Busy, but Not Gone

Anyone who reads this blog, please know that I’ve been a little busy with work and life, but I have not abandoned it. I’ll probably find time to do a book review of Here and Now by Ann Brashares, discuss the killing of Neal on Once Upon a Time, which I was really pissed about, and then start The Fosters rewatch. I loved the first 10 episodes, had huge problems with the last 11, so it’ll be interesting.

Lots more coming this month. Promise.

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I Ship It: The Tomorrow People’s John and Astrid-Hope for the Hopeless

Prior to the pizza stare, John and Astrid did not register in my mind as a possible romance. I did want someone better for John than Cara, because she keeps giving him the kicked puppy treatment. She slept with Stephen, made him expose killing Roger to the Tomorrow People and she stole his job. However, her worse crime was continuously making him feel like an outsider to his own people. Cara keeps putting knives further in his wounds; John would never do this to her. Therefore, I’m firmly against them continuing a romance. They’re forcing it, and it’s time to move on.

Astrid is an outsider to the Tomorrow People world. Before Stephen broke out, she had no ties to them. This makes Astrid the only truly human character on the show. She has a hope and innocence not common to their world. Astrid is necessary to the current characters’ growth, mainly John.

Astrid and John

The Astrid-John pairing’s biggest appeal is what it represents for each character. We saw a glimpse of this in last week’s “Sitting Duck” episode.  When Astrid disclosed her bucket list items to John, and he had no list, a thousand hearts broke from sadness. But for me, I saw it as a clear contrasting of the characters. John has basically been in pain all his life. He lacked true happiness, even with Cara. I believe he felt so guilty about Roger that he never really allowed himself happiness with her.  Over and over again the show says that John shuts people out. But what do we see him doing at the end of episode 13? He lets Stephen into one of his memories. I’m not 100 percent sure, but I think this is the first time John allows someone easily into his mind. This could be a result of Astrid being in his orbit (pun intended), or it could be because he almost died, either way John has changed. And I believe Astrid will guide this change.

On the other end of the spectrum, Astrid has transformed. She’s no longer completely untarnished by this world. In the bucket list scene, John blames Stephen for Astrid’s life being in danger.  Then she defends him because of blindly loving him. But the episode ends with Astrid blaming Stephen for endangering her life. Their relationship (whether friends or romance) brings hope for John, which he desperately needs. I am sure they’ll continue to bond and have an open relationship. I can see John leaning on Astrid because she doesn’t know about his past, nor would she judge him for it. Astrid will grow stronger for their relationship. She’ll see the darkness John has endured and their struggle to survive.

My only fear with this pair (besides the huge no-no age difference) is that the writers are planning to erase Astrid’s memory for her protection. Therefore, the character development between them will be erased. It’ll be an “I Will Remember You” Angel and Buffy moment all over again. And my heart will die a thousand times.  For now, I’ll eagerly await the next episodes to see how the John and Astrid relationship grows. So I ship it (cautiously).

Opinion Piece: The Need for More Fat Heroines

Recently, a couple articles surfaced about how plus-size figures influence young women. After the “fat Barbie” article, the internet started spitting venom about this being a terrible idea. Most people argued that Barbie is a figure to be idolized, and by creating a fat version, it encourages girls to be fat. Barbie or no Barbie, fat girls and boys exist. It’s time the media gives these people a voice.

The main reason the media, specifically television programs, need more fat heroines is because girls and women need to be deprogrammed about their bodies defining them. Movies, books and television shows encourage these ideologies by their lack of body diversity. The 2013/2014 television season took a major step towards diversifying the racial images on TV. Most major shows picked up for full seasons contained at least one lead character that was a minority. This change deserves praise and admiration, but it’s not enough. Of all the shows on American television right now, I can count a handful with plus-sized main characters. We need more of them.

mike and molly

From my understanding of the television world, several reasons prohibit shows from banking on a plus-size lead. The first is lack of appeal. The studio heads don’t believe many people will tune into a big girl falling in love, dealing with life or just being normal. We’ve seen endless amounts of reality shows that cast pretty people over interesting ones. Many shows even lack characters who wear more than a size 2-dress. But shows with plus-size leads have proven very successful in the past.  Ugly Betty aired for four seasons.  America Ferrera did slim down through the course of the series but the show’s premise was an “ugly” girl trying to make it in the fashion world. Right now Lifetime’s Drop Dead Divas is preparing to air its sixth season. Then we’ve seen how Melissa McCartney has become an America sweetheart due to Mike & Molly.  But the success of these shows seems more like the exception rather than the normal for producers.

In 2010, ABCFamily attempted to create a show surrounding plus-size teens. The show entitled Huge didn’t last a full season. There were many problems with this series, but it doesn’t represent the appeal of a show following a plus size teen. The UK show My Mad Fat Diary has huge cult following that includes American viewers. It’s becoming one of the few teen shows to unite people of all cultures.  It seems that plus-size characters do not discourage viewers, it’s badly written storylines and terrible marketing that do.

uktv-my-mad-fat-diary-5

A second factor that stops producers from creating more plus-size friendly programming is they feel it’ll be too controversial, or it will encourage teen girls to be fat. This argument is crap. Not only has television become more racially diverse, it’s been more sexually diverse. Almost every show has (or will have) a gay character. Now even more shows are adding transgender characters. Many religious extremist argue this encourages homosexuality. Yet people still add these characters. Why? Because they represent real people who need their voices heard and seen in the media to incite change.  Then what makes being fat so taboo for the television industry?  A fat girl on television doesn’t cause people to be fat, just like seeing a gay person on TV doesn’t make someone gay. I personally believe people are born gay. It is beyond their control. People aren’t born fat, but they shouldn’t be shamed and disregarded for it either.

By showing more variety, it helps women and girls build confidence, because they see bodies similar to their own. If anything, this can be an opportunity to educate. Too often, things are written about plus-sized women or girls that rely heavily on stereotypes. We need more shows not afraid to show society’s cruelty towards them.  We need shows that humanize plus-size individuals. Many TV programs have these characters just as someone to abuse for comedic purposes. This needs to stop. A plus-size or fat person is not synonymous with a clown.

ugly Betty

Isn’t it time for America to include more plus-size women and men on television?  Why not develop a show that doesn’t ostracize them, but one that shows their struggles? One that doesn’t feel the need to constantly say, “You’re fat, so you’re worthless.” Why must all the shows with fat reality characters be about their weight loss?  We as a nation don’t just need plus-size Disney princesses or Barbies, but plus-size romantic leads, political figures, superheroes, best friends, etc. We just need more plus-size humans on television shows, films,  and in books.

Best Shows of 2013: New Shows Edition

Overall, 2013 produced some of the most exciting shows I’ve seen in years. Therefore, the difficulty narrowing down my favorites reached a new level of indecisiveness. Eventually, I decided to pick a favorite show for each of the four seasons. These are the shows that really grabbed my attention and wouldn’t let it go. I even wished they didn’t have to end. Usually, by the finale, I’m begging shows to go off already. Some of these shows I loved so much that I watched their entire seasons three or four times right after the season ended. That’s a new degree of love for me.

Winter 2013: My Mad Fat Diary

In my many years of watching television–many of them teen dramas–I can honestly say My Mad Fat Diary is the most honest look at being a teen girl out there.  My Fat Diary follows Rae, an overweight teen who  was just released for a mental institution for a suicide attempt. This may seem like the most depressing plot around, but I assure you that the show is hilarious.

It is at times heart breaking, but it’s true. It doesn’t 90210up the trials and tribulations of growing up. It reveals all the awkwardness that comes with it. The most revolutionary thing about My Mad Fat Diary is that the main character is not stick figure thin. This helps teenagers, who may be struggling with their body image or self-love, find a new type of girl to idolize. Shows like My Mad Fat Diary often struggle to really find an audience, but due to really smart writing and acting, the show is a hit with a huge cult following. It’s hard to tell if the show would work on American network television. But someone should give it a try and put it on Hulu or BBC America. More people need to see this show.

Spring 2013: Bates Motel

When I read about them doing a Bates Motel show based on Norman Bates as a teen, I laughed. It just seemed like a horrible idea. I’m happy to say that I was wrong. The biggest strength of Bates Motel is the amazing acting from the cast. Vera Farmiga deserves every award possible for her take on Norma Bates.

Bates Motel is twisted in the best possible way. It’s also smart writing. Combining the plot revolving around Norman’s declining sanity AND the secrets of the town, was a very inspired choice.

Summer 2013: The Fosters

It usually takes me at least five episodes to fall in love with a show. The Fosters had me at hello.  It combines teen angst with family drama to create a family way more interesting than the Camdens ever were. Of all the shows on this list, The Fosters is the one I praise the most to people. Mainly because I want the show to get a bigger audience. It creates the type of honest, refreshing look at love and family that more shows need. I hope one day, shows like The Fosters becomes the standard for family dramas.

In January, I will be doing deep analysis of each episode, because the show has so many layers that deserves more exploring. Those reviews will be available on this blog starting January 15.

Fall 2013: The Originals


The introduction of Klaus, Rebekah, Finn, Kol and Elijah gave The Vampire Diaries a new life that was intriguing, sexy and fun. However, like all good things, the Originals started to overstay their welcome. Klaus increasingly became pointless. I just wanted them to kill him off already. But the show became an endless, will they/won’t they kill Klaus. However, they added a twist that basically ensured Klaus would never die. I sighed. They officially announced their plans for a The Originals spinoff early this year.

Despite my being tired of these characters, I was still excited about it. Then I saw the pilot and there was no excitement left. However, The Vampire Diaries is a show I write about for Gossip and Gab.  So the site’s editor and chief asked me if I wanted to cover The Originals too this fall.  I secretly regretted my decision to cover both of them.

Then the first episode of The Originals begun, and my mouth was on the floor. It was so much better than the pilot, even though it was the same storyline, just a different viewpoint. The show just grew from there. Right now, it’s way better than The Vampire Diaries.  So it definitely became my favorite new show this fall for being the most improved.

Honorable Mention:

Orphan Black, Hemlock Grove and Orange is the New Black also deserve some recognition. I didn’t include any of them because they haven’t quite hit obsession level, but I do love them all. Hemlock Grove isn’t the best show but there is something addictive about it. Orphan Black is my favorite of these three but I feel like it’ll be better during season 2.  Almost Human just premiered but it’s quickly gaining a place in my heart. It may appear on a list of favorite new shows sometime in the near future.

Character Profiling: John Young

What is Character Profiling?

Every week, I will profile some character in pop culture (either through films, books or TV) that deserves some further exploration for their dynamic nature.I shall also explain why this character breaks pop culture modes, creates their own archetype or works within their genre to change it. Basically this is a weekly look at some of my favorite characters,and why I like them.

This week’s character is The Tomorrow People’s John Young. 

 John Young (Luke Mitchell) from The Tomorrow People suffers from the Pacey Complex, as I’d like to call it. The Pacey Complex is when a male character does not know his self worth because of years of emotional, and/or physical abuse. The character is often caring beyond reason to those he loves. He usually has a male friend who he  believes is better than him, which is usually a false assessment. He feels an obligation to this male friend either from a false sense of loyalty or past mistakes. The Pacey Complex character was never intended to be the star of the show, but ends up stealing the hearts of the viewers from just being an overall more dynamic character than the lead.

The Pacey Complex character usually has a thing for women who he believes makes him better. But, in fact, he either makes them better or they compliment one another. He often falls for women who are almost as emotionally damaged as him, but also able to match his biggest defense mechanism. This usually comes in the form of quick wit or physical strength.

John Young falls into the Pacey Complex category more than many characters have in a while. The only thing that almost takes him away from this category is his leader status. The Pacey Complex character is supposed to start off as the sidekick to a male figure, and then transform into his own. Whereas, John seems to be doing the opposite. He started off on The Tomorrow People as a confident leader but as more of John’s past is revealed, he’s becomes more of a  sidekick to Stephen(Robbie Amell).

Because of his Pacey Complex characteristics,  there are a few defining traits that really make John a lovable character.

The first is his selflessness. The best example of this is when he found out Stephen and Cara (Peyton List) had sex behind his back. He pushes his hurt back and saves Stephen’s life and continues to work with him, because it’s what’s necessary to protect the group.

A second example is the fact that Cara continues to be hurt and shocked by his secrets, but John doesn’t keep bringing up the fact that she cheated on him. He has brought it up but only as a way to say, ‘we both lied, let’s move pass it.

Another trait is his empathy. The best example is when he goes on the trip with Russell (Aaron Yoo) to attend his father’s funeral.  John puts aside all his fears about interacting with humans, his troubles with Cara and his past to focus on being a good friend for Russell. He did this mainly because he understood how important family is, even if he never really had one.

His emotional strength.

Let us count the ways that John Young has been emotionally messed up in his life:

  • Orphan
  • Abused by adopted father
  • Trained to fight against his own kind
  • Became an outsider to his kind by being able to kill
  • Had to kill a guy who was once a good friend, when he became a psycho
  • Loses himself every time he kills, has killed at least three times
  • Killed a guy who was a father figure to him
  • Manipulated and used by another father figure
  • Girlfriend cheats on him the minute they have a little trouble
  • Kidnapped and tortured
  • Must be around a guy who serves as a constant reminder of his mistakes

That’s only the pain we know John has faced so far, we can’t imagine what else will be revealed later on. However, we never see John breakdown. He stays strong for the group.

The Tomorrow People may be one of the few shows where neither of the main male figures are necessarily jerks or bad boys. John falls more into the bad boy category than Stephen but he’s not the typical bad boy displayed in these type of shows.  You never see him abuse women, sleep around, or try to emotionally or physically hurt his romantic rival (not counting that one time). He’s more of a good guy than Stephen.