Archives For TV

charlie bradbury supernatural badass

Supernatural wouldn’t be the same if it weren’t for Charlie Bradbury. Not only is she one of the few fully-fledged characters, she facilitates emotional communication between the Winchester brothers, enabling them to reconcile their feminine-gendered traits. Arguably, Dean and Sam both exhibit femininity throughout the show, despite their cookie-cutter emulation of American blue-collar, heteronormative masculinity. However, in the first six seasons, the brothers only show outward emotion in certain contexts—a pattern that Charlie disrupts.

In the first six seasons, even though Dean regularly denounces things like yoga and chick-flick moments, Tanya Michaels compares Dean to a soccer mom, who sees himself as the protector, nurturer, and upbringer. Michaels says, “In Mary’s absence, can there be any doubt that Dean was the most nurturing influence in Sam’s early life?” (82). Even in Sam’s adulthood, Dean watches over him and would give his life to protect him. There’s no question that female-gendered qualities abound before Charlie enters the scene; however, they seem to only surface in specific contexts.

Through most of the show, Dean would rather keep his feelings to himself and pound a few beers (or a fifth of whiskey) before talking to Sam about his feelings. The exceptions to this rule usually involve a heart-to-heart in the Impala, what Melissa Bruce notes as “visual space that is typically masculine, yet the series uses it as a device through which to filter the more intensely emotional moments” (154). In other words, the Impala renders the feminine show of emotion as acceptably masculine. In the rare instances where the boys do express emotion outside of the Impala, Lorna Jowett notes: “Dean and Sam sit […] facing straight ahead. (Typically, the characters do not look at each other while expressing emotion)” (45). Meaning, in the first six seasons, the Winchester brothers express emotion in specific contexts to uphold their carefully-guarded masculine personae.

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buffy halloween episodes

Let’s be honest—you could pick any Buffy episode to watch this Halloween, and it would be a great decision. With witches, demons, vampires, and all kinds of other creatures that go bump in the night, Buffy is perfect for revisiting this time of year. That’s why I’ve compiled episodes that I think are particularly fitting for a Halloween viewing. With the exception of one, you’ll find I didn’t include the obvious Halloween specials because I think there are creepier episodes that better capture the Halloween spirit—ones well-seated in horror meta-commentary with brilliant visual storytelling. Here’s my list:

1. Halloween — Episode 2.6

buffy willow halloween 2.6

In season two, Buffy hits its stride, culminating in one of my favorite season finales of television. That’s not to say it didn’t keep some of the camp from season one. The premise of “Halloween” reminds me of something out of a Goosebumps novel or an episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark? After getting costumes from Ethan’s Costume Shop, the Scooby Gang and other citizens of Sunnydale transform into literal interpretations of their costumes. For someone who’s never watched Buffy, this is a pretty self-contained episode, perfect for a one-off Halloween viewing, but for lovers of the show, this is an introduction to Ethan Rayne, who seems like a throwaway character but ends up affecting the season arc and several seasons down the road. It’s the beginning of many long-term payoffs and complex narrative arcs that make Buffy a stand-out show.

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big bang theory

Before I hurt everyone’s feelings, let me say that I see the charm of The Big Bang Theory. The show has all the right elements: geeky characters, empowered female scientists, and a running theme about the importance of friendship. I want to like this show so much, it pains me. I’ve kept up-to-date with it, and I’m left trying to figure out why. Maybe I’m waiting for it to get better, or maybe it satisfies the TV-equivalent craving of eating a McGriddle, or maybe I’m trying to connect with my fellow man. To be sure, the show is more interesting than other typical sitcoms, but it has so much lost potential. While the show seemingly celebrates all the things I love—comics, cosplay, smart characters, snarky best friends— it actually mercilessly ridicules them in a way that, for me, is the opposite of fun.

Instead of celebrating geekery, individuality, and being your own person, Big Bang Theory proves everyone’s 8th-grade assumptions about nerdiness. The smart characters may have found success, but they lack social currency. At the beginning of the show, most of the jokes centered on Leonard, Raj, and Howard awkwardly trying to score dates and Sheldon just being awkward. As the show progresses, the guys snag girlfriends (and Howard a wife), but the cruxes of most of the jokes are still the same: the guys aren’t “cool” and they are into “nerdy stuff.” Nerds are so weird and impossible to understand! *Cue laugh track.*

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Although they may be everybody’s favorite sociopaths, Claire and Frank Underwood have the best romantic relationship I’ve ever seen on television. Other Western television shows and stories often depict the same relationship stereotypes ad nauseum, rather than showing  the reality of an everyday healthy relationship, let alone one that’s some 30 years old.  So, buckle in for a discussion. In case you haven’t figured, there are spoilers ahead, so if you haven’t seen the show, stop reading and start watching House of Cards.

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Okay, so this is a little late coming and it’s kind of a no-brainer (no pun intended) but if you’re not watching The Walking Dead, you’re missing out on the best zombie story ever put to screen. I love zombie movies, but The Walking Dead puts them all to shame (yes, I’m talking to you, Romero). This television experience shows you what a zombie story should be.

Not to get too gushy, but this show continually blows my mind. From the first episode, I was hooked on not only the writing and the story, but the way it’s shot. It’s one of the most cinematic shows I’ve ever seen– pure gorgeousness (amongst all the guts and gore). All along the way, there are brilliant and beautiful decisions made in the framing, juxtaposition, and angles of shots. This is the first zombie story to take itself seriously.

If you’re not particularly gripped by the cinematography, I promise you the story will grab you. It’s packed full of interesting, complex characters, dramatic irony, and writing that gives you a perpetual sense of anxiety– I feel like they will kill off whoever they please, with no respect of persons. Not to mention, the gore is pretty fun.

If you’re not able to catch it Sundays on AMC, watch it online. You’ll be sorry if you don’t. And if you didn’t hear, the show has officially just been renewed for a full 13-episode season next year. Oh yeah!

Comic-Con Sunday

Ashley Walton —  July 26, 2010 — 3 Comments

My last day at geek mecca. However, this isn’t the end of my Comic-Con blog posts, because I have lots of stuff to fill in.

The cast of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia unveiled their premiere for next season. It’s entitled, “Who got Dee pregnant?” and needless to say, it’s hilarious. Kaitlin Olson, the actress who plays Sweet Dee, actually showed up to Comic-Con with a bun in the oven. The main characters also had Cricket on stage with them and assured us that the gang is not through torturing poor Cricket.
                                  
This was one of the highlights of my day– these two girls “dressed up” like Hall H victims. In case you haven’t heard, on Saturday, two guys got into a scuffle over a seat in Hall H and one guy stabbed the other in the eye with a pen. I was there, and I can tell you, the seat wasn’t even good.
                              
The final hurrah of Comic-Con was the screening of the Buffy episode “Once More With Feeling,” which is a sing-along with a Rocky Horror vibe to it. I yelled “Shut up, Dawn!” so many times that I lost my voice. We also yelled, “Bite me!” whenever Spike appeared on screen and “Liar!” when Buffy tells Spike she’s never going to be with him and when Xander tells Anya he’ll never leave her. If that wasn’t enough fun, we were given clever traffic tickets (which I’ll post later) and little monster finger puppets (so we could say, “Grrr! Arrrgh!” during the closing credits).