A little while ago, I wrote an entry extolling the feminine virtues of Jane the Virgin. How so much of the storytelling includes plotlines and details that are firmly rooted in what is considered (whether justly or unjustly) the feminine sphere, and how it continuously manages to treat each of those feminine aspects with validity and respect: things ranging from motherhood and pregnancy to romance novels, telenovelas, and plastic surgery. I talked about all this in a general way, but today I just want to pick out Jane the Virgin‘s depiction of pregnancy and new motherhood and talk about just how blown away I continue to be with every episode.
I often think of television as being in two different categories. On the one hand, there are the shows that invite a lot of conversation, a lot of examination and analysis. There’s a depth and substance ti the stories and characters that just makes me want to talk about them. And on the other hand, I have what I refer to as my happy shows.
Just to be clear, this distinction is in no way an indication of the worth of a show. Plenty of shows that make me frantic to tear them apart and process every detail are far from what you’d call high brow entertainment. And plenty of the more fluffy, happiness laden shows that give me no deep thoughts but instead simply fill me with warm joy are television shows of the absolute highest caliber. There’s good an bad, quality and trash, on both sides. And both serve a pretty distinct and important purpose for me.
For most of its Season One run, Jane the Virgin was in that second category. It was frothy and funny, optimistic and sentimental, and I loved every minute of it. The narrator is hilariously witty, the characters are engaging and easy to root for (okay, with maybe the exception of the diabolical Petra), and the story lines are all equal parts hysterical, exciting, and heartwarming. At this point, Jane the Virgin is probably my Number One Happy TV tv show currently on the air.
And then last night’s episode made me think!
I think it was about three weeks ago when I wrote a piece exploring the relationship between Jeff Winger and Annie Edison on Community. And in that piece, I also took the time to detail my feelings on pre-determined “endgame” couples – namely, that I’m not hot on them. I think one of my biggest issues with couples like that is, because these’s just so much storytelling in television, sometimes things happen that I don’t think a couple can recover from. That they shouldn’t recover from.
To be fair, I don’t know if it was ever Graceland‘s intention to make either Briggs and Charlie or Mike and Paige into big, all-encompassing OTP level couples, or if they were just following where the story and chemistry led them. And since the show’s not over, there’s no way of me knowing how their respective love stories will end; whether they’ve got further to go or we’ve reached the end of the line. Personally, I hope it’s the latter. Because I really don’t see any way for these two couples to recover. And more than that, after what’s gone down for both of them, I really don’t want them to.
I feel ashamed as I write this, but I’ve got to be honest. I’m about four episodes behind the current season of Teen Wolf. I got a new job recently that started last Tuesday, and so a good bit of my focus has been spent on that obviously. And that’s a good reason to let some of television watching slip by the wayside for a few weeks, but still. I’m disappointed. I did this whole big rewatch to be caught up in time for the season and then have only watched like two episodes in a timely fashion. Oh well. Maybe I’ll be able to do better during the second half of the season.
Since I’m so behind, I’ve been trying to keep myself away from spoilers, limiting my tumblr and twitter usage especially. I’m not a big fan of spoilers. I like to be able to experience the story and all the surprises it brings in real time. But it’s hard and I haven’t been able to keep myself completely away. Just yesterday when I was posting a tumblr link to yesterday’s OITNB post, I saw a gifset of Stiles set to the quote “some of us are human.” Now, I don’t know if that’s actually something that’s come up in the latest episode, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was considering what was happening when I left off (Stiles just killed Donovan!). Either way, I liked the quote. Mostly because it highlighted something I’ve been thinking about a lot during my latest Teen Wolf rewatch.
Sometimes I think people, myself included at times, forgets that except for Stiles, these characters aren’t human. That being a werewolf or banshee or kanima means sometime more than just someone with super powers. And we don’t make enough allowances for them to be who they are.
Sometimes, when a show reports on a new story line or some other upcoming event, I get really confused by certain fan reactions. Their reactions just don’t make any sense to me. It’s almost like they’re watching a completely different show from me or maybe they just have no idea how story telling works.
Once Upon a Time is one of those shows. I feel like this happens constantly. Every time the show announces a new fairy tale or story book they’re exploring and all the characters they’re looking to bring in, hoards of people flock to comment sections of these posts to whine and complain about new characters. They want no new characters. The show has enough already. And I just…I don’t understand.
Pretty Little Liars continues to be one of those shows I overlook. I don’t mean for that to be true, but it is. I so often dismiss it in my mind as a simple guilty pleasure, but then I’ll watch it and be blown away by its depiction of the spectrum of female sexuality, for example, or the complexities of female friendship or the difficulties that come with having a troubled relationship with the truth. At this point, well into Season Six, I should stop being surprised when Pretty Little Liars does something so well.
For the past few weeks, since their escape from Charles’ Dollhouse, our four liars have been spending their time doing what they can to recover from their trauma. And I gotta say, with every episode that passes, I am becoming more and more fascinated with the detailed complexity with which this show is dealing with this issue. Trauma doesn’t affect everyone the same, even when you’ve been through the same things, and behaviors exhibited by the girls have been varied and nuanced, tailored to each individual’s personality and constitution. And while I’m certainly eager to untangle more of the mystery (this is the Summer of Answers after all!), it’s these character developments that are keeping me riveted.
I don’t think this could have been a more awkward dinner if they tried.
So. Secrets! Secrets, an integral part of any good superhero story. And always, always, forever always, something that comes back to bite said superhero in the ass at some point in the game.
Over these past few episodes since Eddie found out the truth about Barry, I’ve been giving Barry Allen’s secret a lot of thought. I’ve been thinking about who he’s told, why he’s told them, how they’ve found out. I’ve been thinking about those who know his secret and what they think of it. I’ve been thinking about the way the story of his secret identity has been playing out. And I’ve been thinking about it in contrast to Oliver Queen’s Arrow.