Once Upon A Time Shipping News: I WIN!

Warning: This Post Contains Spoilers for Once Upon A Time Season 3 Episode 15 Originally Aired on 3/30/2014

Once Upon a Time

Last night’s Once Upon a Time, which gave us the death of Neil/Bae was touching and sad. Especially as Emma assured the still amnesiac Henry that his father was a hero, and she wanted him to know at least that. It was a very special moment. Reenie, the person who loves this show and wants to see happy endings to everything was sad, and I’m going to miss the character.

Um, The Fangirl was a little different.

The Fangirl was hopping around in my brain jumping and clapping, sing-songing, “I win, I win, I win, I win, I wiiiii-iiiin!!!!!”

It wasn’t really attractive, but, since this blog is about the Fangirl, let’s go with her reaction.

Ding don the Neal is dead! I win! There is nothing but Hook/Emma greatness on the horizon, especially since right before his death, Neal and Cillian made up, and remembered their adventures from long ago, when Neal was a little boy. If you think this ends with anything other than Emma and Hook having drunk sex as they try to drink their feelings away, you have not watched as much television as I have.

And this is a good thing, even if I’m sorry that Neal, (and thus my sister’s Ship) had to die in order for it to happen. (Mary’s top Neal related quote last night, “Ugh, I love Neal, but I hate when he uses Batman voice.”) You have to understand, that my sister and I are often on the same page shipping wise, and also she would never call it shipping, so we tend not to argue over things, also our parallell development allows for us to not really argue about these things. Mary would never dare try to convince the fangirl of anything and frankly her, “He’s just doing a Captain Jack Sparrow imitation” and “It’s gross because he was in love with Henry’s grandma” arguments are well reasoned but completely futile because the chemistry between Hook and Emma is just too astounding to be denied. So we were always at a stalemate. But now Neal is dead, so, I win, even if it’s by default.

In other shipping news, even without their memories, Regina and Robin are back at that their sassy investigation based relationship. Apparently, theirs is to be a Mulder/Scully, Booth/Bones, Beckett/Castle, Rizolli/Isles type love, and I am 100% on board for that. I couldn’t have been the only person who wanted them to drink all of Zelena’s whiskey and make out in her house right?

And I just realized that this week I decided I wanted both of my ships to end in drunk sex instead of marriage and babies. Perhaps I am developing some of that fabled “edge” that is talked of so highly. Wouldn’t that be nice?


Time To Get Personal: On Family

I rarely write about really personal things here, but I was fresh out of commentary for this week, due mostly to the fact that I had this cold kicking my ass all week and was mostly sleeping and consuming pop culture comfort food. (So much Veronica Mars, Pride & Prejudice and also Saving Mr. Banks again.) So, instead I’m going to talk about my family.

I’ve talked in bits and pieces about my immediate family, namely, my brother, my sister and my sister’s boyfriend (who, not to freak him out or anything, but is basically just a part of our family at this point.) and I’ve named dropped some of my cousins, mainly Tommy, Bobby and Jake, who grew up a half hour from me and are the little brothers that my sister and I always begged my mom for. (In the end this was wayyy better, when we get sick of the three of them, we can kick them out or leave. You can’t do that with your real siblings.) But here’s the truth of the matter. My mom is one of five kids and my dad is one of six. With the exception of my Uncle Mark and his fiance Richard, all of those people have multiple children. Three of my cousins are now married, two of them have kids. A couple more of them are in serious relationships. My family continues to grow and it can be overwhelming and is always completely amazing.

I had a really long conversation with my cousin in law, Christine on Saturday about my this blog and my writing. My cousin Trip, her husband, and she have been infinitely supportive of what I’m trying to do here. Trip has also been pushing me to write about our family for a very long time. But here’s the thing, when you have a big family, there are a lot of personalities and situations to navigate. A couple of my cousins want to work in politics. I’d never want to torpedo their dreams because I made a stupid joke about the time we drank too much wine on Thanksgiving and planned our double wedding to Quinn and Puck, to pick an example of something that absolutely did not happen at all. Others might be more sensitive and not understand that what I mean as good natured teasing of their life choices that are different than my own, doesn’t mean I’m condemning those choices. If I talk about how moving in with Mark and Richard after college basically saved my life, with my other Aunts and Uncles think that I don’t appreciate their continued support?

There’s also this strange line between my father’s side of the family and my mother’s. I nominally closer to my mother’s side. I know more about their day to day lives, we have these weird wild weekends where we all get together and drink too much and laugh and play games and watch movies and someone winds up crying by Saturday night and it’s all forgotten by Sunday morning. But I have a lot more in common with my dad’s side, and since we’re all pretty concentrated in the tri-state area, our interactions are usually holidays (or the day after holidays, which is kind of this weird tradition that we have.) But I’ll talk theatre with my cousin Kelly for hours, Disney with my cousin in law Kristi, and we eat too much and laugh at weird jokes and play with the dogs, and everyone wears themselves out and we’re in bed by 10. Or a bunch of us will get together for dinner in New York City, or I’ll go on an impromptu road trip with my Aunt Donna and her twin daughters to Baltimore to visit my great Aunt. It’s always a lot more organized but no less fulfilling.

There isn’t a particular point that I wanted to make here, just you know, ranting and I guess that families are complicated and there are a lot of feelings and personalities involved.

But I guess this is my way of saying, yeah, I’m going to get to work on that book, the one about my family that I’ve been threatening to write since college. We’ll see how it goes.


DC Animated Movies: Superman VS The Elite

Superman Vs The Elite

My favorite thing about Superman VS The Elite was by far the animation. Unlike the more “realistic” style of other movies, it goes for a straight cartoon style, with thick lines and rounded edges. It’s superb looking and fits this little fable about the nature of Superman and heroism quite well.

The plot of the film is fairly simply, based on “What’s so funny about Truth, Justice, and The American Way?” a storyline meant to examine the role of Superman in an era that seems to reject his sort of white light heroics. As “The Elite,” a team of four, Manchester Black, Menagerie, The Hat and Coldcast, rise to popularity with their “let the punishment fit the crime” all out destructive crime fighting, Superman grows ever more despondent that he’s irrelevant. In the end they all fight, and Superman wins but does so by showing them mercy.

It’s a quick little story and a fun one. I mentioned how much I loved the animation style, and I love the idea that Manchester Black the punk rock leader of The Elite is the physical embodiment of the comics British Invasion. I’m a fan of all those writers, but there’s an element of the absurd to their way of doing things, the “deconstruction” of superheroes can be take all of the sheen off the concept and render them useless, except that such stories and inspiration aren’t useless, as Superman points out.

The different members of The Elite are everything that’s sort of odd about alternative comics (they’re actually meant to directly parody The Authority.) Menagerie is grotesque and sexually aggressive, Coldcast kills without thought, and The Hat care less than anyone could possibly think.

George Newbern is back as Supes. Newbern took over for Tim Daly in the Justice League, so he knows the character pretty well. I’m also a big fan of Pauley Perrette’s Lois here and the way she functions in the story. (Lois and Clark are married here, so she’s a partner more than a rival or obstacle, it’s a cool way to show their relationship.) Robin Atkins Downes is Manchester Black, and he does a good job I’m just not crazy about the character, although I love what he represents and of course when Superman asks him what it feels like to be deconstructed, it’s pretty great.

Overall I really enjoyed watching it, like I said, I’m a big fan of the animation and action here, even if the story isn’t everything that I hoped it would be.

Up next is The Dark Knight Returns: Part 1 which is always a good deal of fun.

The Ten Thousand Dollar Tan Line or Back To Basics


Here’s the thing about the whole Veronica Mars  revival, I still haven’t decided if I think it’s a good thing for pop culture in general.

Here’s another thing about the whole Veronica Mars revival, I have decided that I don’t really care much, because as a fan of these characters I can’t seem to get enough of them. I actually read the second half of the first VM book The Ten Thousand Dollar Tan Line while rewatching several episodes of season 2. (I really love “The Donut Run” more than is at all fair to any single hour of television.)

The Ten Thousand Dollar Tan Line is like a standard B+ episode of the show, complete with a horrific crime committed against young women, the rich kid/poor kid distinction drawn, Wallace bringing invaluable resources to the investigation (he caught two of his players in a bar and uses them to pass out flyers.) The mystery surrounds the disappearance of 2 girls during Neptune’s Spring Break. The Chamber of Commerce hires Veronica to help find the girls. It turns out that the second girl is Veronica’s step sister.

I was intrigued by Thomas’s decision to bring Lianne back in before other characters. (*cough* Duncan *cough*) But the idea of Veronica having to make due with her mother being in Neptune added an emotional element that the story would have missed otherwise, especially since Logan was still gone. Although it is a little odd that in her nine year get her life together absence that Veronica didn’t reconnect with her mother.

I don’t want to spoil much, because the twist and turns of the mystery are really what makes this worth it. The return of Lianne ups the emotional stakes, but there’s little else that really happens for the overall Veronica Mars narrative here. It’s just a fun little drop by to our favorite crime ridden beach town.

Oh, but the terms “FBI” and “criminal profiler” came up twice. I’m thinking that Thomas might be hinting at Veronica’s future, and frankly, this makes more sense than any other possible future for our girl. Also, Veronica finally got a gun, so that’ll be fun.

In Vain I Have Struggled

Yesterday, as I fought off a monster head cold, (Brought on by a combination of allergy season, a weekend spent not getting enough sleep and drinking too much champagne, while playing with adorable dogs that I’m also allergic too.) I knew that I should have popped my DVD for Superman VS The Elite, and get back on track with The DC Animated movies, but I knew with the nap that would have happened if I hadn’t basically been mainlining tea and honey all day, I decided to fall back instead on a more comfortable pop culture friend than The Man of Steel.

I scanned through Amazon Prime and decided that it was about time I watched the 1994 BBC version of Pride and Prejudice again.

It’s good to revisit your favorites from time to time and there’s something really really comforting about this miniseries. Sometimes, you just want to watch Jennifer Ehles and Colin Firth enact every awkward agonizing syllable of Lizzie and Darcy’s courtship. Sometimes you want to marvel at the sheer number of feathers on every one’s heads in any given scene and attempt not to throw things at the screen every time you see Kitty and Lydia.

I didn’t finish, because without a jug of wine and my lit major friends there’s no way I’m making it through that baby in one sitting. But I did make it to Darcy’s first proposal and if you don’t know that speech you should check it out, because it’s amazing. And if you haven’t seen Colin Firth’s version, there’s so much angst and pathos and he’s one of the sexiest men to ever live.

Still got this to look forward to!

Still got this to look forward to!

But the truth is that there’s so much to that particular version of P&P besides Colin, including it’s slavish attention to Austen’s dialog. I mean, wow, just about every single word is there. Yes, Mr. Darcy’s POV is played up a bit more, but having the unabridged version of the proposal speech and the letter he sends to Elizabeth, all under Colin’s soulful gaze and half open shirt are worth the other 4 or so hours of Austenian meandering, even for non fans.

But of course Colin is only half of the equation. I’ve never been the biggest fan of Elizabeth as far as Austen’s heroines go. I prefer Emma and Elinor when it comes to the big 3, and Catherine Norton to them all. And while, yeah, I’m actually a big fan of Kiera Knightley’s portrayal, it pales in comparison to Ehles’s proper tomboy take on Lizzie. I’ve always felt like there was a spiritual and Atlantic spanning soul sister connection between Elizabeth Bennett and Jo March and Ehles’s Elizabeth lines up almost perfectly with Winona Ryder’s Jo (my favorite version).

All apologies to Sutton Foster, who remains my hero in every other aspect of things.

All apologies to Sutton Foster, who remains my hero in every other aspect of things.

It makes sense since the two versions came around at the same time. (Also, so did Sutton and Kiera’s respectively. If only Keira has sung, then it would be a perfect match up.)

It was a cozy afternoon and I was grateful for it.

When Frank Met Olivia: A Romance of Destruction

As I finished up House of Cards,  I started thinking about the other Washington D.C. set dramas to set it up next to.

Of course I thought of The West Wing, but as I played out any scenario that set Frank Underwood, Claire Underwood and co up against The Bartlett Administration it ended with Leo McGarry whacked out on pills and scotch, Josh Lyman screaming at the sirens in his head and President Bartlett curled up in a rocking chair as Frank somehow managed to make his MS advance faster.

No the sunshiney optimism of The Bartlett Administration would never stand against the steamroller of Frank Underwood.

But Pope and Associates, from Scandal, that would be a showdown worth seeing. Seeing Olivia Pope take on Francis Underwood would absolutely be worth it.

It would start simply enough. One of the many people that the Underwoods burned would realize that they had something to gain. Maybe Christina Gallagher, she got pretty well screwed. Anyway, she seeks out Olivia, because she wants justice for the man that she loved.

This is an appeal that obviously appeals to Olivia, because in spite of her bad ass-ness, she’s totally a big mush. Olivia and The Gladiators begin digging and of course they find enough to start pointing fingers. Unlike Lucas and Janine, Olivia has Huck. So when Doug Stamhope shows up all threatening, I figure Huck will just lock him in a basement somewhere and start torturing him with pictures of Rachel and her lesbian lover playing on loop or something. And a power drill, but I think that’s a given.

Upon hearing that Doug disappeared, Frank would called President Fitzgerald Grant and begin threatening him with revealing all of the Olivia stuff. Once her boy got brought in, the gloves would be off, and Olivia would show up at his office and make a big eloquent speech about how he doesn’t even know what he’s started. She will bury him. She is Olivia Pope. Frank will laugh it off and play the innocent, and Olivia would smile, go home and drink a whole bottle of wine.

In the end it would be hard to say who would win, but I think because Huck would kill anyone who gets near Liv, she would win out. Doug would try, but he would not be able to keep up with Huck’s level of homicidal crazy. And I think it goes without saying that this would all go on while Millie Grant and Claire Underwood drank tea in fab dresses and made pointed bitchy comments at one another.

I mean obviously, that’s what was going to happen there.

Shapeshifting and Parent Fights: Ms. Marvel #2

Ms. Marvel 2

So, after getting to know Kamala Khan in Ms. Marvel #1, Ms. Marvel #2 “All Mankind,” brings our plucky awkward heroine her first challenge, learning how to use her brand new cosmic shape shifting powers. While, “hero gets powers” and “hero learns how to use powers” are of course necessary steps, I wasn’t expecting a lot of this issue. But I thoroughly enjoyed it as, Kamala found that she was able to shrink herself down to bug size (to hide from her classmates) and then grow and rescue one of said classmates from drowning.

Kamala then runs home, while complaining about her superhero costumes (which gives her a wedgie, has pinchy boots and hilariously, doesn’t come with underwear.) She climbs a tree to sneak back in, becomes herself again and then gets into a fight with her parents when she can’t tell them what happened.

What I’m really enjoying about Kamala and Ms. Marvel so far is that it’s not collapsing under how important it is. There was a lot of pressure on this series to deliver, and it has, but not by preaching or pushing, simply by creating a fun story about a girl coming to terms with getting super powers and finding herself. This would be an interesting story regardless of said girl’s outer trappings. But that Kamala is a first generation American, and a Muslim makes her important. If Kamala were WASPy, and still funny, awkward and obsessed with the Avengers, she would still be awesome. (Also, her name would probably be Caitlin then right?) But she isn’t, and that gives her story a twist.

Because the story wasn’t as important this time around (except that Kamala is now grounded and that makes superheroing more difficult.) I want to talk a little bit about the art. To be totally fair, I don’t know much about comic book art (And also, as a words person don’t care too much about it), but I do know enough to know what I like. Adrian Alphona’s art is definitely the kind of stuff that I like. Kamala’s world is quirky looking, and fun, full of long lines and soft faces. I’m enjoying it.

So, I’m two into the series and I’m definitely a fan. I was going to keep reading and buying even if this issue didn’t kill it, but I still really liked this one. I’m looking forward to seeing more of Kamala’s adventures as we move forward, that’s absolutely for certain.

How To Fight Presidents And More Crushing

How To Fight Presidents

When I found out that Daniel O’Brien was writing a book about presidents I was really excited, and not just because I think that DOB might be my soulmate, but also because I knew that the book was going to make me laugh and that I’d probably learn something.

I did both. (I also, incidentally fell deeper in love with O’Brien, but that’s not relevant.)

Anyway, How To Fight Presidents had it’s inception when a college professor told O’Brien that neither he nor any of his classmates would ever be president, DOB’s response? “I never wanted to be president, but when that constantly angry profesor told me I couldn’t — even if I want to — something inside of me was triggered and I thought, “Oh yeah? I’ll show you. I’m going to president. I’m going to be president all over this country, and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it!” (O’Brien, 2) and he went about learning everything he could about Presidents to become like them.

He concluded that he could never be president, because all of the presidents are insane in a very specific way, and he was not insane that way. Thus, he decided that if he couldn’t be president, he would learn how to beat them all up. How To Fight Presidents is a primer on presidential trivia and a very funny one. And again, cements my eternal nerd crush on this man.

I mean, how do you not fall in love with a guy who paraphrases Thomas Jefferson by saying, “blood is the poop of freedom,” (O’Brien, 20) and describing James K Polk as “The James Browniest President.” (69) and makes a detailed case that Ronald Reagan might have been Wolverine. But also, how do you not just love a book like that?

I come from a generation that likes our education with a healthy dose of humor and entertainment. We were raised on Bill Nye The Science Guy and Wishbone, and that’s why it makes sense that one of us would write a book that when describing JFK says, “Plenty of presidents have been as good as Kennedy, and many have been better, but he is the only president that made the American people, in unison, say, ‘What a cool dude. I’d let him have sex with my girlfriend if she was into it.'” (O’Brien, 215) or when advising you on how to beat James Madison says, “Grab that sucker, lift him up in the air, say, ‘By the away, I’m a big fan of the Constitution, I’m really glad you put that thing together.” (29)

Of course if you don’t have time to read the whole book just read three chapters, Andrew Jackson, Teddy Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson, absolutely worth it.

An MCU Revelation (For Me)

Assembling a Universe

Because ABC has apparently decided that killing any and all momentum Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. might gain purely by accident is the best possible plan, last night rather than air a new episode, they aired an all new special about the building of the MCU. Watching the special, for me, gave me a butt load of insight into my older brother.

OK, here’s the thing, anytime anyone tries to start a conversation about sports on the collegiate or professional level with my older brother, he always sighs good naturedly and then takes apart their point with the astounding amount of knowledge that he has about collegiate and professional sports. I don’t often give him props for this, in fact I often find it obnoxious, because I am often the one on the receiving end of this dressing down. I mean, dude I’m just trying to engage you about something you’re very interested in and I am mildly interested in. (Since Lost went off the air, we haven’t had very many overlapping interests, so conversations are sometimes short.) He also very often starts off long rambling speeches with “I know most people aren’t as interested in sports as I am but,” and then basically calls some poor person who tried to talk sports with him an idiot. (Once he refused to believe that in Chicago Oprah could get a table faster than Michael Jordan. I had to remind him that like, Oprah probably owns Michael Jordan’s gambling debts, or something else crazy.) I found myself shaking my head and my sister and I watched this “special” with all its’ “insider insights” and “sneak peeks” and saying, “I mean, I know I know more about these movies than most people, but I literally had all of this information before tonight.”

Basically, I owe my brother a huge apology because it is frustrating as hell! While yeah, I generally am happy to listen to Robert Downey Jr. talk about playing Tony Stark, and hear Clark Gregg gush about how it was the love of the Marvel fan base that kept Phil Coulson alive (and him employed), and to look at Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston, if you’re going to pre-empt my show, maybe give me a little bit more than some clips of Captain America: The Winter Soldier that just make it abundantly clear that Black Widow and Cap are going to bone, and an interview with  Chris Pratt where he reveals that Star-Lord is “a little bit selfish.”

Other astounding revelations? In Age of Ultron we’ll meet Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver.  (Not new information.) And Ultron is a giant robot who has a history in comics of wanting to kill The Avengers a lot.

Which again, I mean, I get that not everyone is as into the MCU as I am, but…

In Praise of Chris Lowell

I saw Veronica Mars twice this weekend, and I’m completely obsessed with Enlisted right now, so I think that it’s time to talk about how truly adorable and talented Chris Lowell is. Even if Piz is the most ridiculously out of place character in the entire run of Veronica Mars, but I’ll get to that. It’s hard not to be charmed by Lowell’s smirk and floppy hair.



I first became really aware of Chris Lowell when he played Dell, the adorable single father assistant on Private Practice, who had a strident overpowering love for Audra MacDonald’s Naomi. What I always liked in general about Private Practice was the way it took the similar tropes of it’s parent series Grey’s Anatomy and made them a lot better by handing them off to more likable characters. This made Private Practice an easier show to swallow and good deal more shallow, but honestly? I’m not looking at a prime time soap about the love lives of impossibly good looking medical professionals for emotional complexity. Dell’s love for Naomi was similar to George’s love for Meredith, in that she was aware of it and it made her uncomfortable, but not like it, in that you rarely if ever wanted to smack either of them in the face. Of course, once Dell died in a fire, and Naomi half adopted his daughter, she got pretty insufferable for a while. (Remember when she tried to force her daughter to get an abortion? That episode was the worst. But Audra still killed it.)

Next (not in his career just in my level of awareness) came Piz. I actually like Piz, he gets a lot of Veronica Mars fan hate because he’s an obstacle to Logan and Veronica’s relationship, but I don’t mind that he’s that. Characters can be an obstacle to the main couple and still be great. (Let’s go back to Grey’s Anatomy, and talk about McVet. I mean right? Or Brooke Davis, or Jake on Scandal.) The problem is that Piz is really only an obstacle to Veronica and Logan’s relationship. He’s also there to give Wallace someone to pal around with, since season 3 focused more on Veronica and Mac’s friendship, but he’s probably the most blatant example of Veronica Mars changing itself to fit into The WB’s formula, when it was retooled for the new CW. Piz worked at the campus radio station and wanted to be a serious broadcaster, liked indie rock a whole lot, and this would have been fine, again, if this had been used at all for the plot. But Piz’s reporting chops never helped Veronica solve a case, in fact he might be the only character on the show who never had anything to do with the mysteries. Even Duncan Kane, for all of his milquetoast boring-ness was at least kind of crazy, related to the show’s initial murder victim and the father of another’s child. Duncan was dull, but he was dull functionally. Piz was fun to spend time with, but didn’t make sense to the plot. This leaves him the job that was once Wallace’s, (make everyone be normal for a night) and to be a punching bag for Logan.

But now there’s Enlisted, and OMG EVERYONE WATCH ENLISTED AND GET REALLY ANGRY IF FOX CANCELS IT BECAUSE IT IS GREAT! The show centers on 3 brothers who were raised as army brats and are all now stationed in Florida with The Rear Detachment Unit, who support the army families left behind. Oldest brother Pete is a returned hero from Afghanistan, youngest Randy is an incompetent but enthusiastic soldier and middle brother Derrick is sarcastic and disdainful but couldn’t cut it in college so it was the army or oblivion. Guess which one Lowell plays? If Piz had been more like Derrick, I doubt he’d be as villified. Derrick is currently dating the bartender at the place where the unit hangs out, and rooming with his little brother.

Anyway, I’m just sort of into the guy right now, and I wanted to write about his parts here. And also, just pimp Enlisted, because seriously, it’s really good.