Bauer) previous season’s experiences.

R3C1, sexualized violence: I am still so furious about the scenes in Violet’s sex dungeon oh my goodness.
R3C5, fridging: they killed Tara off in the first five minutes.

R4C1, gratuitous sex: Jason and Violet banging on the cop car.  Jason and Eric banging in his ho-yay dream.  Eric and his French girl banging in the flashbacks.  Jason and Jessica banging at Sookie’s party that she didn’t want to have (which could have turned out to not be gratuitous, but given the way the plot dramatically switched after that it was).  Violet blowing Jason in their house.  Bill and Sookie’s sex scene that lasted just way too long.  Jessica and Hoyt’s (Jim Parrack) sex scene that lasted just way too long.  Etcetera.
R4C2, inappropriate male attention: in addition to the sketch attention that Sookie gets from strange male vampires always, I just marked this off because Bill’s attention always feels inappropriate.
R4C4, infidelity: James (Nathan Parsons) with Lafayette cheating on Jessica.  Jason with Jessica cheating on Violet.  Hoyt with Jessica cheating on Bridget (who’s not listed on imdb, and I don’t want to go searching through articles that are just going to make me sad to find the actress’ name).

R5C1, conscious irresponsibility: I also mark this square off just because Bill.  He’s willing to say to Sookie, “I hurt you,” but he doesn’t ever actually say what else he’s done wrong.  Allegedly he wrote a book, and other characters mention things from it, but it seems mostly to exist as a way for characters to know things that happened previously in canon that they weren’t present for.
R5C2, narrative neglect: THEY KILLED TARA OFF IN THE FIRST FIVE MINUTES.  Also, once the plotlines they’d been dragged into wrapped up, any notable number of characters just… weren’t present anymore, or were only present in a sideline/background context, despite there being every reason for them to be (the most obvious victim of this is Willa, who was only in about half of the episodes this season; this also happened to Lafayette and James, somewhat to Adilyn and her stepbrother-boyfriend [confession: my DVR’d recording cut off after a proper hour of programming, shortly after Nicole and Sam’s [[Sam Trammell]] daughter disembarked from their van, so if anything happened after that I don’t know and I don’t care enough to go looking]).
R5C4, narratively excused sociopathy: another one I mark off largely just because Bill, honestly.
R5C5, love triangles: AHAHAHAHA.  Alcide-Sookie-Bill.  There’s the everpresent tease of Eric-Sookie-Bill.  Jessica-James-Lafayette (which is my least favorite of them, because honestly, throwing the bisexual guy into the love triangle is actually the worst).  Violet-Jason-Jessica.  Jason-Jessica-Hoyt(-Bridget who then – back to Jason).

R1C2, narratively excused intolerance: well, there’s plenty of narratively discussed intolerance, but also… not.  The whole thing with the fellowly WOC townswoman goading Kenya (Tanya Wright) into doing violence against supernaturals by saying that Sheriff Andy disrespects her for being a black woman didn’t sit well with me, because the handling made it feel like it was trivializing the issue of such biases, for example.
R1C3, lack of POC: again, killing Tara off is a big part of it.
R1C4, general male brooding: see also, Bill Compton.
R1C5, lack of queer people: again, killing Tara off is a big part of it.

R2C1, narratively enforced gender policing: primarily fulfilled by the ways that Violet taunted Jason about how in her (vaguely historical) time men were men, men didn’t feel things, he was being too soft.
R2C2, compulsive heteroeroticism: see also, the finale in which inexplicably everyone was married and/or having babies.  Somehow a vampire drama turned into my Facebook newsfeed.
R2C3, crazy inbred hillbillies: well, not hillbillies, but definitely bigoted townsfolk were the little-bads for a couple of episodes.
R2C4, slut shaming: primarily fulfilled by comments thought about Sookie by townsfolk and said about Adilyn by Holly (Lauren Bowles) (who then did apologize, but still).
R2C5, children as plot devices: primarily fulfilled by Nicole and Sam’s unborn baby and then by… the finale in which inexplicably everyone was married and/or having babies.

R3C1, police brutality: primarily fulfilled by the aforementioned instance of Kenya being swayed to the dark side of bigoted townsolk.
R3C2, love interest syndrome: poor Sookie, the protagonist of the show, was narratively treated as little more than who she was banging.

R4C2, excused unwanted overtures: also marked mainly because Bill.
R4C3, forgive your abusers: Sookie and also Jessica re: Bill.  The entire plotline with Lettie Mae and Tara’s “ghost” (which, are you kidding me, seriously, no that is not the thing).  Etcetera.
R4C4, compulsive motherhood: the finale in which inexplicably everyone was married and/or having babies.
R4C5, “don’t do the brave thing”: somewhat Alcide re: Sookie.  Somewhat Nicole re: Sam.

R5C1, (evil) white guy redemption arc: see also, Bill Compton.
R5C2, narrative double standard: there are also ways to apply this to Bill Compton, I’m sure.  And so many other things.  I’m too tired to get into it.
R5C3, women as plot devices: Nicole.  Adilyn.  Amber Mills.  Poor dead Tara.

There were 6/24 squares free on each card.  So 3/4 of each card was filled.  Seven bingos were achieved.

–your fangirl heroine.

shut up gross person

Superlative Monday :: the 2014 Emmys and my thoughts on them

25 Aug

This is the only time I will do this, ever, but for some reason they had the Emmys on a Monday this year.  “But wait, isn’t it True Blood week?” you may be asking.  Yes, it is.  But… well, all the themes this week are going to be a little off because I have a lot of different weird things to say about this freaking gorram season of True Blood that don’t line up properly entirely, and I haven’t actually watched the finale yet, so I’m just going to discuss the Emmys tonight so I don’t have to wait until next week.  Sorry.

Breaking Bad (Lead Actor in a Drama Series [Bryan Cranston], Supporting Actress in a Drama Series [Anna Gunn], Supporting Actor in a Drama Series [Aaron Paul], Writing for a Drama Series, Drama Series)
I only just started watching this (I’m in season 2) and I’m… giving it a shot for the friends I have encouraging me to watch it but I’m not really there yet.  So I can’t speak to this particular season of the thing, since I’m not there yet.  But my does this show win a lot of awards.

True Detective (Directing for a Drama Series)
And you all know how I felt about this show.  Sigh.  It’s at this point that I also drop the usual “I watch so much television, how do I watch so few things that get nominated and not particularly like the ones I have seen and win?”

American Horror Story: Coven (Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie [Jessica Lange], Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie [Kathy Bates])
Yeah, all right.  They both did a good job.  I was pretty into Coven, generally, like it was definitely my favorite cycle of AHS, for a lot of reasons, so all right.

Fargo (Directing for a Miniseries, Movie, or a Dramatic Special)
And I liked Fargo pretty okay, too.  It wasn’t the best thing I’ve ever seen but it didn’t make me angry.  It was well-made.  (I’m bad at comparing performances, but I would also have been very happy to see Allison Tolman win in her category.  She was wonderful.)

–your fangirl heroine.

slightly booze

Sundry Sunday :: another story with my urban dictionary, this one about social events with adults

24 Aug

(Where I should clarify: I myself am well into my twenties, but for storytelling purposes I often divide ages up very simply: everyone approximately my age or younger is a baby [those notably younger are sometimes even infants], everyone notably older is an adult.)

When I’m already hamsters drunk (courtesy of defensive drink-mixing; certain of my own personal mixed drinks can serve even as security blanket armor) at social events with adults, it’s much easier to exhibit willful optimism.  It’s rare to make temporary BFFs at a social event with adults, largely because our social frames of reference often differ (for example, they are rarely of the internet), but if I do (thanks often to displays of stealth personality, on my part or theirs, occasionally triggered by fictional conditioning) it’s very exciting and welcome.  More common is the adults latching onto whichever of my lemon cakes they are aware of and trying to engage me thus, or worse stumbling into a conversation that doesn’t sit well with my rational brain or hits on involuntary twitches or warning label/trigger topics for me or gets into perceived defaults or is in some other way like zombies and that therefore I have to exhibit neutral passivity during while touching my worry points frequently, lest I drop fang.  Sometimes, depending on how far gone I am with drinks, I will do voices though and perhaps have a brain freeze, and if my mother is present we often partake of mutual repeated punchlines.  Alas, sometimes these events reaffirm my senses of inevitable pessimism and misanthropic meliorism, especially when guests present show up wearing douchapeaus.  Even if I haven’t been at or surrounded by the party proper for too long, by the time everyone has left I am suffering almost certainly from human overload and desiring social hibernation.

–your fangirl heroine.

wild-eyed

Fashion Friday :: as requested.

22 Aug

loki

I’ve had legitimate requests for pinup Loki, so I’m obliging.

micheline dress in green with black lace (pinup couture)

Black and green, that’s a start.  Micheline Dress in Green with Black Lace, Pinup Couture.

layer it on tights in black (modcloth)

A lot of these wind up having black tights because it’s me styling them, honestly.  Layer it On Tights in Black, ModCloth.

buckle up, chum! bootie in noir (modcloth)

We need to get that gold worked in there somehow.  Buckle Up, Chum! Bootie in Noir, ModCloth.

ava necklace in green (pinup couture)

I’m not sure why, but this necklace just really suits to me.  Ava Necklace in Green, Pinup Couture.

chain the rules hair comb (modcloth)

And similarly, I’m not even sure why this strikes my fancy, but it really does.  Chain the Rules Hair Comb, ModCloth.

–your fangirl heroine.

cut it the fuck out

Theatre Thursday :: a very quick note regarding Rent.

22 Aug

As I’ve doubtless mentioned before, I was basically a baby when I first saw Rent.  And it grew into being Quite The Thing for my friends, somewhat in the months leading up to the film (I saw it on stage for the first time about a year before the film was released, so there was plenty of time to get a buzz going amongst my peers, many of them unrepentant musical nerds like myself) and definitely in the months after the film.  At the time, we were a bunch of babies, really.  We were a bunch of middle-class kids in the lower grades of an upper-middle-class high school, most of us white, most of us not really wanting for anything.  (I’m not the only one of my larger friendgroup who wound up being some stripe of queer, but at the time none of us were out; I definitely hit on how this affected me back in my ages-ago essay about Maureen, but I won’t presume to speak for any of the others.)

We were all also, to one degree or another, really freaking in love with this musical, and I don’t know, maybe it’s just that rock musicals were how my friends did “edgy.”  But I’ve realized recently that while Rent was formative entertainment for me, it was also one of those things that ruined me for other things.  It set a bunch of standards for things that other media has yet to meet.  It did a bunch of beautiful things that I look for and want everywhere.

  • Eight main characters.  Such racial representation: only three of them are white.
  • As such, every present tense canonical romantic relationship is interracial.  (Roger and Mimi?  Check.  Collins and Angel?  Check.  Maureen and Joanne?  Check.  Benny and Mimi?  Check.)
  • Regarding romantic representation: heterosexual relationship, check.  Male homosexual relationship, check.  Female homosexual relationship, check.
  • A variety of social backgrounds.  A variety of personalities.  A variety of artistic temperaments.  Etcetera.
  • And yet despite these things, despite the fact that these characters argued and scuffled and disagreed often, big giant endearing found family.

I am spoiled.  That’s all there is to it.

–your fangirl heroine.

Whimsy Wednesday :: in which Rei is potentially not fooled by a lack of top hat and Ami actively prefers studying to romance.

20 Aug

I don’t immediately remember this one from the summary on Hulu, either. But it is another one about specifically targeting the energy of young girls. Social whtever.

“Rei, you have some nice encyclopedias…” in a tone of awe. Bless you Ami-chan. The mission to protect everyone from the monsters! Focusing on that. Doing research about wacky things happening in the city that might be evil. They would never get anywhere without Ami-chan.

“I’m not going to give you many more chances to redeem yourself.” “Remember, you are expendable.”

Why is she so excited about a carousel I’m sure she’s been on a carousel before she is just easily excited and it’s silly.

Talking lion. Cray anime princess.

You think the magic apple that operates the animatronic animals might be evil?? Good call, Rei.

And I love how baffled Ami is by the argumentative banter that Usagi and Rei are already doing.

Okay, teams being Usagi+Rei and Ami+Luna is actually a horrible idea. Mostly because of the argumentative banter and also Ami and Luna are significantly more logical than Usagi and Rei.

Giant panda train what the hell.

That is terrifying.

“Bun-Head?! That’s classic.” How???? Like… a bun is literally a kind of hairstyle it’s not even a pun or a joke or anything.

“That guy in front of us. Don’t you think he looks kind of like Tuxedo Mask?” OH I DON’T KNOW REI DID IT TAKE YOUR SPECIAL PSYCHIC DIVINATION POWERS TO BE ABLE TO NOTICE THAT

“There’s an evil aura.” Good call, Rei. While Ami is inside looking for clues and getting sucked into it. And then Usagi and Rei argue about who’s more worried about Ami, basically. Goofballs.

GREYSCALE

Exorcizing the grayscale

I’m so confused about why all of the hallucinations and dreams are automatically floral but I guess it’s just very kawaii or something, I don’t know.

Ohhhh creepy doll little-bad. That’s very alarming.

Tuxedo Kamen on a horse out of nowhere. “Wow, how stunning!”

Real Tuxedo Kamen rose-blasting the little-bad while Mars and Moon are off riding a fake carousel with the fake Tuxedo kamen.

“Stick to dreaming only when you’re asleep. Farewell.” He is ACTUALLY THE MOST USELESS.

“Everyone! That apple is what is absorbing their energy!” NO KIDDING. She didn’t even need her computer to tell you that.

Uncomfortable panty shot.

I really love that Bubble Spray actually confuses all of the little bads. Like you genuinely can’t see through fog.

FLAMING TIARA

“Curses…those sailor guardians…I’ll get them for this.” Weren’t you planning on getting them anyway?

I’m also really amused by the fact that they brought their talking cat to the amusement park and nobody finds that weird or even seems to notice.

“I Want a Boyfriend: The Luxury Cruise Ship Is a Trap.”

THIS IS SUCH BEAUTIFUL NONSENSE OH MY GOSH.

“I mean, don’t you feel bad for the single girls?” Your logic is minimal, Usagi.

“That girl is becoming quite a nuisance.” As Jadeite is antagonistically hit on by a little-bad. “You remember me? I’m honored, Jadeite.” “You haven’t changed much, have you sir? Your response is always cold every time I come to express my love for you.”  The power dynamics in the Negaverse are waaaay not vanilla.

Romantic cruises. “A luxury liner with room for 666 passengers.” Kids, that is actually the most obvious clue. Look out. But seriously, a luxury romance cruise sounds like actually the worst idea. Being stuck on a boat with a bunch of strangers. Ew.

Rei-chan is very serious business about everything.

“Their usual silly fight.” That about sums it up.

“You’re supposed to go with your boyfriend.” And then… Rei-chan invites Ami-chan. So Ami can study the ship, Rei suggests, and Rei can go boyfriend hunting. That’s kind of adorable.

Yes, Usagi, putting your cat in a box is a really great idea.

“Enchanted with your seawater magic.”

“We’re the only two girls who are here by yourselves.” I have a solution for that, girls. It doesn’t involve boyfriends, but y’know.

Usagi freaks out about how cute the captain is while Luna is in the box freaking out about the intense aura. Rei wants to troll for guys who have just broken up and Ami wishes she stayed home to study.

“We have a situation! This ship is full of evil energy!” Oh, Luna.

Jadeite finally realized he had to disguise himself when on these missions, apparently.

“Anything to get away from here!” BLESS YOU AMI-CHAN.

The most romantic show in the entire world is a disco ball snowing on you while a chick in a body suit laughs maniacally. That’s bad marketing. “Continue your romantic dreams in hell!”

“Why didn’t you two come with boys?” “Shut up! We’ve got our reasons!”

I… am just going to leave that there out of context.

Except by going outside you freed the area up for Mars and Mercury to transform.

Oh baby girl your bubbles don’t seem like the most effective weapon around the water-manipulator but apparently they are.

I just need to transcribe this entire conversation.

Jadeite: I underestimated you, girls. But then, you’ve gotten a lot more skilled since the last time we met…

Moon: End of the line, Jadeite!

Mars: You’ve made me seriously angry!

Mercury: Both of you, don’t let your guard down.

Jadeite: How insolent! This ends now!

And then he disappears. Summoned by Queen Beryl, who is going to punish him for using her prize monster without her permission.  This is so so amazing.

–your fangirl heroine.

sweet summer child

Television Tuesday :: being a fan of True Blood as described by my urban dictionary

19 Aug

(Hey guys, whoops here is the prelude to next week’s Final Official True Blood Week.)

It’s funny, because although I am the angriest about how this show has turned out (as you will soon find out) discovering that someone else has enjoyed it makes them my temporary BFF.  I expect that some of my people wish that I could practice neutral passivity with regards to this topic, but I fictionally overemote about it because it originally came to me at a time in my life where I needed it and that it turned to crap so much means that it has become an involuntary twitch and/or trigger topic for me.  I went into this season trying to express willful optimism, because I was telling myself it couldn’t possibly turn out as shockingly what-the-hell as last season did, but then… it delivered a fictional uppercut and fictiongrief all at once in the form of the Tara credit.  It was a bad omen.  She was more fridged (and then posthumously character-assasinated) than vaulted, but it still wasn’t okay at all (though I guess I should have expected it since I thought “I will be sad if any of my girls die but I will be legitimately pissed if Tara does).  hen it did things like fulfill my inevitable pessimism about the handling of queer relationships (something this show has always at least had before) and put me in a state of perpetual offense about certain things, particularly those that took place in a certain unacceptable sex dungeon.  I have been coping with it by doing voices in the form of the posthumous IC liveblogging I mentioned last week.

The thing about True Blood is that a couple of years ago, it was blowing my mind with its wonderful because of things like the fact that it catered to my lady-tinted glasses tendency and yielded the Vampire Authority test (which, I counted upon a rewatch, the Nova Corps of Guardians of the Galaxy does pass with regards to its political side, at least) but then season six happened and season seven happened and it didn’t take advantage of any of its logic or lemon cakes and I was saddened.  I know that my fan standards are too high here, because this is just a silly show about vampires (this is what I’m told, anyway) but I cannot help it.  I partake in defensive drink-mixing when watching this show now (certain themed drinks serve as security blanket armor, honestly), that and regretting my completism problem.  The entire plotline they’ve been playing this season is something of a narrative no-return.  Essentially, at this point this is something that I express fan exhaustion and wound up fandom about and something that is a no-win fandom.

Anyway.

–your fangirl heroine.

you don't say

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