Drinking and Watching Disney’s Hercules for the First Time Ever

This is the one I’ve avoided.

I had a severe love for most Disney movies as a kid. Like  in every normal household, my sister and I wore out our copies of The Little Mermaid, Peter Pan, and The Sword in the Stone, along with their clamshell cases. I had an Aladdin comforter. I cried for joy in Disney World. It was magic, magic everywhere. Nevertheless, at the tender age of 10, it all came to an ignominious halt. I drew the line, and lost all of that happiness, never to be seen again (except when I’m the right amount of drunk in a bar full of hot guys).

I mean, I could handle a Robin Hood that is a talking fox, and I could handle a mermaid that gets her prince and doesn’t turn into air (or whatever the fuck that original Hans Christian Anderson ending was supposed to be). But I was a nerdy kid who LOVED Greek mythology. I was a purist, reading Euripides and Aeschylus. I even did a filmed adaptation of Antigone and made my family dress up in bedsheet togas (not my Aladdin ones). My bible was Edith Hamilton’s Mythology, and I wanted to go to Oxford, study Classics, and be just like her, no matter what. So, naturally, my mom thought she was giving me good news when she said the next Disney movie was about all the things I loved. The second I saw the commercial, though, and witnessed Zeus and Hera as doting parents to their little demi-god son, Hercules, I knew it was going to be a protest. Essentially, the end of an era.

Where was the tragedy? The dysfunction? The blood? This wasn’t my Hercules, and it shouldn’t be the world’s. I did, however get over it in time to watch it’s spin-off series that would always be on after school–Hercules: Zero to Hero. It was pretty great, and I loved the Cassandra character (the Daria of Ancient Greece) as well as Lisa Kudrow as Aphrodite. So, I softened. But still, by then I was kind of too old, and I knew the movie would set me on edge. A show is just a show. The movie would make it REAL.

But here we are. I’m 26 years old with a beer in my hand, and more in the fridge, ready to reclaim my innocence. Maybe it’s not so bad, after all. My friend says it has the best music of any of the movies. Hopefully that counts for something. Right? Let us begin:

3:15: OK, that was a really good start. I like that they face head-on that they’re not telling a tragedy and they’re going to have fun with the story. Also, like the Greek Chorus are black lady muses, because I’m reverse racist. But still, had to pause on seeing Hera doting on baby Hercules. For some reason, that just turns my stomach.

14:41: So Hercules is a demi-god because of Hades. I like the “last drop” thing, it’s very Greek mythology for that to happen, but isn’t this just the story of Superman? I guess that’s all right. I so far like Pain and Panic more than I thought I would. And I like that Hades is only semi-menacing. But I hope they pump up the volume on this story soon.

17:02: Jerkules, hmm. Now it’s like X-Men. People don’t like the mutant. At least fuck up his perfect face a little, make him an ugly duckling. Even if you make him hot later.

24:33: The Go the Distance song was boring. I feel like the plot keeps getting re-told to me, hopefully the key of the movie is Philoctetes and Danny DeVito.

31:44: Yeah, he’s good. But that was one quick transition and training montage. How many more genres can they go through?

39:01: Noir. Vixen in trouble with the wrong people. Megara might be the key to the movie. I like the chemistry of the three of them. On Meg’s romance troubles “He’ll explain it to you later.” Reminds me of Marilyn Monroe in “Bus Stop.” Actually, this whole movie does, oddly.

46:12: Him cutting off the monster head is disturbing. But I have the feeling the movie doesn’t think so, which is more disturbing.

46:59: It was necessary for multiple heads. This is kind of even more scary. But still, not visceral Maleficent dragon-type fear.

58:05: Hercules is cute and goofy around Meg, but he’s no Aladdin. Hard not to compare with other Disney movies. But they invite it when they make him almost look and sound exactly the same with the same mannerisms. Stay off by bedsheets, bub.

1:03:55: Meg is in love after one off-screen date. At least she was set up to have jumped the gun before with her ex, so it’s in character. But damn. Eh, I guess I identify.

1:10:32: OK this movie is falling apart. Everything is happening so fast. Please tell me Hades’ plan that took 18 years to enact isn’t just to release the Titans.

1:16:16: Yep, it is. And Hercules loses his strength in less time than it takes for me to finish my bag of Munchos (2 minutes).

1:21:18: SO. MANY. PROBLEMS. What happened here? Hercules defeats Hades with his strength, and now we have to suffer through an anti-climax? And now he’s going to become a god because he sacrifices his life for Meg? Which he does on the daily? He needed to beat Hades without his strength for this movie to make any kind of sense BLAHHHHHHHHHH.

1:27:19: Shaking my head at the credits.

Well, I feel like I just lost my innocence all over again. It wasn’t even the playing with Greek mythology that ended up being the killer. It was mostly a villain that in the beginning of the movie is fine with ordering the DEATH of his NEPHEW, but then throughout the rest of the movie is constantly honoring ridiculous deals he can and should clearly be taking advantage of. Then pretty much shrugging his shoulders when his “plans” don’t work out.

As my friend said, the music was fine, I liked Meg’s song. I like that it’s about vulnerability and how people can actually hurt each other. Important information for the kiddies!

Ironically, though, that’s what happened with me and this movie. I gave it a chance to get close, and I got slapped down. I was right, the movie made it real. It made the shittiness of Disney real. And it was sad. But aren’t superhero movies usually formulaic and disappointing when it comes right down to it? I think TV does the genre so much better. Shows like Buffy, Xena, Batman: The Animated Series… this is where we can see our idols really struggle, not just in a montage.

And this is where we can actually hear the Aphrodite song.

Hm, at least one thing hasn’t changed… I’m still a nerdy kid.
(And I like Victor Hugo, too; so Hunchback, you stay the fuck back.)

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Afraid to Watch: Game of Thrones

 

In my last “Afraid to Watch” post, for the In Treatment finale, I made a lot of predictions as to what should happen and they all basically came true, even down to Paul shaking Adele’s hand as he discontinues his therapy and walks out the door.

I’m going to admit, I was pretty proud of myself when I saw that. A fitting end to an introspective season. So let us see, can I hit the bulls-eye again for Game of Thrones? Can I accurately foresee where the chips will fall for the Starks and Lannisters as they come to a head? As some remain hostages of the other? And as the head of one house was grimly executed by another? Another who is an underage king who doesn’t even have the blood right to the throne he’s dangerously abusing? And whose victim was in fact the main character of the series to date? And was the main character for good reason, being the most stalwart, sympathetic, and conflicted of all the adults in the middle of the action?

 

 

Fuck that, I’m not even going to try.

My guesses for In Treatment, although neat as it felt to be correct, were based on something that is shorthand to most of us now, which is proper psychological growth prevailing in the most satisfying manner, i.e. “you can’t always get what you want, but you get what you need” to heroes we want to see struggle and eventually succeed or fail. Game of Thrones, with the death of Ned Stark in the last episode, has shockingly little hero-development to rely on anymore. Only somewhat with Ned’s daughter Arya or his bastard Jon Snow, who both have their father’s nobility and likability running through them, but they are so inconsequential to the battles, duels, and back-stabbings that make up the bulk of the show (Arya because of her age, Snow because of his position), it’s hard to see how they could begin to figure in prominently enough to give us any of that aforementioned satisfaction.

Increasingly it’s actually the you-win-or-you-die “game” AKA the shitty feudal system they’re all in, that’s showing itself to be the main character. If that’s the case, though, how can one guess what’s to happen next except more chaos and instability, which is what it breeds? And can you predict unpredictability?

 

 

What’s odd is that the biggest reason I wonder this is not even the death of Ned Stark, because I guess if forced, a few of the characters could pick up his slack as far as getting audience investment in the series (mostly Tyrion, written wittily and played vigorously by Peter Dinklage, the other movie star in the cast besides Ned’s Sean Bean, different as they may be), but I wonder this because of the secondary storyline in the last episode: the happenings “across the narrow sea.” As we go into the finale, it’s the end to this I’m most nervous to see play out, as it seems it will determine just how unconventional they’re willing to be.

 

 

Because, up until last week, that plot has been our predictable storyline anchor: the “rightful” heirs to the throne are returning to the mainland with an army of savages in tow to fuck shit up in the finale/Season 2. Simple enough. It became slightly less simple when one of the heirs was slaughtered at about the midway point (a decision similarly bold in its anti-climax to Ned Stark), but we still had his dark horse sister Daenerys to pick up the slack, and she seemingly was by the next episode. Last week, however, it seemed this might not be the average side-story of an invading army after all, but another extension of the “game,” as Daenerys’ savage-king husband was put on the brink of death, and suddenly nothing was assured amongst them, just like with the power plays in the kingdom. Fights broke out, threats were made, and now only by introducing “dark magic” into the show is Daenerys possibly going to both keep her husband alive, and this storyline on its comfortable trajectory.

But I sincerely hope it’s not…

The death of Ned Stark made me hungry.

 

I was spoiled and knew it was coming. It was even why I was convinced to keep watching after not being totally sold on the pilot. But it was even more delicious than I thought it would be. Being able to see how central he was to everything, and see him ripped right out was a one-of-a-kind storytelling experience. I mean, how can he die right before the end of the first season? This is what Lost promised to do years ago, when I read an interview with the creators and they said it would be the kind of show where two characters go into the jungle, and you can never know who would make it back. That definitely turned out not to be the case, but now there’s finally a series to pay off that exhilarating promise.

So now I want more. I want this dark magic that Daenerys is unleashing to backfire in the most glorious way, not be a one-episode obstacle that simply brought more “fantasy” to the series. I want absolutely nothing in a ribbon as we go into next season, and as far as the kingdom, I don’t want some off-screen character to suddenly swoop in and announce himself as the show’s hero, like I’m scared King Robert’s talked-about brother, Stannis, might do.

Further, I don’t want sudden deaths to be the standard either. We’ve had three this season and they’ve all held up in their own way, but the time for that is over. You can predict unpredictability. For example, even some of Joss Whedon’s biggest fans are over his penchant for killing characters, and there were definitely some groans when Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog, a light musical, continued that trend. Game of Thrones‘ finale needs to do something totally different than deal with soap opera extremes of death or even birth (ideally Daenerys’ savior-baby won’t come out this week like they made it seem, it’s really way too soon). I’d be much more excited if we got the introspective beginnings of a Littlefinger journey, a Jaime journey, even a Cersei journey to close out the season (how do you make a dog-murderer sympathetic? I think Damages has been wrestling with that one for years).

…OK, so maybe I did make a couple of predictions and put a couple of things on the wish list after all.

But don’t think for a second that this time I’ll be right.

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Afraid to Watch: In Treatment

I’ve been in therapy for the last year and a half. But I think all my life, since I knew what it was, I secretly always wanted to go. In high school I held conversations with therapists in my head constantly. I imagined myself on his couch, pouring over my deepest and darkest secrets and thoughts. He would point out certain things, I would point out others. Or sometimes just having a nonjudgmental ear was enough. Except I thought I didn’t have any substantial reason to go besides generalized teenage angst, so at the end of the fantasy I was always faced with the reality that I couldn’t get the help I wanted. It was kind of like how when I was a kid I desperately wanted glasses, and cried when the doctor told me my eyes were 20/30. It sucked not being damaged enough.

But like with my vision, I eventually got there with age. Toward the middle of my senior year at college I was having breakdowns daily, and felt a need, an almost physical need, to talk to a professional. I got lucky and found a good one I still go to, who helped explain a lot of things that have been unattended to in my life up to that point. It was strange, and not like it always went in my head. For one, she was female. So, markedly less scintillating sexual tension. And two, the revelations were not always so dreamily collaborative, often far from it; and the things she pointed out didn’t always leave me smelling like a rose (I’d even take a radish rose most weeks).

In In Treatment this dynamic is a big component of the drama. The difference between how Paul’s patients expect a session to go vs. how it actually does. The reaction they want vs. the reaction they get. And although it seems like he’d be the most willing and able, this is, for some reason, not more prevalent than in Paul’s own therapy sessions with Dr. Adele Brousse that end every week of In Treatment, and will so close the fascinating, yet precarious, third season.

Paul’s patients this season represented what I would guess would be an unholy trinity in therapy. A traditional, middle-aged Indian man, a narcissistic actress, and a raging 16-year old boy; and yet Paul has by far demonstrated being the most shut down, most resistant of them all. He comes in dutifully every week to essentially curse, question, and even woo the young, insightful Adele, while she sits there, as Paul described her last episode, like a sphinx. The slow adversarial burn between them, written by husband and wife team Anya Epstein and Dan Futterman, has been like something out of Pinter, absolutely breathtaking to watch. The show is all dialogue, and yet with its constant shifts I have barely seen a relationship so open to interpretation. We like Paul, his brogue and his grasp, but how much is he projecting on to Adele? How much is Adele leading him on?

Ever since Paul revealed his sexual fantasy about her it’s been game on, and with Adele’s abrupt pregnancy announcement last week, and his “visceral” reaction, it’s reached max crisis. It’s been a fun ride, and Gabriel Byrne and Amy Ryan have held and played their cards to perfection, but how this ends can not help but finally make a huge statement about both of their characters. And not only that, but as two therapists, it can’t help but make a statement on therapy as a whole. Last week teenage Jesse brought up the question, does this help anyone? Does their talking really have an effect, or is it all just masturbation? It’s to Paul and Adele we’re looking to for the answer.

My hope for Paul in tonight’s sessions is that something in Jesse’s session clicks with him, leading him to finally listen to Adele’s frustrations, and see his obstinacy for what it is. And not only that, but come up with some solid conclusions about why he’s acted in such a way, and what that hypocrisy means about him, his practice, and his views on his own profession. In last night’s session with Frances, he finally admitted to her that he did care deeply for (i.e. love) her sister, who he treated 20 years ago, like she always suspected, and it seems now more than ever that his confessed desire with Adele to discuss patients, help one another, love one another, similar to my own old therapist thoughts, is just as naïve a fantasy, and one he has for practically every strong woman he meets.

Because the truth is, like how I was, Dr. Paul Weston is just not damaged enough. Not only in mind, but in body. All season he has been worried about having Parkinson’s, but two specialists told him he doesn’t have enough symptoms to tell yet. And as glowery, teenage angsty and European as Paul is, it’s the same story with him mentally. With that, the healthiest and bravest thing he can do is shake Adele’s hand and walk out the door.

With Sunil last night, he was told he actually helped him, but it came out of an action he took that had consequences he didn’t expect. When he stopped desiring and anticipating and worrying about Sunil like he has all season, serving him tea, and letting him smoke in the office, and just did his job, he helped Sunil the most. It’s a tough lesson to take in for someone so worried about doing the right thing, and Paul’s face at the end of last episode isn’t the face of someone with acceptance, so it might be asking too much for him to come around in two sessions, but next season isn’t in the bag, so it’d be a nice au revoir.

Paul definitely has unattended issues, but if he is going to address them it should perhaps be at the right time, and when he can step out of the fantasy. And probably with a male, so, no scintillating sexual tension.

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faerie tale theatre

I got all of my wisdom teeth taken out on Monday, which meant deciding to take a break from my busy schedule of doing nothing and hating myself every second for it, to basking in the luxury of doing nothing, all for the sake of healing.

I may be a jack-of-all trades, master-of-none type, and been lost in a maelstrom ever since graduation with but a hazy, increasingly blink-y north star of “writing” to guide the way, but I can safely say that if there is one thing in that I really fucking excel at it is taking care of myself when I’m sick. Want proof? Look no further than last summer’s now-you-mono, now-you-don’t, barely-registered blip on my health radar. An affliction that keeps some laid up, and un-laid, for months, I zapped away without a trace in less than two weeks with only the help of my libido’s irrepressible will and my three-toed sloth style. Being sick is the only time those things come in handy, but really, it almost makes up for all the other ways in which they cripple me daily. Illness also gives me an actual purpose to be in bed, and soothes the fact that my plan to leave home forever that I hatched when I was 10 years old has somehow still not come to fruition. At least for a few hours… then of course the failure sets in again. Fortunately, a few hours was all I needed this time in order to relish every bit of  Shelley Duvall’s Faerie Tale Theatre, whose divine existence I serendipitously rediscovered upon my return from the dentist’s office, streaming on the Netflix website!

FaerieTaleTheatre_Cmpl_K

With four less teeth in my mouth, drooling in front of my childhood favorite took a more literal meaning than I might have liked. But the last thing I was about to do was look a gift horse in the mouth: I had enough problems with my own and also I just never really understood that phrase. So in one day, I raced through the first two seasons, and I’m happy to report not a single thing about it disappointed: score one for Little Mikey.

Obviously, there’s a lot I could cover with these gems, but let’s put first things first:

gaylord

Every episode of Faerie Tale Theatre begins with an intro from Shelley Duvall in a themed setting. Enchanted forest, magic kingdom, puppet workshop, gentrified anthromorphic bear village, etc. It adds a wispy, homespun dimension to the entire proceedings and really creates the delightful feeling that Duvall is just a frail, mentally demented woman who absentmindedly followed a shiny balloon off Celebrity Road and got her neighbors to chase after her and once they caught the loon placated her by acting out her favorite stories while on quaaludes and now you the viewer get to watch along and that is the birth of Faerie Tale Theatre. So the intros are pretty perfect. But, even better than all of that? The Gaylord credit that pops up right before–because I am a five-year-old. But then again, this show clearly isn’t for five-year-olds:

faerietale1

rapun

Second things second: Unlike most child-geared entertainment, where the writers get their kicks by covertly lacing in the filth, Faerie Tale Theatre gets its jollies by dumping it all over the place like a home vacuum test. In The Frog Prince (written and directed by Eric Idle, go fig) Robin Williams as the Frog doesn’t just stick out his tongue when he’s excited, or anything “uproariously naughty” as such… instead he just flat out demands to sleep with the Princess, and when he does and turns back into a prince, he stays naked in bed with her. Which you know, doesn’t make the King too happy, nor parental watchdog coalitions, nor anyone with eyes. And as far as the above screen captures of Jeff Bridges in Rapunzel go, do I really need to say that while she may be letting down her hair, he’s definitely putting up something else? Or that the words big lebowski just got a new meaning?  Or hey, nice rainbow ejaculate? Wait, what?

It makes sense in context, but for now let’s move on to third things third, being…

sleeping

Christopher Reeve vs. a giant Beverley D’Angelo!

There’s a lot of things that went into the existence of this image. Because, well, while this Sleeping Beauty stand-off between the Prince and the evil fairy is ripped-off pretty much from the Disney movie version, nothing else is. Here they even keep the 100-years-of-sleep angle from the original tale, so right off the bat you’re dealing with a humongous chronotypal disparity of epic proportions. And yet they manage to pull it off and as usual give us what we want, what we need, and what we could never even conceive.

Now, the action of the Disney version takes place in three days for good reasons. 1) because all those damn movies do no matter what, even 101 Dalmations, and that includes a gestation. 2) so the Prince and the Princess get to fall in love and dance in the forest with owls and shit beforehand so we can forge an emotional investment in their romance, and 3) because having a whole kindgom put to sleep for an arbitrary 100 years until a prince comes at the pre-determined end point is completely anti-fucking-climactic and if it wasn’t for Tchaikovsky no one would give two shits about this stupid story ever. So Faerie Tale Theatre not following suit might seem like a mis-step. But actually, like with everything they do, it’s secretly genius, and the only real decision they could’ve made. It’s titled Sleeping Beauty. Bitch needs to sleep. At least sleep more than Snow White, or else what’s the point? The Duvall Cabal take the best  get down to business and make it happen, but still give us the goods.

First, they start from after the sleep’s in place, and have the story told through an axe-cutter to a pair of travelers, which includes Reeve (and uh Ron Rifkin), inquiring about the mysterious castle that’s frozen in time. Then by going back and using Reeve and our Beauty, Bernadette Peters, in dual roles we get to see them interact just as much as in Disney; except better because the roles they play are as a spoiled prince and princess, unfit suitors for our heroes, and funhouse mirror images of who they should really be with. So not only do we get to see Reeve and Peters totally gay/slut it up, but also by taking the 100 year stretch and subtly making it a metaphor of being frustrated by love and having to be patient for the right person, the magical kiss ends up feeling epic, deserved, miraculous, meant to be, amen. Or at least, you know, totes chaste-hot. And we still get the pleasure of the villain smack-down being performed by a character we’ve known since the beginning.

Axe through reality! Ouch!

This also brings us –and thank god because we’re here anyway–to fourth things fourth (and final) of the wonders of Faerie Tale Theatre… and it concerns the biggest and most satisfying villain smack-down known to man. That’s right, everybody, it’s the one… the only… Hansel and Gretel.

Give them around of applause ladies and gentleman. You have two kids here that eat a woman’s house, and then throw her into an oven–and it’s all justified! There’s something so endlessly joyous about this story and this particular version it’s hard for even me to talk about. So let’s just go over a recipe:

How to Turn A Child’s Heart Into Gingerbread

“I’d rather learn to read.”

You’re adorable, but shut the fuck up, Gretel, and watch the master (who just happens to be Joan Collins; oh, the gifts!).

First, you put the kid’s heart into a cookie batter…

Then you open up the skillet…

Then you pour the batter into the skillet. “MMMMMMM. All the way in. Every single bit!”

Next you take him over to your magic oven. “In you go, little fat boy!” <——-actual line

And finally you spin around three times and say the magic words.

“Hearts to batter,

Batter to hearts,

Death’s a treat…

So sweet…

To eat…!”

Perfect!

Gretel agrees. But this poor girl would probably be less excited if she knew she was just getting crabshells for dinner.

After all, you don’t just get child-heart gingerbread. It’s not like breadcrumbs, or negligent parents. You have to earn it. ….Apparently in an orgasm contest.

The filth gets laid out once again. “I want fat, fat…rolls of fat!” Collins moans, “Flesh and more flesh…soft…undulating…quivering, jiggling…mountains of young boy flesh!” Eeeyeeesh… and so… the witch wins! But so do Hansel and Gretel.

Well, eventually. And I think so will I, because technology is now at the point where I never have to worry about finding things to replace the comforts of my childhood. The originals are all already at my fingertips. Right now it may be to heal gaping holes in my adolescent jaw, but when I contract my first serious herpe, or have my first heart attack; fall ill to cancer, or AIDS, I know that Faerie Tale Theatre will be there to help me feel better. And if I know that’s there for me, maybe I don’t have to be so proud about the way my inherent laziness takes care of me when I’m under the weather, and instead actually go out and enjoy it. After all, it worked in the long run for the Frog Prince, and Rapunzel, and Hansel and Gretel, and Sleeping Beauty. Not so much for Goldilocks though.

But with my teeth in the condition they’re in now, I’m not picky about my porridge.

 

 

 

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Project Who Gives a Damn

I’m not sure how, but Bravo’s new derivative fashion competition show, Launch My Line, actually makes me happy and not depressed!

A big part of that is that the hosts, “DSQUARED2,” are in fact the  Rocko’s Modern Life Chameleon Brothers made flesh.

Pose

And pose.

 

But also, it was because everyone in there is already a legitimate type-A, and have already succeeded in some field on their own. Sure they rattle off the names of celebrities they’ve worked with as fast as they can like they’re doing some kind of Red Light Challenge on Cash Cab, and namedropping is nothing new or appetizing, but nonetheless there is actual success and ambition for more there, which is important for competition.

In contrast, I was at a gay bar the other night and saw Nicolas, one of the contestants from Project Runway during the last, pathetic Lifetime season. He swayed his greasy hair back and forth to get as much attention as he could and yet no one even seemed to hassle him, or even recognize him at all. Or they did, but stayed away because of his awkward self-awareness. People like this are everywhere in reality competition shows. They get cast for their big attitudes, but after a few weeks of getting accustomed to the game and competition and critique, just seem helpless and not fun to watch. And then you just have to sit and wait for them to be weeded out.

"I'm not here to make friends! Well, OK."

If you’re lucky, like with this season of Top Chef, or a couple of Runway seasons in the past, you will get a good group of contestants in the end that feel like actual competition, and are exciting to watch as they go up against each other, instead of just looking to hang on one more week. But sometimes, even that doesn’t happen and America’s Next Top Model is McKey! because duh who else, and then Tyra’s kiss-kiss out the door, already off to her next bullshit empire-building project.

Amateurs on TV are more humiliating than entertaining, and with the couple crashing the White House, I think America’s tolerance of famewhores might finally be waning. I like Dsquared because they’re a carnival act, but the kind you can admire, like the guy who hammers nails into his face. And their tag line for the winners, “Love your work, ____,” speaks to mutual respect and admiration, over pretend-validation.

Judging is not some chopping block, because these people are not that delusional to believe a reality show is the beginning or the end for them. Not to mention the real fashion designers they’re partnered with for the competition, who are doing what they always do. I’m sick of America looking for any scrap of talent as if it’s impossible. We should have talent coming out the ass to put on TV! And I want to see it! Time to launch more lines!

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Afraid to Watch: Lost

We’re coming to the end of Lost—finally, my GOD–and this maddening show that’s lived long on its mysteriousness about what it’s even about is now, amazingly, getting to the point of making some kind of sense.

In other words, yeah, it’s getting really boring.

The thing is, I think a big issue with Lost was never a lack of answers at all, despite the huge demand for them; it was just the incredulous way the characters never asked enough questions as the show went on, the way real people would. So much so that you always had to see the writing at play, or as I do, the phantom cocks of Damn Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, slapping against my cheek ever-so-gently. Because let’s face it, title aside… Lost is rarely a show you get lost in. It’s a show you race onto the internet to discuss and check off what we now know, and what we still need to know, and wait, did we already know that? and OMG KATE I HATE YOU. Hence its ultimately popularity and genius.

I know, surprising.

But now we’re coming to The End (literally, the title of the finale), and while simple Q&A sessions between two characters who are next to each other continue to be protracted across many episodes in typical infuriating fashion, it’s just not as fun anymore. Because with each one, there goes one less chance to be teased and tickled, and one less chance for the show to really extend itself and shine the way we know it can. “Not in Portland,” “Through the Looking Glass,” “The Constant,” “The Shape of Things To Come,” “Namaste,” all submitted for your approval.

"Not another deus ex machina!!!"

When Locke saw that his father was tied up on the island in the middle of Season 3 we had to had to wait an infuriating six episodes, checking in with every other character including infamous wastes of space Nikki and Paulo, before circling back to that story. It was rough, but so forgivable. Now, we don’t have that. Now when we leave a story, it’s not to weave in some new ones. No time. It’s “The End.” And apparently “The End” means yawning, stretching your arms, and filling in useless details. Like every neutering fact about Richard we kind of already suspected for an hour plus six extra minutes last week, and still not enough time for some extra mystery or tension.

We even know it's not eyeliner now.

I’m impressed though, on a lot of levels. They’ve taken this cockamamie story and put it on track to make a cohesive whole at the end. We’ve met the white and black players of our main character-pawns, and I don’t doubt it’ll all make sense. The question now is how it’ll keep it’s creepiness and shock-value. It’s still 6 years of television—not a Matheson or Bradbury ten-pager—and it should feel like it. For such a narratively daring show (who ever thought last night’s “flash-sideways” would be as natural a thing to talk about as the weather?) it has a frightening propensity for going limp.

And I’m not the only one to think so. Recently an interview with a newcomer actress to the show named Sheila Kelley was posted on a Lost spoiler site, and in it she indicated that she’s a big piece of the Lost-puzzle, that she saw her name on “every page” of the finale, and felt like she won the lottery. There’s already two hundred plus comments telling that her to GTFO and that she can keep her answers to herself BITCH.

Clearly a good soul.

If the mere hint that this random woman may give some exposition sets off panic, I think that gives you a clue as to what’s important in Lost. It’s not that Answers are Bad, it’s just way more important how we get them, what else they may lead to, and how they’ll add twists to our characters.

When the devilish Man in Black smashed the wine bottle at the end of the last episode, cluing us in to his plan for destruction, does that confirm some things? Yes. Things that are mysterious and possibly creepy? Sure. But all expected from someone named “Man in Black.” My request for the remaining episodes is simple, if perhaps at odds with what I said fans really needed in the beginning:

Please Lost, tell me something I don’t know.

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Afraid to Watch – True Blood

“Do you believe in God?”

For some, it can be a heart-stopping question. Not because you might not be sure of your answer—you could very well be obnoxiously confident in your belief or lack thereof—but heart-stopping because of the timing with which this question may be asked, distilling all the crises of life into a yes-or-no answer you better get fucking right. In True Blood’s “I Will Rise Up,” put-upon Godric asked Sookie if she believes in God expectantly on a roof, while waiting for the sun to come and kiss his vampire ass goodbye. It was a time he needed comfort, to believe that 2000 years of after-life added up to something meaningful.

Earlier in the same episode, she had a heart-to-heart with her brother Jason, when they counted all the members of their family, didn’t make it past two, and realized they’ll have to come big kids now. So, on the roof, Sookie responded maturely to Godric that she did believe in God, and, also explained how this is actually a good thing for because far from just meaning he’s in that case an evil demon meant for eternal damnation, it more-so means that God will forgive him for his sins.

… Mm yeah me either. I mean… vampire. …Crosses? Explain that. You can’t.

Well, fortunately, it didn’t matter in the end. See, the point is, Godric, wise vampire that he was, observed then and there on the roof that being escorted to oblivion by a human, after an after-lifetime of feeding on them, is where he saw God. And this self-made conclusion is what ended up making him ecstatic, and sent him, like a 4th of July sparkler, off into that good night. Er, day.

But how is True Blood hoping to send itself off? The finale airs tonight, and this whole season almost seems to depend on it. Since the premiere, they’ve knocked down characters and relationships and set them up to status quo again faster than a bathtub baptism. The show seems to be pushing for big changes, stretching and flopping like a turtle thats outgrown its tank, and constantly denied. Will the show finally find its own voice, like Godric and take permanent steps to really becoming a big kid now?

One thing we do know is that the finale will end in a cliffhanger, perhaps the only device so far that True Blood has used to definitively stand out from similar shows. And that might be enough, if this wasn’t a premium channel during a recession, and if the writers just feel kinda feel like, god guys, whatever. But here is what we really need to see:

JK!

JK!

1. Bill Grow a Second Dimension
They tease us with flashbacks of Bill being a cold-blooded killer in one episode, and then nevermind! He was just doing it as a ruse for his maker. In the second episode of the season they tease us with Bill having to “take care” of Jessica’s human family, snikting out his fangs, and then nevermind! No permanent damage. In the last episode, we were once again given a tease when he visits vampire queen Evan Rachel Wood. She somehow already knows about Sookie, is lesbian lovers with her cousin, and Bill was unfazed. Will this finally be what presents a real conflict for Bill and Sookie? Something a near fatal minotaur attack or lukewarm bloody fang sex can’t whipe away? This is the list item that has the most hope, especially with Eric pointing out that Bill gave Sookie his blood the first night they met, making any feelings she has for him at all extremely questionable.

What robe?! I aint wearing no fuckin robe!!!!

What ROBE?! I ain't wearing no fuckin' ROBE!!!!

2. Tara Take Some Fucking Responsibility
They show us Tara is lovestruck and hateful even outside of Maryann’s control! Then we see she actually just might be hormonal from needing to lay a huge egg. It’s similar to Bill syndrome, where the writers just seem too hesitant to make the character do awful things, because they’re scared they won’t be able to win the audience back. Except that in this case they are right to worry. But at this point it would be much more interesting for Tara to be Sookie’s ex-friend who lives in the town and screws everything up rather than Sookie’s idiot friend who lives in the town and screws everything up, which is what she’s been all season. Tara’s lover Eggs doesn’t look like a character that can last long in this world, so if he’s going to die, it would serve well if Sookie is involved, and for Tara to start concocting some very hate-able schemes with her hate-able crazy mother. After all, Hate-able + Hate-able = Almost tolerable.

Youre getting slapped.

You're getting slapped.

3. Bill/Sookie/Eric Triangle Dynamic Be Any Different From Jack/Kate/Sawyer Triangle Dynamic

Like Jack, Bill is stalwart, and is winning the girl’s affection, but at the same time there is something kindred about Sookie and Eric. And like Sawyer to Kate, Eric is intent on working his way into Sookie’s system. Sookie getting “tricked” into sucking Eric’s blood was definitely reminiscent of Sawyer tricking Kate into kissing him in Lost Season 1, especially with the similarity of Alexander Skarsgard and Josh Holloway. And both Bill and Jack like to warn their blonde competitors to “stay away from her!” I suppose this is like many good boy/bad boy love triangles, but for some reason the Lost one stands out the most. The tricking and saliva. I’m going to go with that being the reason.

But... dont it hurt yall??

I accept it, but don't sit there and tell me it don't hurt.

4. Jessica and Hoyt Work It Out Somehow

Jessica and Hoyt, aside from being the youngest and least-metaphorical growing children, are also saddled with the responsibility of being the least-metaphorical gay couple. While Bill and Sookie’s experience has touched lightly on homosexual , they’re nothing compared to the after-school-special of Jessica and Hoyt. Like Bobby in X-Men 2 (incidentally, also starring Anna Paquin), we see the quotidian , adolescent side of the Other. In Bill and Sookie we can explore all the frightening and philosophical plumbs of dating the undead, but with Jessica and Hoyt it’s much more explicit. Jessica’s regenerating hymen (which I would imagine is someone’s RPG character somewhere) will force the innocent kids to rely on anal sex, and as Hoyt’s mother pointed out, adoption.

The last is probably the item on the list that would be the best show of good will in the finale. If Hoyt runs back to Jessica even after she bit his mother, and the show commits to proving that vampires are more than real good kindling in their universe, and convinces us to care about this couple, it would go a long way to investing in the show. I want to see True Blood become a creative work that, unlike Chan-Wook Park’s latest vampire film Thirst, doesn’t only take the touchstones of the vampire/minority experience for the sake of humor, curiosity and drama—but follows through and offers insights into function, meaning and life beyond life beyond life, and ultimately, how you come of age—even without age.

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