Covert Affairs: Flipping the Script

We’ve been doing some talk recently about leading ladies.  And more importantly what it means for a tv show or book when your main character is female. There is something interesting happening in regards to this over on the USA show, Covert Affairs. Now, this is a little bit of a late to the party post because Covert Affairs is in it’s fourth season, but I’m going to mostly talk in general terms, with no major spoilers.

Here is our leading lady, getting herself out trouble via some quick thinking and an expensive pair of shoes.

Here’s our leading lady, getting herself out trouble via quick thinking and an expensive pair of shoes.

This is Annie (played by Piper Parabo). She is young, blonde, pretty, and idealistic. She is also a rookie CIA agent, pulled out of training early to deal with a man from her past. She is physically capable, fluent in many languages, has nerves of steel and is often ruled by her compassion.

Our leading man!

Our leading man!

This is Auggie (played by Christopher Gorham). He is a former navy seal and a current CIA analyst. He is Annie’s CIA handler, friend, and love interest. He is immensely intelligent, capable, funny and caring. He also happens to be blind.

Now this is great for a number of reasons. We don’t see a lot of disabilities on tv, and we certainly don’t see them in our leading men. I’m having a hard time coming up with an example of an action show where the leading man is blind, or deaf, or less than what we consider perfectly physically capable in any serious way. I think over the course of their runs, a lot of characters will deal with some kind of temporary physical disability gained in the line of fire, but they will then triumphantly overcome it. Temporary blindness is a big soapy one, but not something that tends to have a lasting impact. Continue reading

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In which K and C gchat about Catching Fire

We are trying something new! Instead of texting or skyping about our reactions to Catching Fire, Kate and I saved our thoughts for a lengthy gchat, which we have posted here for your, um,  enjoyment (Seriously we didn’t talk about it AT ALL before this conversation. We must like all of you). It was an interesting exercise, because we knew we were writing for the blog, so it’s a LOT more sensical than our usual conversations, and with way less profanity and capslocks. We did a little editing for content, and for the fact that I type like a drunk raccoon. Let us know if you like this format and we can do it (or NOT do it) again in the future. We talk  a little about the whole series, but nothing super spoiler-y outside of Catching FireCatching-Fire-22-exclusive

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Top 10 Highly Biased Reasons Why Reign is Great

Fair warning: We tried to avoid spoilers in this list, but we may hint at things pretty strongly. Nothing major, and nothing you wouldn’t see in the first episode, but you will get a general sense of things. Also, we like drama filled shows. They let us gossip about things without, y’know, ACTUALLY GOSSIPING ABOUT REAL PEOPLE. If you don’t like drama and you’re trying to decide whether or not to start a new TV show this list is probably a waste of your time, because this one is not for you. But if you have been hearing a lot about this show and don’t want to commit to watching an episode without knowing that we approve (aww, we’re flattered!), read on.

See below re: pretty people and costumes.

  1. Pretty People. Seriously, everyone in this show is drop dead gorgeous. It depends on what your “type” is, but there is someone who you will find drool-worthy. And they aren’t all twenty-somethings, either! The King and Queen of France are quite attractive, as are most (ok, all) of the courtiers and minor characters, who vary in age. Continue reading

Betty Cooper: Door Mat, Girl Next Door, or More?

Note: This post is crossposted on Maddo’s comics tumblog.

I follow Comically Vintage on Tumblr for the lulz to be found in out-of-context panels from older comics. Usually I get a chuckle and scroll on, but a few weeks ago I came across a post with the following image:

Image from PEP #192, April 1966

Maybe it stood out to me because I’ve been writing for this blog, but it really caught me off-guard. I had two simultaneous reactions: 1) I laughed at Jughead being humorously asexual and insensitive (as is his wont), and 2) I wondered what the hell Archie had done to upset Betty now. I probably haven’t picked up an Archie comic in a decade or longer, but my response was immediate and visceral. A decade-and-then-some younger version of me had suddenly surged to the front of my consciousness.

I sometimes forget the fact that the first comics I read regularly (outside of the Sunday funny pages) were the various Archie Comics digests–smallish paperback compilations of newer and older Archie Comics. Which is to say, I’d read them whenever my mother would indulge my sister and me and buy us each a double-digest at a bookstore or from the grocery store checkout lane. I treasured the joyful, and ultimately futile, struggle of trying to make a double-digest last. It hadn’t occurred to me until I saw the comicallyvintage panel that I might have a very different perspective on the comics as an adult. It was time for (cursory) research and reflection!

The Archie Comics series has been around since 1941, and the comics are still in production today, with dozens of offshoots focusing on different characters.  Continue reading

Blurred Links- Further news and thoughts

So remember, all that fun we had last month talking about Blurred Lines? Well, the internet is still going. Blurred Lines is the gift that keeps on giving (…or possibly an STD, you just can’t get rid of it completely).

In our Secret Sassafrakas Headquarters, we’ve been noodling around about how we feel about the song/video and sending related links back and forth. Is it sexy? Sexist? Super gross? Kind of a good time? The Internet is having this same multifaceted conversation, and it brings up a LOT of interesting angles.

This is by no means meant to be a comprehensive list, but Kate and I wanted to round up a number of articles/blog posts and video responses.

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ARC Review of Untold by Sarah Rees Brennan

UntoldAs I promised in my review of Sarah Rees Brennan’s Unspoken, we recently got our hands on the ARC of the second book in the series, Untold. When Kate was reading Untold she sent me wonderfully mean texts such as “I laughed out loud at page 61’s description of kissing” and I begged her to tell me all of its secrets, especially if they were kissing secrets. I even picked a mutual friend up from the train station expressly for the purpose of getting this book from him after he had visited Kate in Portland. He was pleased AND confused.

Llllladies, Untold is great. It’s really great. It takes all the momentum from Unspoken, and just keeps moving in really interesting, dynamic ways. I will not spoil anything for Untold, but I will talk about a couple of plot points from Unspoken, if you haven’t read it yet (Why haven’t you read it yet? Go get it!).

All of the things I love about Unspoken are still there in Untold. Kami is still a really great protagonist. The writing is excellent, the characters are charming, and most importantly, it’s everything book two in a trilogy should be. Things Happen in this book, it in no way feels like a placeholder, and it still manages to set things up for what promises to be a very interesting book three. Continue reading

Late to the Party: World War Z (The Book)

[This is the first in a continuing series, Late to the Party, talking about culture that’s not so ‘pop’ anymore, because sometimes you have things to do for years on end instead of reading the latest book or watching the latest movie.  Max Brooks’s World War Z came out in 2006 and I’m only now getting around to read it.]

On the gorgeous Friday of Memorial Day weekend, my partner and I set off to Portland.  I had heard good things about the audiobook of World War Z and, knowing little about it except that people liked it and there were zombies, we downloaded it for the 3.5 hour drive.

[Note: An unabridged audiobook came out May 14 of this year but was not available for purchase on iTunes on Memorial Day weekend.  Or I didn’t see it.  Whatever.  Either way, this article is primarily about the abridged version of the audiobook, which has been in the market since 2007.]

I do want to be clear about this up front: I like a LOT of this work, both the audiobook and the book.  (After I finished listening to the audio, I ended up borrowing a copy to compare the two.)  Brooks’ prose isn’t necessarily anything to write home about, but the level of research and commitment that he brought to this hypothetical situation is outstanding.  I think that it achieves one of the most important objectives of science fiction, which is an earnest re-examination of our lives as they are through the lens of what they might become.

But (you knew there was a ‘but’ coming!), this achievement makes Brooks’s failures stand out in greater contrast.

Spoilers: There will be some about this work and the seminal zombie masterpiece, Night of the Living Dead.

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