Woman in dumb white pantsuit (Cristal) swaying on a petal-strewn wedding aisle. Two bridesmaids in pale pink behind her.

Dynasty 1×01: “I Hardly Recognized You”

The first people to appear onscreen in the series premiere of Dynasty, Josh Schwartz’s modernized remake of the classic show, are the Trumps: Donald, Ivanka, Tiffany, Trump Junior, and Eric are at a ribbon cutting ceremony. This is followed by a shot of the Kardashians.

I take this as a declaration of intent: Like Gossip Girl and The OC before it, the latest Josh Schwartz creation is going to be about rich people. But this time it’s not those quiet, repressed, Emily Gilmore-type rich people who seem to throw big parties precisely in order to avoid having scenes. These are rich people who throw parties in order to have more witnesses when they do make a scene. These are rich people for the age of reality TV! We aren’t on the Upper East Side anymore, baby.

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How should we reevaluate Buffy in light of the Joss Whedon allegations?

How did Buffy spring from the mind of a misogynist? That is the question Joss Whedon fans have been grappling with for the last month, and it’s a worthy one. The allegations against Joss are impossible to ignore, and disturbing enough that it’s difficult to view his work in the same way. So how do we continue to watch and love Buffy in light of the personal misogyny of its creator? How do we reinterpret this beloved feminist anthem as the brainchild of a toxic fake ally?

The short answer is: we don’t. Joss doesn’t own Buffy anymore, but even if he did, any problems with its feminism have already been discussed by its fandom (and/or Buffy Studies scholars) at length. Buffyheads have known for a long time that Buffy sprung from a very flawed creator–we just didn’t know how flawed.
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Mary staring through the castle gates.

Who’s the Dawson? And Other Deep Thoughts On Reign, Season 1

A friend of mine has been urging me to watch Reign, a CW teen soap revolving around a heavily fictionalized Mary Queen of Scots and her betrothed, Prince Francis of France, for almost two years now. My response was that of course I would get around to it eventually: “It’s basically everything I want in a TV show: a campy romantic drama with an out-of-control costume department starring familiar faces from the girly movies of my youth.”

Boy, was I right.

(spoilers behind the cut)

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Subjectivity and the male gaze: in defense of that controversial scene in 13 Reasons Why

SPOILERS FOR 13 REASONS WHY ABOUND!

The controversies surrounding 13 Reasons Why have been numerous and well-enumerated; critics claim that the show glorifies teen suicide by presenting it as a suitable revenge for bullying, that portraying teen suicide at all (especially using attractive young actors) is irresponsible, and that Hannah’s rape scene is triggering for victims. But arguably the biggest point of contention is Hannah’s suicide scene, which is incredibly disturbing. It’s one thing to hear about a child slitting their wrists, it’s another thing altogether to see it happen in graphic detail.

But does the graphic nature of the scene automatically make it irresponsible? I’m not a mental health professional, so I can’t comment about whether the show is responsible about suicide on the whole. But in regards to this particular scene, I tend to agree with 13 Reasons Why writer (and suicide attempt survivor) Nic Sheff, who wrote in Vanity Fair that they included as much detail about the act of suicide as possible in order to shatter the “myth and mystique” surrounding suicide, and especially to “dispel the myth of the quiet drifting off.” For those who are worried that the show “glamorizes” suicide, if nothing else, that scene definitely showed viewers that there is nothing glamorous–or peaceful–about the act itself. Continue reading →

Everything new is old again

The Handmaid’s Tale, the novel written by Margaret Atwood, is a devastating and sui generis entry in the annals of dystopia, which stands alongside 1984 and Brave New World in the originality of its exploration of the psychology of a totalitarian society. The Handmaid’s Tale, the TV show being serialized on Hulu, is not.

The show so far is wonderfully acted, both from expected quarters (Elisabeth Moss) and… less-expected (Yvonne Strakovsky, Alexis Bledel). The direction is excellent, and the action is genuinely moving and traumatic. The third episode’s scene of a riot, filmed in slow motion, set to a vaporously slow cover of “Heart of Glass,” was truly haunting.

For all that, though, the show has lost the heart of what made the novel so brutal and revelatory.

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Rayna looks freaked out while an angry man behind her holds onto her and a gun points towards them both.

Taking The Leap: Our All-Time Top (or Bottom) Jumping-the-Shark Moments

You may or may not have noticed that we have stopped recapping Nashville, and it’s not because we’re lazy and/or behind (although that’s often the case). It’s because–and we’re sad to say this–Nashville has jumped the shark, an especially impressive feat for a show that was already about feuding country singers. So instead of recapping a show that has become too ridiculous even for our teen-soap-loving sensibilities, we’re going down the list of the best (or, more accurately, worst) jumping-the-shark moments that we’ve seen on television.

There are only three (loose) rules for something to qualify as jumping-the-shark: 1) It has to be f*cking ridiculous, in direct proportion to how ridiculous the show was to begin with; 2) it should preferably be a ratings ploy; and 3) it has to mark the point-of-no-return that begins a downward spiral, an evolution into a significantly stupider and/or offensive show that we never would have watched if we weren’t already attached to the characters. Enjoy.

SPOILERS ABOUND! Continue reading →