Trigger Warning: Broccoli

(The first anniversary of this blog reminded me I’ve been neglecting it a little. Forgive me. The end of the school year is approaching and the weather is much too nice to stay inside and write. Okay, okay. I’ll write outside more. Be patient with me.)

Trigger warning for discussion of suicide and anxiety attacks

Recently, I was triggered by something I saw in a seminar. This occurrence made me aware of the misunderstandings surrounding the words ‘trigger’ and ‘trigger warning.’ I’ll endeavor to shed some light on them for you today.  What happened was this:

For a module on affect studies we examined some examples of shame in popular culture. An obvious example was the 2011 film Shame directed by Steve McQueen, starring Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan. There was a scene towards the end of the movie that triggered an anxiety attack in me.

From here on out, this blog post contains spoilers for the film Shame Continue reading

Slash

You sigh. You roll your eyes. “Hasn’t Frenzied frickin’ Fangirl written enough about slash by now?” you ask. Maybe I have. But this time Slash is the title of a film I’ve just seen, and I’m here to tell all y’all that it rocks. As always, I have a few critical notes, but they’re not many.

So here’s the gist: Neil, the protagonist of Slash, writes slash for the fictional fandom of Vanguard. When his composition notebook is stolen (this is why we never take our attempts at writing erotica with us to school, children!) he accidentally befriends Julia, also a slash writer. Sidenote to people that know me IRL: There is a Julia in this film who writes gay fanfic, wears lots of t-shirts with cats on them and is an avid feminist. Sound familiar? I thought so. Julia encourages Neil to put his fic online, and when he does it soon becomes so successful that Neil is asked to do a reading at Comic Con. Then some other stuff happens that I won’t tell you for the sake of spoilers.

What I loved about this film: it’s about fandom, and more specifically: fanfic. It beautifully portrays the tensions within fandom that arise when old school fans are confronted with newcomers. Its full of in-jokes from RPF to curtain fic. It’s super open and honest about non-hetero sexual orientations.

What I didn’t love so much: Why is the protagonist a white guy? (SPOILER ALERT: Continue reading

The Elephant In The Room

Once again I want to thank anyone who voted on the Fantastic Story Competition. Even though I didn’t win, I had a wonderful weekend at Dutch Comic Con at Utrecht and it was a great honor to read my short story, The Elephant In The Room, to so many enthusiastic members of the audience. You can now also read my story below. Congratulations to Marjolijn Ahsara and her beautiful story Death’s Diner for their victory.

Fantastic Story Competition

The Elephant In The Room

by Julia Neugarten

It was a Tuesday afternoon like any other when Ian Jones-McWorthington-Smith came home to discover an elephant in his living room. He didn’t see the elephant right away, as he was busy putting his groceries in the fridge. Then, quite suddenly, the elephant sneezed. It happened just as Ian was putting the eggs in their rightful place, and one of them slipped out of his hand at the unexpected noise. The egg’s name was Patricia. Faster than you’ve ever fallen before, unless you have previous experience with falling to your death, Patricia made her way towards the linoleum of the kitchen floor. She screamed, but no sound came out because eggs don’t have mouths. As she saw the floor approach she thought, first, that it was a damned shame because she had been the tastiest egg in the carton, then, that it was a good thing not to end up boiled or fried or, heaven forbid, scrambled, and then, in her final moments on this planet, Patricia thought of her mother. Finally, with a dull splat, her shell shattered on the kitchen floor. Continue reading

Reasons To Love Jens Lekman

Last month, everyones favorite Swedish singer songwriter, Jens Lekman, released a new album: Life Will See You Know. Frenzied Fangirl will be attending his show in Utrecht next month, and let me tell you why you should be there or be square.

I’ve strenuously avoided writing about music since the birth of this blog; I find it nearly impossible. After all, “Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.” Impossible. I’d love to be able to do it though; to tell you why some music appeals to me, why some music makes me cry, and some music makes me want to live a radically different life. I figured the easiest way to start is by writing about an ar527348_508109985868886_1803095852_ntist I feel strongly about, and since I absolute LOVE Jens, this is as good a time as any to get started.

For starters, I should mention that Lekman’s first album, When I Said I Wanted To Be Your Dog, is still my favorite of his, and it’s also in my top 10 albums of all time. My favorite of his songs is You Are The Light. Understandably, I was disappointed when Jens didn’t play one at the gig I attended a few years ago. Afterwards, he was at the merchandise booth to sign CD’s, and asked me whether I’d enjoyed the show. I said I’d loved it, but I was sorry he’d not performed my favorite song. So Jens sang it in my ear for me, right there, right then, acoustic. Yeah, he’s that kind of guy. Continue reading

The Elephant In The Room Or: The End Of Writer’s Block

Just over a week ago I blogged a complaint to my Muse: she had deserted me. Writer’s block had set in and I WAS NOT WRITING. It was a nightmare. Almost as soon as I published the post, a solution presented itself. A short story of mine got shortlisted for the Fantastic Story Competition organized by Dutch Comic Con. Voting ends March 12th. VOTE NOW!

I was surprised by the effect this seemingly insignificant event had on my creativity. I felt validated, I felt wanted, I felt cool. Simultaneously, I felt like a bit of an idiot. It’s a little  childish to only write when you get positive feedback on your work, and then, when you feel as though you’re not getting enough positive feedback, to just…quit.

I want to be a writer. I mean to say: I want to make writing into a career. I want to be a person who makes a living by writing stuff. That doesn’t just mean blogging on topics I feel passionate about on moments I feel passionate about them. Sometimes it means just sitting down to do the work, which is why I’m pledging to do at least one blogpost a week from now on. Wish me luck.

There are, however, two sides to every problem, and sometimes there’s an infinite number of sides. Continue reading

Writer’s Block

Ironically, I’ve had a post on writer’s block in my drafts folder for ages. It went something like this: “How lucky I am, never to have experienced writer’s block. I wonder how the phenomenon works. Can you even call yourself a writer if you’re not writing? I don’t understand how people’s personal lives can get in the way of their writing. For me, writing is the only way to deal with my personal life, blah blah blah.”

It’s been over a month since my last blogpost, so I think it’s about time I redact that statement. During this month, I’ve written a number of university assignments with extreme difficulty. No fiction. No non-fiction. No fanfiction. Barely any Facebook posts. Something is fucky in the state of Denmark.

First, I made y’all a promise. I was going to blog about TJLC. I though the craziness would be over within a couple of weeks and I’d be able to blog about it comprehensively. Contrary to my expectations, the conspiracy just keeps getting bigger and bigger and bigger. I can no longer oversee or understand all of it, and I don’t feel confident blogging about it, partly because I’m not sure what my opinion is on the whole thing.

Second, I don’t want to blog about TJLC. What if it’s the last time I get to blog about Sherlock with any sort of news value? Over the course of my hesitation, the news value has, of course, evaporated, but still. Ten years from now, I’ll just be a silly lady in a quiet corner of the internet, still blogging about Johnlock. I don’t want to become outdated quite yet.

Then I went to see Harry Potter & The Cursed Child in London. My notes on the play and the experience are lengthier than the average blog post. I really need to do some editing and organizing on that post, but I don’t feel like doing that… So, I’m stuck.

Third, I don’t want to return to the rigid scheme of blogging I’ve observed in the last months of 2016. Posting something every three days leeches my creativity and makes me dread writing, when writing is actually supposed to be an enjoyable activity.

By writing about my difficulties with writing, I’ve broken the silence. I sincerely hope I’ll have something a bit more substantial to post soon. In the mean time, please root for my muse to return.

Love,

Frenzied Fangirl

PS: To the people who have been enquiring after my radio silence because reading my blog pleases them: I LOVE YOU.

The Final Problem Review

PLEASE BE ADVISED THAT THIS BLOG CONTAINS SPOILERS OF SHERLOCK S4E3, THE FINAL PROBLEM.

Guys, because my review of The Lying Detective became ridiculously long the other day, I am reviewing The Final Problem in three installments. Three, you say? Yes, I really do mean three. The first one was about Molly Hooper. The second is this one, a review of the plot and character development of the episode, and the third will focus on TJLC. Don’t know the acronym? Stay tuned.

Much like my reviews of the earlier episodes, this will be a rambling list of things I loved about The Final Problem followed by a list of things I wasn’t wild about. Continue reading

Molly Hooper – BAMF

PLEASE BE ADVISED THAT THIS BLOG CONTAINS SPOILERS OF SHERLOCK S4E3, THE FINAL PROBLEM.

Guys, because my review of The Lying Detective became ridiculously long the other day, I am reviewing The Final Problem in three installments. Three, you say? Yes, I really do mean three. The first is this one, and it’s about Molly Hooper. The second will be a review of the plot and character development of the episode, and the third will focus on TJLC. Don’t know the acronym? Stay tuned.

I don’t need to tell y’all that the latest (possibly last) episode of Sherlock caused quite a stir. One of the main reasons for that was the emotionally charged scene where Sherlock has a phone conversation with Molly Hooper.

 

Lots of people were upset because they had  hoped Sherlock was going to confess his love to John, but that’s a matter for a future blog post. Lots of people were upset because they felt, and I agree, that the kind of psychological torture we saw in The Final Problem was too gruesome for Sherlock, and not half as clever as we’ve come to expect of the show. But there are two other problems that seem to be bugging people that I feel the need to address in more detail.

Didn’t Molly have a fiancé in season 3? Hasn’t she moved on from Sherlock?

You’re right, Molly did have a fiancé. This is a major plot hole and frankly it’s just sloppy writing.

Besides that, I agree that it would have been fair to Molly if, over the seven years this show has been running, she’d have gotten over Sherlock. It sad that this scene implies she never did, and I think she deserved a more exciting and fulfilling storyline, because her character could have had so much more depth than just “pining awkward catlady.”

I think the media tends to ridicule the feelings of women and glorify those of men. I don’t hear anyone argue that Snape deserved a less romantically hung-up storyline. A man showing his feelings is seen as manly. A woman showing hers is seen as pathetic. Or, as Louise Brealey, the actress who plays Molly, tweeted:

And then, here’s the second and final (hehe) problem: what is Molly doing walking into 221B in the closing scene like she hasn’t just been humiliated by Sherlock over the phone?

 

It’s remarkable, to say the least. During her phone conversation with Sherlock, Molly is visibly upset. Even Euros, the psychopathic mastermind killer sister, can tell.

Euros:“Look what you did to her. Look what you did to yourself. All those complicated little emotions…”

But then, without any transition or discussion between her and Sherlock, she’s back at Baker Street and happy as a clam. This is definitely an oversight on the part of the writers. However, when Steven Moffat was confronted with this inconsistency in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, that’s when things got ugly, things really got ugly.

If there is something fans seem upset about with this episode it’s that there’s no resolving scene with Molly after that very effective devastating call to her while she’s in the kitchen. Did you consider doing one? Is it fair to leave her that like that? 
Moffat: But that’s not how we leave her. People need to learn to face their televisions, we see her later on–

We see her skipping into the room but–
Moffat: She gets over it! Surely at a certain point you have to figure out that after Sherlock escapes tells her, “I’m really sorry about that, it was a code, I thought your flat was about to blow up.” And she says, “Oh well that’s okay then, you bastard.” And then they go back to normal, that’s what people do. I can’t see why you’d have to play that out. She forgives him, of course, and our newly grown-up Sherlock is more careful with her feelings in the future. In the end of that scene, she’s a bit wounded by it all, but he’s absolutely devastated. He smashes up the coffin, he’s in pieces, he’s more upset than she is, and that’s a huge step in Sherlock’s development. The question is: Did Sherlock survive that scene? She probably had a drink and went and shagged someone, I dunno. Molly was fine. Source.

EXCUSE, YOU, MOFFAT?

This is seriously ridiculous. You want so badly to have an emotionally charged scene that you conveniently forget about Molly’s fiancé. Then, you have two terrific actors do the scene, and the result is emotionally devastating to both characters and audience. And then… you completely discredit your own writing and undercut your credibility by suggesting that it wasn’t such an important scene after all.

What’s more, you excuse your plot hole by accusing viewers of ignorance: “people need to learn to face their televisions,” what does that even mean? One moment you accuse your viewers of overanalyzing and the next we’re being dumb? I’m so done with you right now, Steven. And you know what? So is Louise Brealey.

 

Carry On, Simon

I first read Carry On before I even had a blog. Had I had one at the time, I would have written about it as once, but it was not to be. However, this book is so brilliant and fluffy and reassuring that I felt a strong urge to re-read it 0ver Christmas break (if you’re not reading about British wizards and/or detectives and speculating where they fall on the Kinsey scale, is it even really Christmas???) So I’ve re-read it, and here is my review. Contains Spoilers

Five stars. Brilliant book. Amazing. Such lovable characters. Give me more of the magnificent world of Mages, please. Carry On tells the story of Simon Snow’s final year at his wizarding school Watford. It addresses the difficulty of being the “Chosen One” and criticizes the Harry Potter universe in a way that is so respectful yet so accurate.

I’m going to oversimplify a little for the sake of making my point, but you’re going to have to deal with it. Continue reading

What’s Next?

I know y’all are waiting for an in-depth analysis of The Final Problem and I promise that’s coming up really soon. For now, suffice it to say that I was, overall, really happy, in spite of some blatant queerbaiting. But, surprisingly, Sherlock is not what I’m blogging about today.

Today might be the pinnacle of my career as a Frenzied Fangirl. I threw a Disney-themed birthday party this weekend and people turned up en masse in costumes. It was lovely. Then, last night, I was more anxious than I remember ever being before about Sherlock. This morning I purchased two tickets for Hamilton on the West End. Next weekend I’m going to see Harry Potter And The Cursed Child and today….

Lin-Manuel Miranda published this video.

 

It is the catalyst for a blogpost that has been a long time coming: one about how great it is when people you are a fan of are fans of other people you are a fan of. Kind of like Lin-Manuel Miranda recording a West Wing fanvideo.