Month: January 2013 Page 2 of 3

TV Talk: My ABC shows

Sorry, Revenge, you’re out.

revenge promo

Your cast is beautiful and well-dressed (and sorely lacking in diversity…) but there’s no one left to root for. In Season 2, everyone has become either dumb or irredeemably manipulative (or both), and that just doesn’t interest me.

Scandal, on the other hand, is still kicking ass and taking names. (Literally.)

scandal

Spoiler level: Low.

Thursday night’s episode, while somewhat predictible (a first!), continued the special mix of smart and funny dialogue, emotional character development, and gray area ethical quandaries that I’ve come to love.

Every time I try to pick a favorite — David’s “the United States of America is in this room” speech, the confrontation with Mellie at the hospital, Harrison blowing off the ditz at the bar, Huck cringing from Olivia’s touch, Cyrus going to see his baby — another great scene comes to mind. It’s a good problem to have.

And then of course there’s the other Shonda show, Grey’s Anatomy.

richard adele

Spoiler level: HIGH. Continue reading at your own risk…

This episode had a few good (even tear-jerking) moments but was mostly “meh” for me.

Let’s start with the good: amusing miscommunication between the interns and their attendings; Dr. Webber’s guilt and sorrow over Adele, as well as his narrating her surgery from the gallery (and the intern taking his hand!); the strangeness/ambiguity of Owen and Cristina getting divorced but obviously still loving one another. These were all very human and real, and as usual the actors did a great job.

Then, the not so good: the biker gang storyline was over-the-top; stuff with Callie and Arizona felt obvious and rushed; Karev and the Princess were douchey and annoying (a particularly large step back for Karev, who’s been maturing so slowly but nicely over the show’s course); and finally, the writers conveniently “forgot” that Richard didn’t just ditch Adele in a home, SHE TOLD HIM TO, AND THEN STARTED SEEING SOMEONE ELSE ROMANTICALLY. Ugh. She doesn’t need to be a saint — nor he a devil — for us to feel compassion for her, so don’t retroactively try to paint them as such.

Related to that, there was a small thing that I wouldn’t say I “hated,” but it definitely niggled at me: Meredith asking Derek never to put her in a home.

Here’s the thing: In the show, Meredith put her mother in a home, and it was fine. Hard, but fine. They took good care of her mom, care that Meredith could not possibly have provided. So is it pleasant to think about someday losing your marbles or needing more attention than your loving spouse can offer? Of course not. But is it fair to make your loving spouse swear to carry that burden on their own anyway? Um, no.

(Maybe she means for him to hire a live-in nurse to help, or have Future Zola chip in? Fine. It’s not that she HAS to be put in a home someday; it’s that this is way too early to be making promises of any kind about the situation, at least not without some real discussion about logistics and finances.)

Caring for ailing and aging family is such a critical issue facing today’s generations, and everyone’s got to figure out what’s right for them and their family. So basically I’m disappointed that there wasn’t a more nuanced discussion/portrayal of that in the episode. (Shonda projects usually do a good job of this!) Instead the episode seemed to imply that assisted living/nursing homes are bad and that putting your parent or spouse in one makes you a bad person. Not cool, and not true.

But, um, to end on a positive note, Ed Sheeran’s “Kiss Me” was featured, and I adore him and that song. Hope this gets him lots more exposure!

PS: Whoever does the screencaps for ABC’s site really needs to get a better sampling from over the course of each episode. We don’t need or want 10 photos from one irrelevant scene, thanks.

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Quick addendum to my New Year’s thoughts

This year I’m going to attempt to tweet one thing each day that I’m grateful for, using the hashtag #dailygratitude. (Here’s the past week’s worth.) I guess you could call this a resolution, although I didn’t intend it as such. It’s more that I’m a believer in the power of positivity — as well as the draining suckdom of negativity — so this is my way of trying to cultivate a brighter outlook and energy within myself. Also, as a writer I think it’s important to take note of life’s little details.

I will try not to repeat myself too much in these tweets — that would kind of defeat the purpose — but certain things recurringly fill me with joy and are bound to show up more than once. Things like a beautiful day, a delicious meal, good friends, the wild deer roaming my neighborhood, and even my own sweet crazy naughty pup.

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The problem with “no means no”

There are many reasons I don’t watch the nightly news. All the violence saddens me. All the politics frustrate me. And all the misogyny pisses me off.

(Instead I prefer to read headlines online, then click through to articles that interest me or offer some sort of enlightenment.)

But recently, several appalling stories have broken through my bubble, and I’d like to share a few thoughts I’ve had as a result.

First:

“No means no” is a catchy slogan, but I worry that it might be doing more harm than good. Because “no means no” seems to imply that you don’t have to stop until someone clearly tells you to. That is NOT the case. In fact, you have no right to anyone else’s body until/unless they give you explicit permission. So what we should be teaching people is something more along the lines of, “Only yes means yes.”

Related:

Sex isn’t something to be done TO someone. It’s not something to be TAKEN. Sex is something to be done WITH someone, to be SHARED. Any other way means you’re doing it wrong.

So, with that in mind:

It doesn’t matter if a girl is a slut. It doesn’t matter if she’s wasted. It doesn’t matter what she wore or where she went. It doesn’t matter if she made poor decisions or put herself in a bad position. It doesn’t even matter if she would willingly have sex with every single member of the varsity football team anyway. What matters is whether or not she DID — i.e., did she give them her consent? If not, then they raped her.

Period.

I don’t know how to end this post except to say that recent headlines have reminded me why I want to write for a young audience, how important it is to teach everyone to respect one another, and what a long way feminism still has to go.

Also, my friend Rachele’s forthcoming YA novel CANARY is, unfortunately, very topical.

Kate Franklin’s life changes for the better when her dad lands a job at Beacon Prep, an elite private school with one of the best basketball teams in the state. She begins to date a player on the team and quickly gets caught up in a world of idolatry and entitlement, learning that there are perks to being an athlete.

But those perks also come with a price. Another player takes his power too far and Kate is assaulted at a party. Although she knows she should speak out, her dad’s vehemently against it and so, like a canary sent into a mine to test toxicity levels and protect miners, Kate alone breathes the poisonous secrets to protect her dad and the team. The world that Kate was once welcomed into is now her worst enemy, and she must decide whether to stay silent or expose the corruption, destroying her father’s career and bringing down a town’s heroes.

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Reflecting on resolutions

On one hand, the new year is completely arbitrary. A farce. The calendar is manufactured by man, just a way for us to keep track of things, to force order and organization onto our random lives.

On the other hand, we grow up thinking of time in this very particular way. It becomes real by virtue of our believing in it, obeying it, structuring our days around it.

On one hand, new year resolutions are silly. If we want to improve, why wait till Jan 1? Why not start right now, this very instant, no matter what day or month it is?

On the other hand, there’s something to be said for a fresh start, a clean slate. Something to be said for using those numbers and boxes to create a schedule, a plan. Something to be said for being part of a larger group — a community of sorts — all of us striving to improve in some way.

I go back and forth (obviously) on resolutions. Some years I make them, some years I don’t. This year, I’m not laying out any concrete, specific goals, but I AM focusing on a theme.

What exactly that theme should be, I haven’t decided yet. But the idea is for it to be something that can trickle down through all my actions, in all aspects of my life.

A few possibilities:

In an ideal world, I’d do all of these, all the time. But I’m human, and these things don’t come naturally to me, so I’ve got to tackle them one at a time. Build them up until they are ingrained habits. Then move on to the next.

So that’s what I’ve been thinking about as I reflect on the year past and set expectations for the year to come. What about you?

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Plaça de Catalunya

10-26 Barcelona 007

A sunny day stroll through Plaça de Catalunya. The square anchors one end of Las Ramblas, so it flows with citizens and tourists, to-ing and fro-ing, talking and shopping. Beneath a ponderous blocky sculpture, pigeons ring around a pond. As I stoop down to snap a photo from a different angle, a large seagull swoops down and attacks a gray pigeon standing off by itself. Beak on wing, squawking, gnawing. I’m horrified by the bird-on-bird violence, relieved when the seagull flies off. But then the mangled pigeon flops forward into the pool. I walk away, not wanting to see it struggle and drown.

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