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Television Tuesday :: a week removed from Game of Thrones season seven, I muse.

5 Sep

Here are my thoughts, in no particular order.

  • Dudes, I am furious about the decimation of Dorne. I could write an entire essay just about my anger about Dorne, and someday I will, but right now I’ll keep it to this: the gratuitous, ruthless, and disgustingly personal slaughtering of an entire family of women of color, who are in turn our only real ties to the only part of the entire country in which the show is based that is also natively populated by people of color, is no less than an affront. Yes, it proves Euron (Pilou Asbaek) and Cersei (Lena Headey) are evil, but guys, we knew that already. How many people have those two either killed or threatened to kill? How brutal have they already been? Cersei’s role in it was at least part of a narrative arc, although undoubtedly a problematic one (that would have been 1000x less problematic if B&W hadn’t gotten their sadistic, sexist, racist mitts on it – because need I remind you that in the books, [Arianne Martell and her cousins] the Sand Snakes support Myrcella to put her on the throne and actively work to take King’s Landing down from the inside while supporting a potentially matriarchal societal view), but Euron’s hand in the senseless murder of Obara and Nymeria was no better than torture porn and fan service. Yes, fan service. I went online the night it happened and every Tweet I saw popping up immediately after was rejoicing that these characters had been brutalized and murdered, because most casual viewers of the show had nothing but antipathy for the Sand Snakes, the main reason for which was that B&W completely misunderstood, underwrote, and embarrassed them and their plotline from nearly the beginning. Any crime the Sand Snakes committed, even hypothetically, could also be attributed to other (male) characters on the show that people have never raged against. (And some that people still hated, but often even with less vitriol than they hated the Sand Snakes.) After their disastrous season five appearances, my girls were reduced to almost nothing in season six and murder in season seven, and sure, B&W claim that fan reaction had nothing to do with that, but I think we all know better. They couldn’t be arsed to do it right, so they gave into the other sadistic, sexist, racist voices clamoring for their ends. And I haven’t given up on the show yet, but you’d better believe I’m watching especially some parts of it out of the side of my eyes even more than before.
  • On a very different and much more positive note, the culmination of the Sansa (Sophie Turner) as the Lady of Winterfell arc of the season was one of the most beautiful and emotionally satisfying things I’ve ever seen. I have always hated Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) just as much as I love Sansa and have been rooting for her to be instrumental in his end. She didn’t actually wield the weapon doing it, Arya (Maisie Williams) did, but it was after her ceremonious and brutal verbal undressing of him and deconstruction of every crime he’s committed and also her verbal reassurance that she and Arya are a team of awesome sisterhood. After watching him constantly trying to undermine and manipulate her for seasons on end but especially this last one, it was perfect.
  • Wow. My passion about these two subjects has exhausted me. The rest of this list is going to be short-form.
  • Con: underutilization of many characters. Most of this wasn’t to any criminal degree, but was still annoying. Where did Melisandre (Carice van Houten) go? Why did Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) not do as much as she could? Why was Yara (Gemma Whelan) captured and then ignored for episodes on end? (Okay, that one is kind of criminal, and I’m pretty cranky, but she’s not dead so there could still be hope. Bleh.) Etcetera.
  • Con: overutilization of some characters. Most of this was innocuous but annoying also. Jorah (Iain Glen) had so many opportunities to die and he hasn’t died yet and I’m getting really impatient and why did we have to cure him of greyscale again I hate him. Varys (Conleth Hill) is interesting but honestly the more we understand about his thought process and motivations the less I care and the more annoyed I sometimes get at him. The Hound (Rory McCann) is interesting, I guess, but not as interesting as a lot of characters who should have more screen time than they do and I’m still bitter at him because people ship him with Sansa and I am angered by people shipping any man with Sansa that’s not Willas Tyrell because Willas Tyrell, having never existed in the television show, is merely a polite cipher, the available heterosexual male Tyrell, and a bookish horse nerd so he’s probably fine.
  • Pro: what little we did get of Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) and Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson). Missandei is fabulous any time and could probably kill a man just with her cutting wit (a good thing, as the Tyrells have been also decimated and that art was primarily theirs to practice before). Missandei is also beautiful friends with Daenerys (Emilia Clarke). But mostly I’m talking about the scene between Missandei and Grey Worm, their shy but impassioned feelingsdump followed by largely implicit sexual activity. This scene was revolutionary. One, it’s beautiful that one of the only positive sex scenes this show has had in years was between two gorgeous black folks. Two, explicit consent is beautiful. Three, the fact remains that society at large has notions of what “conventional sex” entails (boy/girl p/v etc.) and while these two are a m/f couple it’s, for reasons of Grey’s past trauma and abuse, not p/v. Their intimacy took other (unseen but implicit) forms and the fact that Grey let Missandei in despite that past trauma and abuse and the fact that they found each other is really the most beautiful thing and I am comfortable amending their “best asexual couple” status to being “best demisexual couple” status. Okay, I actually had a lot to say about this too because it was the most gorgeous thing. Back to short-form, though.
  • Pro: Sansa is a good Lady of Winterfell, somewhat as mentioned.
  • Pro: Lyanna Mormont (Bella Ramsey) is perfect and a shining star.
  • Pro: Nymeria the person may have been victim of horrible, but Nymeria the direwolf is still alive and kicking, although existing parallel to the plot instead of inside of the plot.
  • Pro: we noticed a motif of men quite literally running/jumping away from problems in battle. Theon (Alfie Allen) just nosediving off the boat, Bronn (Jerome Flynn) pitching himself off the crossbow platform and then pitching himself and Jaime (Nicolaj Coster-Waldau) into the body of water to avoid dragon attack, etcetera. That’s pretty funny and we like it.
  • Con: Theon. I am tired. He does something redeemable every season, but after having done two or three unredeemable things before that probably. I understand trauma! But your flight mode endangered Yara and that is not cool and you better get her back (but also let her get herself back because she ain’t no damsel).
  • Pro/con: Dany and Jon (Kit Harington). They have really great chemistry onscreen but not necessarily in a sexy way just in an actors playing off of each other way but I’ve known it was getting sexy for ages but it’s not great that it only got sexy because it’s now official canon that they’re related and ooh shock and also…
  • Con: I’m actually pretty ticked that they did that bull with “Rhaegar annulled his marriage to Elia and secretly married Lyanna so now Jon is not a bastard he’s the legitimate heir to the Iron Throne”? Like, I don’t care that Rhaegar and Lyanna was consensual obviously I’m good with that. But the problem with Rhaegar is that he fucked Elia over and that is just not cool but it’s especially not cool that he just officially handwaved their marriage away without her consent because shit, girl deserved at least some agency in the destruction of her life, damn. And it’s also really annoying that they’re yanking this “Jon is the legitimate heir” stuff out of nowhere. For the unknowing, this is not (yet) book canon. R + L = J is book canon, but “the legitimate heir” is some doofy convenient bull that B&W made up to create conflict between Jon and Dany and/or set up for Dany taking on a more evil queen role in the last season because she fights for what she’s worked for and really wants and Jon doesn’t even want the Iron Throne but still I can smell the conflict and/or set up for if not that Dany at least being made to submit. I don’t like any of this. The only option I like is Jon pulling a queensmoot and going “no, no, I just want to be the Warden of the North, leave me alone I hate sunshine, Aunt Dany who I only boinked one time before we realized we were related because then we stopped actually wants to rule the Seven Kingdoms so I’m going to let her because I’m a progressive feminist and I trust her and stuff.” At this point that’s starting to feel like a pipe dream, and that just fucking sucks.

There’s probably more, I’m sure there’s more. But that’s the big stuff.

–your fangirl heroine.

how20dare

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Television Tuesday :: 2014 in television (some missed opportunities and some positive things)

30 Dec

Missed opportunities

Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll) and Adilyn (Bailey Noble)
Because while I was mad at gorram True Blood from the get-go thanks to the Tara (Rutina Wesley) situation that I’ve already discussed at length, the first episode at least did have one situation with promise, the one with Jessica and Adilyn.  While I still hate what happened to the other Bellefleur girls (I think I care about the auxiliary Bellefleur girls more than everyone else in fandom combined, and I’ve come to terms with this fact, but but aren’t they a missed opportunity too wouldn’t you watch the shit out of a show about baby fairies who embody tumblr and look at the world through fresh eyes and therefore are optimistic about most things while also not understanding manners 100% of the time and I’ve spent too much time thinking about this I’m so sorry) I hate more that this situation was never really resolved.  Jessica felt guilty and swore to protect Adilyn, then after Adilyn was drawn into the actual most horrible kidnap scene they… didn’t say anything to each other ever again.  Adilyn didn’t even attend Jessica’s bullshit wedding, despite the fact that it was in the daytime and Adilyn’s father was presiding over it.  What could have been an interesting, complicated friendship (with undertones?) was basically a plot device that was thrown to the side in favor of both girls getting shoehorned into unnecessary heterosexual romantic relationships that consumed their entire characters.

the entirety of Sons of Anarchy, tbh
Sons was never my favorite show, but it didn’t used to annoy me as much as it did by its final season.  And maybe some of that was just that I was blindingly mad about the Tara (Maggie Siff) situation, or that I got increasingly frustrated that I couldn’t play “how is it Hamlet” nearly as well, or maybe it was just that when every episode is two hours long it stops meaning anything that they’re that long, or maybe I don’t know anymore, but it just felt so unnecessarily drawn out.  Also increasingly sentimentalist and with an increasingly laughable score.  “I think Sons might have been better served as a three season show,” I mused, causing one of my people to berate me for questioning the creator’s artistic vision, but it stands.

all of these dead people
All of them.  Even the ones on shows I don’t technically watch.  Special shoutout to Amber Mills (Natalie Hall), who for some reason I am also really bitter about, because I mean, Sarah Newlin’s black sheep-y vampire sister could have been such an interesting storyline and… nothing.  Also, obviously, Isabelle (Lucy Lawless).  Poor thing.

the damn Orson’s beetles scene
You know.  The one before Tyrion’s (Peter Dinklage) trial where he talks to his brother Jaime (Nicolaj Coster-Waldau) about his cousin Orson smashing beetles.  And it lasts for something like four minutes and it does absolutely nothing to further the plot in my read.  This has actually become a thing with my mom and I: pointless scenes happen in media and we turn to each other and say “Orson’s beetles.”  It’s a code.  And anyway it’s a missed opportunity because that scene is, uh, not about Orson’s beetles in the books, it’s about something important that they just sort of ignored in the show and I’m not sure how that’s going to play out in the future and that scares me.

Positive things

sometimes SHIELD and ladies
It’s had its failures and its questionable moments as regard ladies (see also the above dead people collage) but when it gets things right, it really gets things right.  Jemma (Elizabeth Henstridge) saving everyone else and herself with her porcelain-ivory-steel-skinned resolve and her scientific knowhow?  Melinda (Ming-Na Wen) kicking all of the ass (hey remember that time she made a joke about how she was always on top when she and Ward [Brett Dalton] banged while beating his ass I do) and also being an important supportive figure to the entire team but especially Skye (Chloe Bennet)?  Skye growing from awestruck mouthy hacker baby to capable snarky take-no-shit agent to honest to gods superhero?  Raina (Ruth Negga) who was originally supposed to be a one-off character becoming this compelling-as-hell not quite villainous queen of moral gray areas and wide-eyed faith?  Thank you, guys.

the following Game of Thrones things

  • Oberyn (Pedro Pascal) taking time out of his busy bisexual orgy schedule to explain bisexuality (and his bisexuality specifically) to Olyvar the boywhore (Will Tudor).
  • Varys (Conleth Hill) taking time out of his busy confusing scheming schedule to explain his asexuality to Oberyn.
  • Oberyn in general.  Pretty much all of his stuff was perfect.
  • Ygritte’s (Rose Leslie) death scene.  I mean, I know that scene in the book inside and out, so there were lines I missed (why, why, why did they go to the trouble of including the “is that a castle?” “no, it’s a windmill” part in season three if they didn’t have Ygritte asking Jon [Kit Harington] “is this a castle?” while she was dying in his arms) but overall it was well handled and I wasn’t disappointed.
  • Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) and Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson) and their out-of-nowhere crush thing.  Normally it would annoy me if they wrote crushes in that weren’t book canon, especially because in the books Missandei is a ten-year-old, but this was handled tactfully and sweetly and also, if by default, is an asexual romance!
  • The rest of this list.

–your fangirl heroine.

taking no shit today thank you