Posts Tagged ‘Life’

Top 11 Obscure TV Shows That Only I Might Remember Pt. 2

June 27, 2022

6. Moonlight (9/07 – 5/08)

When this show came out, I was already two years into working in New Jersey with very little money and not much access to television. This was before there were streaming services, of course. I wouldn’t have had the money for a streaming service anyway. I actually bought episodes of this show with Pepsi points of all things. This show is about a vampiric private investigator who struggles to help humanity more than he helps it. I was drawn to the show because of Jason Dohring who was a regular on this show and had been a featured actor on my favorite show Veronica Mars. The show approached vampirism in interesting ways. Their unique lore feels closer to something you would see in Vampire The Masquerade with vampires getting some extra non-traditional powers. For example, Dohring’s character was older than the main character but the main character’s actor was older than Dohring. The main character was played by Alex O’Laughlin who is charismatic and was an easy character to follow. The mysteries that O’Laughlin tackled were also interesting. It often involved undead politics and also human/vampire interactions. The show only made it one season, laid low by the writers’ strike of that time.

5. Freakzoid! (6/95 – 6/97)

I thought a while about including this on the list because my friends and I talk about this series all the time. I watched it religiously because it ran concurrently with Animaniacs, a much more remembered cartoon from the time. Freakazoid was about a young teen Dexter Douglas who accidentally gets zapped into cyberspace and gains the ability to turn into the Freakazoid, a hero basically made of the Internet. However, they often tossed that origin aside if it did not further the plot. Freakazoid is played by Paul Rugg and is an often childish but well-meaning hero. He is highly distractible and is not always on the ball but comes through in a pinch. He usually pals around with a middle-aged cop named Cosgrove (voiced by Ed Asner). His rogue’s gallery is just as silly as he is and so are all of the other heroes he encounters. The episode’s rough plot is just an excuse for gag after gag kind of like movies like Airplane! or Police Squad. While every episode has a Freakzoid story, it also has a few shorts about other heroes. The show lasted years but only 24 episodes.

4. Dead Like Me (6/03 – 10/04)

I only caught this show because a friend of mine lent me his DVDs well after it was on the air. He knew the offbeat stuff that I was into and raved about the show and I agreed to check it out. I was immediately hooked. This show follows George Lass, a young woman on the verge of getting her life together when she is hit by debris from a destroyed space station and killed. Instead of moving on, she is tapped to become a grim reaper and tasked with taking people’s souls before they die of misadventure. Ellen Muth plays the lead and she is snarky and relatable as somebody caught in a day job even after death. Her boss is the gruff but likable Rube played by Mandy Patinkin. They are joined by a British drug addict, a meter maid, and an ex-actress in a misfit squad of reapers. The show also follows George’s family as they mourn her and try to figure out how to move on. The show made it two seasons and had a movie sans Mandy Patinkin who was apparently difficult to work with.

3. The Unusuals (4/09 – 6/09)

I am not even sure how I managed to watch this show as it was not on for long. As well as I can remember, I probably watched this directly on ABC’s website as the start of on-demand viewing. I tried it on a whim having seen a thumbnail and I immediately latched on. This show is about the New York City police precinct that always has to handle the weird stuff. Not supernatural but just erratic, absurd behavior. The show stars Amber Tamblyn who plays a young cop from a rich family who becomes a detective. She is great as the audience’s surrogate as the newbie who needs things explained to her but she is very clever in her own right.  Her partner is played by Jeremy Renner, a hardened yet empathetic cop trying to root out corruption in the force. Harold Perrineau and Adam Goldberg play a hysterical odd couple pair of partners who oscillate between bickering and having each other’s backs. The rest of the cast are also oddballs. Each episode has several cases being run at once, each one strange and comical. The show only made it ten episodes. 

2. Terriers (9/10 – 12/10)

I only recently started and finished watching this show this year so it is the show on this list freshest in my mind. It had been on my list for quite a while because of the advertisements that I saw. The show is about two private detectives, former cop Hank and former criminal Britt who struggle to make ends meet. Hank is played by Donal Logue, one of my favorite actors, and is a recovering alcoholic trying to do his best. Britt is a former thief and is eager to walk the straight and narrow as long as his bills keep getting paid. The show’s strength is in the chemistry between these two tight friends. We also get to know the interesting characters in their orbit. The show is really good at creating standalone episodes that also further long plot arcs and was actually pretty brilliant at putting things together. Logue’s acting in particular is so good. The show does not pull any punches when it comes to darkness but it has a lot of comedy as well. The show’s one season lasted only a few months.

1. Life (9/07 – 4/09)

This was another show that was introduced to me by my only friend up in New Jersey. I had no idea it existed and probably would never have known about it without his help. It just has such a generic title that I may never have given it a second glance. The show is about a cop who gets framed for murder but is exonerated by DNA years later. As part of a settlement with the city, he gets his badge back plus millions of dollars. Damien Lewis plays this cop, Detective Crews, who has become very zen in order to survive being a cop in prison. He acts offbeat and very un-cop like which creates both incredible dramatic moments and comedic ones. His partner is Reese, played by Sarah Shahi who comes across as hard but is secretly compassionate and really good at her job. The show also has great characters played by Donal Logue, Adam Arkin, Brent Sexton, Brooke Langton, and Robin Weigert. The series has a really great at laying out a big mystery while also having episodes that worked great on their own. This remains in my top five favorite shows. It only made it two seasons.

Top 11 Obscure TV Shows That Only I Might Remember Pt. 1

June 13, 2022

11. Happy Hour (4/99 – 7/99)

This is the show that sparked this list. I was unsure if the show actually existed until I found episodes on YouTube. I had mistakenly misremembered the title of this show as Viva Variety which is a completely different show. This is a variety show but it is also a game show in the style of Whose Line Is It Anyway. One of the things that I correctly remembered is that the show is hosted by Ahmet and Dweezil Zappa, the sons of the famous musician and funny lunatic Frank Zappa. The two are wonderfully weird but they definitely walk that line between being entertaining and being annoying. I can see both opinions as valid. The two sing and keep the show moving kind of like emcees. Celebrity guests are divided into teams who compete against each other. They perform karaoke as a group and answer trivia questions in themed games. The atmosphere was wild and chaotic and felt like it was just people hanging out in a barely controlled jovial frenzy. I really liked the show but it was gone after three months.

10. Defiance (4/13 – 8/15)

This was a bit of a crazy show. Part of what made the show so wild is that it seemed to be an experiment that has not been repeated on the same scale. The idea is that this television show would come out concurrently with an MMORPG set in the same setting with all of the show’s characters as NPCs. So you had to have a television studio working very closely with a video game studio to try and make sure that the lore and visuals were consistent. The show takes place in a future settlement of Defiance which was formerly St. Louis, Missouri after aliens arrived and terraformed the Earth. Humans live in a tense harmony with several other species all of whom have their own cultures, traditions, and hang-ups. The worldbuilding is really great and the character designs of the various races and creatures were a breath of fresh air, similar to shows like Farscape. The real strength of the show for me was the strong character work from all of the actors as they come into conflict with each other while trying to survive. Tony Curran was the clear standout on the show. The show made it three seasons but the companion game existed in some form until 2021 when the servers shut down.

9. KaBlam! (8/96 – 1/00)

This was a show that I remembered strongly but did not remember where I saw it. I mistakenly thought that it had been on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim instead of primetime Nickelodeon. The latter actually makes more sense as there was nothing in the show truly objectionable for kids. The show was a cartoon variety show which had a theme based on a comic book. It was hosted by comic book characters Henry and June. They would snark at each other and introduce each cartoon. The main cartoon that I tuned in for was a stop-action show using action figures called Action League Now! which followed a group of misfit heroes fighting a villainous city mayor. My other favorite was Prometheus and Bob which had no dialogue and involved the slapstick shenanigans of an alien trying to teach a human caveman about more advanced concepts. There was also a show about odd-couple roommates called Sniz and Fondue, another stop motion show called Life With Loopy which was a funny slice of life about a goofy family, and finally The Offbeats about a group of school misfits trying to succeed against the popular kids. There were plenty of other cartoons that popped up here and there but those were the main ones. It introduced a lot of animators to the industry and had a subversive humor to it.

8. Beakman’s World (9/92 – 1/98)

The Sharks to Bill Nye’s Jets, Beakman’s World was a show that taught science to kids in a comedic way. This show was born out of a weekly newspaper feature that ran alongside the comics in a lot of papers. In the newspaper, Beakman and Jax would teach kids some simple science in a brief yet understandable way. The show starred Paul Zaloom as the titular scientist who answered letters from fans and did more in-depth explanations of scientific principles and systems. He was joined each season by various female assistants and his “lab rat” Lester. The female assistants (Josie, Liza, and Phoebe) were excitable and often acted more as co-hosts. Lester was a grown man dressed in a tattered rat costume and whether he was a rat or a man was left ambiguous. He was mainly there to spout ignorant things for Beakman to correct. The show was very frenetic, rapidly moving from bit to bit but still keeping the science coherent and funny. I watched this show a lot during my childhood but never Bill Nye until a lot later.

7. M.A.N.T.I.S. (8/94 – 3/95)

This show is criminally neglected as it was probably too far ahead of its time. It was a show about a Black scientist who is shot and paralyzed by a police sniper during a riot as he was trying to save a child in danger. During his attempts to sue the police department, he uncovers evidence of widespread corruption and an agenda against Black communities. Sounds familiar, He used his scientific know-how and funds from his company to create an exoskeleton that allowed him not only to walk again but the ability to fight crime as well. Fittingly, the suit is outfitted with tranquilizing darts. Unfortunately, they quickly turned away from the police corruption storyline immediately after the pilot. Still, the show was entertaining and was paired with The Flash in the CBS lineup. The star Carl Lumbly was so good at bringing life to this man of science who wanted to protect his friends and his community. Fun fact, it was one of Sam Raimi’s many TV projects. It only made it one full season.

Elorian Campaign Pantheon Pt. 2

November 19, 2018

Asherah (Goddess of Life)
Life Domain

Known as the Queen of Life, she is often depicted as a woman with four wings and five eyes. She was the kindest and least destructive of the original deities, preferring to talk to people, meditate or heal the damage caused by others. In the final conflict between the gods, she was instrumental in restoring the forms of Kord, Azrea, Lathander, and Sylvanus when they were nearly routed and overcome. While she herself is peaceful, she understands that physical intervention is sometimes needed in order to protect others. Her followers are often healers or those who choose to protect those who cannot help themselves. Her temples often double as centers of healing, tranquility, and sanctuary in both urban and rural settings. Her followers are not as preachy and usually let their actions lure people into their lady’s service. She resides in the material plane of Avalon in a simple cottage. Followers often use the dove as her symbol.

Azrea (Goddess of Death)
Death Domain/Grave Domain

Known as the original Goddess of Winter, many believe that Azrea killed the original god of death in order to seize his domain for herself. The other gods decided to let this aggression go unchecked since she turned out to be a more benevolent death god than Nerull had been. She is now sometimes known as the Raven Queen. She views death as a kindness, a reprieve from suffering usually reserved for those who reach a certain age. Death is a necessary part of the cycle of existence and at least a kind hand is guiding that force now. She also remains vigilance against the undead magicks promoted by Nerull, locking them into an eternal conflict. Her followers seek to facilitate funeral services, eradicate necromancy and its creations, and guide souls to their eventual destinations. In reality, Azrea was the denizen of an ancient civilization which was decimated by one of Nerull’s experiments. She seized what power she could and, through a miracle, used it to attack and kill Nerull. At that point, she was accepted by the rest of the pantheon after she pledged her allegiance to them. She is usually depicted as a heavily cloaked woman with a bone-white bird skull mask. She resides in her own plane called the Farplane which is a waystation to various eternal resting places, often conversing with souls to pass the time. Her symbol is the raven.

Ullur (God of Winter)

He is known as the Winter Lord, he is often depicted as a massive silver-skinned man with one massive eye and long light blue hair all over his body. He is known to not be very sociable but not evil, he just enjoys his solitude. He could be listed as neutral. Originally under the domain of Sylvanus, he left his service to convene with the like-minded Azrea. Still, there was an understanding between him and Sylvanus about the need for Winter. During the Great Conflict, he often fought by her side. In the end, he willingly left the material plane and made his home in the Elemental Plane of Ice. His symbol is a snowflake.

 

Sylvanus (The God of Nature)
Nature Domain

He is known as Father Nature, a mountain of a man whose form keeps changing based on his mood and his needs. He is very hairy but some of it is hair, some is fur, and some of it is vegetation. He and his entourage built the material plane and Sylvanus populated it with his and Asherah’s magic. He created animals, plants, and most of the other living things on the Material Plane. He spent a lot of time exploring the Material Plane and examining his and others’ handiwork. The other gods would lose sight of him for days, weeks, sometimes months as he faded into the wild (it was mostly wild at that point). In the Great Conflict, he used his power to change shape to battle the opposing gods. When he left, he passed through the barrier and created the Feywild and he has not been seen since. His followers are naturally often druids or barbarians. His temples are not often traditional temples. They are either open-air altars in clearings or are set up in already enclosed places like caves. His symbol is a wreath of vines entwined with a stag’s antlers.

The Four Elements

These four are the blue collar workers of all of the entourage of the gods. When the gods were formed, they quickly realized that their purpose was to build the material plane. They worked together with Sylvanus to put it all together after Lathander brought light to the material plane. Umberlee is the Lady of the Sea, she once enjoyed roaming the depths and often upset early sailors unless they warded her off with prayer and offerings. Geb is the Lord of the Earth who spent much of his time walking his creation which caused earthquakes. Akadi is the Lady of the Air and she once flew everywhere and people grew to worry when they saw her shadow for high winds usually followed her. Kossuth is the Lord of Flame but he lay dormant beneath the surface and people feared him emerging. All four eventually agreed to leave the material plane, enticed by the four Elemental Planes. Those planes are playgrounds where each can control their element as they wish. With their departure, their creation was allowed to operate on its own, growing and changing for the first time in eons.

Chauntea (Goddess of Farming)

Legend has it that she imparted her love of vegetation and animals to the first elves who, until then, could only hunt and forage. She taught them how to farm and allowed the first of them to settle and the no longer nomadic elves started to create culture and civilization. These methods were also taught to gnomes and dwarves who adapted the practices for their underground civilizations. Chauntea often wandered through orchards eating produce, squished her feet in the mud of the fields, and stopped by to pet the livestock. She was one of the most peaceful and least-feared gods to encounter before the Great Division. Her symbol is a shepherd’s crook crossed with a pitchfork.

Top 11 Television Lawyers

December 17, 2016

As a little celebration of finishing all of my classes on the way to my paralegal certificate (except an internship), how about we look at some great lawyers.  Unfortunately, they do not make any shows about paralegals.  Obviously, I may need to change this eventually.


11 Jeff Winger (Community)
Trial Lawyer

Community has been one of my favorite shows since my brothers introduced me to it. In the first episode, we meet Jeff who is a lawyer who has just been put into a tough spot. He had lied about having a bachelor’s degree when he was hired at the law firm he was working at. So he is forced to go to Greendale Community College to get a quickie law degree. This is now somewhat familiar and relevant to my life. So a successful lawyer has to attend college just to get a piece of paper. Winger is at the bottom of the list because he is not a properly licensed lawyer through most of the series. Jeff was a defense lawyer who mainly tried DUI and other traffic cases. Jeff’s main strength comes from his excellent charisma and his ability to make a great speech with very little substance. He was very successful but it seems that he does not know a lot of actual law and falls back on convincing judges and juries with his silver tongue. Throughout the show, he does sometimes act as an advocate at disciplinary proceedings and we see both how effective he can be and also how ineffective he can be when people see through his nonsense.


10 Saul Goodman (Better Call Saul)
Public Defender/Civil Litigator

I am really only referring to Saul Goodman during the first season of Better Call Saul. In Breaking Bad, he is a piece of crap and does very little that an actual lawyer does or should do. In the early part of the show, he is a lawyer with a small general practice operating out of the back of a nail salon. Like Jeff Winger, Saul’s true strength lies in his opening and closing statements. When his money situation gets desperate, he becomes a public defender for meager checks from the State. He encounters some horrible prosecutors who seem disinterested in dealing with him in any way. As far as we see, his clients are pretty guilty but Saul does not quit. He works tirelessly for his clients, giving masterful closing arguments and going above and beyond his duties to try to get plea bargains for his clients instead of letting them get fully prosecuted. He does not lie, he does not cheat. He does what a good defense lawyer does and tries to slant the cases in favor of his clients and does his best on behalf of his clients. He falls into a dark place for a bit, trying to cheat the system to make some money but he is also scared back to a more righteous path. Later on, he gets really jazzed about representing the elderly in writing wills and then protecting their rights. He will fall to evil eventually but for the first season, he is a good lawyer.


9 Lindsey McDonald (Angel) – Defense Lawyer

For those of you were born after the nineties, Angel was a spinoff of Buffy: The Vampire Slayer and both of those shows are in the upper echelons of my favorite shows. The heroes formed a sort of detective agency that did more saving of lives than actual mystery solving. The main villains of the show came from an evil law firm known as Wolfram & Hart. While there are a lot of jokes about how evil lawyers are, this show took that to the extreme and connected lawyers to several hell dimensions. One of those lawyers was a southern boy played by the awesome Christian Kane. He was tough as nails and was eventually grizzled and buff. When he first appeared, his main strength was that he was one hell of a lawyer (pun intended). Time and again, it is proven off camera and on camera that he is a great lawyer. While he represents vampires and demons, he often did his best to prevent his clients or his firm from carrying out truly heinous acts. He was not a good guy but he had a moral code even if he did want to kill the title character on more than one occasion.


8 Rafael Barba (Law and Order: SVU)
Assistant District Attorney

Really, I could have picked almost any Assistant District Attorney from the Law and Order series to put in this spot. The Law and Order ADAs are often excellent at their jobs. They are very charismatic and they speak with great eloquence and know just how to play witnesses like they were musical instruments. Of course, this leads to overly melodramatic moments that would probably never actually happen in court but it makes for good television. What impresses me most about these ADAs is their knowledge and command of case law. Almost every lawyer on the show knows key cases at the drop of a hat which convinces the judge to see things their way. After law school, most lawyers do not memorize these things anymore because even memorizing local landmark cases is way too much information to retain. Besides, that is what research is for. The ADAs are also very good at convincing judges to make decisions without putting in motions. This is not entirely out of the realm of possibility in real courthouses as this sort of thing falls under a judge’s discretion. However, most judges like having some paper to point at when somebody asks why they made their decision. I picked Rafael Barba for this spot specifically because he seemed to me to be the most professional and least emotional lawyer of the bunch. He assigned to Special Victims Unit and has to try some very difficult cases and it feels like he really never let it get to him too much.


7 Alan Shore (Boston Legal) – Defense Lawyer

Alan Shore is unequivocally an asshole, a fact that becomes more and more clear as the series progresses. However, he usually uses that power for a good cause. He has an undying loyalty toward his client and champions for their right to a fair trial no matter what. He works for a huge multinational law firm called Crane, Poole and Schmidt which largely handles both civil and criminal cases. He is an extremely competent lawyer who is very good at reading people and finding a path to victory when defeat is certain. He specializes in what he calls pulling a rabbit out of his hat. He creates sensational stunts to win cases in the eleventh hour when things are looking dark. It is clear that he also knows how to use case law and actual lawyering to win cases. He often has to resort to his strange tactics because the firm gives him the strangest and most difficult cases. They do this because he is a very self-destructive person who delights in instigating the people around him. He also bends the rules constantly which is another reason why the firm throws him the bad cases to try and get rid of him. As the show progresses, he works at evolving as a person and a lawyer and gets better every episode. This reminds me that I need to watch more of this show.


6 Stewart Sanderson (The Grinder)
Trial Lawyer

When we meet Stew, he is a somewhat downtrodden lawyer who works at his father’s law firm. While he technically works for his father and another partner, he acts as the boss of the law firm. We see him leading meetings, deciding case strategy and assigning cases and work to lawyers and assistants at the office. The tiny firm does good work and obviously,  Stew is an extremely competent lawyer. Throughout the one and only season of this show, we see that he is very adept at doing his research and clearing cases the right way. In the pilot, he clearly remembers a lot of landmark decisions because he is able to pull just the right ones to convince the judge to make the correct decision. He knows the rules and he sticks to them because it gets results. His one weakness is that he is not very good at speaking in court. He relies too much on note cards and does not speak with any fluidity and finds it difficult to adapt his strategy. Enter Dean Sanderson, Stew’s big brother. Through exposure to Dean’s hammy acting and superior confidence, Stew begins a journey where he becomes more confident and therefore a stronger lawyer.


5 Laurel Lance (Arrow) –
Defense Lawyer/Assistant District Attorney

In a show that involves law enforcement and vigilantes, it is a little weird that there are so few lawyers that we see. Of course, most of the show hinges on action and drama and there is no time to slow down and show some courtroom drama. Laurel has worked hard all of her life to do what is right and protect the people around her. The first we see of her, she is working as a defense lawyer who largely represents poorer clients. One of the themes of the show is about class differences so this was a perfect starting point for her character. As the daughter of a cop, she was in a great position to see both sides of things and decided to defend people legally instead of physically. While the show does not focus on her that much, we see that she is a great lawyer. She eventually gets hired on as Assistant District Attorney, a position she uses to team up with her father and secretly with the vigilantes. While normally I would question a lawyer for bending or breaking the rules by working with a vigilante, she is working in an extremely corrupt system. When things are wrong, you have to do what it takes to make them right without crossing major moral boundaries. In the end, she blurs those boundaries by becoming a vigilante herself but she still operates as a lawyer.


4 Constance Griffiths (Life)
Legal Aid/Assistant District Attorney

Few people seem to know about this show but I will continue to champion it until my final breath. The whole show is put into motion by Constance who takes a wrongly accused police officer’s case pro bono. She is able to use DNA evidence to exonerate Charlie and get him the best and weirdest settlement that I have ever heard of. We know from what we see of her that Constance has a big brain and even bigger heart. She does not believe that the innocent should be left to languish in jail and fights for the rights of the falsely accused. She is a one woman Innocence Project. Throughout the show, she deals with a client that has some interesting and potentially annoying personal quirks with ease. She fights to make sure that her client keeps their end of the bargain and protects him at every turn. When it is clear that she has become romantically connected to her client, she removes herself from the position. Her hard work pays off and she is offered a position as an Assistant District Attorney and I always believed that she was probably very fair and ethical in that job.


3 Caroline Julian (Bones)
Prosecutor

At first glance, Caroline is a bit of a bulldog. She is a prosecutor who works directly with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. She seems to be assigned all of the cases that come from crimes investigated by the partnership between the Jeffersonian Museum and the FBI. She comes across as humorless and has little time for nonsense as she helps investigate cases. She works hard to get the FBI good legal standing and open up doors to allow them to investigate. She is key in getting warrants and clearing obstacles that stand between investigators and the evidence they need. As the show progresses, we see Caroline become more comfortable in being more personable. She works to make things run smoother in the FBI offices and Jeffersonian Labs in the interests of being more efficient. Through it all, she retains the ability to be very intimidating but also later becomes more of a mama bear in the cast. While we do not really get to see her in court, we know she is dead set on following the rules and is instrumental in the cast’s success rate.


2 Foggy Nelson (Daredevil)
General Private Practice

While it would have been easy to put Matt Murdock himself in this spot, we know that Matt has an unfair advantage while plying his trade. Matt can literally monitor a witness’ heartbeat during testimony and is basically a human lie detector. Also, while he is kicking butt on the streets, he often neglects his actual job. Foggy Nelson turns out to be an even better lawyer. He works day and night for his clients and it shows in the bags under his eyes and the beers that he drinks after work. When we first meet him, he is a little too eager to take shortcuts to get clients and clear cases but he has evolved quite a bit on the show. He does his research and he and Matt are able to make a name for their little law firm. One of the main reasons I gave this spot to Foggy is the moment where he was forced to deliver an opening statement on the spot without any preparation and he knocked it out of the park. He also was able to do the same kind of thing in the middle of a knife fight which saved a lot of lives. He is a good man and a good lawyer.


1 Cliff McCormack (Veronica Mars)
Public Defender

Finally, we come to one of my all-time favorite television shows. I mourn its cancellation more than Firefly’s cancellation because every single character was awesome and I wanted a billion of their stories. One of those characters was Cliff McCormack, a public defender, and a working class lawyer. He associated with the Mars family because it is wise for lawyers to use private investigators and for private investigators to have lawyers handy. They form a friendship which Cliff is loyal to a hundred percent. I really, really love Cliff as a lawyer. He always has a hundred cases on his plate but never seems to let any of them down. He has a personal code of ethics and although he may come off as slimy, he is anything but. He even tells a rich murder suspect (a client who could net him a lot of more lucrative cases) to hire a better lawyer. While he is not above using tricks to win cases, none of those tricks involve him breaking the law. He is charming, hard-working and successful.

Gender Moments in Television

April 8, 2016

So since today we’re supposed to examine the letter G, I thought Gender was a fun word to look at. I was thinking about this post since early February when the thoughts were sparked by an episode of Adam Savage’s Still Untitled podcast. Gender is hard to write about as we get a little stuck in our ways but the good news is that things are slowly changing. High profile shows like Transparent and Orange is the New Black are doing their part to shatter gender stereotypes and ignorance. However, I decided to think up some more subtle examples woven into more mainstream shows. These are things people might not even notice right away but may open cracks for more knowledge and open-mindedness to worm its way past heavy defenses.


Jessica Jones does not use feminine wiles

Some of you may already see where I am going, some of you might wonder and some of you might already have had your minds blown like mine was. Jessica Jones is a great show that is subtly feminist in its equal representation of females. We could go back and forth on polarizing interpretations of the main villain portrayed by David Tennant. We could talk about how Jessica Jones and Patsy Walker are way tougher than women are usually portrayed. We could also talk about how Frank Simpson is threatened by Patsy and Jess’ strength. All of these are great depictions of gender as it really is in the world. However, let’s look at what’s not there. At no point in season one does Jessica Jones use her feminine wiles to get her way. She uses brawn, she uses brains and she uses connections but she never uses her sexuality. I don’t mean to say that it would be bad if she did but it’s an interesting thing to think about.


Charlie coached in seducing a guy by Dean Winchester

I love Supernatural but at its heart it is literally a show about bros constantly trying to save the world from magical threats. It follows Sam Winchester who is a fairly enlightened guy who is pretty respectful when it comes to differences and connected to the world. His brother Dean is a little less connected and tends to yearn for the 1970’s as he looks for earthly pleasure in the forms of booze, women and pie. While the combination sounds like The Odd Couple meets The X-Files it’s not exactly cut and dry. Under Dean’s surface, there is a deeper human being and Sam isn’t really as saintly as he often appears. My favorite episode of the whole series is The Girl with the Dungeons & Dragons Tattoo which guest stars Felicia Day. In the episode, Dean assumes that Charlie (Felicia Day) can get by a guard by flirting with him but Charlie reveals that she is gay. So, Dean talks her through flirting with a male using what he knows he likes. It’s just an awkward moment where both characters realize things about their identities.


Perry Saturn, Loser Wears a Dress

In the sports entertainment world (otherwise known as pro-wrestling) is a real but also fictional world where people fight physical and technical bouts for money in front of crowds. In this world image is everything because the outcomes and storylines are fictional but the pain can be real. You have to make the crowds interested in each match or they will be pointless to put on without earning money to pay all the costs involved. So, some intelligent promoter thought up using match stipulations to drive up more interest in matches that might need a little help. World Championship Wrestling came up with a lot of weird ones. People who lost matches had to leave the company, be people’s manservants, change group affiliations and so on. When Perry Saturn went up against Chris Jericho at Souled Out in the loser had to wear a dress. This was meant as a humiliation punishment but it turned out that Perry Saturn liked wearing a dress and didn’t see it as a punishment. Wearing women’s clothes isn’t a sign of weakness.


Castle is constantly rescued by Kate Beckett and is alright with it

There are too many of these moments to count. Castle is a show about Richard Castle, a murder mystery writer who suffers from writer’s block and eventually becomes a consultant to Detective Kate Beckett. The show has a lot of fun moments in it that are pretty human and there is a lot of drama to follow along with enough comedy to light the way. Kate’s evolution has little to do with her sexuality and more to do with her emotions as a human being, a police detective and an orphan. Castle, on the other hand, starts the first episode as a flirtatious, stubly alpha male who has questionable tendencies toward eligible females. Through the series, he comes to respect Kate better and respect himself better through her eyes and the eyes of his daughter. One thing that does occur from episode one is that Castle has no problems being rescued over and over by a woman as well he should not. Honorable mention goes out to Life and Psych as two more examples of tough, feminine characters who are fully accepted by their peers.


Officers Blubs and Durlon declare their love

Gravity Falls is a cartoon about twin twelve-year-olds who are sent to live with their Great Uncle for the summer in a small Oregon town. The town of Gravity Falls is filled to the brim with weirdness. There are supernatural creatures and magical spells and eldritch multi-dimensional beings that do all sorts of horrible (yet sometimes funny things). The show also has a whole cast of characters who are exaggerated but share a lot of moments that resonated with my life and, by looking at the fandom, I was not the only one so impacted. Two prominent side characters are the town’s only police officers, Officer Blubs and Officer Durlon. They are ignorant, lazy and crazy but, in the end, they do their job and help defend the town the best they can. Starting early it was hinted that they had a very close relationship but I always assumed they were friends. Then they started saying things that could be interpreted as making them more than friends. In the second to last episode they finally clearly declare their love as they embrace. I have to accept it as canon now.

Maw Maw

March 14, 2016

I have had a some time to process things. I updated my entry from Saturday and I mentioned that I had been out of town for a funeral. I have decided that I want to post more about it because this isn’t just a blog, it’s a series of imprints of my mind at certain times in my life. I never cared much for photographs but I love memories and I love stories. What happened over this last week was sad but it was also beautiful and great too. I would like to tell you a little bit about it.

On Sunday, March 6, 2016, I got word that my grandmother had passed away after a final heart attack in the nursing home where she lived. As the funeral was planned, I tried to focus on my homework and I began to clear my academic schedule. It was actually kind of hard going to class on Tuesday night knowing where I would be going the next day. I drove down to South Carolina with my brother and my mother’s husband and it was perfectly pleasant. It hardly felt like we were going down for a funeral until we arrived. Everybody did a good job keeping things light. My mother’s side of the family is always great at keeping things happy and friendly.

It was at this point that I learned that I would be a pallbearer along with the five other grandchildren which included my two brothers and my three female cousins. I pushed that nervousness aside and, after a nice evening with my uncle, I went back to the hotel to make sure that the latest Media Update would be posted. The next morning we met with our cousins and it is always amazing to see how they have grown up. We used to see each other all the time but now there are years in between each meeting and they have grown into very intelligent and interesting people.

We went off to the funeral and it was beautiful, sad and even funny at times. It was a celebration of her life and I was suddenly hit with it all. Pallbearing was not as tough or scary as I thought it would be. I felt deeply honored and I felt a duty to my family and the woman I had known so well. We did not drop her. After a fond yet teary farewell, we went back to my uncle’s house for a huge mess of barbecue. That is when all the family stories came out, including a lot of stories I had never heard before. We talked late into the night about the family and that moved onto the present and the future. We parted ways and we returned to good old Maryland.

I did not tell any of this for sympathy. I spoke of this because I wanted to honor the woman I called Maw Maw. In that vein, let me tell you a little about her.

I love to write. When I first started to write a long time ago for fun, I was reminded that my grandmother had been a writer. She wrote prose and articles as part of her duties as church historian for decades. It inspired me to keep at it and eventually I started my first blog and then this one. I also really love crossword puzzles. One of my favorite memories about Maw Maw was sitting and doing crosswords with her. She used to do National Enquirer crosswords because you could send them in for a cash prize. She would send them in under her grandkids’ names to see if she could get them a check for a little cash. I would sit and help her since she had started to lose touch with modern pop culture. Most importantly she was the nicest person I may ever meet. She was always there with a smile and a helping hand and it would be a challenge to find somebody to say an unkind word about her.

She will be missed but she lives on inside the people she touched.


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