Tag Archives: feminism

What’cha Watching Wednesday #15: Cancellations

I still don’t really have a plan for this year, procrastinated most of my remaining holidays instead of finishing anything. Yet, that let me to muse about some things I watched.

WWWWhat is this about?

Every other Wednesday I will publish a post in which I talk about (the latest or any episode of) a series or a (series of) movie(s).

In most cases this will be a collection of thoughts that cross through the different media.

You’re warned: There might be Spoilers.

Let’s start

One of the things I procrastinated with was Scorpion – a show about a group of geniuses accomplishing quite implausible feats – and as I’ve mentioned in previous installments, do I enjoy checking out other things interesting actors were in. In this case: Ari Stidham aka Sylvester Dodd (and I’m still not over the fact that he looks older than me in the show, but is ~two years younger than me in real life …).
Looking through his IMDB page I discovered a show that again reminded of something that seems to happen to me a lot:

I find an interesting show and then it’s cancelled.

The show I decided to watch was Huge, about a camp full of overweight teenagers trying to loose weight. At first I only wanted to watch the first episode to see if it was as tropey and full of cliches as I anticipated. Turned out it wasn’t. Turned out it had great characters and a well balanced way to deal with the teenagers different problems, which weren’t solely their weight. Insecurities, gender-identities, trust issues and many more. Sure most of the stuff wasn’t fully covered and only hinted at, but what can you expect to be accomplished in ten episodes that only run 35-40 minutes each? (Do I need to mention that I binged it in half a day – only paused for teatime cookies and dinner?)

Sure not everything was perfect. The revelation that one of the characters is asexual could have been more than just a passing note basically declaring „Nothing will happen between us, because I’m not into that sort of thing“, which would also have been more sincere if the character didn’t look like she was swooning over the other character most of the time (I know, you can be ace and still be in love with someone, but in this case it seemed only like a lame excuse to not have those two characters hook up.)
And don’t get me started on the movie from movie night … that horrible Ghost-Twilight thing of a crappy love story … I only know, that if I would have been there to watch it, I would have found a way to excuse myself from it … it was just so … wrong … I don’t even want to think about it …
I’m just glad the Bachelor – version they showed seems to be fake … though I wouldn’t put it past American television to have a show like that …
I just really hope those two things were intentionally exaggerated.

Anyway, this isn’t the first show I watched that got cancelled – and it probably wont be the last.

Agent Carter, Galavant, Undateable, Sense 8, Girlboss, …, they all suffered the same fate.

But why?

Why do incredible shows get cancelled?

There is one thing that all of the shows I mentioned above have – more or less – in common: Progress.
They aren’t your run off the mill show. They aren’t procedural cop show number 5364. They are different.

They have strong female lead characters, diversity, humor, critical topics, unusual concepts and many, many more things, but it doesn’t matter. It’s either not enough to make the average viewer enjoy it or the networks place the shows in slots that would basically make them invisible. All in all it’s not enough to continue.
And that’s the worst thing about it. Even if the fans love it, it doesn’t mean the networks will continue them, because they don’t have faith in them.

And here’s how these shows went down:

Agent Carter, an incredible show about an incredible character in its first season, got changed into a show about a woman finding love again in its second season.

Galavant, a fun musical extravaganza that didn’t take itself too serious and made some questionable choices in the second season. It simply stopped when it got interesting, when we finally would have had the chance to see the grown Tad Cooper

Undateable, used many tropes and wasn’t always funny, but they clung to life with the live improvisation strategy towards the end of their run, but it didn’t help them.

Sense 8’s fans managed to get them a last finishing hurrah, but after that we won’t see them again. We won’t know what will happen with Hernando and Leto, with Nomi and Amanita and all the other Sensates … it’ll be over …

Girlboss retold the success-story of self-made woman, but show wise, we’ll never know how and if Sophia accomplished her remaining goals.

And Huge? Put in a slot that barely anyone could properly watch, it ended before it really began. There are so many open plot lines, it’ll probably take a post of its own to just discuss those – and I’m fairly certain someone else already did that. We’ll probably never know what changes lie ahead of Alistair, what becomes of Will’s and Becca’s friendship and so on …

It’s frustrating, it’s annoying, but – with the exception of Sense8 and some other miracles – the average watcher doesn’t have a chance to change anything. The more I think about it, the more I’m grateful for Zombie Orpheus Entertainment/Dead Gentlemen Productions that JourneyQuest and The Gamers are fan funded. That we help them directly to make the magic happen.

Nearly forgot, there is something even worse than simply cancelling the show:

Broadcasting cancelled shows in other countries.

Agent Carter, ForeverMoonlight and a couple of other shows not running on Netflix, where they usually get a German dubbing by default, were for example broadcasted in German television. Imagine the frustration of finding out that, no, there will not be another season of that show you liked!

A part of me understands this last attempt at grabbing audiences and maybe, maybe another small chance at a continuation of the story. But seeing as it might take a year and more from the original broadcast to the broadcast of the translated version I don’t think this is a lucrative endeavor.

The other part of me just considers this to be awfully cruel. Just make even more people suffer from the decision to cancel the show …

What (cancelled show) were you watching?

What episodes (or movies) did you enjoy/dislike throughout the weeks/months?
Anything you’d recommend checking out?
What was the most frustrating cancellation for you (except Firefly, please …)?
Let me know in the comments below!

Final Words

If there is one thing I could wish for my birthday (today), then I might wish for some of the more amazing shows (Agent Carter, Sense8) to be continued or at least a more resolved (Huge).

See you around,

PoiSonPaiNter

What'cha Watching Wednesday #14

I know I said, I didn’t want to blog for a while, but these thoughts won’t leave me, so I’ve decided to do another of these in the new version I mentioned last time.

WWWWhat is this about?

Every other Wednesday I will publish a post in which I talk about (the latest or any episode of) a series or a (series of) movie(s).
In most cases this will be a collection of thoughts that cross through the different media.
You’re warned: There might be Spoilers.

Let’s start

with a question this time:

What do the creation of an online shop for vintage clothing and a senior internship program for an online clothing shop have in common?

They’re both about clothes, duh.
No, that’s not what I was going for.
Both stories, the first one presented in the Netflix series Girlboss, the second in the movie The Intern, are surprisingly feminist. They don’t do everything right, but it’s a start. 😉

Why is that?

  • Both shows portray the life and work of a woman striving for her own dream – which in both cases is about selling clothes, but well.
  • In both shows there are several other named female characters (even more so in GB), that talk tons of other things that are not boys. So they both pass the Bechdel Test.
  • They show different sides of the female lead: Strength, cunning & stubbornness, but also vulnerability & love.
  • They didn’t change themselves for anyone (especially not Anne Hathaway’s character whose character in The Devil wears Prada disappointed me on this).
  • They are not perfect and aren’t portrayed that way. They are human.

And probably some other things someone better equipped to spot these could tell you. Since I’ve learned about the Bechdel Test I kind of started paying more attention to it – while watching, reading and writing. We are so used to all these female troupes that it’s refreshing to see things handled differently. Netflix does a better job at this than the studios that put together The Intern – maybe mostly because it’s based on a book by a real person and they’re doing a pretty good job at diversity anyway, even if they then cancel the promising shows like this one – and Sense8.
Anyway, there are some quite promising things in these two and it’s nice to see that there is at least some change once in a while.

What surprised me most

Girlboss is a horrible title. I didn’t want to watch it because it sounded girly and just like another „chick-flick“ with no story other than girl meets boy and is eternally happy. Oh dear, was I wrong. After I came across it again and again on Netflix I decided to watch the Trailer and I did not expect what I saw. It actually made me curious about the show and I binged it during the course of a weekend. Yes, it’s that good.
The cast was diverse, the majority of the few (~six) male characters where gay, otherwise oriented or (in the boyfriends‘ case) eye candy. The females were all over the place, as two headstrong-eccentric-„Love-You-In-Case-I-Die“-bff-„sisters“, as mothers, as barmaids, as musicians, as IT-girls, as annoying customers and so on… The usual „balance“ was tipped off and it was brilliant. Sure the main character is still a very annoying and exhausting person, but hey, at least she’s a person and not a cardboard cut out like so many before her. 😉
Even while told from the male perspective it sounded interesting enough to see Robert De Niro be Anne Hathaway’s intern. When the story began it felt like Hathaway’s character was in a relationship with one of her co-workers, turns out she was a married mother of a little girl and even my fears for her ending up cheating on her husband with said co-worker were diminished as the husband was revealed as the cheating party. Sure it’s annoying that there has to be a conflict through someone cheating on the other, but the solution – also in Girlboss – was interestingly handled.
There was also some nice scene where De Niro’s character reminded Hathaway’s that she’s the  feminist of the two of them and how incredible the stuff is she accomplished. Which she actually acknowledged and made her decision for herself and not to please others.

What could have been better?

You probably noticed the criticism already: Tropes.
The Intern has more of them then Girlboss, but they are there and often quite annoying. I didn’t need the elderly female intern with no clue even how to drive. I didn’t need the barely characterized seductive masseuse. I didn’t need the clueless nerd-boy being forced to leave home. I didn’t need the eccentric, potentially gay, artist living at home with his overly supportive mother.
And most of all: I didn’t need the cheating husband/boyfriend.
Why does every (fictional) success story of a woman involve the man feeling left behind and in need of a different companion? Is it really that bad for a them that the other one becomes absorbed with fulfilling their dream? Do they really crave attention that much? (I know this is also a problem with male success stories, but those wives are usually portrayed as not that faithful to begin with…)
I’m pretty sure the stories would have worked well without (most) those (artificial dramas)…

What were you watching?

What episodes (or movies) did you enjoy/dislike throughout the week(s)/month(s)?
Anything you’d recommend checking out?
Let me know in the comments below!

Final Words

I’m by far not a feminist blog, but I felt the need to introduce you to these two shows, simply because they surprised me that much. If you want another example where it’s even more obvious try the Spanish „No Filter“ (also on Netflix) or if you like it a bit more modern: Roller Girl with Ellen Page.
I’m going back to preparing for my vacation.
See you around.
PoiSonPaiNter