The Six Thatchers Review

I had planned to wait and review the whole new season of Sherlock in one go once it had all aired. As it turns out, I cannot restrain myself from commenting right now, just to vent a little bit. I think it’s important for me and all of the other frenzied fangirls out there that we’ve only seen one act of a three part story this week, and I think it’s likely that all is not as it seems.

PLEASE BE AWARE THAT THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS!

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A Reminder, A Rant & A Recap

This post consists of three parts: a reminder, a rant and a recap. Or, if you want to look at it that way, a reminder and two rants. Let’s get down to business.

Warning for some bad language in the rants. Also, some spoilers for all of Sherlock so far.

1. Reminder: the Mental Health Reading Challenge starts tomorrow. I’m very excited. More info + signups here.

2. Rant: This rant is about queer baiting.

“What is queer baiting?” you ask, a quizzical expression on your face.

The term refers to what happens “when people in the media (usually television/movies) add homoerotic tension between two characters to attract more liberal and queer viewers with the indication of them not ever getting together for real in the show/book/movie”. says Wikipedia.

You shrug. “So what?”

It can even add up to the point where it hurts the queer audience. Queer baiting often plays potentially queer hints and references as mere jokes, but “if the representations in question utilize humour, are queer people in on the joke or are they the joke?”[4]  (a

Is representation a joke? I think not. If you do, that’s your opinion but I’m going to take a wild guess and say you probably don’t feel very marginalized in your daily life. I see way too few characters with disabilities on television. I see way too few women and when I see them they are often portrayed as erratic or superficial. That fucking hurts me.

Storylines where a character can’t be fulfilled until they have overcome a disability fucking hurt me. Representation like that makes me feel as though I’m not enough. I was very angry when John Watson’s limp on Sherlock turned out to be psychosomatic, because it looked as though he only became a competent and interesting character when the disability was cured. That fucking hurts me.

Now, I’m personally not gay. I am, however, a student of cultural analysis and a vocal advocate for equality. I believe in the importance of equal representation in media such as television, and that’s why I’m really kind of angry at the creators of Sherlock: Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat.

Here comes part 3: a recap of the relationship between John & Sherlock so far. Alternative title: a second rant: John & Sherlock LOVE each other.

When they first met in A Study In Pink, John and Sherlock had the following conversation in a candlelit Italian restaurant:

 

Dr John Watson: You don’t have a girlfriend, then?

Sherlock Holmes: Girlfriend? No, not really my area.

Dr John Watson: Oh, right. Do you have a boyfriend?… Which is fine, by the way.

Sherlock Holmes: I know it’s fine.

Dr John Watson: So you’ve got a boyfriend, then?

Sherlock Holmes: No.

Dr John Watson: Right. Okay. You’re unattached, just like me. Right. Good.

Sherlock Holmes: [pause] John, um… I think you should know that I consider myself married to my work and while I’m flattered, by your interest…

 (Source: IMDB)

 

Please keep in mind that the gentlemen knew each other for less than a day at that point. Keep in mind that Sherlock has some serious issues about opening up emotionally, and that Sherlock, the most observant man in the whole wide world, had somehow gotten the idea that John was romantically attracted to him. A few scenes later, they looked at each other like this.

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Merry Christmas!

This is a very disorganized post listing all of my favorite Christmas-related pop culture. That means books, film, TV and music. All of these put me in the Christmas spirit Merry Christmas, y’all.

FAVORITE CHRISTMAS SONG OF ALL TIME: Fairytale Of New York by The Pogues & Kirsty MacColl

Kurt & Blaine singing Baby It’s Cold Outside on Glee

Klaine was amongst my very first OTP’s. When this song aired, they hadn’t gotten together yet, and I was so sure they would in the Christmas ep, but then I had to wait even longer… Oh, the torture of being a frenzied fangirl.

 

A Very Sorry Christmas by The New Mendicants

I like this song. And I wanted to share a Christmas song that was not (yet) incredibly well-known, so here we are.

 

Studio 60  season 1, episode O Holy Night

Blogpost(s) about the absolutely crazy amazingness of Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip are forthcoming. I must first finish my West Wing-binge, though, because I can’t handle more than one Sorkin-show at the time. Either way, Christmas is the time for romance and so it is for Jordan and Danny. Damn, I need to watch this again.  Continue reading

TV of 2016

December will be a month of looking back. I love revisiting the highlights of the year every December, and this year, for the first time, I have a blog to do it. So today I give you an overview of my favorite TV of 2016.

This Is Us

I’ve written about This Is Us before, and told you how much I loved it. Although I’m a few episodes behind at this point, I still do. Seeing Milo Ventimiglia in the Gilmore Girls Revival only made me more eager to see him be a wonderful Dad in This Is Us. It is the kind of feelgood show I look forward to watching over Christmas break. On top of its loveable characters and excellent plot lines, This Is Us has a wonderfully diverse cast which includes people with obesity being portrayed as actual people. This is great.

Gilmore Girls Revival

I realize now that I have yet to post my detailed analysis of the revival, and I will very soon. Suffice it to say that it was amongst the highlights of my year.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

This show, guys. This is such a great show. Do you want laughter, romance, music, dance and feminism, all tightly packed together in a wonderful show starring Rachel Bloom? Then Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is for you. I loved it so much that I’m currently rewatching it with my brother, who also happens to love it. I love it so much I listen to the soundtrack in my spare time. I love it so much I’ve lost the ability to logically explain why I love it, because my love is self-evident to me. I love it so, so much. Continue reading

The Value Of Uncomplicated Enjoyment

Those of you who have been following my blog for a while probably know that I have a tendency to be analytical and critical, sometimes overly much so. Uncomplicated enjoyment is a rarity in my life: I am too full of doubts and thoughts and worry to really take things as they come. It’s an exhausting way to live.

Fortunately, there are a few exceptions to the rule. Sometimes, when I have already fried my brain with complications and what-ifs, I can sit back and just do something for fun. Concerts are an example of this ability I have to let go. An other example is my long-time fandom of Supernatural.

For those of you who don’t know Supernatural, let me tell you: it’s a very straightforward show. Two gorgeous boys travel up and down America in a very impressive muscle-car, fighting to kill monsters and save the world. Meanwhile, they occasionally take a night off to spend some quality time with a busty blonde, or maybe to get really, really drunk. That’s it, that’s the show.

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Bisexual Erasure: It’s A Thing

If you’re not doing this yet, please take my advice and go watch Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. It’s my favorite TV show currently running, with hardly any competition (okay, Westworld is pretty great, but Crazy Ex-GF is more my jam) and a new episode is added to Netflix every week.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend chronicles the tale of Rebecca Bunch, a hot-shot New York lawyer who moves to West Covina, California, essentially to stalk her teenage sweetheart. I hear you thinking it already: that’s not an innovative plot. Furthermore, there’s something sexist about having your main character move cross-country for a man. That doesn’t sound like a cool show at all.

But hear me out. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is a show that debunks stereotypes at a heart-stopping rate. Even within the intro, the sexist nature of the show’s title is called out. Rachel Bloom, the writer, songwriter, producer and leading lady of the show, is incredibly self-aware, self-reflexive, funny and politically aware. Continue reading

The Best and Worst of Fictional Mothers

 

“My mom smiled at me. Her smile kind of hugged me.”
R.J. Palacio, Wonder

This post is for my mother, whose smile always kind of hugs me.

Lily Evans & Molly Weasley from Harry Potter

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This fanart of James and Lily was done by Aicha Wijland and I found it here.

Usually I would limit myself to one character per fictional universe, but in the case of Molly and Lily I’m willing to make an exception. After all, a mother’s love for her children is a central theme in the Harry Potter series. First, of course, Lily saves Harry from Voldemort with her maternal protection. Then, years later, Molly Weasley adopts Harry like he’s one of her own children. And let’s not forget that it was Narcissa Malfoy that saved Harry’s life in the Forbidden Forest.

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I’m not crying, YOU’RE crying.

Catelyn Stark

I have no words for Catelyn Stark. She is so utterly brilliant. Of course, there isn’t a single lady in Westeros that doesn’t kick ass, but when it comes to motherhood Lady Stark really wrote the book.

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She’s not afraid to tell her children the truth, even the arrogant male ones that are successors to the estate. She’s willing to fight for Bran’s wellbeing when it comes to that and she loves all her children equally and fairly. And let’s be honest, it can’t have been easy to love an eleven-year-old pre-pubescent Sansa, no matter how much I have come to love her.

Lorelai Gilmore

This might send me straight to the psych ward but Lorelai Gilmore is everything a mother should be in the 21st century. Lorelai Gilmore, I think, is much like my own mother in the way she approaches motherhood and that is the highest complement I could give. Lorelai is the funniest. Lorelai is the coolest. Lorelai is good at giving motherly advice and offering comfort, she is fair and honest and although she behaves as though her daughter, Rory, was a unexpected gift, I think much of Rory’s loveliness is due to Lorelai’s great parenting.

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Of course, the Gilmore Girls have their flaws. (Gasp!). Lorelai sometimes acts or speaks before thinking and Rory can be utterly selfish. What matters is that the Gilmore Girls, in spite of these shortcomings, love each other unconditionally. What matters is that Lorelai is always responsible when it comes to Rory, and that Rory’s selfishness is rarely aimed at her mother.

Mother Gothel from  Rapunzel

Here’s a quick reminder that not all mothers in fiction are lovely darlings like Lily and Molly, fierce protectors like Catelyn or sarcastic little shits with a heart of gold like Lorelai. Some are terrible.

Mrs. Jumbo from Dumbo

Some mothers are absolutely lovely, though.

 

Bellamy Blake’s Bookshelf

tumblr_ntqlxsqrp31qmah7eo1_250Welcome to the Character’s Bookshelf. This is where I speculate, entirely outside of the space-time continuum and the barriers of language, what books would be a fictional character’s favorites.

Do you guys know about Bellamy Blake? DO YOU KNOW ABOUT BELLAMY? DO YOU?  Quick introduction for the uninitiated; this is our lord and savior, our most precious of cupcakes, our purest cinnamon roll: this is Bellamy Blake from The 100, and this is his bookshelf.

Note: In this specific case I have arranged the books in order of Bellamy reading them, so each one has his age at the time of reading listed in brackets.

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The Bad Beginning (and the rest of the Series Of Unfortunate Events) by Lemony Snicket (Bellamy is nine years old)

Bellamy read these books to Octavia when both of them were little and she spent most of her time locked under the floorboards. I am absolutely sure of it. These books are about a set of super-smart siblings who deal with their misfortunes through intelligence and witticisms. Sound like anyone you know? That’s right. Sounds a lot like the Blake-siblings.

 

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Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan (Bellamy is thirteen years old)

Here’s something else you didn’t know about Bellamy Blake: he’s a huge classics nerd. He named his sister Octavia. So you will never convince me that 13-year-old Bellamy didn’t totally identify with Percy Jackson, everyone’s favorite sassy teenager. Also, Percy had a totally badass sidekick in Annabeth, and Octavia is more than a little bit like her.

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Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen (Bellamy is seventeen years old and hides this book form Octavia to avoid merciless teasing)

Blake is the new Darcy. If you don’t watch The 1oo you don’t know this. Also, if you don’t watch The 100 what are you reading this post for? Bellamy Blake started out as a bit of a D-bag. He was the character you loved to hate, until he suddenly revealed himself to be a precious little cinnamon roll. You can see how this is like Mr. Darcy, right? And Clarke is his Elizabeth. No one will convince me otherwise.

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Atonement by Ian McEwan (Bellamy is twenty-two and feels responsible for his mother’s death)

Atonement is a book about guilt, and Bellamy’s got plenty of that. It’s also about complicated sibling relationship, something else Bell has way too much experience with. Come here, Bellamy. Let me give you hot chocolate and wrap you in cozy blankets and tell you how amazing you are.

Why are the characters with the guilt complexes always my favorites? Why is it that when Bellamy feels responsible for his mother’s death, I suddenly love him even more? Why do I always fall for the self-sacrificing fuck-ups? I don’t know, and it probably ain’t healthy, but fiction isn’t the realm of the healthy, anyway. Health and happiness don’t make for interesting plots or characters. That’s why I love Bellamy, and that’s why Bellamy loves Atonement.

Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk (Bellamy is twenty-three and coming to terms with the violence of life on earth)

“Only after disaster can we be resurrected. It’s only after you’ve lost everything that you’re free to do anything. Nothing is static, everything is evolving, everything is falling apart.”
Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

Now come cry with me over how badly our favorite darling Bellamy Blake needs some therapy and some uncomplicated love and friendship and some apple pie.

Bonus Feature

Bob Morley, the angel that plays our beloved Bellamy Blake, dressed up as James or Harry Potter.

Bob Morley

 

 

The Final Episode: A How-Not-To Guide

I live in constant fear of contracting some rare, painful and terminal disease. I’m afraid of height, needles and shadows moving in the dark. I am, generally speaking, a fearful person. My worst fear, however, is not that of abandonment, or the social anxiety I experience at parties, or the dreadful nightmare I often have where my skin falls off and leaves gaping holes behind. My worst fear is being disappointed by a TV show.

We’ve all been there: you’ve invested God-knows how many hours in watching a show you have come to love with all your heart, and, quite suddenly, like the writers have lost their heads, the resolution of the plot is terrible. 

Any writer can tell you that endings are hard. They run the risk of being cheesy, either too happy or too sad, or being just plain random. The ending of a long-running TV show should satisfy the audience, but giving them everything they want runs the risk of appearing unrealistic. It seems to me that the problem is this: we have no endings in real life. We go on, or we die. Even when we die, the people around us, the supporting cast, so to speak, eventually go on. No one has any experience whatsoever with something ending; so, it’s extremely difficult, maybe even impossible, to write an ending.

Still, I have some opinions on what constitutes doing it right and doing it wrong. Let’s have a look at some examples. WARNING: None of these examples are spoiler-free, but spoilers for each show are only in that show’s paragraph, so skip ahead if you must.

Bad Endings

How I Met Your Mother

How I Met Your Mother had its finale in 2014, but I only caught up on the show just last year. My friends had been watching it for a while and encouraging me to do the same. It was funny, they promised me, but not in the way of so many sitcoms that got nothing but the occasional snort of laughter from me; HIMYM had character development, it was a TV show with a heart and a soul.

I watched it. That takes three days, four hours and sixteen minutes, according to BingeClock. So I think it’s fair to say that I invested quite a bit of time. Of course, I made it to the final episodes with slight feelings of apprehension, as the resolution of the plot and the answer tot the Big Question (“Who Is The Mother?”) are infamous for being a disappointment.

The rumors were true; it was disappointing. The derailment of HIMYM’s plot wasn’t slow, like in Lost. It happened quite suddenly, over the course of the last handful of episodes. I was no longer amused. Through a series of events that don’t bear repeating, the character development the audience has witnessed over seven seasons is completely undone. No, Barney is not a one-woman man now. No, all those times we saw Ted’s relationship with Robin fail were just temporary, and they are actually meant to be.

A mainstream TV show like HIMYM, which gets its viewership mainly from people like me, looking for a happy feeling and a laugh, should not defy expectations in its final story arcs. HIMYM’s finale should have satisfied the fans, and it did not.

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This is Television

For those of you not as obsessed with TV land as me, here’s a quick newsflash: the pilot of the long-awaited drama This Is Us aired last Tuesday. This Is Us stars Milo Ventimiglia, whom I’m sure you all remember, Mandy Moore, and a bunch of other lovely actors. I just watched the pilot and I’m about to tell you why it’s great.

THIS IS A SPOILER-FREE REVIEW

 

Well, obviously because Milo is great. That’s nothing new. What’s also great about this show is that it has representation in it, and that it treats all of its characters with respect, while maintaining a sense of humor. Look at the example below. Continue reading