A Voice of A Generation

girls-finale-hbo-jessa-shoshanna

In the very first episode of Girls Lena Dunham’s clueless Hannah tells her parents that she thinks she might be the voice of her generation.

The joke here obviously is that Hannah is in no way shape or form capable of such of thing. Nor is it possible to judge such a thing while it’s happening. But I was twenty four, I watched that pilot not long after running out of money and time, and moving from a windowless bedroom in a shared Brooklyn apartment back to the large, beautiful house that my parents built while I was in college. And something about the show felt vibrant and real, and close to who I was in that moment.

Girls taught me a lot over the past six years. Reading about and disecting it taught me even more. But the main lesson I got from the show, was that “representation matters.”

Now I’m not talking about the fact that Girls is problematic in it’s general diversity, I’m not talking about the fact that Dunham herself is a difficult personality to push past, because both of those things are true, I’m talking about the fact that I’d never seen something hit what my friends and I were going through in a specific moment so squarely as season 1 (and to a smaller degree season 3) of Girls did.

I am a rich white girl with artistic aspirations. (Though every character on this show refusing to get a day job always drove me absolutely bonkers) (Except Shosh. I mean obviously.) Girls is literally about people like me, and I’d never seen anything that was literally about people like me before. I’d related to characters and stories, but never had anything so specifically fitting my profile hit before.

Which brings me to representation. I never knew that I was missing representation until I saw that representation. And I want everyone to have that moment of recognition. To hear a character say something, even if that something is perverse and obtuse and disconnected from most of reality, that hits your reality so fricking perfectly that you will love that film, TV show, piece of music forever.

Cross identification in fiction is wonderful. It builds empathy and understanding and expands minds. I wouldn’t be the person I am, if I didn’t see parts of myself in characters that were nothing like me. But the sheer power of seeing someone so close to myself, even in four parts, as I did when I watched Girls is so overwhelming, so beautiful, such a call in the dark that “you are not alone,” that I want everyone to get that. Which is why I want to hear stories from all kinds of creators, and why I’ve been making a concerted effort to search out those stories in my life for the few years.

But I want to state for the record that Girls was what opened that window for me. I’d heard pleas for diversity before it, and understood, because I like stories from people who aren’t like me, but didn’t understand this need to see yourself on screen and in stories. Until I did, and it felt like magic. It felt like Lena Dunham, with her writing, and acting, as well as the acting of Allison Williams & Zosia Mament, (and to a lesser extent Jemima Kirke, because I don’t see a lot of myself in Jessa. Though I do see several of my friends) saw my heart, and suddenly the world was brighter.

Everyone should get that feeling, and Girls gave me that feeling, and I will miss it terribly now that it’s over. I’ll miss it the same way I miss the friends I had when the show started. A lot of those people are not in my life anymore, because adulthood is complicated.

Deconstructing Defenders: Daredevil: Season 2: Episodes 3 & 4

daredevil-season-2

Season 2: Episode 3: “New York’s Finest”

While Season 2 in total is no where near as effective as season 1, this episode is among the best in the entire Defenders run. Frank has Matt chained to a water tower on a roof, and they talk about heroism, murder, Matt says Franks name like seven million time, “Frank, you don’t have to Frank! FRANK DON’T!” And then, after getting out, Matt takes part in The Hallway Fight 2.0.

But that basic summary really doesn’t do the conversation justice, especially not when you take fandom into consideration. There’s an ongoing conversation in fandom circles, only magnified by a certain director on the other side of the fence, about whether Superheroes should kill. And here’s that conversation, in detail, by two characters basically on opposite sides of the spectrum. Daredevil doesn’t kill, and beats him self up mentally and spiritually when he thinks about the pain he inflicts. The Punisher kills first, asks questions later, or, for the most part not at all.

“You’re one bad day away from being me,” is such a chillingly true statement, and I love it so much.

The other part of this episode is Foggy following Claire around asking her to help him find Matt and her basically being like, “I like Matt, but he’s a pain in my ass, so I’m cutting a running,” which, I can’t blame her for, but also CLAIRE! DON’T GO!

Karen decides that justice can only be served by Karen Page being nosy, so she does that and finds an x-ray of Frank Castle’s skull, with a bullet lodged in it.

Season 2: Episode 4: “Penny And Dime”

This episode is not as good as the last one, but it’s still really good, and has that epic shot of Daredevil standing in the rain on top of a church, which is pretty damn great. It also, unfortunately has the stupid, Karen and Matt rain kiss which is just. UGHHHHHH.

Anyway, Matt manages to corner Frank and Frank tells the amazing story of coming home from war to find his daughter in school. It’s heartbreaking and beautiful and awesome and I love everything about the scene, from Matt, sitting on the ground beside him, to the explanation of “one batch, two batch, penny and dime,” to now Sergeant Brett Mahoney apprehending The Punisher. YAY!

Matt, Foggy and Karen celebrate with beers and shots, and then Matt and Karen make out in the rain, but their chaste happy joy is short lived, as Matt gets home and Electra is sitting in his apartment, ready to throw things at him.

Other Stuff

  • Jon Beranthal can deliver a speech. That is all
  • Rosario Dawson is the best. That is also all.
  • I’m mean about Karen’s snooping, but it is actually well done, I just hate the relationship between Matt and Karen and wish that it didn’t happen. And her finding Frank’s house is really a cool moment.
  • Matt trying to get his priest to forgive him for shit that’s not his fault is both very sad and hilarious.
  • The Irish mobsters kill Frank’s dog, because apparently these men have not seen John Wick. Which is a shame because killing an unstoppable killers dog. Also, because John Wick is a great movie.
  • Guys! ELECTRA’S HERE!!!!

“I’m Marrying A Gay Guy Too”: Felicity: Season 1: Episodes 15 & 16

OK everyone, I’m done hesitating about this show, I’m completely in love with it. It’s so perfect in every possible way.

felicity-season-1

Season 1: Episode 15: “Love And Marriage”

So, Javier is getting deported, and he asks Felicity to marry him for his green card. She agrees because she’s a people pleaser. Noel isn’t thrilled but is sort of dealing with his own crisis, in that his older brother Brian has come to town and come out of the closet.

So Noel’s freaking out about that, and his girlfriend marrying his older gay man. These two stories don’t really dovetail at all, but it’s sort of a weird queer themed episode. Anyway, as Felicity learns that a green card marriage is way more complicated than she thought (no duh).

Meanwhile, Ben has been swimming and wants to try out for swim team and also he’s being kind of a jerk to Julie, but he does tell her that he misses being part of a team, so she encourages him to try out. He makes it! He also makes friends with a couple of people from the team, which becomes more important next episode.

Anyway, Javier’s boyfriend basically calls off the marriage, which is a huge relief to Felicity, and Noel comes around, kind of on his brother’s gayness and even meets his boyfriend, which is nice.

Season 1: Episode 16: “The Fugue”

Hannah’s back! (Jennifer Garner, SO CUTE) And Noel is confused, so is Felicity. She’s even more confused as she starts to talk to Eli, a cute painter boy who she’d met previously when checking out the art studio. Even Elena thinks he’s cute and that is high praise.

Meanwhile, Julie is getting ready for an open mic night and also she’s kind of over Ben’s swimming friends, who apparently are kind of the worst. Ben is less than sympathetic. But Sean’s really nice about the whole thing. Seriously they’re cute. Then it turns out that Ben’s annoying swimming friend is actually really cool and helps Julie tune her guitar and is actually quite nice. Ben, however, still the worst.

Noel breaks up with Felicity because he’s confused about his feelings, and starts to get back together with Hannah but decides he’s too confused for that.

I am rapidly becoming annoyed with Noel. Meanwhile, Felicity hangs out and then makes out with Eli. GO GET YOURS FELICITY!

Other Things

  • Why I Hate Ben: I cannot possibly hate how dismissive he is of Julie and Sean now that he’s on the swim team more. DUDE, these people like you and are there for you.
  • Team Noel: This ship is sinking fast. Though adorable, his “I can’t choose between Felicity and Hannah” thing better not go on long because I have NO interest in seeing beautiful wonderful ladies like Jennifer Garner and Keri Russell fight over that dummy. I still like him more than Ben Though.
  • Crystan Says: “There’s a couple that you’ll never see coming that you’ll absolutely love.” CRYSTAN IS IT JULIE AND SEAN????? Because I love them.

Deconstructing Defenders: Daredevil: Season 2: Episodes 1 & 2

Guys! It’s time for Daredevil Season 2! AKA The Punisher is THE BEST! (Also Elektra!)

daredevil-season-2

Season 2: Episode 1: “Bang”

The premiere of season 2 is the first indication that this isn’t the same show that it was the season before. Everything’s just a little bit bigger and slicker and then there’s The Punisher. Who we don’t technically know is The Punisher yet, and we definitely don’t know is Frank Castle.

Anyway, we open with Daredevil stopping a mugging that leads him to a church. It’s bigger and more kinetic than anything we saw before, and we see Matt’s upgraded suit. Which I think is great, but I’m also a fan of the original suit, so apparently I am wrong.

Anyway, after her gets the bad guy, we see Matt and Foggy on their way to work, joking and laughing, talking about Foggy’s date the previous night, they get to the office and Nelson and Murdock is overrun with clients, none of whom can pay of course.

Karen’s busy managing the office and when the three of them go out for drinks that night, the sexual tension between her and Matt explodes. Foggy is not thrilled, but whatever. (I am also not thrilled. Mostly because I think pushing Matt and Karen together was super de super lazy)

The scene where The Punisher takes out an Irish crime family is so incredibly intense. It’s also hilarious in a weird way, and brilliantly staged. It’s so clear that the team is revelling in this new brand of violence, and the first chase between Daredevil and Punisher is exceptional and Matt getting shot in the head, the titular “bang” is even better. (These first three weeks are going to be fun!)

Season 2: Episode 2: “Dogs To A Gunfight”

Foggy and Karen are consistently my favorite not Claire parts of Daredevil, so it really shouldn’t be a surprise that I actually really like this episode a lot. It’s basically the two of them maneuvering to get their client into witness protection so that The Punisher won’t get him. It’s pretty cool stuff.

Of course, there’s also Foggy dealing with the fact that Matt got SHOT IN THE GODDAMN HEAD and is still insisting that being Daredevil is necessary. The scene where Matt loses his hearing is so beautifully done and amazingly terrifying, I really enjoyed watching it again. Well, enjoyed is the wrong word, “was impressed by,” is probably better.

And that I really do love the fact that the fights between Matt and Frank, who we still don’t know is Frank, takes place sort of off screen and weirdly framed. It’s how most people see them, on the periphery of the real world.

Other Stuff

  • I must remember that there is not much Claire in this season. While everything is not as good when there’s less Claire, I understand the reasoning, she was off in Harlem filming a way better show.
  • The scene where Frank beats the crap out the guy selling child porn is so cathartic. We don’t even see the beating, but knowing it’s there is awesome.
  • I’d forgotten that the first few episodes take place during a heatwave. Such a great way to show tensions building.
  • Hey! That’s the same DA that threatened Jessica Jones.
  • Officer Brett Mahoney considers Foggy his friend now. Aw. Foggy also gets beat up by some bikers. He’s having a bit of a day.
  • Karen confronting Matt is great too. Look, I’m just saying that Karen is too good for him. Also he’s too good for her. I’m saying that this pairing is stupid and I don’t read their chemistry as romantic. Also Team Claire!

“I Like Todd”: Felicity Season 1: Episodes 11 & 12

Another two parter, and watching them as a set was really fun! Especially because this is a set of episodes that turn out very differently than I thought I would.

felicity-season-1

Season 1: Episodes 11 & 12: “Todd Mulchahy Parts 1 & 2”

Ben: Felicity’s got a stalker.
Sean: Has or is?

So, one day, as Felicity and the gang go about daily drama a guy named Todd Mulchahy shows up and it turns out aside from being like, the best guy ever, he’s had a huge crush on Felicity since they were twelve. He insists that he’s come to New York to kiss her and begin their destiny together.

Felicity is freak out,  by this and it doesn’t help that everyone else who encounters Todd talks about how great he is. It turns out that he and Ben were friends, and he and Noel talk about computers and Julie thinks he’s nice. Elena might not encounter him, but she has her own thing going on. That is, telling Blair to go fuck himself after that whole, cheating on her with her best friend thing.

Oh, also, Felicity and Elena are trying to get into a seminar that’s basically “get right into medical school right after college,” class. It’s very competitive. They both get in, but not before Todd gives Felicity a crisis of conscience and eventually decides that she’ll continue pre med, but she’s going to start focusing on art more.

This crisis comes when Todd gets hit by a bus and it turns out that he’s engaged? This is a a weird as hell episode. Todd winds up OK, and like everything in this world it’s all about Felicity.

Oh, and it turns out that lady is not Julie’s birth mother, although, I think there’s something else going on there, but I could be wrong.

Other Things:

  • Why I Hate Ben: He gets a job at Dean & Deluca and is kind of a shit to Javier, but whatever, it’s just Ben being Ben. I do think his relationship with Julie is softening him.
  • Team Noel: He’s all adorable and confused and awesome here. He’s a good boyfriend. Everyone should love Noel!
  • Sean is inventing cereal. I think that I’m also Team Sean. He’s great. I mean, I knew that because Greg Grunberg and all, but still. I enjoy him.
  • The scene where Ben realizes that he and Todd used to skateboard together is probably me favorite Ben scene so far. Oh right, this dude is kind of charming and great.
  • The fact that when she’s worried about getting rid of Todd, Felicity runs right to Ben is insanely hilarious. Really, really enjoyed that.

Deconstructing Defenders: Jessica Jones Season 1: Episode 13

We’re done here. And I really do love this finale. (I actually watched it in the same run as the previous two episodes, in a bid to get ahead of things, I’ve got a big couple of weeks coming and I want to get as much done early as I can.)

jessica-jones

Season 1: Episode 13: “AKA Smile”

The finale, which is a very good episode in it’s own right, is now completely over run in my mind by the appearance of Claire.

I don’t know what it is, you guys, but Claire Temple is my favorite part of The Defender-verse, so anytime she’s involved it’s like nothing else matters. Not Jessica snapping Kilgrave’s neck, not Trish having a coming reckoning with her mom, not Hogarth defending Jessica to the DA, nothing, can dampen my love and deep belief that Claire is not only the most important character in the Netflix branch of the MCU, but in the MCU in total. (OK, maybe Coulson can hold a candle to her. BUT HE’S THE ONLY ONE!)

Moving on, the non-Claire portions of the episode, which are mercifully brief. Jessica and Trish make a plan to take on Kilgrave, and I really do love the headphoned, hoodied Trish fake out. It’s such a cool moment, and I love the look on Tennant’s face when he realizes that he’s been duped.

The ending itself, with Jessica realizing that she’s going to be a hero now, is another favorite, and I also love Malcolm and Claire interacting. (See how I brought that back around to Claire?)

Other Stuff:

  • Malcolm is Jessica’s Karen. Trish is her Foggy. Someday, I would like all four of these people to sit down and have coffee. Claire can arrange it. Also, I mean literally have coffee. Not in the Luke Cage sense. Maybe Trish can have them on her show, “My friends is a superhero, let’s chat!” I don’t know who from Luke’s world would be there, Misty? I guess? But she’s gonna be a cyborg at some point, and everyone else Luke cares about dies.
  • I feel like I should make some grand sweeping statement about the feminism of this show. I really did notice how few white dudes there are. (White women in abundance, and not many WOC, a valid criticism I saw early on when the show started) but I think Kilgrave might be the only white dude you see regularly. Which is pretty amazing. The show deals with rape, abuse, loss of control, asserting yourself and a hundred other issues critical to feminist thought and media that it’s almost impossible to pull out each element.
  • You see Claire and Luke’s easy chemistry birthed here, and while I do ultimately want him and Jessica to get it together, there’s something to be said for someone you just click with, over the angst and back and forth.
  • As amazing as David Tennant is, I really hope that Kilgrave’s death proves permanent. Ressurection will surely be a crucial point in The Defenders but I hope that Jessica gets to remain fairly grounded. You know, like how Iron Man solo movies remain about corporate intrigue and terrorism?

OK, so next week we dive into Daredevil season 2. Here’s hoping it holds up. (I doubt it will). I did watch that one at a slower clip to begin with, over the course of a week rather than 2 days, so, we shall see…

“You’re My First Boyfriend”: Felicity: Season 1: Episodes 11 & 12

felicity-season-1

Season 1: Episode 11: “Gimme An O!”

Everyone’s back from Christmas break, and Felicity and Noel have not only decided to be a couple, but Felicity is determined to have sex for the first time. Noel, being a red blooded twenty year old male, is ALL OVER this plan, and so hilarity ensues as these two dorks try to come up with time to bump uglies.

First they arrange an elaborate sex date at Noel’s room, but a confiscated Christmas tree catches on fire and the mood is ruined. Then they get a hotel room, but a BIG SECRET comes out and they wind up having a fight instead of sex. Whoops.

The BIG SECRET by the way is that Julie and Ben have been hanging out. She’s been sleeping at his place, they went away together over break, and they haven’t hooked up yet. (Man, for two hot people who are deeply into each other, Julie and Ben move glacially.) Julie admits that this is a little bit because she’s afraid that she’s hiding from recovery with Ben.

In the end Noel and Felicity agree not to rush the sex thing but they’re going to be a couple. YAY! Team Noel.

Season 1: Episode 12: “Friends”

So, Blair is cheating on Elena with her best friend from back home and that really sucks a lot. I don’t have much else to say about it, except that of course, Felicity is the one to find out about it, because isn’t life just like that sometimes? Anyway, she moral dilemma’s her way through whether or not to tell Elena, and decides not to. She does confront Blair who tries to get out of it by invoking “oh, so you’re saying all black people look alike?” Which of course throws ultimate well intentioned white girl Felicity off her certainty.

Blair and Tara (said best friend) wind up fessing up, though not completely and Felicity goes into investigator mode (WHY, Felicity? Why do you do this?) and learns that they weren’t being honest. She tells Elena who refuses to believe her, and says that Felicity is not that close a friend. Ouch.

Meanwhile, Noel has an adventure with a vending machine. It’s adorable and I love him. Julie finds her birth mother and applies for an internship at her company, which I’m guessing, just, will not end well, like, at all.

Other Stuff:

  • Team Noel: I understand that there’s three more years of show left, but at the moment Team Noel is winning! HOORAY!
  • Why I Hate Ben: Gah, where to begin, the lying, the being a dick about Julie feeling bad about the lying. The being weird about Julie finding her birth mom, just, all of it. He’s the worst.
  • Actors I Love Who Are One This Show: Donal Logue!  He’s there as an exasperated dude in the library who bizarrely remembers everything about anyone he’s ever seen making out.
  • Things Fall Apart: So the Elena and Blair breakup is kind of crushing isn’t it? Ugh, it just sucks a whole lot, because I liked them.