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Okay, guys, I know I wrote recently about how I don’t “get” romantic love. But there is another type of love that I do get. I’m always the type of person to find pieces of pop culture and fall madly in love with them. Songs I’ll listen to until I can’t hear them ever again, movies I’ll watch until I know every line, hours spent on Tumblr looking at cast pictures and reading what other people have to say about my favorite TV shows. I’m obsessive, and mostly unapologetic about it.
Case in point: I went through a pretty intense “Star Wars” phase (we’re talking posters, action figures, books, an actual lightsaber, a fan club membership… everything). I was ostracized and ridiculed for it (particularly by one “friend” who is actually just a miserable human being) but I always tried to be honest about my obsession. It was the purest kind of love. It made me have swoopy stomach feelings thinking about it, I daydreamed about being a Jedi in class, I drew lightsabers in my notes like girls might write “Mrs. Justin Timberlake” in their notes. I have a framed photo of me standing next to a Darth Vader and R2-D2 made of Legos (it kind of looks like a prom photo, no lie).
Eventually my “Star Wars” fervor cooled down and I became interested in much cooler things. Indie music, classic literature, foreign films, and all that pretentious shit. I was still a pop culture obsessed dork, but I had diversified.
Except for when it comes to television. I am in love with television. I think it is the perfect artistic medium. I think we’re in a Golden Age of television. I think that television is a great way to bring about social justice and understanding. When I picture my perfect job, I picture a job in television. Let me expound on this.
1.) Why is television the perfect artistic medium?
Well, mystery interrogator, television is perfect because of its format. It combines words and visuals (and music and tons of other little bits) in perfect harmony, much like film. But, the structure of a season of television, filled with six to 22 episodes, hopefully followed by one or two more seasons, is perfect. It allows time for tension to build at the end of every episode and every season. Rarely (if ever) can you use a cliffhanger in a book or a single film and maintain that delicious tension that lasts a whole week or longer. I’d say most artists hope that they can stick in the minds of those who consume their work, but those who make TV are almost guaranteed that their viewers will think about their work even after it’s over.
Also, it allows a creator to write and develop wonderful characters and breathe so much life into them. Think about this: Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are two of the most recognizable faces in the western world, and yet they can flit from film role to film role and never really have to worry about being “type-cast” because they played one singular iconic role. Now look at Michael Richards and Jason Alexander. You might think, “Who?” Exactly. You might know them better as Kramer and George Costanza from “Seinfeld.” The people they are have become eclipsed by those iconic characters they played, which is sad for their careers, but really speaks to the power of television characters. If you love character (and I do), then TV is the place for you.
To read the rest of this post, head on over to the Chicklitz blog, right HERE.
Back in the first season of Glee, oh so many moons ago, there was quite a bit of talk about whether or not the show fell into sexist territory on occasion. If you’re thinking, “I never heard anything about that,” clearly you weren’t looking in the right places. People who complained that Glee had a not-so-admirable opinion on girls and women were kind of right. Terri and Quinn were both lying about their pregnancies (or lack of pregnancy, in Terri’s case) and were uncaring “shrews” towards Will and Finn, respectively. Emma and Rachel were both “the other woman” in two separate already-established relationships. Sue was the evil villain of the show. There was nary an admirable female character in sight, whereas Will, Kurt, and Finn (and Artie, to a certain extent) were (and still are) portrayed as saintly.
I personally didn’t think it was that big of a deal, back in the first season. I’ll admit, I was a bit distracted by all the flashy musical numbers and the “we can do it!” feel-good attitude. The show was a little dose of sunshine every week, and for that, I was willing to overlook some of the more serious problems it has. Most shows have issues with continuity, character consistency and development, tone, pacing, etc., at some point. Granted, Glee has those problems in spades, but the problems I’m talking about are more social. Is the show racist at times? Is it sexist? Is it ableist? I think a lot of shows are, but those shows don’t package themselves as repurposed after-school specials, complete with morals and a lesson. The theme of the show is, “Appreciate the things that make us different.” Dare to stand out, to go against the “norm.” That’s why the show gets a lot of attention on that front.
So the question is, why does a show that preaches acceptance and tolerance persist in being intolerant, or at the very least, ignorant of people who are different? These past two episodes have kind of shook my inner-feminist awake and said, “Neener neener, I’m not playing nice.” Here’s a brief list of what I take issue with.
1. Sluts, prudes, and nothing in-between.
Glee never portrays girls’ sexuality in a positive light. I thought they might, back in the first season (I think it was the second episode?), when Rachel pays a visit to the Celibacy Club and says, “You know, girls like sex too.” I thought, finally, a girl on television who isn’t a “whore” and isn’t a “prude.” She’s just normal (not that there’s anything wrong with being a so-called “prude,” but in TV land, some character would have a problem with it eventually). But no, come this season and Finn’s complaining that Rachel won’t let him get any. In last week’s episode, “Never Been Kissed,” he said something to Sam, like, “Figures we’d date the only girls in school who won’t put out.” First off, really? Rachel and Quinn are the ONLY TWO GIRLS IN SCHOOL who won’t put out? Seriously, Finn?! And why would Rachel or Quinn WANT to put out? So they could be labeled as “sluts,” like Brittany and Santana?
There’s no middle ground. The girls are either uptight and won’t give their poor, poor boyfriends any sex, or they’re too promiscuous – girls who gain a reputation as “whores,” and can get no real respect from boys or their fellow girls. Let me assert, there is nothing wrong with having sex, or not having sex. It’s the show that portrays them in these ways: it’s healthy for boys to want sex, and for girls to not give it to them. It’s not healthy for girls to want sex. For all the promise I saw in this show, I was proven wrong. I thought they’d have female characters who weren’t defined by their sexuality in some way, and while most of the girls on this show are multi-faceted (sexuality or lack of sexuality is NOT Rachel’s defining characteristic, for example), there are still some confusing, negative messages being sent out here.
NOTE: The subtitle on this first entry to my list is a bit misleading. There IS something “in-between.” There’s the girl no one wants to imagine in a romantic situation at all, i.e. Mercedes. Everyone knows that curvy girls can’t get love, duh. Clearly that’d be gross.
Safe to say that the first season of Glee went out with more of a whimper than a bang. Once again they’ve pushed the reset button. What did they do this season? Work their way towards sectionals, then regionals. What will they do next season? Once again work their way towards sectionals, then regionals (and perhaps beyond). They have another goal to reach to keep their club, but now they have another year. How convenient! We’ll undoubtedly start the next season out with even more Finn and Rachel drama (which, frankly, bores me to tears). As much as it would irritate me all summer if they were to leave us on a cliffhanger, for the sake of good storytelling it would have been the best choice.
What really got to me – and it’s a problem that, in all my naivete, I believed would be fixed by now – were all the blatant inaccuracies and near-fantasy elements of the episode. For one, the timeline is beyond screwy. Mr. Schue told the kids, in the last scene, to take the summer off. Okay…? I was under the impression that they would continue on with their school year. Don’t the state and national competitions come after regionals? So, will Vocal Adrenaline be going to compete at state competition over the summer? I’ve done the high school choir competition thing, and we made it to state, and I’m from Indiana (which is next to Ohio, in case you didn’t know), so I can guarantee that state competitions happen during the school year. Just because New Directions didn’t make it, doesn’t mean that the whole show choir season has ended. It seems obvious to me, but then I suppose the show just wanted the timeline to line up with real time. While their viewers are having their summer break, and the show is on hiatus, the New Directions kids will also be taking a break. It makes sense in that way, but then again it seems completely unrealistic (and frankly a bit irritating). Read the rest of this entry »
Before I go on what will assuredly be a rambling tirade of anger and confusion, let me say that I’ve heard that this episode got switched with last week’s big GaGa episode for reasons unbeknownst to me (probably for ratings, as it was a much talked about episode, and it was following the American Idol finale), so a few scenes had to be cut to make this a possibility. At least that’s what I’ve heard. But even if this is the truth, it’s no excuse to spit in the face of continuity altogether.
The biggest, most obvious chunk of plot missing was whatever caused a rift in the Rachel and Jesse relationship. Last we saw Jesse St. James, he was telling Ms. Corcoran that he was starting to really like Rachel. Then, he was noticeably absent from the last episode, so clearly nothing happened there to cause the bad blood. But this episode starts out with him flaunting his Benedict Arnold-ness and bitterly saying that the New Directions kids treated him terribly and never listened to his opinions (which we never saw exemplified on-screen). He cruelly sets Rachel up to be egged by his Vocal Adrenaline cohorts in the McKinley parking lot, then takes a turn at it himself, saying, “I loved you.” LOVED, in the past-tense. SO WHAT IN THE NAME OF CELINE DION HAPPENED?! Read the rest of this entry »
I realized just now, while I was complaining about something elsewhere on the Internet, that I have a lot of hatred inside me. So, what better way to release that hatred than to complain about it on my blog, so I won’t irritate everyone on my Facebook (even though I know that I’ll continue to blah blah blah about my little peeves in every outlet I’m allowed, and that includes the FB)? Yes, a blog entry. Perhaps it will become a new feature here. As long as it’s a day that ends in “y,” I’m probably going to find something new to hate.
1. American Idol (or perhaps Americans who vote for American Idol)
Okay, just a few minutes ago it was announced that Lee DeWyze is the new American Idol. Good job, America. For the third time in a row, all those hormonal pre-teens who vote for American Idol have chosen a white, heterosexual, twentysomething male who plays guitar. Of these three dudes, Lee is most certainly the dullest. He seems to have little (or no?) personality, he’s terribly awkward on stage (especially without his guitar – he moves his hands around like a malfunctioning robot), and a person could go to any bar in America and hear at least two guys who sound just like Lee singing there every night. I don’t understand what’s so special about him. I think that Crystal would have been a much better choice, both musically and financially. Right now, female solo artists are having a heyday. Lillith Fair is back, Lady Gaga is huge, Christina Aguilera has a new album out soon, as does M.I.A., Taylor Swift swept the Grammys, and as I type this, Katy Perry has the #1 single on iTunes (La Roux, Ke$ha, Lady Gaga, and Miley Cyrus also appear in the top 10). While Crystal is hardly a Lady Gaga or Ke$ha, it’s clear that the world is ready to welcome unique female artists with open arms right now. Plus, she harkens back to the radio of the 90s – Alanis Morissette, Melissa Etheridge, Sarah MacLachlan, Sheryl Crow – and I think that’s a time that we’re all nostalgic for. I’m probably looking too deep into this, but I really do think that she would’ve done well in the music industry right now. Or at least she would be more interesting than Lee Tweedle Dee.
2. Summer Movies
There are absolutely no good films out now, nor will there really be any at all this summer. Too many sequels, adaptations, remakes, and 3D cheesefests. Sure, I’ll give Toy Story 3 a pass because it’s Pixar and the first two films were great. Inception might be good. Get Him to the Greek has a good cast (minus Jonah Hill, who I also hate), as do Dinner for Schmucks and Scott Pilgrim. But then we have Prince of Persia, a video game adaptation; The Last Airbender, an adaptation of a cartoon TV show; Marmaduke, an adaptation of an ancient comic strip (which also looks like it could be the worst film ever made); Sex and the City 2, a sequel AND a film based on a TV show. There’s Iron Man 2, The Karate Kid, Twilight: Eclipse, Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore (god help us all), etc. etc. etc. Even the “original” films are bland, the typical mix of copycat rom-coms and copy and paste horror films. The most disappointing aspect is that I’m sure there are at least a few legitimately good films coming out this summer (Jeunet’s Micmacs is one I’d love to see), but if you live in the middle of nowhere as I do, you won’t get to see those until they get a DVD release (and still, that’s if you’re lucky). This points at a more consistent problem that Hollywood is having, though, and that is a loss of originality. It’s no surprise that they’re obsessed with money, to the point where art is almost completely forgotten. But never has it been as obvious or sickening as it is this summer. AND I HATE IT.
Seriously, how are they still going through with this legislation? How is it that supposedly around 68% of Americans agree with this whole idea? I’m glad to see people and cities boycotting Arizona, because they deserve it, but what is the major disfunction with folks that they could think it’s a good idea? Here’s the thing, people, let me explain it in easy terms: The idea is that police officers have the right to pull over “suspicious” looking people to check and see whether or not they are “allowed” to be here. Like a Nazi who spies a person with dark curly hair on the streets of Warsaw, they’re going to ask to see their papers. And how are we to interpret “suspicious looking people?” I’ll tell you how: skin color. If you aren’t as white as Dracula’s pasty thighs, you best watch out, and keep your papers on you at all times. This legislation basically assumes that every brown person living in Arizona is a non-citizen, and as a result, they will be harassed as if they are. News flash, folks: there are people living in Arizona who aren’t white but are still – GASP! – citizens of the United States of America. I know, I know. That’s a crazy idea; dark skinned people can’t be from Amurrka! So, do we see the issue? About how if you’re not “white,” you’re going to have a hell of a time dealing with this insanity? I personally would be incredibly angry if I were a darker complected U.S. citizen living in Arizona, and if I were constantly being pulled over, if I always had to have my “papers” on me, and if I were consistently treated like a fugitive by the countless white, entitled cops crawling all over my state. I’d have to leave 15 minutes early for everything I did because I’d have to anticipate getting pulled over and put through the ringer. I’d have to live in constant fear that I’d leave my ID and citizenship papers and whatnot at home. What the Arizona government is doing is creating an environment of fear and inherent racism. Which, in 2010, is completely hideous. To the people who dare to say that we live in a post-racial America, and that racism is something we don’t have to worry about anymore, you should shut your mouths.
And if you still don’t get it, have this handy picture that explains it all (and with crayons, yay!).
Alright, I’m just going to say it: tonight’s episode of Glee was less than astounding. The songs blew, and the characters and their actions were baffling (I’m looking at you, Finn and Will, but more on that later).
Let’s start with the music. I so wish that the songs sounded more authentic. There is no reason that Rachel and Jesse’s version of “Hello” had to be auto-tuned, and yet it was. I have a copy of the “Spring Awakening” cast recording, I know that Lea Michele and Jonathan Groff sound awesome together and separately, and without any gadgets that make them sound like T-Pain. So… WHY?! I can accept people bursting into song whenever they feel the need, but I can’t buy that they have a Lazy Susan full of musicians at their constant disposal, and that every song sounds tinny and robotic and too glossy. The awesome thing about musicals is that the singing is raw and emotional, but the strategy on Glee is to suck all the life and feeling from every performance.
So, Dr. Blog here is prescribing her first treatment for the show: Raw musical performances. Let’s hear it all. Have some faith in the performers you’ve chosen. If I wanted to hear some over-produced, regurgitated pop music, I’d turn on the radio. Cover songs are fine on a show like this, but at least give something new to the songs, give them the pizzazz and passion that musical theatre and other live performances can have.
Also, let’s pick some new music. ”Gives You Hell” was an abomination, as was “Hello, I Love You.” And “Highway to Hell,” well, that wasn’t even Jonathan Groff singing. They weren’t fooling me, and I’m guessing that anyone who watched the scene where he and Rachel sang “Hello” (which would be everyone) would know that he wasn’t singing that group number. So, my second treatment that I’m prescribing is: Pick songs that suit your singers and make use of their talents. If there’s a certain song you MUST have in an episode, make sure you give it to the cast member who can pull it off best. Read the rest of this entry »
I didn’t watch the Super Bowl, but I did see some of the ads. Here’s one that really lit the fire of my ire.
It’s called “Man’s Last Stand.” In summary, it’s basically a bunch of men complaining about how women stifle their apish tendencies, thus making them behave like normal human beings. Apparently all their suffering at the hands of women means that they totally deserve a Dodge Charger.
Yeah, I’m not buying it. I’m sick and tired of women being constantly portrayed as this naggy, nit-picky, controlling force that stifles the manliness of men. Clearly I’m not alone. Some crafty women created a response “commercial,” which is naturally titled, “Woman’s Last Stand.”
Yes, it takes the same stereotypical stance as the male version of the commercial. However, this one mentions a few real reasons why women have a right to be angry (like unequal wages), and they never ask for a car as payment. I feel like watching it over and over again.
8:13 pm – Well, I’ve decided to live-blog the Golden Globes. I thought I’d do it, then I was eating dinner and it got too late, and then I decided that late is better than not at all. So here goes. If you’re following along, just refresh the page every so often while I update the entry – that’s really the only way I know to “live-blog.”
8:16 – For the two awards that I’ve missed, all I have to say is: 1.) I’m sad that Tina Fey didn’t win for Best Actress in a Comedy/Musical, and it would’ve been neat to see Lea Michele win (although she doesn’t really deserve it as much some of those other ladies do, I just like her, I like Glee, and I enjoy seeing newbies win). However, I do like Toni Colette. So, good for her! 2.) Mo’Nique’s speech was very good. I thought it was cute that she’s known her husband since they were at least 14. I was rooting for Anna Kendrick, but it’s always nice to see a comedian do well in a dramatic role, as Mo’Nique has done, and the buzz surrounding her performance started months and months ago, so it wasn’t much of a surprise.
I recently compiled a list of my top ten favorite musical moments or performances from the first 13 episodes of Glee, for discussion purposes with some fellow fans. Let me just say that it was very difficult to whittle this down to just ten performances. My rules were that we had to see a good portion of the song on screen, and… actually, that was really my only rule. That kept out numbers like “Taking Chances,” which was a great song, but we didn’t hear more than a snippet of it on the show. I also tried to take into account lots of different aspects, like singing, music arrangement, dancing/choreography, emotional meaning behind the song (particularly for the character(s) singing it), context, and impact. I narrowed it down to twenty options, then peeled a few away until I was left with ten. I’ll post the other ten at the end of the list.
The Top Ten Musical Moments from Glee (Thus Far)
10. “Take a Bow” – performed by Rachel (Lea Michele) in Episode 1×02, “Showmance”
This is both a great performance within the episode (well-shot and acted) and as a regular song. I definitely prefer it to the original Rihanna version. It’s a defining moment for Rachel, who is beginning to realize that she can’t have everything that she wants. If she is going to aim for stardom, some other aspects of her life, like friendships and romances, might have to fall by the wayside. Rachel faces disappointment a lot – I think we tend to forget that because she’s so upbeat and determined – and that’s why this peek past her “I’m going to be a star” exterior is so emotional. I think it was a star-making moment for Lea Michele as well, as it showed that she can do more than play an all-singing, all-dancing version of Tracy Flick.
As it nears the end of the first half of the season, “Glee” keeps churning out some fairly solid episodes. This one, “Mattress,” (which, last time I checked, was called “Once, Upon a Mattress,” but oh well) was no different. In fact, it may be one of the most solid episodes so far.