So, for a while I have been wanting to write a post about how Canadian television is so much better than American television. A few weeks ago, I realized I had the perfect opportunity. One of my favorite episode of Showcase’s Lost Girl, a Canadian show about a bisexual succubus, was going to be airing for the first time in America on SyFy. I was fully prepared to write this post about how SyFy edited out all the lady-on-lady parts and how LGBT representation is far better in Canada. But, SyFy pleasantly surprised me. Sure, it moved the airing time from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. but it did not cut anything from the Canadian version of the episode. And, I applaud you for that SyFy. So, with that chance lost to me I decide I would compare Canada’s Lost Girl to one of America’s worst at handling LGBT characters shows: Once Upon A Time.
Let me start out this post with a simple comparison of how these two shows handle five of their femslash/slash ships:
Once Upon A Time: Swan Queen
Lost Girl: Doccubus
Once Upon A Time: Red Beauty
Lost Girl: Valkubus
Once Upon A Time: Sleeping Warrior
Lost Girl: Lauren and Crystal/Doctress/Hotpantsless
Once Upon A Time: Captain Charming/Hooking
Lost Girl: Levony
Once Upon A Time: Red Snow
Lost Girl: Bo and Kenzi
Sometimes I feel like if Once Upon A Time was open minded and handled on-screen chemistry between actors like Lost Girl does it would be America’s Lost Girl. On Lost Girl, if two characters have chemistry the show seems to say, ‘hey, we didn’t intend this but it is there so let’s go with it.’ Bo and Tamsin/Valkubus are the best example of Lost Girl following that principal. Sure, maybe the show always intended for it to be a thing. But, when Tamsin joins the show we are not supposed to like her and she hated Bo. Once Bo gets to know Tamsin, she realizes she isn’t evil. And once Tamsin gets to know Bo she realizes there is something about her she can’t get away from. Sound familiar:
Now maybe I am being stupid comparing a Canadian show that operates in a post-gay society and an American show that is made by Disney, which is all the straightness all the time. But, like any good show in the Internet age, Lost Girl is incredible aware of its fan base. Yes, I am sure there are many DyBo (Dyson and Bo) and Kale (Kenzi and Hale) shippers and Lost Girl sometimes gives those fans what they want. But, they also have Bo wash a car in a very revealing tank top, give roles to Canadian gay-for-pay actresses Mia Krishner and Ali Liebert and have queen of Canadian lesbian characters Dr. Lauren Lewis wear a corset and sing in fluent French.
So why isn’t Once Upon A Time as cool with its fans? The show runners have to be aware of how many gay people are watching. Jennifer Morrison and Lana Parrilla sure are, just scroll through their Twitter feeds sometime. Almost everyone involved in the show went into PR crisis mode when a minor actor insulted the Swan Queen fans. Also, the show has had the Merry Men and fairies living in Georgia O’Keefe paintings. Emma and Regina have been committed to saying ‘our son’ this season. Regina gave up everything so Henry and Emma could be happy and the main character rocks as many tank tops and leather jackets as Lauren Lewis does.
Does American just suck? Is that what I should be taking away from the difference between two of my favorite shows? Gay marriage was made legal everywhere in Canada in 1990. And I am hoping that it is placed on the ballot of my home state of Ohio this year, but I would still be happy with it being on in 2016.
Now, I don’t watch every Canadian television show so maybe there is a Canadian verison of Once Upon A Time, with thousands of frustrated fans, out there somewhere. But for the three Canadian shows I have watched with gay/bi characters — Lost Girl, Bomb Girls and Orphan Black — were so great because the gay/bi characters never had to declare their sexuality. They were just attracted to certain people and there we were.
Even through I love SyFy for keeping everything from the Zoie Palmer/Ali Liebert episode of Lost Girl, it can never be as great with how it handles sexuality on its original series Warehouse 13, which I sometimes feel like is a wanna-be Lost Girl. On that show, H.G., who is bi, and Steve, who is gay, both had to declare their sexuality and after they did it was hardly ever addressed again.
Maybe the sexuality declaration thing is just something Americans are too stuck on. Look at Mulan from Once Upon A Time for instance. She went back to Aurora and Phillip’s castle to confess her love. And even though she smiled when she saw Aurora and said she wanted to tell her something not Phillip, the fandom is still split on if she was confessing her love to Aurora or Phillip. Now, I think the people who think it was Phillip are idiots, but they still exist.
And in all honesty they and Once Upon A Time make me sad. While Lost Girl has lots of gay fans and lets Bo and Lauren be a thing, Bo and Tamsin be a thing, Lauren and Crystal be a thing, Lauren and Evony be a thing, Vex cross dressing be a thing, Once Upon A Time has one rather minor character sort of come out as bisexual. And Once Upon A Time gave her so little screen time, the actress took a role on another show.
I have been getting into a lot of sci-fi recently. And by sci-fi I could almost say SyFy. In the past couple months I have watched all of Lost Girl, Warehouse 13 and Defiance. But after getting a text from my little sister telling me that Orange is the New Black is “her shit,” I decided to watch it. I watched the pilot episode the same day I watched the season finale of Defiance and the contrast is why I thought to write this post.
I’m not sure when during Orange it hit me, but sometimes out-of-this-world sci-fi is awesome and other times gritty, terrible realism is also awesome. I love sci-fi shows that I have to watch numerous times to really understand everything is happening because it is so unfamiliar. But, I was also a few credit hours shy of minoring in Sociology/Criminology and love the dead accurate realism of Orange.
Maybe the hit me during the episode of Orange when Tricia died. People hardly ever die and stay dead in sci-fi shows — Xena being the prime example, but also Steve in Warehouse 13 and Nolan on Defiance. But in realistic shows, 19-year-old druggies succumb to their addictions and die scared and alone in a closet.
Orange has an amazing ability to be both hilarious and eye-openingly realistic. I could drop a bunch of sociology terms and classify multiple of the characters like they were part of my midterm, but I don’t want to do that. It is a television show. An amazingly racial and sexual diverse television show and — much like Piper’s sex life — I don’t want to label it or explain it like a textbook.
Sci-fi is sometimes a fun escape from reality. If a world existed where a shimmery Jaime Murray took that many baths wearing that beaded outfit, I would much rather live in it than one where an justice systems fails hundreds of drug addicted kids, like Tricia, and institutionalizes people beyond repair, like Tastee.
Orange is probably the most original series I have ever seen. I have already seen Defiance compared to Battlestar Galacetia, Firefly and its got numerous Shakespearean plots. But sometimes, these show aren’t that different. Orange season one finale has Piper being cornered by a methhead Jesus freak calling her a she-devil shortly after the thought first entered her head that maybe she is. Defiance season one has Shatma singing to Kenya, who she loved and just killed to protect her power even though it might all be lost.
I guess what I am saying with this post is I liked watching Defiance and Orange is the New Black back-to-back. Because sometime watching a maybe Messiah teen-aged alien jump into a mysterious lava pit in an underground mine to somehow save her adopted father and watching a fake jailhouse Messiah get beat to shit be another inmate is just as similar as it is different. Viewers just have to think about how fiction is just stories about people, who sometimes make bad decisions, regardless if they are as real as humanly possible or as alien as an Irath. And maybe one day we could all be in that situation.
Well, it’s been a while since I have posted anything on here. And you think I would be all up in arms about posting every week. I mean Game of Thrones is back, Christopher Palent has returned to Bones, Once Upon A Time seems to have found its plot again. But, between getting an adult job about a month before graduating from college, graduating college, moving and slowing becoming an adult, I have been a little busy.
I’m going to do wrap up posts for Bones and Once Upon A Time and a catch up for Game of Thrones. Far more stuff has been announced about the third season of American Horror Story, so there will be something about that too. I can’t decide if I’m going to finish the season of How I Met Your Mother. It’s a painful experience for me.
All and all, I’m sorry for the break. I’ll be back soon. I’m the meantime here are some brief thoughts and feelings about the shows.
Once Upon A Time
Henry has been kidnapped by evil Peter Pan. The extended Charming Family is heading to Neverland to find him. Belle has been left in charge of guarding Storybrooke from the magic Nazis. Wow, that sounds like a plot. Hopefully it last for more than a few episodes.
This show might have more lesbian fans than The L Word. #sleepingwarrior
Game of Thrones
American Horror Story
How I Met Your Mother: Sept. 24
I have already done a post about my thoughts on the last five episodes of HIMYM. So, I’m not going to talk too much about the premiere of season eight. Victoria has always been one of my favorite characters so I am happy she is back. But, I think Robin and Barney has always been done poorly. So, a little good and a little bad. And for the love of God, this better be the last season.
Bones: Sept. 17
I did not get to blog about the last few episodes of season seven, but I did watch them and would like to say a few words about in preparation for season eight. First one thing that is really annoying me is that Angela and Hodgin’s son’s name suddenly changed from Michael to Michael-Vincent. It would have made sense if they had called him that from the begin or if that was the order that his names actually go; his full name is Michael Stacco Vincent Hodgins. That is just a little thing.
Broadly, I’m excited for season eight. We ended with Christopher Pelant framing Bones for murder and her fleeing with Christine with the help of her father and leaving Booth and everyone else behind. Now, we all know that Bones has to come back to the Jeffersonian. The team breaking up has never gone well before. However, Bones is supposed to be back and working at the Jeffersonian by the end of episode one. I kind have wish it would be longer. I admit it would be a terrible couple of episodes if Bones isn’t there and we have to see everyone from Booth to Angela to the squinterns react to her absence. I’m sure it will still be dramatic, I just think they could have made it more dramatic. But, Bones does almost always write the summer break into the show as a time passage. So, it has probably been a couple months since Bones and Christine left.
I could go on about Bones forever, so just to hit some quick things. I think Finn dating Michelle happened too early into his character development and it made Cam look totally hypocritical. Pelant is a good villain. I hope Agent Shaw isn’t back, I find her annoying. Agent Flynn will always remind me of Mr. Lawrence from Dollhouse. I like Emily Deschanel as a blonde.
American Horror Story: Oct. 17
Last year when I heard that American Horror Story was going to be completely different, I was a little sad. Violet and Moira were may favorite characters and I was saddened that they would not be back. But after seeing the previews, I’m kind of excited about season two. Almost everything except some of the actors has changed. This season is being called American Horror Story: Asylum, I guess last season was American Horror Story: Murder House. Anyway, the setting has changed to a mental hospital in the 1960s, which Jessica Lange as the director/a nun. Evan Peters, who played Tate last season, Lily Rabe, who played Nora, and Zachary Quinto, who played Chad, will all be back but as different characters. I don’t really know what to think of all this yet, but I’m excited either way.
Hannah Burley has an interesting place in the world of Bones. When she was introduced during the season six premiere, I instantly hated her. Booth and Bones had just spent seven months apart and were supposed to come back and finally get together. But no, Booth had to fall in love with Hannah in Afghanistan. Therefore, I and most Bones fans hated her. And I wanted to keep hating her, but the show kept making it more and more difficult.
I have always thought Hannah is an interesting character and I have wanted to write a post about her for a while. I started re-watching season six in preparation for this post and a deleted scene in “The Daredevil in the Mold” (Hannah’s last episode) proved that the show had the same feelings about Hannah that I do. I have no idea why this scene was deleted; it was amazing. Angela has two lines that sum-up everything the audience feels about Hannah. Line number one: “I hate her, even though she is delightful and fun.” Then Angela says she wishes Hannah would just go away. Bones says, “I don’t have the power to do that.” Angela replies, “You probably do, honey. You just don’t know how to use it.”
Pretty often Angela acts as the audience. Her reaction to something tells us how we are supposed to react to something. And she summed it up perfectly. We hate Hannah, even though she is delightful. The show does an excellent job of keeping the audience in a constant battle of hating and trying not to like Hannah.
At first we hate everything about Hannah, because she destroyed Bones’ chances to be with Booth. These initial feelings stem from a cell phone picture and Booth telling us how great she is. Then she arrives. We start to see that she is nice. She fits in with the other female characters. She also does little nice things like when she gives Bones the credit for Booth’s housewarming gift. She gets shot. She becomes friends with Bones. She has Parker’s approval. She is not overly bothered by Booth’s feelings for Bones “in the past” as he puts it or Bones’ current feelings. Through all this we struggle to remain hating her.
But the show does small, simple things to remind us that Hannah doesn’t belong. One thing that I think stands out is that she calls Booth and Bones, Seeley and Temperance. Nobody in the main cast calls them Seeley and Temperance. The only people who call Booth Seeley are his brother Jared and his grandfather, but he usually calls him Shrimp. Nobody calls Bones Temperance. Her father, brother and Jared (the only people who don’t call her Bones or Brennan) call her Tempe. This is a small thing that isolates Hannah from the rest of the case.
While we are on names, Hannah is also the only season six main character, excluding the squinterns, that goes by his or her full first name. Seeley is Booth. Temperance is Bones/Brennan. Camille is Cam. Jack is Hodgins. Lance is Sweets. Angela is a bit of a stretch but her real name isn’t Angela Montenegro. It’s just another way Hannah seems to be separate from the rest of the cast.
During her entire time on the show I hated her, but in her last episode my mind kind of changed. I trace is back to Angela’s second quote from the deleted scene, Bones has the power to make Hannah go away. Booth decides to propose to Hannah, but obviously it is not what he truly wants. I think Sweets knew that, Booth kind of knew it and Hannah knew it. She tells Booth, twice, that she “isn’t the marrying kind.” I’m sure she was telling the truth, but I like to believe that wasn’t her only reason.
She was really good friends with Bones by this point and knew about her feelings for Booth. Possibly she was buying into Booth’s idea that you can only love one person the most. I think Hannah knew she was driving a wedge between Booth and the person he loved the most and Bones and the person she loved the most. The main thing that drove me to not totally hating Hannah was her final action on the show. Booth is drinking at the Founding Fathers depressed from the rejection, Bones walks in, sits beside him and says, “Hannah called me.” Hannah was nice enough to call the person she knew Booth really wanted, even though she wasn’t over him.
It was not until my third time watching season six, that I decided I didn’t hate Hannah 100 percent. I still don’t like her. I hate her, even though she is delightful and fun. Hannah is also a great testament to the shows character development abilities. Hannah creates a lot of debate in the Bones fandom. Pretty good for a character that was only in seven episodes.
Also, Booth and Hannah are one of 21 relationships that have occurred on Bones over the years. Buddytv.com did an awesome slideshow.
I have been wanting to write this post for a while because the squinterns have an interesting role on Bones and I would like to talk about them. The squinterns have been cycling through Bones since Zack was written off at the end of season three. The squinterns perform a specific function as a unit. They prove Bones’ point that no one person could replace Zack and they create a pool of fun reoccurring characters. Over the three and a half seasons the squintern pool has remained mostly the same and I have ranked them by how much I like them: Wendell, Finn, Fisher, Vincent, Arastoo, Clark and Daisy is in last place.
Now that my bias is out in the open, I think the show has formed its own hierarchy. To reach an understanding about this we first need to divide the squinterns into two groups: characters and interns. Fisher, Vincent, Arastoo and Clark fit into the intern group because they can be easily defined by one trait (breakdowns, facts, Muslim, awkwardness). Therefore, Wendell, Finn and Daisy fell into the character group. Each of these characters have important and complex back stories (Wendell and Finn) or are/were dating a member of the main cast (Daisy and Wendell). Because Finn has only been in one episode, the two characters fighting for the top of the hierarchy are Wendell and Daisy.
Starting out with some simple numbers,Wendell has been in 17 episodes and Daisy has been in 12. Daisy has been in a few episode when she was not the squintern, such as “The Mastodon in the Room” and “The Cinderella in the Cardboard.” Wendell has never been in an episode were he is not the squintern. I think the show likes Wendell the most because his episodes are always the really good ones, such as “The Mastodon in the Room”, “The Bullet in the Brain” and “Blackout in the Blizzard.” Not to mention the finale of season six, the premiere of season seven and the winter finale of season seven.
Another reason to prove that Wendell is the top of the hierarchy is now he is treated by the main cast. Yes, Daisy is dating Sweets, a member of the main cast. But, Sweets are Daisy are the ‘young couple’ and treated like kids. But Wendell, on the other hand, dated Angela in season five and was treated as a normal member of the older cast, though he is probably supposed to be the same age as Daisy.
Another aspects of Wendell that puts him on the top is his relationship with Angela and Hodgins. Wendell seemed to bond with each of them very early on. He quickly become friends with Hodgins and with Angela, after she had to explain to him how things at the Jeffersonian work. After Hodgins and Angela break up and Angela starts dating Wendell, he is still able to remain close friends with both of them. Angela eventually goes back to Hodgins and Wendell remains close to both of them. But he is almost more than just a friend. He is there to help Hodgins in “The Blackout in the Blizzard” when he finds out the baby could be blind. Wendell is also at the hospital when Michael is born and I don’t think it is just because he was the squintern for that episode.
In addition to Angela and Hodgins, Wendell is treated differently by Bones and Booth as well. When the money for his scholarship runs out Cam tries to convince either Hodgins or Bones to donate money so he can stay. They both seem to refuse but at the end of the episode, Cam says that enough money was donated for two scholarships. In the first episode of the sixth season after the team had broken up, Bones has to track down one of her interns to help her solve the case. Even through she come back with Daisy and knows exactly where she is, she goes and finds Wendell at his new job. He almost refuses because he doesn’t have enough money, but Bones offers to pay him and he returns. Even as recently as the last episode, Booth tells Bones that he talked to Wendell about restoring their house because he needs the money.
All these things have put Wendell at the top. All the squinterns work at the Jeffersonian but Wendell is part of the Jeffersonian family. If the show ever decides to make one of the squinterns a full-time character I think it should be Wendell and the show seems to agree. He might never be Zack, but he deserves the job.
I decided to write this post for two reasons. One: I will be taking a brief hiatus from this blog. Two: I really like American Horror Story and my fondness for it has influenced my decision.
I have thought about trying to change-up the shows I review on this blog a bit, because other than How I Met Your Mother every show is a cop show. I like cop shows, but I have grown bored with them. The only one I love is Bones, but after giving us seven episodes mixed with seven months of waiting it is off the air again. It’s rumored to return in spring but the exact date isn’t set yet. So with Bones gone again, I was searching for another show to watch, an interesting one that I could grow to actually like. Well, I found it in American Horror Story.
I had heard a little about the show. My friend told me it was really good and my mom had been DVR-ing the episodes. When I was bored at home over break, I decided to watch the episodes my mom had recorded. I really should have gone online and started watching the season from the pilot, but for some reason I thought starting at episode seven was a good idea. Let’s just say I was really confused for a while. But that is one of the reasons why I like the show so much. It takes a level of understand and not just understanding the criminal justice system but an entire world. I’ve now watched the first part of the season and my mind has been blown a few times.
I’m really excited to learn more about the world in the second season, which is said to start in October. After watching the last episode I knew new characters were going to have to be introduced, because every character save for one is a ghost now and someone new had to move into Murder House. But after reading an interview with creator Ryan Murphy (check here for the link), I’m not sure how I feel about his plans for season two. He is not only planning an introducing new characters, but a new setting and storyline without most of the season one characters.
Murphy confirmed that Connie Britton (Vivien Harmon) and Dylan McDermott (Ben Harmon) will be back for season two, but not as Vivien and Ben. My curiosity about that was overshadowed by my overwhelming urge to yell, “That’s it!” This is where my mixed feelings about season two come in. Violet and Moira are my favorite characters and it seems that the show spend a lot of time developing their characters just to write them off after one season. But the creator’s vision is to have each season be one story, like an anthology. I’m not sure how I feel about that. Characters are what first draw me into a show, like Bones and How I Met Your Mother (which I will keep reviewing because I hate it so much and it has high readership).
I did read in another article that Jessica Lange has confirmed that she will be back as Constance. I’m assuming she and Tate’s psychopathic, murderous 3-year-old son will be the bad guys for season two. My curiosity will definitely get me to watch the show when it returns in October, but I’m still skeptical of how it is going to go.