Tag Archives: television tuesday

Television Tuesday :: a haiku

10 Oct

Dark is fine, I guess
But lately I’ve been about
Silly shows with heart.

–your fangirl heroine.

explanation

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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

Television Tuesday :: a devil’s bargain?

25 Jul

Spoilers for Game of Thrones weeks one and two ahead.

You guys, I really want to maintain my passion for this canon. I’m sure you know that. For the most part the first two episodes have been perfectly fine! Sure there’s been a fair bit of “yes, but…”

  • Jon (Kit Harington) and Sansa (Sophie Turner) coexist and have some modicum of mutual respect for each other, and he gave her leadership credentials while he was away on business, but also they disagree openly and at least once per episode and the potential conflict between them is a major talking point of what’s to come.
  • Sansa and Jon have both essentially told Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) to bugger off, but he still hasn’t.
  • Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) is there, supporting the hell out of Sansa, but she hasn’t actually done all that much (nor have the circumstances of Brienne’s last scene in s6 been discussed, which isn’t that big of a deal but should probably happen at some point in some context).
  • Lyanna (Bella Ramsey) has been kicking everyone’s asses verbally, but I really want to see her take up arms dammit.
  • Arya (Maisie Williams) had a very nice moment with some Lannister-military randoms, but one of them was Ed Sheeran and I am opposed to that on principle.
  • Arya also ran into her direwolf Nymeria, but Nymeria is a damn wolf and wanted to stay in the Riverlands doing wolf stuff. Arya understood this, but it was still sad.
  • Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) has people around her and that’s really cool, but nobody seems to be 100% on the same page of how to handle things.
  • Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson) and Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) had an absolutely beautiful love scene that was honestly revolutionary and I’m kind of shocked it even happened because it was so beautiful and also given the particulars it was not really like love scenes on anything, but now I’m worried about both of them because of it.
  • Euron (Pilou Asbaek) is more like he is in the books, but that means he’s actually the worst terrible curse word and has already done things that rank him with being as heinous as Ramsey Bolton. Things that are so heinous I didn’t even watch them, just read about them because I am bloody furious. Expect, by season’s end, an essay on the mishandling of my Dornish babes. Because Anger is happening.
  • We’ve finally seen the alliance between Dany, Yara (Gemma Whelan), Ellaria (Indira Varma), and Olenna (Diana Rigg), and while contentious in part (as mentioned above) it’s a bunch of badass ladies being badass, but we’re only two episodes in and everything has already gone to hell for them.
  • Yara and Ellaria kissed, but now they are both at assface Euron’s mercy.
  • Obara (Keisha Castle-Hughes), Nymeria (Jessica Henwick), and Tyene (Rosabell Laurenti Sellers) had an actual scene with lines and conversation and sister banter and the actresses have such a good dynamic with each other even though I wish they’d get to show the non-banter aspect of their sisterhood too, but Obara and Nym are now dead and Tyene is also at assface’s mercy. Did I mention how mad I am?

It’s a devil’s bargain. You get some things and have to give up others. You’re so happy about beautiful things but then Euron exists. Etcetera.

–your fangirl heroine.

drinking20my20cup20of20fuck20you

Television Tuesday :: on Brooklyn Nine-Nine (in haiku)

9 May

I care about girls.
I rarely care about boys.
But here, I totes do.

Boyle is a mess and
Sometimes he makes me cringe, yeah.
But he is not bad.

Terry is splendid.
The opposite of toxic
Masculinity.

Captain Holt kicks ass.
His differences are a part
But not all of him.

Jake is feminist.
He has grown as a person
And he is better.

And the girls, of course!
There are girls and I love them,
Always and deeply.

Gina is so odd
Because she’s flawed but also
She is woke as hell.

Rosa could kill you
But she could also kill you
With how much she cares.

And Amy speaks to
Me in a personal way.
I too am Mary Anne.

Point is: this show wins.
The representation and
The spirit and joy.

–your fangirl heroine.

yeah20right

Television Tuesday :: on meliorism in comedy

21 Mar

In the last couple months, drift partner caught me up on Brooklyn Nine-Nine and all of Parks and Recreation (rewatching the seasons I’d seen before, since it’s been a while, and taking the last couple on for the first time). We are now watching Arrested Development, which definitely does not fall in the “meliorism in comedy” category, and she has apologized a couple of times for it possibly being “jarring” after Parks. I’m not bothered, it’s generally pretty funny, but it’s a different kind of thing, and this is what I’ve realized.

I don’t need my comedy to be about perfect people. That’s impossible because technically perfection is a lie. But as a general rule, comedy sits better with me when it’s not at the expense of. A lot of sitcoms rely on the punchline being something that, if not outright mean-spirited to joke about, is something that the character can’t really help. Punching down instead of up, as it goes. That’s fine on something like Arrested Development, where it’s A) absurdist and B) the people getting laughed at are ridiculous and probably horrible. But on the majority of sitcoms it’s not really the case, and I usually find myself frowning.

The comedy I tend to enjoy, like Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Parks, takes the majority of its humor from things that are too absurd not to be sort of realistic. The protagonists are actually people that deserve to be protagonists – flawed and sometimes in very obvious ways but ultimately good-hearted people who try to do more or less the right thing – and the situations they encounter are funny because they’re ridiculous, but also there’s some truth to them. Every time something that happened on Parks seemed just a little crazy, I would remind myself of the time my mother, who works for city government, was asked at a city council meeting about regulations involving hoverboards. “You know, like in Back to the Future.” Ridiculous things do happen. It makes sense. But good people try to work around it, sometimes in also ridiculous ways.

And sometimes people are jerks, and this can go one of two ways. Either it’s a mostly good person who’s being a jerk, at which point they eventually learn from their mistakes and apologize (or the butt of their joke is someone who doesn’t mind it, a Jerry/etc. type) and all is well, or it’s a total jerk who’s being a jerk, and everyone acknowledges that they’re a jerk and deal with the situation accordingly. Either way, the being a jerk is never narratively construed as something that’s positive. You’re never made to feel like the person who asked someone to apologize for saying something offensive is the one who should feel bad, not the person who said the offensive thing. You aren’t supposed to side with jerks, and you can laugh at them being jerks because, hey, being a jerk? That’s a choice people make.

Shows like this actually have a positive outlook on life, in the general sense. They say “look, sometimes things are terrible, people are terrible, but you can prevail one way or another.” And especially when the world has gone to shit like it has lately, that’s reassuring. And the characters feel more realistic (who actively tries to be friends with jerks? Nobody I can think of, whereas everyone I know is friends with mostly good people who have some flaws and are not always perfect) and the stories don’t make you feel uncomfortable, and it’s just better.

–your fangirl heroine.

oops_1

Television Tuesday :: a haiku.

31 Jan

Supergirl‘s unseen
By me but Alex made me
Greedy for queer girls.

–your fangirl heroine.

no20winning

Television Tuesday :: 2016 and the No Trope Bingo cards

27 Dec

Ah, our old friends.

Disclaimer: I have watched maybe like… eight different shows this year because I literally can’t be bothered to undertake a lot of things that people tell me I should because I know they’ll fail me eventually and I’ll be sad.

notropebingo

Bechdel fail: Agent Carter was again 100% on this, of course. (This season was far from perfect, but I’m still going to miss you, my Peggy my darling.) Agents of SHIELD‘s 2015 efforts put them above 90%, including a couple episodes that were just “smack the Bechdel test in the face,” so that’s pretty damn good; Game of Thrones also stepped it up this year, coming in around 70% I believe (the document I was keeping track in, very scientifically, got lost when I switched phones this week, oops). At least in my shows, this year did better at this than other categories.

disregarded logic: I mean, The Librarians always disregards logic. That’s kind of its thing. But again, I did not do too much screaming at my television going “THIS MAKES NO SENSE,” unlike years prior.

underused/invisible POC: Agent Carter… managed a whole one POC character this year, Jason Wilkes (Reggie Austin), so that was still not great but one is at least better than none. Game of Thrones did not know what the hell to do with Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) and Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson) this year, which was annoying, nor did it give the Sand Snakes a lot to do although what little they did was still, in my opinion, delicious. Penny Dreadful racebent Dr. Jekyll and Dracula, so that was kind of cool? And then meanwhile Agents of SHIELD ran a glorious parade of POC characters and killed two white guys, while Luke Cage was beautifully black all the time and deal with it if you don’t like it. I feel like statistically this is a decent picture of television at large. A lot of things not really succeeding, a few standing much farther out.

dead family manpain: the Tower of Joy, which only halfway counts. Dead daughters came up sometimes, but usually from women. I’ve managed to cut most of the dead family manpain out of my television life, I hope.

invisible lesbians: no, this year was just full of dead lesbians and Sapphic ladies, in outstanding number but mostly not on my own shows. Game of Thrones instead gave us Yara Gayjoy (let’s be real, probably more like Yara Female-Leaning-But-Pan-joy, but the pun is too good) and let her shine. Penny Dreadful had a Sapphic army. And all the women of SHIELD continue to be outstandingly queer together, though it goes unsaid, but it’s not like it’s been said and it’s not being shown. It’s just implicit and I have a lot of feelings about it (also, Jemma Simmons is in the narrative closet and I will passionately argue this point based on my own real life experience).

vicious female rivalry: the demon possessing Kate (Madison Davenport) and Kisa (Eiza Gonzalez) got pretty scrappy. But considering that the paradigm of this category is Cersei vs. Margaery, it’s not quite the same thing. Cersei (Lena Headey) did in fact get way too vicious on Margaery (Natalie Dormer) and I mourn but also, narratively, at least we finally got Feast for Crows Cersei.

ho-yay: there’s none I’m explicitly recalling, which means if there was any it at least wasn’t overall detrimental.

infectious diseases: thank the gods, no.

dead prostitutes: there was a passel of them on Preacher, but Tulip (Ruth Negga) made her opinions abundantly clear and that was sort of justice for them. On the other hand, Lily (Billie Piper) led the above-mentioned army of prostitutes who murdered men for abusing them, and though poor Justine (Jessica Barden) willfully went to her end, they took revenge and it was beautiful.

dead little girls: see above re: families. Again, nothing egregious, thank the gods.

sexualized violence: eh. There’s a fine fine line, which is always tread by television and film. Nothing egregious, but also could be avoided more.

Madonna/whore: there was a bit of a play with this with Margaery’s religious conversion, but it wasn’t narratively sanctioned so much as acknowledged as a game she was playing.

Oedipal undertones: Cersei’s always a little cesty with her family members, including baby Tommen (Dean Charles Chapman), but with Cersei it kind of just is what it is and you move on.

fridging: aside from the 10001 dead Sapphic women, many of whom I cannot speak to personally, and beloved Barb (Shanon Purser), poor Margaery passed, but I don’t know it was a traditional fridge; Vanessa (Eva Green) met her end but it was of her volition; Emily (Lucy Griffiths) was among the dead of Preacher but, eh, that was a whole town, it could be worse; Candace (Deborah Ayorinde) was more vaulted than fridged; but Lincoln Campbell (Luke Mitchell) died in a literal fire and took the corpse of Grant Ward (Brett Dalton) with him and that was justice.

gratuitous sex: I mean, nobody needed to see Grand Maester Pycelle all postcoitus but at least he died and it was also justice. A lot of sex scenes were awkward but not singularly space-fillers.

inappropriate male attention: as I cast disapproving eyes on Hive. As I cast disapproving eyes on anyone who ever looked at Nancy Wheeler, ever. As I cast disapproving eyes on Uncle Asshat Greyjoy. As I cast disapproving eyes on Dracula. Etc. This will be a problem for all eternity.

pedophilic Stockholm: mm, Sansa (Sophie Turner) basically told Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) to fuck off in the most ladylike way possible so that was satisfying.

infidelity: see also, the Tower of Joy. Etc.

custody battles: no, thank the gods.

conscious irresponsibility: Jesse (Dominic Cooper) was irresponsible, but he was also possessed, so that kind of makes up for it. Etc.

narrative neglect: see above re: Missandei, Grey Worm, and the Sand Snakes. That would be my largest complaint.

uneven f :: m ratio: technically, this is true basically everywhere. SHIELD‘s main/main supporting cast is fairly even, and Agent Carter‘s wasn’t bad; overall, more ladies, though.

narratively excused sociopathy: plenty of sociopaths but the narrative fully knew how they were sociopaths and said it.

love triangles: eh. Ehhhh.

notropebingo2

window dressing: mm, not in any particularly gratuitous circumsance.

narratively excused intolerance: see also: Preacher is set in a small town in Texas. It’s excused, but also it’s a picture of just that things are bad.

lack of POC: see above.

general male brooding: the only thing Lincoln Campbell did before he died, really.

lack of queer people: much much. I will observe that apparently Supergirl (which I’m still not watching, I admit) has done some cool coming-out stuff so that’s nice to hear.

narratively enforced gender policing: what of it I’ve seen has mostly been called out.

compulsive heteroeroticism: see also, romantic FitzSimmons. Jeepers.

crazy inbred hillbillies: none of those I’ve dealt with this year.

slut shaming: I’m sure there’s been but aside from the Margaery situation I’m blanking.

children as plot devices: Tommen is a plot device but honestly, that’s just how it is. Most of the kids this year were human props.

police brutality: requisite “I hate the Sokovia Accords and everything that comes from them even though a lot of it isn’t even on the TV shows” mention. Also, Luke Cage, but that was calling that out.

love interest syndrome: ah, my poor Jemma (Elizabeth Henstridge). It’ll be nice when this mess is over with. For example.

pseudo-incest: hm. I could have done without Mike (Finn Wolfhard) and Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown). That’s kind of in this category.

vaulting: see above re: Candace, for the biggest example.

gratuitous consequenceless substance abuse: mm, nah, I think there were pretty well consequences.

excused unwanted overtures: and most of these were unexcused, at least.

forgive your abusers: one interesting thing about the unfortunate Hive situation was, at least, Daisy’s (Chloe Bennet) stages of grief regarding her abuse, so that was the opposite of this… but then, this is another reason I’ll drag romantic FitzSimmons, though it’s obviously to a lesser degree. So.

compulsive motherhood: not really?

“don’t do the brave thing”: a fair amount of “I am doing a brave thing but you should not because you don’t deserve to get hurt,” which isn’t the same.

(evil) white guy redemption arc: mm hey, remember how Grant Ward died twice?

narrative double standard: catchall because always, often in critical reactions.

women as plot devices: again. Sort of always.

narratively excused non-con: this year was much better.

past non-con as cheap plot device: also better.

I’m less angry this year, but I watched fewer things. So.

–your fangirl heroine.

underestimate20the20girl