Sinterklaas

If you were looking for an elaborate takedown of Zwarte Piet and its racist connotations, this isn’t it. I celebrated Sinterklaas with my family this weekend and I wanted to voice how much I love the presents I got. Of course, there’s a lot wrong with Zwarte Piet, but that’s a story for another blogpost. Today, let me just show off my awesome new stuff!

One chocolate letter J, milk chocolate

It’s a Sinterklaas tradition that children get the first letter of their name rendered in chocolate. It’s also very tasty. I remember, when I was young, that me and my friends were concerned: did some letters consist of more chocolate than others? Were you better of being named Wilhelmina than Juliana, simply because the “W” is a bigger letter? It turns out that the answer to this question is no. They just make the “J” extra thick.

The Hour season one and two on DVD
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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

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 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

Raven Reyes: Dealing With Disability

Warning: This post contains SPOILERS for season one of The 100 and the first few episodes of season two. It also contains lots of screaming and fangirling over the most badass lady from the Ark: Raven Reyes.

When we first meet Raven, she is floating through space to repair some vital part of the spaceship she calls home. That’s right: Raven Reyes is amongst the most talented mechanics on the Ark: busting stereotypes since 2148.

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Fictional Fans

I once wrote a blogpost about fictional fandoms. Well, it stands to reason that fictional fandoms have fictional fans, right? So, this blog post is dedicated to just such fictional individuals. Perhaps they are the ones I identify with most of all. Perhaps the creators of my favorite stories conceived of them to criticize me or, to put it more bluntly, to encourage me to Get A Life. I don’t care. I love being a fangirl and I love my fellow fictional fangirls.

16068905Cather Avery – Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Fangirl is centered around Cather Avery, a young girl who goes to university. She is introverted and struggles withe developing a social life, but on the internet she has no problem making friends. On the internet, Cath writes Carry On, Simon, the most popular Simon Snow-fanfic ever. The Simon Snow fandom is fictional, but it it obviously based on the Harry Potter fandom, and it pleases me a lot to see a respectful portrayal of fangirls and fanfiction writers in this book.

Penny Lane – Kate Hudson in Almost Famous

Contrary to popular belief, Penny Lane and her friends, Polexia Aphrodesia and Sapphire, are not fangirls.

Penny Lane: We are not groupies. Groupies sleep with rock stars because they want to be near someone famous. We are here because of the music, we inspire the music. We are Band Aids.

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Don’t Watch Pushing Daisies

Don’t watch Pushing Daisies. Do yourself and your heart a favor and don’t watch it. Never ever. Pushing Daisies will ruin you for all other TV shows, and here’s why.

The basic premise of Pushing Daisies is this: a young boy named Ned discovers that he has an extraordinary gift. His touch brings the dead back to life. Of course, there is a catch: if he ever touches the revived thing again, it dies permanently. Also, if he revives it for longer than a minute, something in the vicinity dies in its stead.

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The Character Assasination Of Dean Forester

I’ve written about  character assassination before. That particular article was about Toby Ziegler, unsung hero of the Bartlet administration. However, since character assassination is something I feel strongly about, I have more to say on the subject today. The object of my scrutiny and affection in this case is Dean Forester, Rory’s first and  arguably awesomest boyfriend on Gilmore Girls.

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Now, Supernatural-lovers, don’t get confused. On this show, Sam goes by the name of Dean.

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On Sex And Violence In Entertainment

“Why do people – yourself included – find it so very attractive to look at depictions of violence and sex, and why does polite society have such a problem with actual violence and actual sex?”

I owe this post to The Was, who posed this question in a reaction to my recent blogpost about Outlander. Of course, the question, being both personal and very broad, is difficult to answer. But I’m not one to back down from a challenge. Continue reading