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Ideal weekend: rain, books, tea, and geek comedy ftw. Tons of schoolwork, maybe less ideal, but some of it is actually really interesting.

(I went on a bureacuratic treasure hunt through the university and managed to sign up for an "introduction to lit theory" class, ("But why?" Lit department. "It sounds really interesting," I say. "You understand it's theory, yes? Just...theory.") and it's honest to god making me giddy. I'm sitting there in class while the prof explains the breaking of genre in Thelma and Louise and literally bouncing up and down a little. Structuralism! OMG, structuralism. Where has this been all my life?)

Anyway, ahem,

Community was pretty good, though on-the-nose social satire might not be their strongest suit. Read more... )

Interestingly meta episode from TBBT, which usually isn't meta in the slightest. Not as bleak as last week, but it had it's moments.

I got into an interesting argument elsewhere about which show is more politically progressive, and I really do have to go with TBBT, even though that maybe makes me insane. Community simply embraces a kind of post-modern fantasy of progressivism, you know? Both shows think the world is fucked and are critical of it, but Community creates an escape, while TBBT admits its power.

Characters on Community do escape, but into this fantasy world. (Community is at it's most interesting, I think, when it suddenly looks in the mirror and admits that Greendale isn't real life. But then it shies away from that again.) One that is properly racially diverse and celebrates education, growth and the ability of good friends and can-do spirit to get you through anything. TBBT has a bunch of people trying to do that, and failing. Dismally, pathetically and gracelessly, to an intrusive laughtrack and embarrassing jokes. (I find that hearbreaking and clear- eyed, but I see why it's not everyone's idea of a good time.)

It's just my usual argument about finding any kind of story that merely gets representation right more than a little politically tepid. Just because your show/book/whatever is wonderfully sensitive and inclusive of race/gender/orientation/etc, doesn't make it actively progressive, merely tolerable. (For example, Meljean Brooks books or even Brooklyn 99, at it's worst.) It can even obscure, rather than expose, the underlying structures of oppression.

I get that "exposing structures of oppression" might not be everyone's idea of a useful thing for a sitcom or a romance novel to do, but we're actually quite happy being super-critical of representation in precisely the most popular, omni-present sort of media. I really don't know which is more politically effective - the cynical exposure of misery or the presentation of a hopeful alternative.

It's very possible that the work the latter does, with the normalization of gay characters or women in the workplace or whatever else these things have contributed to has been more socially worthwhile. But as art, I prefer something like Scandal or The Big Bang Theory, or even Remington Steele, that subvert the post-modern progressive ideal by having it crash up against good old human folly and weakness. Showing the characters trapped in their socially curated needs to fit in, to be loved, to feel cool, strikes me as more interesting and more powerful than showing the people who've magically escaped.

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God help me, I watch a lot of tv.

ok, I may ship Duncan/Britta a little. IDEK. Community )

There's my bleak, undignified, human-condition examining show again! Who's a good weird little sitcom? The Big Bang Theory )

I seem to be in a minority that saw the Boyle/Diaz stuff here as being shippy again?
Brooklyn 99 )

I haven't liked this season much, but Abbie is bringing out the worst in Jess and the worst in Schmidt and i'm kind of into that. New Girl )

Not a lot to say, except how much do I love that Sally really is this raging zealot and a cynical ambitious politician all at the same time? So much. Scandal )
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Oh, god, i'm a terrible person. Read more... ) Alright, I think i've calmed down enough to go back to watching.


AHHH! More hysterical laughter. Never, ever stop, Scandal.

About that scene in the last episode thought Read more... )

Other than that, AHHH.
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I am loving this meme. If anyone wants to hear me ramble about anything else, drop me a note. The second half of the month is pretty weedy. Anyhoo:

Favorite Female Characters

I capped it at 3, both because I started running out of time, and because, while there's many, many female characters out there I love and celebrate and think are awesome and want to win at everything forever...these are some of the ones I find really fundamentally compelling. They're not necessarily all that awesome, or badass, or even strong all the time, but they're tangled and knotty and human, and I'm all over that.

Mellie, Scandal - I simply cannot look away from her. She's brilliant, vicious, magnificently bitchy, furious, ambitious, self-destructive, disciplined, passionate, desperate, lonely and basically a horrible person, but that does nothing to make her a whit less sympathetic. I love her. A woman who embodies all the hypocricies and the lies about what women are supposed to be, who chafes under them until she's raw but ties her own knots all the tighter, because this is what she set out to do and she will never, ever, surrender.

The moment I really fell for her? When she's ranting, gloriously, about everything she's sacrificed for him - her ambitions, her career, her home...she had his children for him. It's not so much that I loved her for being a mother who admitted she perhaps never particularly wanted children, it's that she never particularly wanted children and she had them anyway. For him, for his career, for his ambitions, so they could look right on the campaign trail. How amazingly insane is that? Who does that? How much do you have to want it, to tie your life together like that for someone? What have you been taught, what do you believe about what you can do yourself, not as someone's wife that you will turn every single aspect of yourself over to a man's political ambition, that you would make that ambition the core of your being?

And yet. She's not a doormat. She's not a victim of her praxis. She lies and cheats and steals and fumes her way through life. Sometimes she's all soulless, loveless political ambition, looking at her husband's long-term mistress with sneering contempt when she isn't good enough at being his mistress, and then she's this vast, dangerous operatic storm of a person, begging him to at least pretend to love her. At least in public. She'll do the rest.

Amy Farrah Fowler, The Big Bang Theory - Amy makes me really, really acutely uncomfortable, but in a good way. Assuming there is a good way. (I have kind of zero tolerance for sentimentality, so I take sitcoms really seriously and have a blast.)

She's a stunningly vulnerable person, and she's a stunningly vulnerable character. She's not pretty. She wears garish clothes and clumpy shoes. She's not nice and she never catches a break. She's confident, rude, weird, condescending, inappropriate, really, really smart...and apparently the loneliest person on earth. I love all the contradictions of her, how they add up. How she dives into friendship and romance and sociability like an elephant into a china shop. She just has this ridiculous, raw courage, I think, where she'll stand up and just say I think I want this now. Be my friends, be my lover.

At the same time, that gives her such vast capacity to be hurt, and the show doesn't shy away from it. Watching her play with femininity like it's a new toy she's taken out of the box and suffering for it, is uncomfortable and subversive. Watching her fixate her affection on someone who is probably incapable of ever returning it is heartbreaking. Watching her managing to wrest bits of dignity and intimacy out of the molasses-slow wreckage of it all is sometimes kind of sublime.

Laura Holt, Remington Steele - Ok, Laura is badass, and awesome, and strong all the time. And she has an excellent collection of hats. She is, first and foremost, just cleverer and braver and by and large better at almost anything than almost anyone else, and it appears to be driving her crazy.

She's a brilliant detective and she has this almost absurd physical courage - she regularly jumps in front of moving cars, drives like a maniac, gets into fights, breaks into houses, climbs fire escapes in heels - whatever needs doing. The show makes no particular fuss about it, it's just the way she is.

Laura is after...everything. Some perfection of life - career and romance and glamour and ambition. She'll be a beautiful woman celebrated for her brains, with a man who's perfectly masculine and perfectly supportive on her arm, all at the same time. She is going to solve every question ever raised by feminism single-handedly, before lunch, while wearing heels. If she needs to will it into existence, than that's what she will do. She spends the whole show running up hard against the fact that it isn't perfect. That other people aren't perfect. That they will go their own way and do their own thing, and that they will love her in their way, with their own quirks and their own caveats.
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Good heavens, who makes this stuff up?!? This should be somewhere well over a cliff of absurd by now, but I'm terribly enjoying it. It's this bad! No, it's way worse! All these people are that awful! No, they make the people merely that awful look like saintly trapeze artists! Keep going, show. Soon, you will tragically and inevitably collapse under your own weight, but until then, I am with you.
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Mellie, all the Mellie. Read more... ) Oh, Mellie, you gorgeous wreckage of a human being.

Also, yay Nanowrimo day 1! Completed. Of course, now I just feel guilty for being happy about trippy new project rather than the 19 unfinished ones lying around. Oh well.
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Episode 2.15, the one with the guy running for governor of North Carolina, Read more... )
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Mellie is the best. The best.

That is all.
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Scandal, Season 2 episode 5, featuring somebody from somewhere that sounds like Kyrgyzstan being important because they need to use it as a staging post to invade "East Sudan", was a difficult moment. Turns out it's the fictional "Kurkistan". Ok. Phew.

...yeah, he's still a white guy with a Slavic name, so not clear what that place is doing near Sudan, but handwave handwave. Just about.

/geography nerd.


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May 2017

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