Here’s The Sitch: Kim Possible Season 2 Episodes 11 & 12

Woo, it was tough getting this one done this week, but we’re inching up on some great stuff, and there is some pretty great things this week, mostly, well, mostly saved for the end and severe fangirling, but it’s there.

Kim Ron Rufus

Season 2: Episode 11 “Exchange”

There was so much unremembered awesomeness in this little filler episode. So, Middleton High is participating in an exchange program with Japan, and super cute transfer student Hirotaka comes to town and all the ladies, Kim and Monique included are swooning, meanwhile, Ron is off to Japan, to a secret ninja school, where he is very bad at maritial arts, but becomes friends (and more?) with a beautiful girl named Yori, and gains the ire of fellow student Fukushima.

The legendary Lotus Blade is stolen from the school, and it is revealed that Ron was brought to the school on purpose because the founder was a master of monkey kung-fu, obviously. Ron recovers the sword, gets the girl and beats his rival, who, of course betrayed the school to Monkey Fist.

Meanwhile back in Middleton, Kim and Monique compete for Hirotaka’s affection, which they realize is pretty stupid, even as it’s happening. And also, in the end he’s really more into Bonnie.

Season 2 Episode 12 A: “Rufus Vs. Commodore Puddles”

I like these little half episodes even if there aren’t many of them. This particular one, has Ron trying to make a Godzilla style monster movie for a the Middleton Film Festival. It isn’t going well, because Rufus doesn’t quite have the killer instinct he’d like.

Kim is just going through Ron’s garage because she finds this whole thing pretty boring. Wade buzzes to say that Drakken has bought a shrink ray. They go to preempt whatever havoc he’s planning to wreak.

He wants to sneak into Area 51, which Shego thinks is pretty overrated as a goal. The Shrink Ray become a Giant Ray when Drakken’s new puppy, Commodore Puddles does his bussiness on it. So the Commodore grows to huge size and heads towards Area 51. Kim, Ron and a bunch of agents are inside the facility (which holds all the secrets it always purported to) and eventually grow Rufus to defeat the poodle.

No other show will give you such action, I can promise you that.

Season 2 Episode 12 B: “Day of The Snowmen”

It’s a snow day and Possibles are going through their Snow Day Traditions, including building a snow man, but Kim and the tweebs aren’t terribly into it. The Tweebs are using an ion powered heat ray to clear driveways, and Kim and Ron are sledding. Things get weird when the snowmen from around the neighborhood start attacking.

Turns out that weather woman Summer Gale bought a weather machine to cause the blizzard and get more air time. She got the necessary water from Lake Wannaweep, which explains the zombie snowmen.

Boo-yas and Nacos:

  • Best. Guest. Voices. Ever. Hirotaka – John Cho. Yori – Keiko Agima. The Sensei – George Takei. Oh, and Fukyshima? WHO KEEPS YAMMERING ON ABOUT HOW RON IS AN OUTSIDER AND A STAIN ON THE SCHOOL’S HONOR? Why that’s Dante Basco! I mean, obviously, with the Rufio, but how do you not draw the Prince Zuko dummy parallell here?
  • Kim and Monique’s competition is actually a lot of fun, and provides some good beats, particularly how the girls are never actually annoyed with each other and seem to genuinely understand that their friendship is way more important than this guy, no matter how great his hair is.
  • OH right, also Dante Basco, with the honor. And the what not. Seriously, when goes to Ron to lead him into Monkey Fists’s trap, I really expected him to say, “but you don’t understand if I never capture the Avatar…I mean, locate the lotus blade…HONORRRRRR!!!!!!”
  • John Cho is also in this. And I love John Cho. I miss Selfie.
  • Drakken has an encounter with the aliens from Area 51, and they’re the traditional greys, but I kind of wish they were more lobstery…because Futurama references are great, but “The Once And Future Thing” references are the best.
  • Ron’s movie is confiscated because of the Area 51 people and replaced with “Ron’s Big Day” which is a home movie of him going potty for the first time. Poor Ron, can’t catch a break.
  • Summer Gale’s weather machine is the same one Drakken used. “Lightly used, only once, some attack on Canada.”
  • Ron reminds Kim that Wannaweep is a place of evil. She rolls her eyes at him.

29 days Until Ultron!

Things I’m Obsessed With Right Now: Comics News Edition

This weekend didn’t quite shake out as I hoped writing wise, mostly because my body finally caught up to me exhaustion wise, and also I was watching a lot of Mad Men. So that leads to of course, “Things I’m Obsessed With Right Now.” And there’s been a lot of cool stuff happening in comics so let’s talk about that!

  • Damian Wayne lost his superpowers and he’s heading to Gotham Academy! The last few pages of issue 5 had me kicking my feet excitedly. Everything about this makes me so happy. Now that he’s back I just want a larger presence in the Bat Books for Dami. I think it’s what we all want.
  • All-New, All Different Avengers, A team that will feature Kamala, Miles and Sam Alexander. This is amazing. I love everything about this. I was nervous for Sam coming out of Secret Wars, because Richard Ryder, who I’m sure is great, but isn’t my Nova, Sam is my Nova. I was less nervous for Kamala and Miles, because Kamala is kind of a big important deal at Marvel these days and because Miles is like, the reason Secret Wars is happening right? So they can quit the Ultimate Universe, but keep him around?
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad #1, which I completely adored. I have a whole post about it, but I was particularly enamored of the art. The Disney Kingdoms imprint is a pretty great thing.
  • We Are Robin is going to be about a bunch of Gotham kids just fighting crime on their own, like that Wonder Girl gang over in Titans, and I love that.
  • Oh and the end of the first arc of Gotham Academy, which had Olive learning that her mother still remembered her (though still not clear on what happened there.) and standing up to Batman, which was, pretty bad ass of her, and the gang forming a group to solve mysteries at school and I’m so glad this book got renewed.
  • A whole bunch of magical girl style comics coming from Boom & Dark Horse in the next few months, I’m looking forward to reading them, because well, I am.
  • Not comics news exactly but HUGE nerd news, Maisie Williams is going to be on Doctor Who. I feel like watching her and Capaldi have some sort of “Grumpy Off” is going to be wonderful.
  • Captain Marvel is definitely totally absolutely not in Avengers: Age Of Ultron, nope, no sir, absolutely not at all. OK, I’m sounding incredulous and I don’t exactly not believe it, but I sort of really want her to be in it. Although, seeing her pop up either in Civil War or Guardians 2 would be more fun, because, you know, Kree stuff…
  • Secret Six #3 has been pushed to after Convergence, which is, something of a bummer, because I really, really want to know about WEIRD SEX ON THE COUCH!
  • Star Wars, this series is fantastic. I’ve been trying to write about how much I like it, but I just haven’t been able to create a full post. It’s a fun story about life for the gang in between Star Wars & Empire, so we’re seeing Luke’s antagonism towards Vader grow, Vader’s realization about who his son is, and of course, my favorite part, Han and Leia’s relationship development. *Swoon*
  • GUYS! WE ARE EXACTLY 30 DAYS FROM AGE OF ULTRON! (Ultron Countdown will be at the bottom of every post from now on.)

So that’s where we are, I know it’s brief and there isn’t a lot here.

Delicate But Potent

 

Mad Men is going into it’s final season this weekend. I’m kind of in denial about it.

There’s an ongoing debate in my house about whether Mad Men or Breaking Bad is the greatest television show of all time. I’m on the Mad Men side and there are dozens of reasons, but it’s mostly because, while I really enjoyed the ride of Breaking Bad, I’ve never once felt the need to revisit it. Granted, it’s only been a year, but still.

I’ve watched Mad Men in it’s entirety 3 times, and I’m sure I’ll watch it again. I plan on watching Rolling Stone’s “Top 30 Episodes” this weekend, because, well, why not, right? There’s a good chance that will lead to a full rewatch.

I’ll probably reflect on the show in a more cogent way in seven weeks, but for now, I keep thinking about how this show is ending.

About how it was the first show I got from Netflix. (Back when I got actual DVDs from Netflix.) About how I watched it at the behest of my women’s study professors, and couldn’t believe the level of detail, the time taken with the characters, how engrossed I was in it, how disgusted, how immersed.

I couldn’t believe how well this show played The Numbers Game, as I called it. There were so many different kind of women here. Hell, there were distinct characters inside of each type of woman. Betty and Trudy were both housewives, but they weren’t at all alike. Joan and Peggy both had careers but their lives didn’t look the same.

Every season Mad Men has snuck up on me. Every season I think, it won’t be as good, as interesting, as funny, as stylish, and it always, always is.

And I’m curious how it’s going to wrap up. I don’t think there’s going to be an ending, per se. Mad Men isn’t that kind of show. But there’ll be something. Mad Men is like a novel, it’s not going to end with something big. It’s a story of moments. It’s going to end on a moment, a quiet, small moment.

The Cult of Harmontown

I’m not the biggest fan of Dan Harmon.

I’ve outlined before my inability to connect with Community despite it checking all of my boxes for a thing I should love.

I adored The Sarah Silverman Program, but I mostly loved how committed to it’s weirdness it’s performers were, which is, frankly the only thing about Community that I really, really love.

I remember that during the public feuding with Chevy Chase and the firing by NBC feeling like Harmon was not handling the situation in a way I could get behind. I kept thinking when it came to both Harmon and Chevy, “these are grown men? These are professionals? This is disgusting.”

And my distaste for Harmon and my inability to connect with his work was not helped by friends of mine who were fans.

My nerd friends who liked the way he explored their interests.

My writer and creator friends who admired the way he pushed the boundaries of an art form.

I’d never seen anything like the way Harmon fans rabidly defended this man. Whedonites, who I’m pretty scared of, at least are willing to admit that Dollhouse was pretty much a steaming pile of turds. They’ll point out it’s good points, but they’ll never defend the whole.

And Harmon’s never quite done much in appearances to make it up to me. He’s always come off as an ego maniac, and it drove me crazy, in the sense that the problems were always from the outside. The only creator I’ve seen otherwise act like that is Sorkin. And it turned me off there too.

Anyway, this is the baggage that I took in to Harmontown, the documentary about Dan Harmon’s cross country tour with his podcast. I’d been curious about the doc, but not curious enough to spend what would amount to $50 to go see it in a theater. So when it popped up on Netflix, I was excited to watch it.

Also, if I’d seen it in the theater I would have probably had to deal with Harmon’s fans, and I would have been uncomfortable rolling my eyes as much as I did. Which I did a lot.

The film is spectacular. It’s beautifully shot, neatly structured and you get a good picture of Harmon, and those around him, as well as the downward spiral that lead him to losing Community in it’s 4th season.

I’m still not sure about Harmon and how I feel about him, or his cultish fan base. I’m still not sure if Community will ever be something that I can do more than admire aesthetically. But I feel a little bit more compassion towards Dan Harmon, and those around him.

And I at least got to see an amazingly well made documentary.

The Epitome: Claude-Michel Schonberg & Alain Boubil “The Fall Of Saigon”

Welcome to a new sporadic feature. Like “Things I’m Obsessed With” and “Weird Actor Patterns” and “Lies Musical Theater Told Me.” I’ll do these whenever something hits me that fits into it.

So, I’ve been doubling down on musical theater lately. Listening to show tunes has always been a safe space for me, even as I find new things, I tend to enjoy them and wrap my mind around them, and since lately, I’ve been really tired and not terribly interested in exploring, wrapping myself in the comfortable world of musicals seemed like a good plan.

And then last week, I decided to revisit The Pirate Queen, which, isn’t as good as I remembered it (I didn’t expect it to be) nor was it as awful as I feared. But it did remind me about the patterns of it’s music team, Claude-Michel Schonberg & Alain Boubil tend to fall into, and I decided to do a bit of a deep dive into their stuff.

Rather than simply limp along with the multiple versions of Les Mis (For overall quality, I recommend the 10th Anniversary Concert, for individual performances you can’t beat the Original London Cast, and if you want every note and word, you need The Complete Symphonic) I decided to listen to Miss Saigon.

Miss Saigon has always been an anomaly for me out of those early 90’s British import epics, in that I didn’t listen to it until high school. I know my parents saw it and that they weren’t really fans. (I like it a lot but I can totally see how it’s not their thing. My dad did love the helicopter though, because, I mean, they landed a helicopter on the stage!) And for that reason, I’m able to see it’s flaws much more than it’s big sister, Les Mis.

Which I’m sure has them. Couldn’t tell you. I refuse to look.

Anyway, that was Friday, and I’ve listened to it 5 times since then, because that’s how my brain works. And yesterday morning as I listened to “The Fall of Saigon,” which chronicles the evacuation of the American embassy in the city, as well as separation of our main couple Kim and Chris, due to circumstances way beyond their control, I realized, “this song is really an excellent example of everything that Boubil and Schonberg do well, and also of a lot of their flaws.”

So I figured, let’s break down why I feel this way:

1. Operatic Tradition

Being European composers rather than American or British, Boubil & Schonberg have a much better grasp of opera & operetta than other composers in the medium. They’re one of the few modern writers who use full scale arias in their work for example. (“I Dreamed A Dream” & “Valjean’s Solioquy” from Les Mis, “Woman” & “I’ll Be There” from Pirate Queen, “Why, God, Why?” & “I’ll Give My Life For You” from Miss Saigon) And “The Fall Of Saigon” is operatic in stakes, sound and style. Chris leaves Kim with his gun and heads to work at the embassy. Hearing the evacuation is happening she rushes to join him, only to be lost in the crowd. Meanwhile, Chris is forced on a plane without his beloved, after securing her a spot beside him with the promise to marry her. Obviously, they’re separated. Their individual parts are stunningly written, with Chris arguing for Kim’s visa, Kim attempting to get through the crowd to get in, and Kim’s eventual singing of a reprise of “I Still Believe,” fits into an operatic pattern that few musical theater composers could pull off.

2. Aggressive Chorus Parts

As the Vietnamese attempt get over the wall the American soldiers sing, “Get back, tell you don’t shout, the ambassador won’t leave til everyone’s out.” It’s heavy, heady stuff and it’s also incredibly melodic and in your face. Similarly, the poor & convicts chant “Look down,” in Les Mis, but this is that turned up to 11. And it…doesn’t quite work. While I think Kim and Chris’s parts of the sequence are fantastic the chorus parts aren’t terribly inventive or compelling. The Vietnamese chanting “They’ll kill who they find here. Don’t leave us behind here,” is equally aggressive but way more effective, which leads to my next point…

3. Marginalized Voices

Boubil & Schonberg excel telling stories of people on the fringes of things. Hell, Les Mis (as Hugo originally envisioned it and as it’s adapted) tells the stories of people on the fringes, not heroes, the miserable ones. Miss Saigon isn’t about an American Marine who falls for a hooker at the dusk of the occupation of Vietnam, although that happens. This isn’t Chris’s story, he’s third on the list at best. It’s Kim’s story primarily, and secondarily, it’s The Engineer’s. This is a musical about a 17 year old Asian prostitute that pretty much never makes her a victim, and a FrancoVietnamese pimp who’s given depth and nuance but is never once likable. I can’t even begin the fathom how difficult that is to do, let alone do to the level of quality that they do it. But it’s their ability to write about characters on the fringes that make the Vietnamese half of the song, and Chris and Kim’s individual parts more interesting than the more aggressive marines. Kim and Chris have no control over what’s happening to them, even as they fight tooth and nail to get to each other.

4. Moralizing

I don’t know if it’s just the material they choose (possible) or if it’s inherent in what they do, but there’s always a moment in a Boubil & Schonberg musical that telegraphs the point they’re trying to make in a big way. In Les Mis, “To love another person is to see the face of God,” in Pirate Queen, “There is a time, there is an hour, for those in power to set aside their grief, a time for women to behave as men, when men aren’t men.” And in Miss Saigon it comes in “The Fall of Saigon” from Chris’s buddy John, “Your mercy trip has failed, there’s nothing you can do, that ship has sailed. She’s not the only one we’ll have betrayed.” And…that’s a pretty cogent view of Vietnam, and how America views that chapter of our history. “We tried, we failed, we screwed up a lot of stuff.” And that’s pretty much the moral of Miss Saigon. This could either be a flaw or a plus, depending on how you feel about people singing the thesis statement of a dramatic piece right in your face.

I’m a fan to be honest, and I think it works really well here, coming from a character who’s sort of a shit at this point in the story, though we’ve already learned has turned things around and now advocates for the abandoned children of Americans. John has a mountain of regrets about Vietnam, and they actually start the moment he leaves.

Anyway, I think that these pieces are going to be fun. It all depends on how often things that are the epitome of something cross my path. Meanwhile, I’m going to go listen to “Sun And Moon” again…and “Reflection…” and the live version of “On My Own…” look, I’m just going to marvel at Lea Solanga’s perfect voice for a bit…

Sailor Moon Check In: The “S” Stands for Super!

Hey all! So, here it is, this week’s check in with Sailor Moon, and I’m really excited about it. (And now, I’m not just coasting on KP love from yesterday!

Sailor Moon

Manga

Nothing new to report. Although I am thinking of rereading Volume 3, due to remembering how great it is, and having some probably open reading time coming up, with Convergence hitting DC, we’ll see how it shakes out.

Original Anime

We’re into Sailor Moon S, and I really didn’t know what to expect but I was excited because I realized, that this is the stuff that I have vague memories of. My halfhearted attempt at watching Sailor Moon in the past was when I was in about fifth grade, so that would have been 1999-2000? Am I getting the timing right on when it was hitting Toonami then? Anyway, it’s got me psyched, plus the end of R was really satisfying. Last week we got a clip show which was, um, I watched it because of being a completest, but I really didn’t need to. But this week, as soon as the new opening, updated theme song and senshi chasing butterflies to the moon happened, I was like, “this is going to be great.”

And it was great you guys. The first episode, we see the Professor sending Daimons looking for something, and Rei is having apocalyptic visions, which A) is totally awesome and B) making her act a little loopy. The others are all stressed out because High School entrance exam? qualifying tests? Are coming up. (I dunno, I had to take a test to get into my high school and I totally wigged over it, so I get this. I get it in a big bad way.) Usagi is really freaked because she hasn’t been doing well on her practice tests and when Rei is sincere with her about how she has other things to offer besides being school smart, rather than teasing her (although there’s some teasing) Usagi knows something’s probably up. And something is, Rei is attacked, the girls save her, and two shadowy guardians jump out of trees, examine something that came out of Rei and nope away. (I know who they are, I’m no dummie!) Also the Legendary Silver Crystal stopped working.

THEN USAGI WENT AND PLAYED WITH SOME STRAY CATS and also got a power up but mostly OMG SO MANY KITTIES! Which were used to cheer her up because she was so deep into a funk that even Luna was like, “Usagi, go hang out with your boyfriend and don’t think about being Sailor Moon so much,” which means, it’s probably really bad. Also those shadowy guardians are back, and next week we meet Haruka. YAY!

I’m actually really loving seeing growth from Usagi. I love that she’s still silly and little bit of a mess, but she’s starting to get it together. (I’m also starting to see shades of how Bryan Lee O’Malley said she was one of the main inspirations for Scott Pilgrim)

Crystal

Crystal also had a strong outing this week. With their friends all abducted and whatnot, Usagi and Minako are TOTALLY DONE with Chibi-Usa and Mamoru is maybe a little more forgiving but even he’s like, “guess we gotta learn the kid’s deal huh?” So they question her, but when she sees that they’re holding a piece of the Malefic black crystal she freaks the eff out and refuses to talk to them and then steals Usagi’s brooch. Usagi gets it back, and then Chibi-Usa is all, “Help me Sailor Moon Kenobi, you’re my only hope,” and next week we time travel, and that’s really the part of this arc that I like, so I’m excited for it.

Here’s The Sitch: Kim Possible Season 2 Episodes 9 & 10

While this isn’t a Batman Eternal week, it is a Chrissy’s Getting Married So I was in Philly NOT working week. Plus I was really excited about this week’s KP episodes.

Kim Ron Rufus

Remember last year, when I confessed that half the reason for watching all of those DC movies was to watch Under The Red Hood again?

Well, this week is kind of like that. Half the point of this rewatch was to get to this week. I love this week’s episodes so much, my little heart could burst.

Season 2: Episode 9 “Virtu-Ron”

Ron’s trying to get things to the next level with Zita. (Remember Zita?) He hears her talking to her friends about how they’re all getting decimated in MMORPG game Everlot, by a new player who calls himself The Wraithmaster. The Everlot crew is convinced their only help is a player known only as The Tunnel Lord. Ron, wanting to impress Zita, lies and says he’s an expert Everlot player.

Kim teases Ron about his decision to pursue Zita online, but she’s generally supportive. This is Zita’s only other appearance which is something of a bummer. She’s probably my favorite non Kim or Ron love interest. Probably because she’s one of my people.

Anyway, Ron and Zita team up in Everlot until they get kidnapped by the Wraithmaster, who it turns out is noxious proto nerd boy Malcolm, who also wanted to impress Zita with his Everlot prowess. When she says this is pathetic, Ron’s a little deflated.

Meanwhile, Kim and Wade head into Everlot to rescue their friends, and Kim is turned into a Pixie and it’s adorable. They get to the cave where Malcolm is holding the others, but don’t do well enough to beat him. And then The Tunnel Lord shows up.

The Tunnel Lord is Rufus. Obviously. But even he can’t beat Malcolm so all the players, at Ron’s behest, transfer their power to Zita and she wins. Ron takes some pity on Malcolm, and Zita forgives him deception. But of course, then she’s gone.

Season 2: Episode 10 “The Fearless Ferret”

I often say that things are my favorites. Episodes. TV shows. Moments. But then there’s “The Fearless Ferret.”

“The Fearless Ferret” is not just my favorite episode of Kim Possible. “The Fearless Ferret” is one of my favorite episodes of any TV Show ever. It’s that good. I’d remembered it was good. I’d remember it was funny and silly and smart.

I didn’t remember how good, funny, silly and smart it was.

Kim and Ron are enrolled in the hospital “Sunshine Spreaders” program, and Ron takes a very special assignment to go visit homebound Timothy North, who has already sent several volunteers home crying. Not to be deterred Ron marches in and starts doing chores for the old man. But when he accidentally knocks over a bust and finds a red button, he pushes it and finds himself in The Ferret Hole.

Look, the Fearless Ferret 2.0 is basically Batman Beyond and it’s brilliant. But of course, there’s a KP twist. Kim senses that something’s off with her bestie so she hunts him down. After learning his secret identity, Kim and Ron must stop White Stripe a skunk themed villain from committing super stinky crimes, or something.

Meanwhile, the Tweebs have been watching old lame TV shows, and Kim learns that The Fearless Ferret was in fact, a show, and North is the star, and White Stripe another actor, who’ve gone crazy and think the show was real. Kim confronts North, but White Stripe has already kidnapped Ron to, where else? A Ferret Convention! The result rescue is fun, and a chance for Ron to get some actiony mojo. It’s pretty great. In the end North is celebrated by his fan base.

Of course he is.

Boo-Yas And Nacos

  • Seriously, I wish we had gotten more Zita. She’s pretty cool.
  • Ron: You should join the drama club. You already have the shirts
    Malcolm: You’re right. I do already have the shirts. 
    This line shouldn’t be as funny as it is, but it is.
  • Gaming has always been my nerd blind spot, but from the people I know who play World Of Warcraft, Everlot seems fairly spot on.
  • Timothy North is voiced by Adam West. Because THIS IS THE BEST EPISODE EVER!
  • Ron consistently forgets to mention Rufus, aka Wonder Weasel when introducing himself as the Ferret. I’m convinced this is because Terry McGinnis doesn’t have a Robin. I could be overthinking this.
  • Among the brilliant DCAU touches in this episode, when Kim fights White Stripe, we only see their silhouettes, which is very Bruce Timm.
  • There’s also a cute moment where Ron is hanging upside down and Kim unmasks him, which is Spider-Man not Batman, but still, fun.
  • Kim outright refuses to be Ferret Girl, which is her prerogative, but I still maintain that line from KP to Babs is about an inch long.
  • In KP News, have you guys seen Christie Carlson-Ramano’s You Tube Video? HOW FUN IS THAT?