the pasta monster (nen_yim) wrote,
the pasta monster
nen_yim

i have also been watching a lot of television

Because I didn't want to make my last entry ridiculously long. (Three entries in one day? It's like 2008 in here tbh.)

ORPHAN BLACK


guess who my least favorite character is, you guys.


I think what bothers me about Paul constantly bringing up the ~crazy sex~ he and Sarah are having is that it comes off like he's trying to use it to invalidate her concerns. Whenever she tries to bring up his weird behavior, he's like, "Well, it didn't seem to bother you when we were having sex on the kitchen counter, SOOOOO…" like, wow, not the point, and there's just -- a very douchey undertone in him implying that, because she's willing to have sex with him, she must not have any problems with him at all. Which I do think is something he's trying to do -- that is, distract her from asking too many questions/throw her off balance, because he's ~*~one of them~*~ and all. But I also think the show wants us to read it as romantic -- that is, Sarah's discomfort re: crazy kitchen/shower sex is meant to be read as sexual tension; Paul's ability to throw her off guard is meant to be read as her finally meeting her match in him -- whereas to me, it seems like he's holding it over her. Like, were she to bring his sketchiness up to anyone else, he would use the fact that she's attracted to him as a way to prove that her concerns are invalid. And I think that's pretty gross.

(I should add that I absolutely am not overlooking or condoning the fact that Sarah has been raping Paul via deception. I know I write about him being gross a lot, but what she did was really really not okay and I'm not excusing that, and it's really horrible and frustrating that the show doesn't seem to recognize it as such.)

But I also feel like that's something shows do a lot, you know? Even as female characters get more and more well-rounded, their male love interests continue to fall into those sort of "douchebag/evil/possessive/dangerous" archetypes and it's still being written as attractive. All of the clones are different and interesting in their own ways, and just excellently written in general, but Paul is a sort of generically dangerous love interest, whose dickishness towards Sarah is meant to be seen as attractive. And I don't know, I've been thinking about how pleasantly surprised I am by the depth of female characters in things I've seen lately, and in turn, what makes a piece of fiction woman-friendly -- and making all the female characters awesome isn't all that has to be done, you know? As long as the men's disrespect and threats and general douchebaggery are written as sexy/exciting, there's still a problem.

I mean, part of me wonders if maybe I'm not allowing for the circumstances of the universes the characters live in. I was thinking about Sean Pierce, and how the world of the Nikita characters is much more high-stakes than the one the audience lives in, and so -- maybe I'm not making enough of an allowance for the way he acts? At the same time, I'm still troubled that we're meant to see him and Alex (in season two, before they get together) as romantic -- while I think his questioning of her choices was meant to come off as banter, or again, someone meeting their match, it often seemed as though he was talking down to her, disrespecting her, and generally getting involved where he shouldn't -- along with undermining and coercing her. On the other hand, you have Michael and Nikita (and Dyson/Bo and Lauren/Bo from Lost Girl, Luke/Mara from Star Wars), who managed to do the star-crossed thing without being creepy or jerky, and I think part of that was their unwillingness to cross certain lines in regards to their love interests/their willingness to break rules to keep their love interests out of danger. This gives their eventual partners reason to trust them, and reason to move towards a romantic relationship even when they're on opposite sides. Whereas I fail to see why Alex was seriously considering Sean, and I fail to see why Sarah trusts Paul -- sure, he doesn't know what his bosses (I keep wanting to call them "The Shop" tbh) are up to and does choose her side when the time comes, but before that, he's crossed some really gross lines re: Sarah, and Beth before her (letting those dudes into the house to examine both of them, following Sarah and taking pictures of her with Kira, tracking Beth's car, crushing all of Beth's medicine together and putting it in Sarah's drink) that I don't feel can be waved away that easily. I feel like I'd be more inclined to ship Sarah and Art -- even though Art displays some similar behavior to Paul (following her, breaking into her car), I can get behind someone falling in love with the person who is chasing them and trying to undo their ~web of lies~, whereas Paul's position simply reads to me as creepy.

I also think part of it is that I feel like there's undertones of Sarah "changing" Paul. I mean, it's hard to say, since part of Paul joining the Good Guys is due to the whole clone charade unraveling when Sarah took Beth's place, but I get the impression that Paul finally chooses to Do the Right Thing because he's ~falling~ (ick) for Sarah. But that also bothers me because it has the unfortunate implication that he was willing to mess with Beth because he couldn't feel anything for her, and I can't get romantic about a guy who only cares about someone he's romantically interested in. (Like I said, this is up in the air -- some people have interpreted Paul's offer to go to Rio as something he was genuinely planning to do with Beth, even if he couldn't love her, and of course his switch to the protagonists' side is caused by events resulting from Beth's suicide, so it's hard to say if it would play out the same way if Beth had lived. But I mean, that's the impression I get, and I find it icky.) In comparison, I don't find Delphine that creepy or gross -- spybanging aside, she seemed to have misgivings from the start about spying on Cosima (she certainly switched sides faster than Paul), even before she found out what was going on. Like, it weirds me out that Paul -- even though I know he was being blackmailed -- wasn't too bothered about spying on Beth and reporting on her behavior for two years, until he found out that she was a clone, because apparently that's too far, I guess.

There is a lot of gray-and-gray morality in Orphan Black -- Paul was never a great person to begin with, but Sarah wasn't either, and so I wonder if we're meant to view their relationship as being messed up in the first place. But then the way they paint Paul's actions as making him a match for Sarah, and have other characters refer to Paul as ~falling for her~, makes me think that, at least some of the time, we're supposed to genuinely think they have -- or are going to have -- a healthy relationship. Which, no.

It's an age-old trope, after all -- becoming the mask, the monitor falls in love with the person they're monitoring, someone falls in love with a person they're meant to stop or control, etc. And I get that, you know, danger is sexy, blah blah blah -- watching a dangerous character ~change~ for their love interest is something a lot of people (myself included) are into. But I feel like, in these sort of high-action, high-stakes shows, they up the "sexy" (re: creepy), dangerous behavior accordingly without really considering that while minor dangerous behavior can be attractive to the audience, raising it to levels that involve stalking and coercion -- even if that would be the reality of the world they live in -- take it to a "wow this is really gross and possibly abusive" place.

Meanwhile, Helena is basically my favorite thing of all time, any place. I know I said Alison is my favorite, and I mean, she is, ~from a certain point of view. But the more I think about Helena, the more I like her -- and sympathize with her, although on a non-murderous level. And she's left-handed! These are the things I notice, anyway. Also, "I dreamed that we were friends," HONEY. And the religious background! And the baaaa-ing into the phone! I have Helena feelings, apparently. On the other hand, I love Alison for being uptight and making bad decisions and ugh, she was right about Donnie after all. (Btw, I should add -- I mean, I don't want to make it sound like ~how could no one notice this I am the only one who figured this out~; ofc the audience probably figured it out because of the scene where he burns the papers while on the phone -- but I feel like what made it really obvious that Donnie was her monitor was that he immediately forgave her and wanted to stay with her after she tied him to a chair and tortured him with a glue gun. I mean, I'm sure everyone and their mother has already noticed that, but...just something I wanted to mention, I guess?) I guess I basically feel like I would totally be Alison in that situation -- uptight and neurotic and probably making really bad decisions in order to feel safe above all else. So I like her a lot. I like Sarah and Cosima too (although is she from SF or Berkeley, huh? HUH?!?! Also if they were going to go with the pothead stereotype, she totally should've been from Mendocino. Or Weed), but Sarah's plotline is dragged by the whole Paul thing, and Cosima -- I really like her, just not as much as Alison and Helena. Also, Katja's wig was unforgivable.

I'm also really into the police solving the clone murder thing. I kind of figured out that I'm really into mistaken/stolen identity plots, or characters realizing that someone that they're close to isn't really who they think they are. (I remember loving Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld, but it wasn't because I was super into giant mechas or fabricated beasts -- I just loved watching Deryn trying to keep up her charade, and people figuring her out. Also WWI.) So watching the police slowly figure out Beth/Sarah/Katja/Helena was great, and I really hope there's a confrontation between Sarah and Art next season. (See also what I said about shipping them -- or at least their archetypes and plotlines -- if Art were written more romantically, i.e. not an older paternal/fraternal figure to Sarah/Beth.) Also LOL AOIFE, WHAT R U DOING HERE.

Finally -- I'm not really seeing the Generica thing? Like, all the shots of money are clearly Canadian currency (or, I mean, if you're being really obtuse and can't tell that it has to be in an English-speaking country in North America because of the accents but not in the United States, at the very least it's clearly not American currency), there are all those references to Scarborough -- short of actually coming out and saying that they're in Toronto, I feel like it's pretty obvious? And a lot of American shows tend to leave cities nameless as well ("generic big city that's totally not Los Angeles or New York! Really!"), but then, maybe I'm being myopic because there are plenty of examples of shows being set in the US and all. Although, actually, it got me wondering about Canadian gun laws -- the fact that Alison owns a gun (or a couple of guns, by the looks of things), Paul does as well (despite -- apparently -- being a civilian now?), and of course Helena is running around probably without a permit, might be something that wouldn't happen in Canada, and therefore makes it more like ~Generica? I don't know.

BUT YEAH I REALLY LIKE THIS SHOW. So much that I started rewatching it less than a month after viewing it the first time because I just wanted to see everything unfold again? So yeah.

PACIFIC RIM


I saw Pacific Rim awhile ago I guess, but!!! I really liked it!!! I was surprised by how much, tbh -- I mean, I'm not hugely into action movies? And I'm not hugely into anything that doesn't have lots of ladies? (We had to read Shades of Grey -- the Civil War book by Carolyn Reeder, not the Twilight fanfic one obvs -- in school and I remember being really bored because there were no girls. 9-year-old Emily's priorities, obviously.) But it was a lot of fun and I elbowed my mom really hard when Burn Gorman showed up (hi Owen!!! Good to see you Owen!!! I fully support Naoko Mori as Vanessa Gottlieb, btw), even though she has no idea who he is. Mako Mori is a queen, and I loved that she wasn't an ice queen -- like, she wasn't shy or demure, but she also wasn't contemptuous. I loved that she was kind of dorky in that scene where she thinks Raleigh is going to ask her to pilot with him (but it's really Idris Elba behind the door); I thought that was really cute and made her really relatable, without making it overly about the romance. I wish she had been the one to close the rift, though -- idk I mean, just from a "This would've been a cool thing for her to do" standpoint, I was disappointed that that was all Raleigh at the end. But yeah, I left the theater thinking that Raleigh and Mako were super cute, but that was it -- and then I woke up the next morning thinking FIND ALL THE FIC! because wow, what cuties. Also, I really liked how respectful Raleigh was of Mako. When she says no to piloting with him, he pushes a little, but only to the extent of someone who really thinks they would work well together and wishes she would change her mind -- he doesn't continue to press the issue or demand that she tell him ~why~. It is a good thing tbh.

And I just liked how optimistic the whole movie was. I don't know, it was just so fun and uplifting and the deaths felt right and made sense -- despite being a really action-heavy movie, I also found myself caring a lot about the characters and being really relieved when they got a (fairly) happy ending. I HAVE BEEN EMOTIONALLY DESTROYED BY SO MANY THINGS, OKAY? It's just really nice that this movie didn't seem to be out to ruin me emotionally.

Also it was kind of cool to see the Pacific Rim area be the focus of something, just because obviously it's where I live and a lot of people I know live in/have family in those areas. Like it's cool to have an international thing that isn't focused around New York and Europe. Not that I have anything against New York and Europe?? It's just. Not something ~close~ to me so it's nice to be like, "Ah yes I know what they're talking about/lol I know about this area" for once. Also we have an area called the Ring of Fire, how do u not think that's cool. (I mean it's not cool when we're having earthquakes but. It's a fun name!)

ALSO GIANT ROBOTS. HFT ALL DAY EVERY DAY (EXCEPT IN LEVIATHAN BC YOU CAN'T GIVE ME A SECRET IDENTITY PLOTLINE AND EXPECT ME TO BE DISTRACTED BY MECHAS OK)

ELEMENTARY


(c/p'd from tumblr)

  • ngl every time aidan quinn was onscreen i just kept thinking of that part in the third(?) princess diaries book where mia adds "PLUS YOU CAN SEE AIDAN QUINN'S YOU-KNOW-WHAT!!!!" to lilly's commentary about reckless


  • like tbh i saw his name and i was like "i've heard of him??? oh my GOD it's the guy from mia thermopolis's diary"


  • i do realize that i have to suspend disbelief, and i totally get why they would go for natalie dormer even though her accent isn't perfect (because the rest of her is tbh!), but, from a very nitpicky perspective, i find it hard to believe that sherlock wouldn't have noticed that she's faking the accent. just because even though she got the accent mostly right, it was still...i don't know, you could tell that she was putting effort into getting the sounds out. bUT YOU KNOW I AM THE NITPICKIEST


  • on that note i do love hearing people imitate american accents just because i think it's so fascinating hearing what people think the defining characteristics of it are (I'M A NERD I'M SORRY)


  • ngl i really like mysteries in general so the procedural-ness of it doesn't bother me at all. esp bc i'm dumb and bad at figuring things out, so the weak cases are still ~*~surprises~*~ for me, and the character development is good enough to make up for it


  • it's rly nice to have a show that just handles things well, like joan explicitly calling characters out on their misogyny, the handling of abuse, the handling of recovery, etc. 


  • BUT tbh they aren't doing as well on the diversity front as i had been led to believe. the main/secondary cast is really good re: diversity and not stereotyping, but like...almost all of the one-off characters were white and i was like. oh


  • i do really like how they portray joan watson though. i feel like a lot of the time, asian characters in fiction -- both published and not -- when they are treated like full, real people -- are closely tied to the ~old country~ -- they're either first-gen or they lived away from the west for most of their childhoods/lives, they speak the language fluently, they don't have english first names, etc (ofc it's not always all of these things at once, but usually one or two)


  • and i mean. that's true for a lot of asian diaspora! but it's also untrue for just as many, and tbh i sometimes i get the feeling that people think asians aren't ~cool~ or worth talking about unless we still have the ~*~mystery of the orient~*~ about us -- which is to say, unless we're still somehow ~exotic~ by being bilingual or having non-western names/upbringings


  • admittedly, these are feelings i've developed through my own experiences and people feel differently!!! disclaimer! but i thought it was worth mentioning.


  • (eta: i'm rly attracted to detective bell. i can't believe i forgot to put this in the first time i posted. this is very important information)


  • ALL IN ALL I AM GLAD I WATCHED IT. AND TBH I LIKE IT A LOT, V. EXCITED FOR MORE.

    (Speaking of Reckless, I ended up watching it just because I love '80s movies and I, uh, wanted to see what Mia Thermopolis was talking about and lol HI ADAM BALDWIN.)

    LEVERAGE


    Haven't made it as far into Leverage as I would've liked because wow Orphan Black and Elementary, but I finished the first season which was super fun! It's much more lighthearted than everything I've been watching recently, so it's really nice to just...have a lighter tone to a show, for once. Also I'm starting up a support group for Hapas Who Are Unexpectedly Attracted to Alec Hardison. We meet directly after the meetings for Hapas Who Are Unexpectedly Attracted to Seymour Birkhoff tbh. (What is it with my thing for fictional semi-arrogant hackers that like to cosplay?)

    Also, lol Lindsey McDonald. I was just kind of thrown off because I had literally never heard about Christian Kane since Angel (and lbr once you're on Buffy/Angel you're that character 4 lyfe) and then he pops back up and. I just laughed a lot, okay. But yeah it's good to see him be someone non-douchey, because Lindsey was the actual worst and God and Jesus couldn't make me like him, but Eliot is fun and snarky and I like him a lot.

    Also-also, Gina Bellman's face should be illegal. WHAT A QT AND ALSO SOPHIE DEVEREAUX IS QUEEN OF MY HEART.

    1776


    I guess I can throw this in here because it falls under the category of "things I view for entertainment", right? BUT YEAH I SAW 1776 YESTERDAY (OR TWO DAYS AGO, I GUESS, SINCE IT'S SATURDAY NOW) and ugh it was so good to see a show in the theater again. I mean it's just been a while? I haven't seen a show since Book of Mormon in December (which kind of sucked) and I haven't seen a show that I really loved since summer 2011, when we saw Anything Goes and the Rent revival. SO YEAH THEATER REVIEWTIMES! I really loved 1776, but tbf I'm also a huge sucker for that era (which I think stems from my love of the Felicity American Girl books, and also Liberty's Kids. Damn you Ben Davidson and James Hiller, you sexy illustrated 2D men. 10-year-old me was powerless in your thralls.) It's such a funny show with references to the states ("New York abstains...courteously!" "Why can't New York make a decision?" "Have you ever SEEN the New York legislature?") and history ("John Adams is obnoxious and disliked!") and my history geek really enjoyed all of that. I didn't love their portrayal of Thomas Jefferson, because I am not a TJ fan (Team Alexander Hamilton tbqh), and there was a really random song by his wife about how he plays the violin and is also really good in bed and??? It didn't seem to make much sense??? Ben Franklin was hilarious. John Dickinson's portrayal was kind of unfair (they made it out like he was way into staying with Britain/didn't gaf about the ~little people~ which wasn't the case at all irl) but also hilarious -- he was ~*~sassy~*~ and also the only person in the show without an awful wig. I was kind of digging him ngl. Idk if they did this on purpose, but the secretary totally had a crush on George Washington. 4 real. McNair (the custodian) was hilarious and the best. The soldier (who sings "Momma, Look Sharp") was...not that good? Like, him trying to emote and sing at the same time was like. Yikes.

    Also shrieking @ "North Carolina yields to South Carolina" bc it just reminded me about how we had a running joke in APUSH that all of the United States' problems are because of South Carolina. Heh.

    ALSO HENRY LEE. CERTAIN-LEE. I WAS DYING.

    Ngl the theater was a bit weird -- a lot of things are more acceptable now, like there were people eating and drinking things besides water, and they didn't play a notice telling people to turn off their phones? I've noticed that theaters are becoming more lax in regards to food and drink and I don't know, it kind of bums me out? I mean it makes me sound so snobby but...you're not supposed to eat in the theater, you know? It's not the movies :( But then, if it gets people to see shows? It just feels so weird to see popcorn in a theater-theater. But whatever.
    Tags: rambly ramble, televisioooon, theater!
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