I guess I wasn’t the only person who was a bit surprised how quickly Tyra threw another ANTM cycle our ways this time. But BAM! out of the blue: America’s Next Top Model – British Invasion. Did you think that the last All-Star-Cycle was a step back and a little crappy? You haven’t seen nothing yet, honey, cause this time they lowered the bar even further. Oh, but let us get to it in an orderly fashion.
Ok, legitimately you are all like “why in the world would anyone watch this nonsense?” but then again, addiction is addiction is addiction and even though reality TV is really trashy most of the time always it is still a lot of fun. Both emotionally and intellectually, and I really wish it would be more of the latter and less of the former but, oh. And: why am I even defending myself? It’s freaking America’s Next Top Model, that’s like the Jurassic Park of television. Not only because Tyra = Tyrannosaurus, but also because just like said movie it spawned sequel after sequel and a whole craze for suddenly wanting to become a model through a casting show (instead of, ermh, wanting to clone dinosaur DNA…you get the point, right?).
So apparently Tyra was all over the usual cycle-crap and wants to put each new one under a lame theme, therefore: British Invasion. And yes, it turned out to be the nationalistic crapfest that it promised to be. Not that there was any critical thinking about the respective cultures, their interrelations and their differences. It was all: Ha, those Brits, they sure talk funny!
And acting like winning a modeling competition on TV with a minimal viewership is like defending the honor of your home country. And as if defending the honor of your home country would be anything positive in the first place. Urgh. Yep, there is so much wrong with this concept from the get-go it is only a small wonder that the cycle turned out to be as shitty as it was.
Having complained all along I do have to admit though that I still kinda enjoyed it in a “what fuckery are they up to now?” kind of way. And yes, I do feel a little guilty about it. But then again, I feel guilty about ANTM anyways, so that wasn’t really a change.
Can we address the obvious first? AzMarie should have won this, and we all know it. Looked like girl had it in the bag, but then again she didn’t bring the TV nonsense that producers wanted to see and enraged Tyra by refusing the booty-tooch-pads. Which, yeah, the hell, of course she should. But on the other hand, if you’re trying to fight sexism and the objectification of women you probably shouldn’t sign up for a reality TV show searching for fashion models anyways. Seems a little half-assed (hehe, funny, because ass, you know, and booty tooch…ok, I’ll stop). So AzMarie was stellar, but thrown out, and so goes another lesbian that I desperately wanted to win (Hi Kayla, thinking of you!).
Can I just say that I was really surprised by how unlikeable the US-American contestants seemed? This whole Brits vs. Yanks theme sucked, but boy, they all seemed like terrible personalities while I was all super-yay for the British girls. Seriously, apart from AzMarie I wanted all American contestants to leave in week one. And on the other hand, I really enjoyed all the British contestants. Maybe they just knew how to present themselves better due to having been on Britain’s and Ireland’s Next Top Model before. Mmmh, we’ll never know.
I’m mostly reconciled with this cycle, because ultimately Sophie won. Besides AzMarie and Anneliese she was my favorite and I wanted her to win, and she did. Which came as sort of a surprise, because I didn’t think Tyra would have it in her to give the title to a Brit. But yeah, she did, so kudos Tyra for for once not fucking up a thing on your show.
So what’s all my blabbering about how this cycle sucked? Well, back in the day, America’s Next Top Model really brought the big shoots. Outdoors or indoors they had elaborate sets and scenery, interesting styling and good concepts. This time they mostly shot in the same lame-ass studio complex we’ve seen last cycle (I believe…?) and most of those shoots were just plain boring. I really can’t get over the shoot with the silk-worms. WTF? What was the point even? You cannot really see them in the pictures, there is no connection between model and worms besides the worm hanging on the model and it didn’t do anything but look weird on the photos. Super-strange. Or the shooting on Macau-Tower? Granted, the weather was bad, but why go through all the hassle when the final shots all look like they were taken in front of a grey wall in a studio? I shouldn’t even bitch about the mini-challenges, because they have always been on the rather sucky side. Although, the fortune-teller crap with the “change your aura with a scarf”? Please. I can’t. Even.
I will say though, I am a little surprised by how high the standards of the prizes still are. After they introduced the high fashion cycle in cycle 15 Italian Vogue surprisingly remained on board with the whole endeavor. I also liked that this time there was a lot more go sees and castings, which seemed more real and felt more like it was telling us about the strengths of the contestants as models. My guess is, that this is all thanks to Kelly Cutrone and her connections. And I must admit, I like her as a judge, probably because I love to hate her, sorta. Girl is bitchy, and her fight with Louise – priceless. I lost all respect I probably had for her, when I saw her youtube video response to that (HERE is the link), which is so immature and embarrassing, it kinda hurts. But for TV fun, it’s gold and I enjoyed hearing her honest opinions on panel.
So, YAY!, Sophie, you go!
Next season there are big changes awaiting us. Apart from being the college edition (and does that sound like … fun?) Nigel Barker and the Jays won’t be there anymore. I cannot really mourn the loss of Nigel Barker, cause girl was boring and brought exactly nothing to the panel, but the Jays? Tyra, are you crazy? I feel like the Jays are even so much more part of this show than Tyra herself. Well, let’s wait and see how things turn out. I only have one photo left in my hands.
As yet another cycle of RuPaul’s search for America’s Next Drag Superstar has come to an end it is my duty and pleasure to spill my thoughts on the extravaganza that the contestants brought this season. And let me telleth you all: I am very pleaseth.
This season surpassed the previous seasons in terms of quality in both the series as a whole (challenges, editing, characterization) and in terms of the contestants, but maybe I am only being partial here, because I’ve just seen it and forgot how awesome the other seasons were.
But, children of the night, Sharon Needles! Not only was Sharon Needles on this show, she fucking won the whole thing! And saying that this is the best outcome ever is really just an understatement. Because it is the best outcome ever.
Sharon Needles embodies all I want my drag queen to be: A smart kid with a head full of unconventional aesthetics put in glittery dresses he likes to smear with blood. I loved the sense of humour of Sharon Needles, loved how she just went for jokes and confrontation alike, loved the outfits she pulled out of the bag. She opened the finale as a glass of beer! She showed up as a drag Elvis! I could go on about the outfits that I gagged on, cause they was sickening, honey. But what I liked most about Sharon Needles (besides the, I just have to say it, name) is the sense that there is someone who is consciously feeling different and trying to be different and telling people: it is ok, all the while accepting the diversity of people around him and embracing fellow queens despite the differences in personality and personal beliefs. Most of the time I just wanted to give Sharon Needles a good old hug, even though I recognize that some of her statements and actions were leaning a little on bending the truth, but then again, she seemed like someone ready to admit a mistake and apologize for it.
And, you guys, Miss Congeniality this year went to – *drumroll* – none other than the stellar Latrice Royale. Gasp, cause: wow. Sharon Needles is an awesome queen in an outsider kind of way, but if I think about my average traditional drag queen (which is really something I am not at all an expert in) I think of someone like Latrice Royale as the best possible sort of drag queen I could want. Large and in charge. Chunky, yet funky. Once again, more so than her incredible style and outfits it was her personality that shone and made her such an enjoyable character on this show. How could you not love a big black man who went to prison just to get out and become a person of unlimited capacity to understand and accept, all the while laughing and enjoying life to the fullest? Aww, I wanna hug him and go out with her! Can I please have a weekly vegan cake tea-party with Sharon Needles and Latrice Royale? The drag queen wisdom between the two of them alone would take my understanding of the world to new heights, I can just feel it.
Oh, and while we’re at it, can we please gush about the awesomeness of some of the other contestants? I have a little shout-out for Dida Ritz in reserve, cause I really liked her, but let’s be real: the other three breakout stars of this season are Willam, Jiggly Caliente and Chad Michaels.
Chad Michaels not only totes deserved to be in the top three, but boy could have easily won this, just to honor him for what he has done and achieved in drag. And while I thought that some of the other queens were more entertaining at times there is no denying that the level of drag that Mrs. Chad Michaels walks on is off the fucking chart, cause what he turns out is just professional, darlings. Cannot believe it. And his make-up skills! Anyone who can make their eyes pop like that deserves respect. Plus, he seemed exactly like the kind of drag-mama (or even your real mum) you wanna have.
And Willam, honey, I roll my eyes but I like. This queen is so full in your face it’s fantastic. Plus, gurrl is real funny and really knows how to capitalize on the Drag Race fame by pimpin’ out music videos left and right serving body and face and then some body. Girl knows how to werq a camera. Oh, and I am still undecided if I believe the explanation as to why he had to leave the competition. What the heck went of with puking on the catwalk?
All the previous seasons I was specifically rooting for the girls of Asian heritage, this time I had to root for Sharon and Latrice, scuse me, but! that shall not distract us from the fact that Jiggly Caliente is about as awesome as a drag queen can get. As Shanelle so skilfully put it in the review episode: “I live for Jiggly!” Not only does she pull some fierce looks and supports Manila Luzon (whom we still love and adore, of course) in her music video which you can watch below, but girl named herself after a fucking Pokemon! And not enough: My favorite Pokemon! Which even has a place in my bathroom, just above the mirror… The sweetness of it all! Not to mention how Jiggly totally got to me with the display of raw emotion basically every other episode. Hugs and Kittens for everyone!
But let us deal with the dirt for a moment: I was not of fan of Phi Phi, neither her drag, nor her performance and character and I am glad she did not win. I was kinda glad that there wasn’t as much fuss about the Puerto Rican queens as there usually is. I mean, WTF? They somehow always seem to be such cheesy characters, full of either nonsense or conservative babbling. Madame LaQueer got the boot pretty early and deservedly, but I really don’t get the fascination with Kenya Micheals. Pretty looks are a little bland if the rest doesn’t match up and for me it didn’t, but oh well. Besides me bitching about them here, I was complaining in my last reviews that there was so much bitching going on in the previous shows. I felt that they toned it down this time, the contestants seemed more mature and understanding of how to treat each other with respect. I really liked and enjoyed that, felt much more like the sort of sisterhood that I wish for. I am also really glad we get to see the interaction in the Interior Illusions Lounge and the Gold Bar in Drag Race Untucked. It would feel like only half the experience without this additional show. Love it.
Besides an apparently softer Michelle Visage (which is one of the best drag names ever) and the awesomeness of RuPaul’s looks and personality (could he be any more the grandfather you wish for than he already is?) what I absolutely loved about this season was the lingo. I loved that in previous cycles but this season I felt like wagging my finger in everyone’s faces on the street repeating “werq” over and over again. Category is: Cheescake! Jesus is a biscuit! No shade, no T. Seriously, if I had more people around me who watched the show I would be throwing out these lines 24/7.
And I won’t RuPaulogize for it.
Children of the zombie-tribes, here it cometh: My impressions of the second season of AMC’s The Walking Dead, based on the comics by Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore and let it just be clear from the effin’ beginning: This season sucked so hard most of the time it is even kinda unbelievable I watched it through and am actually blogging about it.
But oh, what can I say? Zombies are not actually known for appearing in quality TV or films (Resident Evil, anyone?), so to hate on The Walking Dead in terms of quality is like expecting Britney Spears to include more Shakespeare recitals in her book tours (yeah, Britney Spears and books? you’re asking, which is what you should be doing). So hating on The Walking Dead happens on my part mostly, because the first season seemed rather solid and promising, though looking at my review of it HERE I realize that all the sucky points survived, and all the good one’s got killed. Oh, and then they added some sucky shit.
Of course: Major SPOILER ALERT. I am going to rant and it is going to be impossible for me to keep from naming shit, so if you haven’t seen it yet, be warned: All is revealed! Well, partly. But: read on at your own risk!
Can Lori and Carl please please please get the zombification storyline RIGHT NOW? Lori has always sucked as a character and continues to do so and all her “oh what to do” and “Shane, I hate you or maybe still really like you” and “then I’ll go by myself and tell no one” makes me want to shoot her, rather than the zombies. Seriously, how is this woman not already eaten up alive? And how can you be any more of a selfish scheming little shit than Lori? Oh, of course you can be Rick, but we’ll get to that. On top of that the writing on this show is so horrifficly bad that even if the Lori actress were a good actress – and I don’t think she is – she could not make any of her verbal nonsense work.
Of course the major issue of this season, or rather The Walking Dead in general lies with the bad writing. The characters were tired clichés to begin with and exactly nothing has been done to get away from that. The dialogue is not only inane and often pointless, but characters like Shane and Lori are written so inconsistently that they change their minds within seconds based on nothing we could more than guess at just to reverse the whole thing next episode around.
And bad writing wouldn’t be such a huge issue for a zombie storyline if there was action taking place, but this season we are stuck on Herschel’s farm. And while not all about it is bad it also means that basically every episode is focused on the premises of that farm where nothing but relationship stuff takes place and relationship stuff taking place does not go well with bad writing and unmotivated characters. It’s horrible, but not because of zombicalypse, but because grand feelings vs. the horrors of survival only work when there are characters with a reason to feel and personalities to carry those feelings. But the writers chose to focus on a few of those feelings and force them down our throats again and again and again and again. In my season one review I complained how much it sucked that Rick was on his “as long as my family makes it” trip. And guess what: we’re still on it. The worst thing that could happen to Rick: Lori and Carl die. To Lori? Rick and Carl die? To Carl? His parents die. Yeah, then throw a baby in there. Which could be Shane’s. Because his worst nightmare: also Lori and Carl die. And he gets to be jealous All. The. Fucking. Time. Because that’s just who he is. The rest of the characters are ominously not having terrible nightmares about Rick and his family vanishing, because it would of course be so tragic to all of them, only: not really. By the end of season 2 Rick gets tyrant on everyone’s asses, Carl is dumb as a log anyways in all he does and Lori irritates all of them. Why the fuck are people still listening to these morons? Oh yes, because they are dumb morons, too.
But I can rant all I want there were still things I liked about TWD season two.
No. 1 was the conclusion to the Sophia storyline, because I expected the show to be too afraid to go there, but go there they did. Carol’s devestation is to equal parts forced and annoying, but this scene made up for all the suckitude of the rest, cause it was a powerful image and possibly heavy stuff for the group, which of course, because of dumb characters and dumber writing had no real impact on anyone of the group.
This whole incident had a far bigger impact on Herschel and his family, which is, oddly, another aspect that I liked. I like Herschel, though he is of course somewhat of an ass and likes Rick, which is stupid enough, but he feels like a real person and I like how he tried to cling on to the notion that all of those people he loved can still be saved. The idea to capture them and lock them in the barn is pretty awesome and what happens to him after he sees these hopes crushed is for once in this show believable.
Totally non-believable is that Maggie is his daughter, but I like her character nonetheless. She’s the plucky new one and calls people out for their shit, at least in the beginning (now she’s just part of the cast…). And although the whole relationship is contrived and implausible, I also think that her and Glenn make a cute couple and despite everything, I still like Glenn. Amazing also, how this show manages to keep the fact that Maggie and the blond suicidal one are sisters from us for three quarters of the season. Simply, because all those blond people on Herschel’s farm are there without us getting any explanation as to who they are, ever. For a show to be about caring about those who survived the show actually cares little about those who survived and in turn I care little about these people that I know nothing about and wouldn’t you know it – they get eaten alive just when it’s time to leave the farm.
I hate Shane and Rick and their storylines a lot, but I liked how it all played out in the end and how for both of them this whole shitfest lead into this dead-end that could only be concluded by having one of them dead. And nice touch – Shane rising again. Uh-oh.
Also: Okay, thanks Rick, everyone is infected, nice that you never told anyone, because yeah, why should you? Urgh. Tyrant Rick, that zombie-killing chick with zombie slaves and the wide shot of the castle-thingy that looks like it is going to be next seasons farm-background for more unbelievable human drama leave me with the feeling that there needs to happen some big – B.I.G. – changes in order to make that show work again.
I would like to end on a quote taken from the episode reviews by Alex Brown over at tor.com, which talks explicitly about Carol during the zombie-attack, but which sums up the whole season rather neatly IMHO:
“Maybe if you, I dunno, did something useful instead of doing the lamest running away from zombies ever recorded on television people wouldn’t look down on you so much.”
What is going on with this blog? Next week we hit the final episode of America’s Next Topmodel Cycle 17 and there has as of yet not been a single post on it. Seriously?
Well, y’all, lemme change that. Cause we just crossed an important line this past Wednesday: Laura went home. Sweet, country bumpkin, loveable Laura. Runner up of the “short cycle” 13, which IMHO stands out as one of the most awesome cycles in ANTM history, since basically all of the top 5 back then were awesome and having Nicole win was good, but so would have been Laura, and everyone was nice, yadda yadda. Well now, Laura had to leave the All Star Cycle, where they are recycling those who did not win the first time around but got stuck on our collective consciousness for some reason or other.
Talking about the memorability of some of this cycle’s constestants: questionable, I admit. There are no-brainers, of course, Lisa is most certainly one of them, as are Alexandria and Isis for very different reasons. Shannon was an ok choice, and she really pushed her trademark “no underwear, just swimsuits” thingy this cycle (which naturally made me want to slap her cross her righteous face – not to mention her breakdown being faced with a black woman who speaks up for what she wants). But Britanny? Camille? And Bre? Instead of those three I would have liked to see some Toccara (cycle 3), Jade (cycle 6) or Fo (cycle 11). But arguably, it breaks down to personal preferences and most of the ones chosen for this season are memorable characters in their own unique ways.
I have to talk about Kayla of course, since on my very first ANTM post here on this blog (linked HERE), I raved about how I wanted her to win. And my intitial reaction this time was: Kayla for the win! Well, she’s been out of the race for some weeks now, but that’s ok with me. What the All Star Cycle does, is to really show the standout personalities the show has to offer. And though I love Kayla, love her looks and wish her all the best, she felt kinda stale and safe after a few weeks with the other contestants.
This cycle is pretty outstanding in the amount of BS is brings in terms of photoshoots and videos. Suffering through fake music videos and Tyra’s Modelland film editorial in the last episode make me want to demand getting paid for watching this nonsense. And seriously, Tyra’s Modelland novel is a bestseller? This sound like the whackiest concept for the shittiest novel ever in all of humankind’s history. Photoshoots with a reality TV star theme (Nene? Snookie?)? WTF? Posing as Micheal Jackson? Though I do admit, hearing LaToya’s giggling makes up for basically everything. And then there is the god-awful group picture for the end-credits and the god-awful opening credits a.k.a. Avril Lavigne as Tyra’s brainchild (not to mention here cringeworthy attempts at bringing the cutesy dumb).
But, all the hate of course fades in the glory of what the show brings. Ha, not that I needed a reason to watch ANTM, I love it especially because it leaves so many open spaces for severe and harsh criticism. But I also love it for just what it is: a fluff world of adolescent dreams of becoming some sort of celebrity solely based on how well you photograph and how well people on some random judging panel like you.
The invisible line we crossed in last week’s episode is the fact that Laura winning the thing would have been the perfect outcome. But she is out of the race now and admittedly, I am very happy with the top three, I think they all deserve it.
Angelea, cause she is the underdog, cause girl is underestimated and underestimates herself but obviously has potential for greatness (and tons of drama). Allison is just Allison, how could one not like her? Her introverted, shy, artsy thing with the creepy big eyes – priceless.
But I will not deny, one of those two winning would be awesome because out of the left field, however: Lisa. Lisa D’Amato pushes a lot of people’s buttons in all the wrong ways, but I have always liked her and she is most certainly one of the most memorable ANTM contestants to have ever been on the show. And let’s face it, she has the package they are looking for and if one of those girls is designed to win this cycle, it is most certainly her. Which brings me to conclude: I would be surprised to not see her win it, but I would not be sad. They all deserve it, and that is more than I usually expect of an ANTM cycle.
Or at least pretending to. Cause how does one recap the shit out of a TV series anyways? Well, that’s all just petty semantics, so let’s get the fuck on. As you all know Game of Thrones, the first volume of the Song of Ice and Firefantasy saga by George R.R. Martin, has been adapted to TV. If you didn’t know that, you’re very welcome for the information, may seek it out, watch it and come back here, cause holla, I’ll be spoilering. Just so you know.
The novel has been turned into a series consistent of 10 episodes which all run almost an hour. Some events and/or info from the second novel Clash of Kings (which I reviewed here) have already been taken up or mentioned by the first season. Since this is HBO there is more leeway for all sorts of language, nudity, (gratuitous) sex, and of course the good old violence. In some cases this works, in others, well, not so much. In A Song of Ice and Fire we learn that there is not just good and bad, but an astounding greyscale of everything in between and the same goes for the series. But actually in terms of quality and successful adapting. Let us break it down.
10 episodes is more than one feature film, but still not enough to convey the whole depth of the novel. Omissions work in some places, but in others they unfortunately don’t, especially where personal growth and change in relationships are concerned. The two major victims are predictably Daenerys and Jon Snow.
With the novel it was hard for me to appreciate Daenerys’ storyline and her character, but eventually, through all the plot twists and turns she had to suffer through I suspended my disbelief in her journey and said: yes please, more of that. With the time constraints on television that does not work so well. How exactly did we go from frightened girl that is virtually raped during her wedding night (which was very different and a hundred leagues better in the novel) to loving husband and wife who like to cuddle and share their eyeliner? Right, makes zero to no sense. While the acting gets better (kudos to Emilia Clark for that) the storyline does not seem any more plausible. Why does she love him? Why does she want the Iron Throne back? Why would any of the Khalasar stay with her after Drogo is dead? While we got answers in the novel, we get none here and I just can’t take her seriously.
Same goes for Jon Snow, though a little better. His strong attachment to the Nightswatch and his friendship with and appreciation of Samwell Tarly are hard to understand in the TV series, while they totally make sense in the novel. And in the novel this is exactly what makes him such an awesome character, but we get to that problem later on.
Let us just hope they get more money for the second season, otherwise we have to suffer through more of studio scenery that has to pass for King’s Landing or the Great Hall in Winterfell. Why does basically everything across the Narrow Sea have to look like a cheaper version of Tuscany?
Problem with money and medievalish fantasy series is that they need extras to create a setting and atmosphere that makes us believe we’re in a world and time like this. And as usual most of the scenes in which extras are used excessively are kinda silly. Just focus on the extras in the background when you have scenes where any of the boys practice with the sword. Those guys there – they have no fucking clue what to do with a sword. And the director just hopes no one will notice. Same goes for market, village, or city scenes where people are just running around and do random stuff. When you look at them you actually see that they do mostly nothing but run around with silly props or do the most random of things in a way that tells that they have no clue what they are actually doing for their ten bucks. Pay them more, get better people. Please.
By watching the show I get the distinct impression that the most intelligent and most sympathetic characters in all of the continents and countries presented are actually whores. They are not only smarter than anyone else, but know more about stuff, are way more practical and I end up wondering: how come they don’t rule the Seven Kingdoms? Per se, that is a good question to ask, but since we’ve read the books, but mostly because we know US television would never allow it those smart super-whores won’t come to wear the crown anytime soon. Which makes it all the more puzzling why all the whores are basically so awesome. The sad thing with Ros in particular is, that she is actually an interesting character but all she is used for in the series is to be tool for storytelling, or rather infodumping on us viewers so we get what everyone else is actually talking about. That’s okayish, but it gets very problematic when producers seem to have thought: they need to talk some exposition, can we have her naked? And seemingly everyone went: Yes! Bringing us to….
The faux-lesbo sex scene in the brothel
What the fuck? Singularly, this scene stands out as bullcrap. Oh granted, the two cocksucking scenes (Ros with Tyrion’s member, Loras with Renly’s) are not only superfluous, but also annoying, because on the one hand the series acts all “ha, we’re totally going there, see, how shocking!” But then they don’t even have the balls to show the back of the head, they just move out and insert some sloppy slurping sounds. Argh. Not to mention that most of the sex in Game of Thrones seems to happen doggie-style, for whatever reason. Same applies to the lesbo-sex-scene between Ros and the other new whore in town, which is, I guess, equivalent to their job interview with Littlefinger. Not that this wouldn’t be awkward enough in itself, the scene actually features some love-professing from Littlefinger for Catelyn. A man of thousand secrets just pouring out one of his most personal stories and sentiments to two newly hired whores (cause who could they possibly talk to? Ermh, customers, maybe?), that is so far out of character that it hurts. So, it is the combination of bad writing, bad sex and on top of that sexism, cause the fuck, they just added the whole “make her come” to hold the attention of their presumed male audience who’d go “bwah, boring, love for women, maybe I should change the channe…. no wait sex”. Offensive, it is, yes.
Speaking about offensiveness and sex, why not add a little racism to it? Oh my. The Dothraki in the novel were mildly offensive already, but the TV version takes it to a whole new level. Bare breasts hit us left and right (counteracted by the occasional peen), but especially so during Daenerys’ wedding and would you believe it they are all up on the guy who kills another one cause he interrupted his, ermh, public fuck. Happens, all the ladies are black. As some of the guys. Some may be latino, others Arabic, but hey, why should producers or directors care? They think of white audiences, white heroes and want the exotic, so everyone non-white can of course be of the same people or in the same tribe, cause they’re all branded as savages anyways. And even though the series tries to make us believe that Daenerys does not think of them as savages, it is pretty obvious that she does and that she as Mrs. White-Elf Teacherwoman has to teach all them people of color how life works. Oh, excuse me, I just puked over my television set.
Moments of Blah included:
Well, Winterfell was nice, as was the Wall, but neither was really breathtaking. TV Bran sits ok with me, but does not blow my mind. I feel like they could have found an even better Samwell Tarly, or have him be a bit more whiny. Same goes for Varys. I see some future problems here, because I found him to be so fascinating because of the super-slimy whininess he exhibits in book 1 and surprised me continually with all sorts of shenanigans and assertions in book 2. Here in the TV series he is already very assertive and supposedly mysterious, but I don’t know.
Also, there wasn’t a lot of wolf-action. If I hadn’t read the novels I wouldn’t know how important the wolves are. I probably wouldn’t even know their names. So far it hasn’t really bothered me, but let’s see what season 2 brings in the wolf-department.
As for the Others and their blue eyes, let’s just judge that later on, after season 3 maybe, ok?
What I absolutely totally love though, is:
Oh my fucking god you guys, how good is the casting? I had very different images of Loras, Hodor and Osha in my mind when reading the novels, but I’ll give them a chance. Littlefinger was one of the characters I hadn’t really pictured but oh my, they nailed it with Aidan Gillen. At first I thought he was a little too handsome for the part, but now I’m sold 100%. This IS Littlefinger.
As for the Stark kids I’m happy they made them a bit older. Bran doesn’t strike me as an awesome choice, Rickon is still highly irrelevant anyways, but I’m good with the Jon Snow choice of Kit Harington. But to my surprise, Richard Madden as Robb Stark really blew my mind cause he is that fucking good. Actually so good that I like TV Robb more than TV Jon, while when it comes to the novels I prefer my Jon to my Robb by factor one thousand. That’s quite a feature, and I guess besides big blue eyes it has a lot to do with the pacing of the show. Jon does not have much time for his needed character growth, while the time for Robb’s growth as a character suffices, since it is – in my eyes – a “lesser” development. Also big rounds of applause to the rest of the Starks, Arya and Sansa, whom I disliked in the novel, have been cast extremely well and they inhabit their roles stunningly, both believable and touching. Sean Bean as Eddard and Michelle Fairley are also both perfect for their parts, especially Fairley adding the much needed balance of gravitas and maternal instinct for her character.
Let’s just say it all together: they deserve a sub-category of their own. The Lannisters have all been cast extremely well. While Tyrion is already an awesome character in the novels Peter Dinklage brings him to life on the screen like he should be brought to life. Just the right amount of vulnerability, arrogance, sexual appetite, and wit to make everything about him work perfectly. Tywin Lannister looked different in my head, but I approve of the choice here, cause dude is one creepy father with too much power in his hands. Same goes for Joffrey, pictured differently, but TV Joffrey is very efficient and believable. Jaime is already more present for me than he was in the first novel, again a handsome actor who finds the perfect emotional balance for his character. But who really blew me away is Cersei, yet again a character I had no clear picture of, but OML, she fucking rocks. The woman is crazy in a gajillion ways, but TV Cersei goes through all sorts of emotions and wicked plans so fucking effortlessly that I buy Lena Headey’s performance from second one. And how great is her scene with Robert, when they discuss their marriage? Acting gold, both of them, right there.
The Opening Credits
Ha, really. I think they are pretty well done and nice to look at, I just wish the music would be a little more memorable. Nice touch with the map though, and the steampunkishness of it all.
They look pretty wicked. TV-proppy, yes, but wicked nonetheless, and I wish to see more of them.
Whoops, turns out the most awesome thing about the series is the casting. Which is good, I guess, when it comes to character based stories. All in all I think Game of Thrones as a TV show is a decent effort, just like I thought the novel was a decent effort. Now that I was so happy about the Clash of Kings novel, I may have expected a little more, but you know what, X-Files season one hasn’t been the best X-Files season either, so there. Let’s give it time (and a bigger budget) and it might blow our collective mind.
Time for another instalment in my self-indulgent series of talking about what music videos I love love love for no other reason than me being able to because I say so. Ha! Haters to the left….
Whatevs…. y’all might be sayin’, just give us the damn thing and your Top 5 reasons why you love love love it. What you waiting for?
#1 Whoops now
Always a good reason to like a music video is because you like the song. In this particular case the song is really the main reason why this video makes it into the series. By Janet Jackson standards it’s certainly not the most ambitious nor necessarily the best music video she’s done, but the song is one of her best IMHO, so you gotta deal with that. I love the “Jenny from the Block”-ness of it, as in: hell yeah, I’m an international superstar in the early 90s, but folks, I know what it’s like to have to go to work at the office instead of spending quality time with my friends on the weekend. As if…. And then being on Jet-Skis and all that rich-kids-shit. But still, Janet convinces me more of keeping it real than Jenny, probably because Janet never really had it really real, so her version of real is always a sugar-coated nipple-free fun world. Or whatever.
Lil’ fun fact: The first single from the very same album “That’s the way love goes” features Jennifer Lopez as a dancer in the music video.
Another lil’ fun fact: The song itself isn’t credited on the album art, since it’s a hidden track. But being one of the best on the album they made it a single nevertheless. I’m glad bout that.
#2 This shirt
Ok, no.1 was wordy. So let’s shorten this point a little. Just look at this shirt. It’s a pink polo-shirt with turquoise trimming. Heehee, what? Obviously no stylist whatsoever was working on that project and thanks to that we have that atrocity of 90s fashion to remind us how very human even Ms. Jackson can be. The next point will prove it.
#3 The hair
Oh ma gaaaawd, that hair. If you ever wondered what decade that thing was filmed in and the shirt didn’t give it away, look no further. In German we call it Bumspalme, which can’t be translated nearly as eloquently but actually suggests that it’s a hairdo meant for sex. In a non-erotic, look-down-upon-it kinda way. But, as terrible as it is, how cute is it at the same time? With that shirt? Oh, those 90s. They sure knew how to fuck up style back then.
#4 Ms. Jackson
Simply a beautiful black woman, out with her friends, having fun in the sun. I’m not gonna lie, I’m a little creeped out by how she looks like that nowadays, which indicates that nothing about her face has aged naturally. That’s kinda sad, we can discuss this another day. That’s not to say she hasn’t had any work done by the time of the video, but since we don’t even remember her face before any nose-job, cheek-job or xx-job we take it as basically au natural, ok? And as such, here she is: A beautiful black woman, distinctively less whitewashed than in other videos or photo-spreads. A sharp reminder of what pop-culture does to color without us even noticing most of the time.
#5 private footage/music video
Now, I don’t believe for a second that any shot in that video wasn’t explicitly set up for the music vid, but since it’s done well, it doesn’t feel like it, it looks really like Ms. Jackson would be taking her vacation with a bunch of friends. What I particularly like about the direction and editing is how the parts where she’s actually singing the lyrics blend in seamlessly, even though they clearly indicate that this is no ex-boyfriend-held-the-camera-for-private-fun shoot, but a professional music video. But the effect of the casualness is very well done, and I appreciate that.
Awww, reality television, how you enrich my life! Recently the final episodes of RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 3 aired, so I guess it’s time to do some little recap-action and spill my thoughts, just like I did after watching season 2 (the post is HERE).
As per usual Drag Race Season 3 was all about a bunch of drag queens coming together and competing for the title of America’s Next Drag Superstar in what is a mash-up of ANTM minus Tyra and Project Runway minus Heidi flavored with some RuPaul, arguably one of the most famous Drag Queens of our day and age.
Let’s just start with the obvious and talk about Season 3’s winner: Raja. Now, I’m fine with it, Raja’s drag is good drag and interesting. The whole “oh, genderfuck is so unconventional” thing seems a little contrived after we already had the amazingness of Ongina and all her Ladyboy-ness in Season 1. Having said that many of Raja’s looks were really good examples of thinking outside the box, while I have to admit there were lots and lots of moments that I wasn’t too thrilled with what she brought, cause I thought it looked uninspired (the Dollar dress for example).
Now I wouldn’t be me if I weren’t complaining because my favorite didn’t win the thing. And I also wouldn’t be me, or at least not stick to my pattern of picking the Asian contestant as my favorite. It’s weird but it’s true: After Ongina and Jujubee this season I was rooting for Manila Luzon, cause I thought her whole conception of the drag persona she was bringing was awesomely thought-out and delivered. I liked him_her as a character within the show, but I also liked what Manila Luzon portrayed on the stage and I was totally smitten with the honest reaction of not winning the title. The look of disappointment with the comment of “I gave it my all and fuck, it wasn’t enough…?” is endearing, cause it’s not the usual kind of “this was an awesome experience blahblah yadda yadda”. I’m sure it is, but hey, being the runner-up is always a kinda sucky position to occupy. So close, yet not quite there.
Once more the most surprising thing about watching the show is witnessing the level of bitchiness. On the one hand those people connect and maybe even become friends, yet they are all quick to judge and do so loud and mean and the irritating thing about it is, that they apparently think that is what being a drag performer – or even a gay man – is all about. And I think it’s kind of sad, especially when I get the impression that the ones who sincerely apologize for some of the things they said and did are few and never given any real credit for it.
The epitome of this whole bitchy-business this season was the whole Heathers vs. Boogers thing, where Raja, Manila, Delta and Carmen called themselves Heathers and the other contestants Boogers, cause they thought they were better, even though they tried to justify this crap in the Reunited episode and claimed it was all good fun and certainly not intended to mean that they were better, when clearly it was. Bullshiz to that I say. Granted, the four of them are amazing drag performers, each in her own unique way, very polished and also very surprising at times (Raja with insane outfits and Carmen with her insane looks) while some of the others still need a little more experience. And yes, we’re looking in the general direction of Miss Shangela (hello, again, after Season 2, Hallelou!) and Stacy Layne Matthews from Backswamp, North Carolina. But then again those two proved time and again how compassionate they were and how they understood that being supportive and mature is probably way more desirable than to be a Heather.
You’re probably asking now: hey, it’s a show about drag queens, what do you expect? And what would it be without the drama? Argh, I say, I don’t know, I’m all for drama in my reality TV, but could it be less of the we-all-gotta-be-bitches-nature and more of the we-really-have-an-issue-here kind? Wishful thinking, I guess.
What we saw this season was the first time of multiple big girls in the run for the title, and the general bitchiness towards their weight was fortunately rather minimal. It is interesting to see the bigger drag queens, because quite frankly, when I think of drag queens the standard image to pop up in my head is a big queen, probably because of images of famous queens like Divine, I guess. And my impression from rather limited contacts with drag queens in real life is that many of them are bigger girls. So I was very happy to see three contestants, is what I’m saying. I could bitch and moan about how none of them won the race, but then again it was Mimi Imfurst who seemed to be a really annoying person (making up one’s lack of smart with being shrill never sits particularly well with me), Delta Work (who was good, but not outstanding) and Stacy Layne Matthews, who I would have loved to see more of, but admittedly her drag needs to get to the next level to be able to compete with some of the others. It makes me wonder: Is it really that difficult to find original and unconventional big drag queens? Maybe season 4 can give an answer to that.
What I really enjoyed about this season was the glimpses we got on drag culture in general. Drag Race’s educational corner, so to speak. I don’t know a lot about drag culture, but it is interesting to not only hear about techniques and trends here and there, but to also learn about regional differences and stuff like drag pageants and “the ballroom scene.” I’d love it if they presented more of that and offered some explanation as to what the differences are. From what I’ve gathered, you have to be the pretty princess drag queen to compete in pageants and ice-cold to survive in the ballroom scene (whatever the heck that is), while being a club-scene-queen makes you more experienced all around, supposedly. So I’m basically saying that I just picked up terms and expressions and don’t really have a clue.
I kinda wish the LOGO-channel wouldn’t be so asshole-y and let me watch their show from Germany, but since they don’t I had to rely on other sources and was not able to see the untucked episodes, which I would have loved to see. Are they worth it? I feel they add more depth and background to the contestants, but I really don’t know. Hmmm.
Ah, and yes, RuPaul was also there, haha. Of course. S_he really seems to be a fun person to spend your time with. Can’t wait for next season!
OMG Alex, you are probably about to say, so much reality TV in this world and you cover so little of it. What is wrong with you? Alas, the questions shall be answerethed. And I gotta admit: We are already waaaayyy into cycle 16 of America’s Next Topmodel, Tyra’s beloved brainchild. So this post right here is long overdue. But now I have the perfect excuse which is really just a sad sad occasion: My personal favorite, Mikaela, had to leave last week. Tears and nervous breakdowns, y’all.
So, why exactly was Mikaela my favorite? Well, just take another look at the photo above. That face. You know, just to remind me mere human being that every now and then nature decides that it is time to spew out another being that is carrying around remarkable facial features that also look really good. Bwah, thanks, or whatever. So admittedly, I wanted Mikaela to win because she is so pretty, but also admittedly, personality-wise she didn’t really make me explode emotionally.
Apart from that, how terrible was last episode anyways? Alexandria is pulling the major bitch and once a girl calls her out for it and defends her position all the judges and especially Tyra are all like “shut your trap and forget about honesty for like fucking ever.” Way to go, Tyra, way to go. What is all that blabber about role-models and alla that? You’re setting the worst examples by punishing honesty and rewarding fakeness. I know I shouldn’t get worked up about a reality TV show, but no matter what it is or how real those events are, they are sending a message. And last weeks episode sent the worst fucking message you could send out to young girls. Be cute and act humble while bringing up all sorts of assholery but never ever speak your mind and be confident. Argh.
So, cycle 16, what have you taught us so far? Well, if you are a model with an editorial look that really likes feminism you’re gonna get kicked out, although it’s also kinda weird to think of yourself as this hardcore feminist and then participate in a modelling competition on reality TV.
We also learned that plus size is now fiercely real, because obviously “smiling with your eyes” and “modelling from H to T” are getting a little old.
And being an asshole is better than being honest.
So, what’s left in store for us? Of course we all hope that Alexandria’s butt gets kicked off asap, we can still grin derangedly for the aweseomness that is Jaclyn and her inability to say one single swear-word and hope that either her or Kasia wins, cause let’s be real, Brittani won’t make it no more and Molly is fun but too boring so satisfy us.
And if you’re thinking that I’m totally out of my mind for liking ANTM and writing about it, you are abso-fuckin-lutely right. Sorriez.
Start your engines, and may the best blog-entry win!
Get your queens on, cause I am about to embark on a mini-recap of RuPaul’s Drag Race season 2. There is one simple reason for that: I just watched it within the last few days. Why now? Another simple reason: Could not before, could now. Ha.
For all of those unfamiliar with RuPaul click here or just keep in mind that s_he is probably the most famous drag queen in the U.S., having had considerably more media exposure in the late 1990s. But then there is also Drag Race on the logo channel (and there are other shows s_he’s doing, like DragU).
The premise of Drag Race is fairly simple: A bunch of drag queens are assembled and in XX-next topmodel fashion they compete for the title of “America’s next drag superstar” (and some prizes, of course).
I’ll use this post to write some about what I liked and what I didn’t concerning the show and try to finish off with some commentary on the whole issue of reconciling drag queens with ideals of feminism.
I massively enjoyed season 2 of Drag Race. Which is kind of a surprise, cause I did not expect it to be as interesting. A few months back, when I caught some clips and saw the contestants I was not overly thrilled, but having watched the entire thing I was impressed with the queens.
The major highlight was the top three, or even the top five, or also just the winner. Ha, confusion! There it strikes again. Okay, in order: While Tyra Sanchez, or rather the guy creating her, seemed to be some bitchy prick most of the time and kept me thinking that picking him_her as a winner set a terrible example for all the kids watching (hi kids!), I have to admit: s_he turned it out every fucking week. Stunning looks, awesome performances. And dedication, heaps of that. Plus, now that I watched the reunion show and having seen Tyra Sanchez and her softer side, I’m all forgiving and stuff. Having said that, how incredible were the top three anyways? Apart from Tyra, Raven with her deliberately non-sparkly persona and über-bubbly Jujubee were drag queens with undeniable star potential. And to make matters even better: Pandora Boxx and Tatiana were strong contestants too. Funky personalities and gorgeous looks, just what you expect.
A major surprise is how similar I think the top three this season is to the the top three of season one in my head (Bibi, Nina Flowers and Ongina – even though Ongina didn’t come in third). Dontcha think? Maybe there is a universal pattern that really is the key to getting in connection with the creator of all things alive and whatnot, but maybe it’s just a fun coincidence or statistically inevitable because good queens always come in triplets of black ultra-divas, ice-queeny showgirls and Asian power-cupcakes.
A major turn off this season (again) was how dudes doing drag seem to believe they have to be super-bitches throughout their entire life. Granted, it’s reality TV and they were probably all really nice and loving people. I am just constantly surprised at how easily these people get bitchy and catty out of no reason. Then again, it was incredibly nice to see that they are for the most part able to overcome this. Now, I am not the forgive and forget type. I hold a grudge. I wish I didn’t, but I do, it is hard for me not to take things personal and letting go of that. So I am always happy when I see people who are able to forgive and forget, to overcome their differences and all of that.
Major blah were all the mini-challenges (really? Like: what’s the point? Besides product placement…) and the judging panel. RuPaul obviously is the center of attention when it comes to panel, and s_he is usually the only funny one (and I was really surprised how witty and funny s_he was all the time). The celebrity judges, even my beloved Kathy Griffin, were just extremely boring and Merle and Santino, oh my, at least they have a job. Blah were also all the lipsynch for your life songs. I swear, none of these songs seemed even remotely acceptable for lipsynch performance by a drag queen. Either I am so out of touch with the whole drag culture (which admittedly I am) or these were just poor song choices albeit personal favorites of Ru.
I was majorly sad so see that once again the big queens were underrepresented. I mean, I see so many big drag queens, are there so little talented ones? I can hardly believe that. While Mystique Summers was kind of amusing, she was also kind of a one-trick pony. I’m still hoping for more diversity in body types.
I cannot hold it back any longer now: I was so rooting for Jujubee to win this thing. Though I kinda already expected her not to, she was my favorite. The wit and humour she brought to every situation, coupled with this incredible self-awareness and fearlessness of touching upon topics that were very personal and sad made me laugh and weep and want to hug her_him. Personality wise, s_he was a total winner. I accept her_his third place though, cause when it comes to the whole drag part, Raven and Tyra really took it to another level.
So, off to the social commentary we go. I remember a little conversation I had a few years back about how drag queens don’t really perform in favour of feminist causes versus gender-studies-legend Judith Butler hailing the subversive powers of drag.
Obviously the latter makes some good points. Drag queens call into question the assumption that femininity is inextricably linked to biological sex (if we think of this as existent) and present us with varying degrees of border crossing between male and female gender.
The queens of Drag Race certainly do that. This second season we saw all the queens un-drag-ed as boys/men in their interviews and the host RuPaul sporting a major moustache in the reunion show. At the same time the show revolved around padding your hips and breast and shoulders and bring the funky on in glamorous nightgowns and massive wigs. On top of that we had a contestant (Tatiana) who took it to a level where it was hardly discernible that she might not be what she seems to be, and we furthermore had the revelation of contestant Sonique in the reunion show that she really is a woman, psychologically for now, physically in the future. What this season lacked unfortunately was a ladyboy a la Ongina from season 1, who really brought the glamour as a persona that mixed up assumptions of masculinity and femininity without falling into the put-a-wig-and-make-up-on routine. But then again, we had Ongina in season 1, so Drag Race as a series delivers in diversity (not to mention the diversity of ethnic background with people positioning themselves as white, black, Latina, ghetto, asian, transnational and a hundred things in between – this alone deserves honorable mentioning IMO).
The critique that I encountered a while ago, was that drag queens really undermine feminism because they put emphasis on style and sexuality, reinforcing thereby traditional female “areas of expertise”. This position has some valid points, in that we do not encounter drag queens on Drag Race who don’t change their appearance and say: so now, I’m a woman. It is a TV show after all, catering to standards of reality-TV in that contestants are expected to bring some kind of standardised glamour that is heavily influenced by Hollywood notions of how big your breast, how shiny your hair and how flawless you make-up has to be. Yet at the same time, I’d argue, drag is a performance, not reality, but a deliberate heightening of aspects found within reality, taken to a new level and subverted along the way. Subverted in that emphasis is put on the fact that a drag queen might look like a stylized doll, but is really a man underneath who had to shave off his beard first.
The context in which drag culture takes place is one that is defined almost exclusively by questions of sexuality and sexual orientation, thereby making it hard to escape the sexualized nature of performance and demeanour. Furthermore we have to keep in mind that drag queens are by and large NOT transgender people: Many of them do not intend to step out as a woman and convince you that they are just your regular girl next door. The deliberately take on a role that pursues a specific purpose – commentary upon what a human being is able to transform him_herself into and upon how assumptions directed at looks and gender-performances can be unsettled and overthrown by performing a persona and gender that is but a mere illusion.
Having said all that should make clear, that I do not think that drag queens contradict ideals of feminism, however, I would also like to add that this doesn’t mean that they are all fighting for the feminist cause. Because after all we should not fall into the trap of confusing the performance with the performer. While the performance might subvert gender assumptions and norms set by a male dominated heterosexist social structure, the male performers behind the drag queens might still hold on to sexist or even misogynist views themselves. I don’t assume that this is the case with many (especially the misogynist part), but having witnessed throughout Drag Race season 2 how bitchy and catty some of those boys can get, all the while thinking that this is proper queen behaviour, we should keep in mind that we are dealing with individual human beings. They probably fight for feminist causes in ways we haven’t even thought of before, but they might still make mistakes and confuse the performance of gender attributes with a natural order. Thing is, we’re all just human, right?
So, I just finished watching The Walking Dead. And even though my original plan was to post episode to episode recaps, I kinda abandoned that because I went through the whole series in two days and frankly, it’s not like ten thousand things happen in every episode, I guess one post is enough for six of them.
Being a fan of all zombie nonsense (and let’s not fool ourselves, most of that zombie-shit is pretty nonsensical from the get-go) I got curious about the comic adaptation for the US channel AMC (who also brought Breaking Bad and Mad Men to this world) of The Walking Dead. I was travelling with light baggage, cause I haven’t read the comics, so canonical stuff and alla that were no issue for me.
If you haven’t seen season one of The Walking Dead yet, there are MAJOR SPOILERS below, so just be warned.
The opening scene. Now I do not condone violence of any sort against anyone, let alone children. But for a cop to shoot a blond zombie girl, that is kind of good, in that it leaves me with the notion that we are not necessarily going to witness a family friendly zombie slaughter where the main victims are going to be those who are just not white or middle-class enough.
Jacqui. She’s thin as a needle and was working as an engineer or something. She is compassionate and yet tough. Lesbians of the world rejoice, that woman is a dream. Now, mind you, I am not happy at all that she moves out of the picture later on, because honestly, she was the one character that interested me the most.
Zombintelligence. Haha, word mash-up. The zombies learn to use tools and react to sound and smell. They seem to sorta remember things like using doorknobs and stuff. Are we witnessing the first evolutionary steps of zombidom? It is totally ridiculous but could make for fun storytelling along the way.
How good are the zombies anyways? Wandering around, sitting in burnt-out buses waiting for the prey? Let’s see how the whole brain-resurrection thing works out and if we see them starve from the lack of fresh meat.
The Latin thugs caring for the elderly. WTF? was my main and only thought throughout their initial appearance, but how endearingly cute that they take care of those left behind. Okayyyy, I know, it’s totally cheeseballs, but it is cute nevertheless, plus it is not blond women doing the job, but yeah, Latino thugs. And that makes it totally acceptable for me (not that I don’t think that blond women couldn’t take care of people in need. I just don’t want them to be the only ones doing it).
Rick and his kid. Umh, Rick? Well, he is the protagonist. I have my issues with him, but I’ve come to like him somewhat, let’s just leave it at that. But his kid Carl, he seems to be a fun boy, intelligent and all. Kewl. From spoileriffic discussions I gathered that he is going to play a bigger role later on, so let’s just wait and see.
Ok, just how likely is it that among the few (like really few) survivors of this zombie-apocalypse it is exactly Rick’s family that belong to them – completely. Please please let it only be a device to make his wife or son a zombie later on and throw him into some ethical dilemma, but then again, boy, would that suck as a predictable storyline.
Speaking of which: Anyone else über-tired of the I-gotta-save-my-family-no-matter-what-storyline? Like: What? You wake up and realize that basically 99% of the world’s population have become zombies, yet you completely fail to connect your willingness for survival with a compassion for other survivors? Like, if wifey and son aren’t there anymore, who gives a shit? Ermh, let me just say, that when the people weren’t all zombies, you probably were a major moron. How come I think so? Oh, because you still are (and I kinda hoped that all the morons became zombies).
Didn’t we start the survivors group with a pretty diverse cast? The Latino family, a black woman and a black man (and actually another black woman that just vanishes), Glenn, the nerdy Asian guy, and umh, yeah, the rest. Well, by the end of season one we got rid of the Latino family, cause they conveniently want to go visit their relatives. And Jacqui decides she does not want to be in this world no more. Which is a tragedy all by itself, because she was one of the few characters that genuinely interested me. So yeah, we got rid of the misogynist husband and the supposed Nazi-Klan-guy (who’ll probably make a horrible comeback later on), but yeah, blink blink, the rest of the main cast is all kinda very white and often blond, leaving our beloved T-Dog (or is it T-Dawg) as the token black guy, and Glenn as our token Asian nerd. Stereotypes? Where? Meaning we got from semi-diverse to not-at-all-diverse in a matter of six episodes. By the end of season two we’re probably stuck with a completely blond and blue-eyed cast. Urgh.
The whole Shane and Lori thing. I get it, you thought your husband was dead and all the stress for everyone, so to horn it up and shag some is a great relief. But honeys, why not come clean right away? Your husband and best friend can handle it, you’re in the middle of a zombie infested world, y’all. I mean, sheesh, ok, you didn’t throw the jealousy bone in between our feet in episode three, but uh, are we gonna get there, and my guess is it is going to be non-pretty, as in predictable and lame lame lame.
Speaking of lame – and kind of retracing the diversity issue – there are casting choices that should not have been, and Lori is certainly one of them. Sorry, but her one facial expression besides looking motherly down on her son or basically everyone, cause we are supposed to like Mrs. Über-Mom, is wide-eyed-horror, and that look applies to either zombies, husbands, lovers, explosions or any other surprise you could think of from the top of your head. Now she might be an awesome actress, but acting she does certainly not much in this series. And how creative to have every surviving woman be thin and generically pretty, except for grandmas to touch our heart. The only woman with short-cropped hair is the one who is beaten up by her husband, the underlying message being: If you don’t have model-hair that’s long and shiny, there’s gotta be something wrong.
Ah, yes, the gender relations. So the women do the laundry all the time? Once again it’s up to Jacqui to question this division of labor, but besides this half-sentence there isn’t much actual protest. Are you kidding me? Or am I kidding myself? The likelihood of progressive feminists being the main survivors is kinda slim given the prominence of conservative thinking throughout the world. But really? I mean, it’s a series and not our very reality, so please spare me the shit. Cause it’s not going to be the models and policemen to be the main survivors either. Then again, models and policemen are very unlikely to be feminist and progressive anyways, so it all kinda makes sense again. Thank the Lords.
My overall impression is pretty good, though. I’ve enjoyed watching this first season and I hope that the second can build up on that without falling into the love-triangle-evil-scientist-trap (that it’s probably going to fall into anyways). Now that I’m hungry for more like a zombie for brains, I’m gonna have to wait an effin’ amount of months. That sucks, but hey, maybe it increases my workflow.
Some final thoughts I just need to share:
Loving the opening credits, they are really well done.
Couldn’t care less about Edward Jenner and his personal tragedy. For one he is not likeable, and this whole schtick with his wife being TS-19 was so on the radar from 800 miles away. Plus, what a stupid facility.
Looking forward to meeting father and son who saved Rick again. They convinced me in the emotional department.
The two blond sisters got on my nerve from minute one. On practically any level imaginable. I know I’m not supposed to, but I was kind of glad that we got at least rid of Amy.
Merle Dixon is so going to get all vengeance on their asses, plus it’s going to include some brother against brother nonsense. Already at this point I cannot wait for this storyline to be over, and it hasn’t even really started. Boy, is that going to suck. Inevitably.