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

What Makes a Strong Female Character: A Basic Guide

Recently Kate and Charlotte were talking about how easy it is to focus on the negative, when there are some awesomely feminist things going on in the realm of young adult literature. So we spent a lot of time going over the relative strengths of female protagonists in young adult literature (YA for short). After several conversations, we decided it would be helpful to have a written guideline of strengths to judge characters against. We think that the list that follows is a good general template for judging. When making this list, we were aiming for broad categories – it’s not a helpful criterion if it is so specific that it describes only one or two people.

Please note, we do not expect (or want) a character to have all of these traits. That would make for boring books. However, we do expect a strong female character to possess three or more of these traits. We are also completely aware that there may well be strong female characters that don’t fit ANY of these categories. If you can think of any, please tell us who they are and why they are great! We are happy to be wrong (and to make new categories).

Divergent's heroine Tris getting ready to make a literal and metaphorical leap into the unknown

Divergent’s heroine Tris getting ready to make a literal and metaphorical leap into the unknown.

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How Juliet became a badass when I wasn’t paying attention

Ben McFadden as the Nurse, Carolyn Marie Monroe as Juliet and Damian Peterson as Romeo in Seattle Shakespeare Company’s 2011 touring production of “Romeo and Juliet.” Photo by John Ulman.

Ben McFadden as the Nurse, Carolyn Marie Monroe as Juliet and Damian Peterson as Romeo in Seattle Shakespeare Company’s 2011 touring production of “Romeo and Juliet.” Photo by John Ulman.

I have a (not so secret) confession to make: I love Shakespeare. I love the drama, the language, the costumes. I love discovering new things every time I see a production. I especially like seeing Shakespeare in a theatre, and getting to share that experience with others.

Recently, I had the chance to take a group of my students to see Seattle Shakespeare Company‘s touring production of Romeo and Juliet. This production is deigned for young audiences, often as their introduction to the world of Shakespeare on stage.  It clocks in at a crisp 90 minutes with 6 actors playing all the roles. This is achieved through some judicious cutting and some wildly clever double casting. Continue reading

Why this blog is not called “Super-Fun Bitch Time” (and why I kind of wish that it were)

This blog has been in the offing for a while I think.  I am always looking for someone to talk to about what I see, watch, and read. More and more in the last few years the things I want to talk about are the -isms. Was that play/news article/tv show/movie sexist, racist, ableist? Does it handle LGBTQ issues well, or poorly? Were there even diverse characters at all? Does it set an incredible example with its female characters?

Finally this all boiled over recently in a conversation with Kate after watching the new Star Trek movie (about which we have FEELINGS, which I’m sure are forthcoming) and we said, OK, lets write about this.

When I was batting around names for this blog with Kate and company, I kept coming back to things involving the word bitch.  We didn’t really think that we could use the word bitch in the name but I kept coming back to it like it was something hot I wanted to touch. Continue reading