Just this past Friday, March 30, A Series of Unfortunate Events season two arrived with gusto. Streaming on titan platform Netflix, season two has expanded from eight episodes to ten and takes the views up through book nine.
This season sees the introduction of the two remaining Quagmire triplets, a swagger filled Nathan Fillion stepping into the role of Jacques Snicket, and a wonderful, fourth wall breaking, sense of self awareness that shows of this nature often lack.
While yes it does follow a predictable plot line, which was a problem many had with the first season: bad guardian –> something terrible –> Baudelaires escape. The beauty of this repetitive and predictable plot line though is it allows actors like Neil Patrick Harris (Count Olaf) and Nathan Fillon (Jacques Snicket) to really work their roles and have fun doing so, which is reflected as fully realized and sharp characters.
The plot, instead of taking front and center like most shows/movies, takes a backseat to an incredibly immersive and rich world. Instead of trying to turn darkly fantastical source material into highly approachable comic realism (e.g. Marvel Comics), the plot champions a wonderful sort of self-realized, almost escapist fantasy that is unafraid to hit viewers in the face with a strong message of: This is our world, not yours.
With this world also comes the introduction of the highly secretive and, thus far, very vague secret society of VFD as the Baudelaires chase after red herring after red herring (ha).
This season is wonderful and keeps the Baudelaires on the move, it maintains the spirit of the books and the first season with dexterity, and manages newly introduced plot lines with ease. I recommend this show so highly it and I are probably in space. Go watch it.
Now I may be a bit biased by the fact that I get to see one of my all time favorite series on screen, if one is in the mood for a more comprehensive look at season two (spoiler warning) there is one here.
In January, I got the chance to miss three days of school and head up to Vancouver to watch the production of my favorite tv show,The 100. Now I probably know what a lot of people were thinking: this girl went on vacation to meet Bob Morley? Actually, yes, but while I did get to meet my favorite actors, eat sixty five dollar filet mignon, and find out so many spoilers for the show – and no, I’m not sharing – I also learned so much about the filming industry that I didn’t know before.
A one minute scene that seems so well put together takes hours to be made. Literally, one small scene, and it won’t even be the entirety of it. I went to the outside set for one day, and they filmed the same scene for hours, and when I left they were still filming the same scene. It was absolutely fascinating how they did it. They filmed from every angle with multiple cameras. They’d have the same actor repeat the same line a hundred times just to capture a different detail of their face from a different angle from multiple cameras.
The CW has the weirdest rules. For starters, actors could say any cuss word known to mankind, but they aren’t allowed to say the Lord’s name in vein. Also, actors aren’t allowed to show side boob in the shows. At all. So, basically the dresses lots of actresses wear at movie premiers would not be allowed on any of the tv shows from The CW we know and love.
They usually don’t rehearse. Apparently they get their lines, have fifteen minutes of their own time to figure it out, and then get in front of a camera. That’s a part of the reason why there are so many bloopers, and so many retakes of several scenes. Their rehearsal is the filming.
The camera makes people look bigger than they actually are. Not fatter, just bigger. When I met the actors, they were so much smaller than I expected, because they were a fourth of the size of what they look like on screen. They weren’t short or tall specifically, just tiny. It was definitely not what I expected.
I’m pretty sure that I learned a lot more things from that trip that I couldn’t have ever learned inside of a classroom, but that’s what I remember off the top of my head.
Please stop making shows/ movies about mental illness willy-nilly. Coming from a girl with clinical depression and anxiety, your depictions never get it right. I’m a sucker for any entertainment, especially your notoriously binge-worthy shows, but your new affinity for “starting a conversation” and “bringing awareness” to such prominent issues is doing more harm than good.
First, let’s start with the insanely popular 13 Reasons Why, which follows the events that “led up” to junior Hannah Baker’s suicide. Back in May, when I watched the show, I felt disgust whenever it was brought up. I had watched it because I was so excited to see how a major platform, like Netflix, could start a trend of accurate representation of mental illness in the media. To my dismay, this show became another failure. I wrote a lot about this show in a previous blogpost, but I have a few things I forgot to mention. Besides being extremely triggering for those with suicidal ideations and/or depression, the show’s creators forgot to think about the very real consequences of putting out what they did. In the two weeks following the show’s release, searches relating to suicide, such as “how to commit suicide” or “how to kill yourself,” went up over 19%. To put it into different numbers, about 1.5 million more searches were made relating to suicide. Yes, these statistics aren’t exactly the show’s fault, but such a dramatic spike had to have some catalyst. Also, many teenagers and adults started performing “copycat” suicides or suicides that resembled that of Hannah Baker’s. For example, a 23 year old man committed suicide and left behind 13 audio recordings assigning blame to people he knew for their part in his suicide. You can’t possibly tell me that he didn’t have any persuasion from either the book or TV show. Since the show did not follow guidelines from the World Health Association, a very reputable expert of health in my opinion, on how to portray suicide in a healthy, non-triggering way, many people have faced grave fates on the creators’ behalves.
Moving on, Netflix most recently released a show, Atypical, about a senior in high school with autism. I, again, watched the entire season, very quickly I might add. Sam, the main character, navigates the new world of dating, which involves getting his first girlfriend. He and his girlfriend, Paige, have a sweet relationship, but it all ends when he admits his love for his therapist, Julia, in front of her entire family. Writer Matthew Rozsa writes about how grotesque this specific incident is, among the many others of show. “These aren’t classic signs of autism — they’re violent, creepy, cruel and make the autistic character seem like a monster. When the show then shifts gears to make us feel sorry for Sam, the characterization becomes more offensive. Arguing that those with neurological conditions shouldn’t be held accountable for hurting others is as patronizing as it is socially irresponsible,” he said. Sam even says that autistic people don’t lack empathy, which is very true even though many on the spectrum can’t physically or verbally express it, but some of his actions contradict that. The Olive Garden scene is an example of it, Sam, being as high functioning as he is, couldn’t realistically not see his wrongdoings, as shown by his overall awareness throughout other parts of the show.
The show also follows the lives of Sam’s family and how they have to accommodate him. This is one of the only things that is represented fairly and realistically, as an autism diagnosis doesn’t mean that loving, sarcastic, silly dynamics of family go away. However, this notion that autism is an issue that affects everything about a family’s dynamics is very harmful. Although I don’t have anyone in my family with autism or personally have autism myself, I know that living with this disability is tough. Not only is it hard to function in the world, the stigma that comes along with it is also extremely hard. That’s something this show forgets about. In trying to make an accurate representation of autism, the creators forget to get to the true depths of the disability. While writing this post, I had a long conversation with one of my friends about the show. While she doesn’t have autism herself, some of her family does. What the show misses is the fact that autism has a huge toll on the families it affects, but also the person. Actor Mickey Rowe tells of the gross misrepresentation of this notion. “Sam is a high school senior at a regular school, and he doesn’t use an assistant or paraeducator, so he’s largely independent. Yet his parents seem to hint that they haven’t been able to go on a date since he was born, implying that they’ve sacrificed their own lives to help him through his. What’s more, they talk about Sam as if they don’t have anything in common with him and at times appear to present their son’s autism as a tragedy,” he said. The show lacks the rough toll autism has on the individual, even though there are plenty of first-person accounts they could’ve included in it.
The show claims Sam is high-functioning, but his symptoms are all over the place. In a series of interviews with autistic viewers of Atypical done by The Mighty, Lamar Hardwick, who is on the spectrum himself, explains this perfectly. “There were parts of the episode where I felt some autistic traits Gilchrist [Sam’s actor] displayed were a bit too overstated. While the actor did a pretty good job overall, issues such as lack of eye contact and taking things literally started to feel like a caricature of autism. I’m not sure that an autistic person would always see themselves in that light,” he said. Although the show means well, it makes autism into an anecdote, focusing on common symptoms, to provide a goofy portrayal of Sam’s autism.
You’re left with a character who is kind of a jerk and has an overly-dramatic version of what autism really is. It’s even worse when you see how his family’s characters are much more developed and multi-faceted than his. Possibly the biggest fluke in this show is that none of the creators have autism or a family member with it. Instead, the screenwriter and executive producer, Robia Rashid, “had to do a lot of research.” Research doesn’t always lead to accurate findings, though. Sadly, this show missed the mark about how real autism really is.
Now, I may be coming off as extremely negative, but there is one show (well, movie actually) that I wanted to finish my letter with. That would be To The Bone. Again, this movie doesn’t get the eating disorder Anorexia Nervosa 100% correct. The main character, played by Lily Collins, is a young, privileged, white, and skinny girl who has divorced parents and extreme family issues. This movie had the opportunity to showcase a fat, unprivileged grown man or a person of color with the same disease to show that it doesn’t just affect those that look like Ellen, Lily Collin’s character. As far as eating disorders go, anorexia is very prominent in the media. There are so many movies and books talking about this disease. What I liked about this movie, especially compared to 13 Reasons Why and Atypical, is that the director and the main actress both have had anorexia. An article from Variety magazine describes Marti Noxon’s, the director, accurate portrayal of the disease as, “ [not an] especially pleasant movie to watch, but it is one that just might save a few lives.” What you get when you watch To The Bone isn’t some linear progression to recovery, but an extremely up-and-down diegesis that ultimately shows that recovery, something that is desperately needed when dealing with an eating disorder, is worth it in the end.
One thing I like to mention before I finish, can you tell me one thing these characters have in common? I hinted at it in the last paragraph. Still guessing? They’re all white! Not only is the media containing a complete lack of representation of mental illness, gender, sexuality, and people of color, but you never see a culmination between any of these themes. GLAAD does a very well-rounded data analysis of misrepresentation in media overall and I recommend you check it out. Netflix had a wonderful opportunity to create shows with directors and actors with these disabilites/diseases. They have all different kinds of actors willing to be a part of any media they create and while I applaud Netflix for their overall diversity, they still missed the mark when it came to these shows. The only people of color I remember in these shows are Ross Butler’s character in 13 Reasons Why and a fellow member in Ellen’s inpatient facility who happens to be black. The representation of these characters would’ve done way better in terms of conversation if they changed the way society traditionally sees these challenges. Make Hannah Baker a lesbian, Asian girl who has unforgiving parents. Make Sam black and underprivileged, not having the ability to hug his older sister. Make Ellen/ Eli an adopted, obese girl whose family couldn’t see her illness because they weren’t educated. Create new conversation by adding in REPRESENTATION. Youtuber Annie Elainey puts this into perspective perfectly.
I finish with a plead. While these movies and shows are indeed raising awareness, they have to deal with their subject matter delicately. Mental illnesses, eating disorders, and other disabilities affect too many people to be taken so lightly. What all these people need is a positive, accurate depiction of their lives. They don’t need uneducated producers and directors making stories that they can’t connect with. I love that Netflix is trying to help, but I suggest, like what To The Bone did, that the creators of these shows know what their subject matter is like. Research and conversations don’t even compare to those living with it. No amount of paper can match the grief of another hospital visit. In order to create something with truth, real experiences need to be showcased.
Fasten your seatbelt, because I’m about to speed into the different theories of one of my favorite tv shows ever, Riverdale.
Riverdale first aired on January 26th, 2017, and immediately after the first episode I was hooked. It didn’t take long to become obsessed with the mystery of who killed Jason Blossom. But while trying to put together the pieces of the puzzle that was his death, we followed many other characters on their crazy journeys through their sophomore year of high school or their parents that, in fact, were the main causes of the most extra drama that existed on this show.
Now I’m going to fast forward to the season 1 finale, and wow… that was a plot twist. While we did figure out Jason Blossom’s murderer was his own flesh and blood, Clifford Blossom, the writers decided to have one of the purest characters in the whole show shot.
WHY???!!! I don’t know, but the ending of the episode had many angry, distraught Riverdale fans desperate to know who would do this to the nicest character in the whole show. Seriously, what has he done wrong? He’s the only parent in the whole show who hasn’t freaking manipulated their kid or messed them up psychologically. He’s supported his son’s music career (and come on, just because Archie is cute, it doesn’t mean we have to pretend his singing is that good). But he still supported him, and yet he’s the one kicked to the curb, and SHOT?! Not okay, writers, not okay.
Now I know there are lots of other mysteries that need to be solved in season 2. Who’s Cheryl’s unexpected love interest? Who’s Betty’s long lost brother? What’s Hiram doing back in Riverdale? Who’s Veronica’s ex, and how is he going to affect Varchie?
But that’s what I’m not here to talk about.
Who shot Fred Andrews? Who would WANT to kill Fred Andrews? Clearly someone had enough beef with him to attempt first degree murder. And how do we know it wasn’t just Mr. Andrews being in the wrong place at the wrong time? Well, no money was taken from the register at Pops, and who would go “rob” a restaurant without taking money? It wasn’t just an accident. It was pre-meditated.
Now onto theories. I’m writing this because I want to know who shot him. I have multiple.
Sheriff Keller. This theory is simple. As I was watching the season 2 premiere, I noticed the sheriff had the exact same eye color as the robber, and it was scary. The same bright, green eyes full of evil!!! If you look closely at the robber’s eyes, and then his, you’ll see it too. Also, it’s not just a coincidence that he sucks at doing his job. How are four sophomores able to solve Jason Blossom’s murder before the sheriff of the town? So far the case is going no where either, but maybe it’s because the guy in charge of the case is the shooter. Coincidence? I think not. Plus, he’s the last person anyone would suspect, and in this show you must always except the unexpected.
Even though the sheriff has the power to cover it all, and the eye color, one thing he doesn’t have is the motive. So, now I’m onto my second suspect, Hiram Lodge. Hiram Lodge’s eyes are brown, so he may have not been the shooter, but he has the motive, and the resources. He has the Southside Serpents working for him, and probably many other people who owe him favors and would do anything to stay on his good side. He also has a motive. Fred was having a fling with Hermione Lodge and he wanted to take over his construction site, what reason did Hiram Lodge have to not kill Fred Andrews?
Now I’ve been focusing only on Fred Andrews, but we all know someone else was killed in the season 2 premiere: Miss Grundy. The teacher we all loathe, but she was killed, and what do Miss Grundy and Fred Andrews have in common? Archie cares about them both. A lot. So, maybe the murderer has been targeting Archie, and everyone he cares about all along.
So, here’s my third and final theory on who could be the green eyed murderer hiding behind a ski mask because he’s too much of a wimp to show himself; Miss Grundy’s ex husband. The guy who scared Grundy so bad that she thought the only way to ever get away alive was by running off and changing her name. Maybe when he found out Archie and Grundy were having an affair together, he wanted revenge. He could be planning to make Archie’s life absolutely miserable by hurting everyone he cared about before taking him out himself at the end of season 2.
It is that time of the year again: Less than 50 days until Season 6 of Game of Thrones. It is time to start from the beginning of the show, watching one episode every night till the new season is released. I don’t binge watch alone; I get together with friends at least once a week and we watch the episodes together. With so many episodes it is hard to remember what happened in an episode 3 years ago, so I came up with a solution to eliminate gaps between the old and new episodes. A part of this tradition is to make predictions of what will happen and whoever is closest wins and gets the prize of hearing the others say “good job”.
Season Six is looking like it will be the best season yet; after the death of Stannis Baratheon and Jon Snow, it’s hard to tell what path the show will take. The entire series I have been a big believer in the Melisandre, Stannis’ advisor. For those who aren’t familiar with the show, she is a priestess who serves R’hllor, the Lord of Light. Westeros is full of many religions, but only the prayers to R’hllor are answered. Although the religion is borderline satanic and possibly witchcraft, it is extremely powerful. A fire priestess like Melisandre can see the future which is really important when commanding armies. She has never been wrong with the exception of Stannis dying in battle. But I believe she knew that he would die. Melisandre has been trying to get Jon Snow to join them, but Jon refused because he has sworn an oath forcing him to serve the night’s watch.
Men who swear the oath serve in defending the border wall till death. They are responsible for defending against Wildlings which resemble barbarians, and White Walkers, which are undead creatures that can only be killed with dragon glass, an extremely rare material. Because the white walkers are a new threat and no one believes the night’s watch reports of them, they are forced to ally the Wildlings under Jon’s orders. His men were so mad that Jon was killed in a mutiny in a dramatic Julius Caesar killing. His death is the best thing to happen to Melisandre. A fire priests in one episode showed that he could bring back the dead, but only those who R’hllor thinks is worthy. Melisandre knows that Jon is worthy and may bring him back to life. This is huge because Jon will no longer be sworn to the night’s watch; he is the rightful King of the north and the entire north will have his back in a war. On top of that he would have control of the remains of the Baratheon army, and because of his sister Sansa he will most likely get support in secret from Little Finger who basically controls everyone through blackmail. If that isn’t enough, he could probably get support from Dorne, a nation that isn’t a part of Westeros and Dorne really hates the current leaders of Westeros the Lannisters. If Jon Snow comes back to life, it would be game over for the Lannisters, and as much as I love to hate them, I can’t wait till they are gone.
Due to the fact that I am a seventeen year old girl, my general topic choice for T.V. shows is mainly based around drama and vampires.
Recently, in Journalism class, we began watching “The Newsroom”, realistic drama based around life in a newsroom. This show includes their struggle to have the most updated facts about major events that actually did occur in history.
I can honestly say no other show has intrigued me to this extent.
The realistic way this show is written involves it’s audience to the fullest extent. Every time our class has watched, I am completely zoned out and concentrated on the show.
The plot of “The Newsroom” consists of a team of news correspondents who work together to be the most updated broadcasting show on the air. Between trying their best to say the right thing (morally and politically), you learn about each of the character’s personal struggles along the way.
My blog does this show no justice, I guarantee it will be your next T.V. show obsession.