Category Archives: Opinion

Is Death On TV Becoming Boring?

Death is all around us. It’s inevitable, it’s heart-wrenching, it’s devastating and sometimes, despite the pain that it causes on those left behind, it can be beautiful. It makes us think about what we want in life, about the people around us, about what we wish we could’ve said and we could’ve done. So it makes sense that good fiction, which is often based on exploration of humanity, would show us death and how it affects its characters and everyone around them. But have we reached a point where death on television has stopped being gripping and interesting? Where it has become boring instead? I think so.

There are several blog posts written right now about the current death toll on TV. It seems that death is hitting our favorite shows more than ever and it is worth noting that the victims have been, save for a few exceptions, anything but straight, white guys. There are a thousand reasons behind this, but because I want to avoid the “not everything is about race/sexuality/gender” argument, let’s look at it at a different way:

Let’s put sexuality, gender and race aside (you will realize as I give my examples this is rather impossible, given the current panorama on TV, but I will try not to use it as part of the argument). If we take a look at television at the moment, it seems that death has become a very cheap, very repetitive resource to get out of bigger narrative issues that writers do not want to face. When I first created this blog, I wrote about the M.S.F.D. and here is how I described it.

It appeared out of the necessity to keep audiences engaged and thrilled throughout the Christmas hiatus, but the problem is, it has become dangerous. It no longer infects the viewers and leaves them wanting more. Instead, it destroys the subjects and leaves them in a constant state of anger, sadness and impatience.

The thing is, it’s no longer happening during midseason finales anymore: death on TV can come at any moment. Any character could die any episode, and while that should be something that actually makes it interesting and thrilling to watch, what’s happening is that it is exhausting for the viewer, because as much as they want to be entertained, they are also now more critical than they ever were.

Continue reading Is Death On TV Becoming Boring?

Why ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’ could be making a big mistake

Opening statement: I have loved Crazy Ex-Girlfriend from the very first episode. I have converted several people into the show and I try to live tweet as I watch every Monday as well as creepily tweet the cast how much I love the show. And I still do, believe me. To this day Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is still my favorite show on television at the moment, which makes it harder for me to criticize it even a little. But I do think Crazy Ex-Girlfriend might be about to make a big mistake, and here is why:

When the show first started we were presented with teenage Josh Chan, a bit of a jerk who wanted to get rid of Rebecca at the end of camp for being “too dramatic”. Even though he had a point (Rebecca is dramatic and that’s one of the reasons we love her) we all as women have heard that before: men get scared of us reacting the way they don’t expect us to and then suddenly we are dramatic. It’s a scene that immediately makes you side with Rebecca and her heartbreak and think “he didn’t deserve her anyway!”. But then in present-time we see a very different Josh Chan, one that when he sees Rebecca tells her she was kind of the one that got away and sparks all kinds of feelings into a woman who was literally in the middle of a nervous breakdown over a miserable life in New York she never wanted for herself.

So she follows Josh into West Covina, California, because she projects her dreams and hopes of happiness into him. He represents a time when things were easy for once and she was truly happy. We are not supposed to see Josh as any other thing than that: an object of desire that catalyzes this big change in Rebecca. He is merely there to be chased, followed and stalked until Rebecca ultimately realizes that it’s not healthy for her to do it and moves on.

Then we meet Greg. They meet as she looks for Josh, he asks her out, beautiful and charming Greg and they end up making out only for him to realize she clearly has some feelings for Josh, who happens to be his friend. He is clearly heartbroken over this, but he still offers Rebecca his friendship. Immediately as the audience, we know: Josh is the dream. Greg is the reality. Greg is real and flawed and obviously she is gonna end up with him. Josh will be nothing but a stepping stone in her way to recovery!

But then something happened: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend made of both Josh and Greg two well-rounded, realistic characters with their own development, their own stories and their own issues. And the thing is… Greg kind of sucks.

After months of development, Rebecca is finally in the right path: she realizes Josh doesn’t love her after they kiss and she overhears him telling Valencia about it. She gets on a plane ready to go back to her old miserable life in New York when has an epiphany that she’s actually made the people in her life in West Covina care about her. She also finally realizes that Greg has always been there, caring for her, secretly.

gregbecca

But has he, though?

Continue reading Why ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’ could be making a big mistake

5 Signs You Need to Stop Watching A TV Show

As I move away from my mid-20s, I haven’t grown any less attached to TV shows and its characters as I used to when I was younger, but my tolerance levels have significantly decreased over time. I no longer watch TV shows with the hope of them becoming better. I no longer give shows too much wiggle room to fix gigantic mistakes I know deep in my heart there is no way to come back from. Maybe it’s cold and maybe it’s cynical, but with the amount of TV shows out there right now, why waste my time with something that I will not enjoy?

It’s a crossroad every fan of TV has been at in their lives at some point: the show you love has changed and you are angry and upset, but you loved it so much. So why would you leave it? So you let it consume you with rage, as you tut your way through the episodes with the small hope that the show that once was so good to you returns from the war. In some cases that might happen, but the truth is in most cases, it will not. So here are 5 signs that you should stop watching that TV show: 

They ruin your favorite character

image credit: The CW
image credit: The CW

Sometimes characters make decisions that do not feel true to what you know of them. These decisions make sense in the writers’ heads and they might even convincingly get most of the audience on board with them (they might even be justified! no one is questioning the decision itself here, just your personal feelings about it) but when the character that you once loved changes so drastically there is no longer a hint of it still being there, why continue to watch it being assassinated in front of your very eyes? It’s time to stop watching and remember what you once liked about that character while you still can. 

One (or more) of your favorite characters dies

beth
Let’s take it a bit further and say that your favorite character gets not figuratively, but literally assassinated. Everything the show does after that will make you angry, bitter and disappointed. Here is what you have to do: mentally go through all the reasons why you like the show, if most of the reasons were related to the character that is now gone, stop. If they’re not, but the character’s death taints every other thing you like about the show, stop.  Regardless of people claiming you’re not “a real fan” because of it, at the end of the day your feelings about it come first and if the show took away the main reason you used to watch it for, why continue to? Screw them. And screw that show.

Continue reading 5 Signs You Need to Stop Watching A TV Show

Women Making Me (And You) Love TV Right Now

It is the time for women on TV. They’ve got a chance to be difficult, wrong, fallible– even unlikable!– and surprisingly, those shows are making it on the air. Women have also started to embrace the love for other women, and lists like this one are a must in entertainment blogs. There is still a long road to walk, but we can be happy to say TV is making space for some of the best female characters in a long time. These are some of my personal favorites from this and last year.

Jessica Huang – Fresh Off the Boat

jessica_huang_fot

Jessica Huang manages to be a pretty amazing mother with a career of her own and she also gifts us with hitting teenagers with a car or dedicating a song to her best friend that’s not a duet. Not to mention, she is hilarious.

Peggy Carter – Agent Carter

peggy_carter_agent

A badass from head to toe, Peggy never stops feeling real. She is rough, she fights dirty and somehow she manages to do it without smearing her signature red lip all over her face. But most of all, she’s human and she is vulnerable, and the show makes sure to remind us that there is more to the woman that founded S.H.I.E.L.D. than her fighting skills.

Continue reading Women Making Me (And You) Love TV Right Now

Goodbye Clara: One of Doctor Who’s Best

It is that dreaded time for Doctor Who fans again: we’re losing a companion. Whether you have watched from the very beginning of the classic series or whether you are a ‘New Who’ fan, you have probably experienced the loss and pain of seeing your favorite companion leave. And it hurts almost as much, if not the same, as losing your favorite Doctor. After all, you know the Doctor comes back. Different face, same man. But companions leave and many times we do not get to see them again.

In the coming weeks (or even possibly next Saturday) we’re going to be saying goodbye to Clara Oswald. Clara has been a divisive companion by all means: she is by many loved and by many disliked. To me, however, she has been one of Doctor Who’s best elements since the reboot.

Continue reading Goodbye Clara: One of Doctor Who’s Best

“The Flash” finally gave Iris West a voice

Last night’s episode of The Flash was an introduction to Grodd, a giant gorilla with telepathic abilities that was being tested on to create super soldiers before the particle accelerator exploded and was now living in the sewer system of Central City terrorizing people. This is one of The Flash’s most iconic villains, and I would go into detail as to why the episode made a good job portraying Grodd as terrifying yet making us feel bad for him, but the truth is, all I want to talk about is Iris West finding out Barry is The Flash.

vlcsnap-00049

Last week’s episode ended with Eddie being taken hostage by the Reverse Flash and Iris finding out Barry was the Flash, by herself, due to a small electric shock she had only felt with Barry before, during his coma.

Now, whether you enjoyed the reveal or wanted Iris to find out differently (or not find out at all yet) the most important part of the reveal was always going to be the fallout.

And it was glorious. Continue reading “The Flash” finally gave Iris West a voice

“This show is not about relationships” MEEEC, WRONG!

With the figure of the “shipper” being mainstream and the involvement of writers and showrunners with the fans that invest in their shows, we have reached a situation where fans have no filter when it comes to demanding and asking from writers. The fourth wall has been broken and though the sometimes entitled and violent behavior from fans is unacceptable, it is unfortunate that the writers decide to fight back with regrettable affirmations such as the standard excuse for shippers: “this show is not about relationships.”

I have expressed before that I am a shipper, and I am not ashamed of it. I like romance, I like the idea of two people finding friendship and comfort on each other. I have, occassionally, enjoyed toxic relationships based on chemistry alone. I like the angst, I like the waiting, I like the finding other people to talk through the pain of your “OTP” not getting together. I like reading fanfiction. It’s one of my favorite parts of being invested on television.

Do I watch television only because of the romantic relationships? No. But do I find them a plus in shows I enjoy? Yes.

This blog post, however, is more than about romantic relationships. It’s about the  insistence that human interaction is not a vital part of every single show we watch on television, when truly, it is entirely the reason why these shows exist. Continue reading “This show is not about relationships” MEEEC, WRONG!

10 (12) “Guilty Pleasure” Shows

I generally dislike the term “guilty pleasure”, especially when it comes to pop culture. We “all” (#notallTVaddicts) enjoy trashy books (after all “Fifty Shades of Grey” is a success, inexplicably), cheesy scripts, telenovelas and reality shows. It’s okay. The life of the TV addict doesn’t have to be reduced to good things. If we didn’t watch bad things to compare them to, we wouldn’t know what is really good.

This post is all about those shows I don’t tell people I spend a ridiculous amount of time watching. They are the shows that fill in the time between binge watches, the shows that cover the nights when I have no shows to watch or simply the shows that I unashamedly enjoy.

1. Property Brothers

Do I want a picture of the Property Brothers to pop up when people look up my blog? Why yes, thank you. Watching these two make house magic is one of the most entertaining things on television. Not to mention the amount of satisfaction you feel when you know you’d totally be less annoying than all those couples that appear on the show. I would trust Jonathan Silver Scott with my life (okay, I might have gotten carried away, but I would definitely trust him with my house). If he wants to give me granite counter-tops, I’ll let him give them to me good. And yes, Drew sometimes kind of forces people into buying complete disasters and then leaves and lets Jonathan do all the dirty work thus making them spend all their savings, but he is also cool, like we see in those total 10 minutes he appears on the show.

Admittedly, Drew gets to shine more in other shows, and that is okay, because I watch them all. Don’t you love it when people in “Buying & Selling” find a new house that is kind of okay for what they want and then Jonathan has completely renovated theirs in a way that you can tell they are feeling physical pain knowing they have to leave? I do.

And of course, that closing, totally non-scripted witty banter the bros share at the end of every show is what I live for. Oh, these two! Continue reading 10 (12) “Guilty Pleasure” Shows

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and TV with a positive message

In a time where Parks & Recreation says goodbye to us definitely, ‘Cougar Town’ is in its last season, shows like Happy Endings and Selfie disappear into the abyss and we are in abundance of CBS-style multi-cam comedies that should have been left behind a long time ago having inexplicable success (I am sorry, The Odd Couple, you aren’t even that bad, but did we really need you?) the need for feel-good comedies in our TVs grows stronger.

Many of these multi-cam comedies tend to fall into a terrible pattern: the scripts are written for the audience to laugh at the characters, instead of with them. I get it, it’s classic Schadenfreude: it’s great to have someone to watch that has it worse than you. There is something satisfying about thinking “well, my life is crap, but at least I’m not THAT guy!”, but what is the issue with watching a comedy where you can end up feeling happy for the characters? Why do we put human empathy aside when watching television? Is it better to watch the characters in The Big Bang Theory struggle with basic human interaction than to watch Leslie Knope making her wishes come true? Given the ratings difference between the two of them, to many people it is.

This is why Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt comes at a perfect time, when the number of shows that make us root for the people that live in their universe is alarmingly decreasing (thank you, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Fresh Off the Boat, Bob’s Burgers and Jane The Virgin, you’re very needed). If you haven’t binge-watched this yet, you have probably been living in a bunker after being kidnapped by a pre-apocalyptic cult, have just made it out and thus you are forgiven, but please learn about what Netflix is, watch the show and then come back to read this blog post.
Continue reading Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and TV with a positive message

In Defense of Iris West

Sometimes there are characters the audience simply doesn’t like. Shows try to fix them, but as well as some characters have a huge following, others have a huge portion of the audience that doesn’t and decides to be very vocal about it. Recently, it happened with Laurel in ‘Arrow’, it happened with Katrina on ‘Sleepy Hollow’, and lately (although admittedly, it seems not that widespread) the latest victim has been Iris West, from ‘The Flash’. I have spoken about Katrina before, and while I was never the biggest fan of Laurel, it seems ‘Arrow’ is taking a step forward in her development that I am welcoming with open arms.

However, I am 100% sure Iris West is the woman the audience should be rooting for and I am completely dumbfounded that for many people, this is not the case.

Here you will find the reasons why part of the audience doesn’t like Iris, as well as an argument against them and an acknowledgment of the current problems regarding Iris’ characterization.

Note, there are spoilers for episode 1×14 of ‘The Flash’, ‘Fallout’

Iris doesn’t want Barry, but tries to sabotage him

When Barry confessed his feelings to Iris in the midseason finale, it was obvious she didn’t expect it. She had always seen Barry as a brotherly(ish) figure, which is easy to understand, considering they grew up together, under the same roof. These are not two people who just met each other and are friendly. These two people shared a house, her dad treated him like a son, and it is not far-fetched to think Iris would see him as family, because that’s just how it was.

However, part of the audience seems to think she was supposed to immediately leave the relationship she had with Eddie the moment Barry confessed he was in love with her and jumped into his arms.

No. Continue reading In Defense of Iris West