Monthly Archives: May 2010

We vote in favor of… big American Party!

So…. I totally lost my job today. Making these brought a smile to my face, so I thought I would share them. I love you, Clerks!

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Community Season Finale – This is the one that divides us

I really adore the Community fandom. Not just the show (though I love the show so much and it’s bee awhile since I was this into a show), but the people in it. Usually when I find a fandom, I find my ship group and I stick with them. But with the Community fandom,  everyone was so awesome I felt really comfortable posting in the general livejournal group. I ship Annie/Jeff so hardcore some people would probably find it creepy. But there were no ship wars. Some people ship Jeff/Britta. Some ship Annie/Troy. Some ship Annie/Abed. But we never fought about it. We all just got along really well. It’s probably because the writers of the show have shown that they’re really open to pretty much every couple, and they have no problem giving us little moments for all of them. So when there was a good J/A moment, the J/B were cool about it. Hell, sometimes they were even happy for us. And vice versa.

It seems like that might all be over with last nights episode. Now, I want to be perfectly clear that I’m not referring to all Jeff/Britta fans, and I’m not bashing anybody at all. These are just my observations and interpretation of events. At the end of the day, we all still love Community and they’re all my buds. But a lot of the J/B shippers… they didn’t really take the episode well.

Maybe it’s because it really looked like the show had decided to definitively, at least for the rest of season one,  make it about Britta and Jeff thanks to their doing the deed in Modern Warfare, and the episode summary  s0 the Jeff/Annie kiss completely caught them offguard, especially since, from the episode description, it seemed that this was a J/B centric. I don’t want to get into a “we have the moral high ground” thing at all. I absolutely don’t want it to sound that way. But after Britta and Jeff slept together in Modern Warfare, the J/A shippers didn’t freak out.  We weren’t upset. We weren’t crying foul, or calling the writers hacks just because our ship didn’t sale in one episode. And that seems a lot like the J/Bers are doing now.

There were other issues people had with the episode and I want to address these issues. I am, of course, an enormous, crazy Jeff/Annie shipper, but I’m going to try really hard to keep  Jeff/Annie stuff out of this (Except for where it actually applies, of course).

I do agree that the episode felt kind of rushed. They had a lot of people and things they had to fit in, and it was a jam packed episode. There was just a little too much happening.

A lot of people feel that Britta was so out of character this episode, especially with telling Jeff she loves him. I don’t think that’s true. We’ve seen before that she can be really competitive (The Art of Discourse) and that she can be really stubborn when she starts something (Introduction to film). Even this episode shows how competitive she can get with how badly she wanted to win Tranny Queen. Really that wouldn’t make much difference to the whole Jeff thing, except maybe as something to rub Slater’s face again. And I think that’s exactly what this was.  I really don’t believe that Britta actually LOVES Jeff. I think she had very strong feelings for him, but it’s not love. She said what she thought would make him stay when she saw him kiss Slater. And “I love you” is a lot more dramatic and compelling than, “I like you a lot” or even “I have feelings for you.”

And I don’t think her yelling it like that was out of character. If she actually did love Jeff, I would agree that it was out of character.

While I do believe that Britta has feelings for Jeff, I think that the entire thing in this episode was about the competition with Slater. Yes, they slept together a few weeks ago, but after that she really hasn’t shown that much interest in a romantic relationship. But as soon as it looked like Slater was vying for Jeff she was ready for a fight. Perhaps hernfeelings and her fear of losing Jeff was the thing that pushed her into it, but what kept it going was the competition that kept her going. We’ve already seen earlier in the season that Britta has issues with Slater. It quickly became more about Keeping Jeff From Slater and less about Being With Jeff.

I think that Britta/Jeff/Slater exchange after the confession of “love” really shows that Britta didn’t mean it. First, Britta responds to Jeff’s “You love me?” with “Do you love me?” That could be seen as her being too scared to say ‘I love you,’ except for the fact that SHE HAD JUST SAID IT. She didn’t want to say it again, and she was more concerned with whether or not Jeff loved her – over Slater. And then instead of trying to talk and work the issue out, she engages in a childlike argument with Slater, as though Jeff wasn’t even there.

And then there was the look on her face as she watched him run away. If she had seriously meant that declaration of love, her face would have been way sadder. And this isn’t a case of the actor not portraying what the writers intended. Gillian Jacobs is an awesome actress who completely gets Britta. If Britta was supposed to be upset/heartbroken at Jeff running away from her after she publicly declared her love for him, Jacobs would have nailed it. But she just looked kind of resigned. Like maybe she’d realized it was a bad move on her part.

Reading all that, it might seem like I hate Britta. I don’t. I LOVE Britta. I think she’s amazing and wonderful and goofy, but very deeply flawed in a very human way that I find identifiable.  But that doesn’t mean I think everything she does is the right thing to do. Like I said, she’s flawed, and she made a huge mistake here. I love Britta. And I love her and Jeff together. As really good friends. I don’t think their characters and their personalities would work in a relationship, and I don’t think that Joel McHale and Gillian Jacobs have the romantic chemistry needed for a romantic pairing. They’re amazing as buddies.

It felt like the show was kind of showing how they don’t work as a couple. Shirley points out to Britta that she really needs to start communicating with Jeff about her feelings for him, but she doesn’t do that. Even when she says how she feels, she isn’t being honest. And they show that the don’t have a natural flow to them during the kegger scene when Jeff moves to brush away her hair. Jeff is clearly trying to flirt when he says they won’t see each other for months, and then Britta kind of shuts him down by pointing out that they have cellphones. He then goes the brush away her hair, and Britta flinches away. Yes, Britta is a guarded person who would normally flinch away from someone doing that. But this is Jeff. A guy she’s supposed to have feelings for, a guy she’s slept with, who’s touched a lot more of her than just her hair.  With that history, flinching away is not something a girl would do if she really loved him. It shows that when it comes to the romantic aspect of relationships, they’re in very different places on completely different pages.

In contrast, this whole episode shows how natural and easy it is for Annie and Jeff. All they do is communicate. From their easy conversation in the beginning to Annie’s confession that she’s leaving. He’s the only one she feels like she can tell, and he’s completely honest with her that he wants it to work out so that she’ll be happy, but he’s also completely honest that he hopes it doesn’t work out so that she’ll come back. And then the final scene, where they not only communicate, but express how much alike they are in a lot of ways. And I think that’s where a lot of the kiss came from. A lot of it was living in the moment, but a lot of it was that with it’s so easy and it works so well without all the competition and the misdirection.

There have been some people expressing a squicky feeling because of the age difference. While I understand how that ca be an issue for some people, I really don’t think it’s too much of an issue for Jeff and Annie. Annie is not that same girl she was in the pilot. She’s matured a lot. Add to that the fact that she had already lived a lot of life before college. She was a drug addict and she went to rehab. In a lot of ways, she had to grow up really fast. Yes, sometimes she can still be a bit naive and inexperienced. But she’s not some child. She has very much blossomed into an adult.

Another thing that people complained about what how the J/A thing in the finale came out of nowhere. And that’s just not true completely. I’ve already covered how it was set up in the episode itsel. But there have been so many moments throughout the season leading up to it since the Debate episode. The look in Romantic Expressionism is the big one. There was also the moment in the episode prior to the finale where Annie admitted to going for a professor look. It’s been subtle but beautiful, and it’s definitely there.

Finally, I really think Jeff’s dialogue during the last scene, about how he likes Michelle because she makes him feel like a better person, and that he likes Britta because she makes him fee like the person he is. Annie is clearly the in between of that. Again, it’s so much easier being with her. He doesn’t feel like he has to be one or the other. He can be who he is, but with Annie who he is is a person who is evolving and becoming better. And that’s really because of Annie.  The majority of his character growth has come from his interactions with her, not Britta.

I’ve also seen people say that Jeff/Britta is about real feelings while Jeff/Annie is all about lust. I think that it’s not even possible for that to be further from the truth. While I do think there are some real feelings between J/B, if either of the relationship boils down to mostly being about lust, it’s them. The whole thing in the beginning was about Jeff wanting to nail her without even knowing her. I really don’t think they’ve had enough genuinely emotional interactions for their connection to be more about emotions and feelings than just chemistry and the physical. J/A, on the otherhand, have been almost completely about their character development and their relationship with each other.

I am a little worried about where they’re going from here. I’ve been told that my view of romantic relationships on television has been seriously messed up because the first ship I was hardcore about was Josh and Donna on The West Wing, who didn’t get together for seven years. So it might just be that, but I worry when they do something like this with my ship so early on in the series. For one, it is kind of more fun to have a slow burn before realizing they’re  in love. I worry that they set them up to kiss so they can have a weird awkward relationship early in season 2 and then split them up for good. But I’m hoping with the way the so clearly showed how much more natural Jeff and Annie are together is a sign that they’re serious about this. But I also don’t want them together and happy going into the next season. That’s just so not them. But I have all summer to fret. Right now I’m just going to enjoy the high from the kissing.

Which is another thing people are getting pissy about. There’s been a lot of “how dare they kiss like that while Britta is inside after expressing her love?” Again, I might feel different if I thought Britta really did love Jeff. It probably wasn’t the nicest and best thing to do, but I really don’t think they’re stabbing her in the back.

And none of this “Annie’s a hussy who kissed him!” or “Jeff’s a sceeze who took advantage!”

I’ve watched the kiss a lot. In slow motion a few times. And that kiss was totally mutual.

For the first kiss, Annie does sort of lean in first. But Jeff soon leans into her. He’s have to. With her hands not on his face, him leaning into her is the only way she’d be able to reach him. But that second kiss… Jeff goes in first… like big time. Annie responds quickly of course, but Jeff goes for it first, pulling her to him almost the same way he did at the debate. Only this time, she doesn’t push him away.

Thank god.

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Why Battlestar Galactica Has Ruined Television For Me

Fact: Cylons pre-date Jesus

No, this isn’t an article about how Battlestar Galactica was so fucking amazing that no other television show could ever measure up. While that’s not entirely untrue, that’s not why it’s ruined television for me.

It’s ruined television for me be because everywhere I look I see cylons.

Or total douchebags who totally deserved getting tossed out the airlock.

But mostly cylons.

It’s nice to see that so many actors from the show have been able to find work. So often a show I love will end, and it will be YEARS before I see some of the actors again, and even then it’s in small, insignificant guest roles. So, yeah, I guess it’s a good thing that all these guys are still able to find work.

Except for the fact that, you know… I can’t help but see deceptive cylons everywhere my television screen looks.

Okay, not everywhere. I’m pretty sure there are no cylons attending Greendale Community College, and Olivia Dunham has 99 problems, but a cylon ain’t one (and, in all honesty, universe hopping shape shifters? Might be scarier than cylons.)

But it has had quite the effect on one of my very, very favorite shows Human Target. Tricia Helfer (Six) guest starred on the very first episode. I totally didn’t trust her, even though I sympathized with her. Yes, it really was Six all over again. I was happy to find out that she was a lying liar whose life was in danger because she had cheated on her husband. I breathed a sigh of relief, glad that the show had meant for me not to trust her, and that it wasn’t just that I was… what’s the robot form of racism?

Then Gaeta popped up and some sort of non-specific software dude. Okay, Gaeta wasn’t a cylon. But he was a pissy little traitor who totally deserved both losing a leg and getting tossed out of the airlock. On Human Target he was in two scenes. One at the very beginning and one at the very end. Unfortunately, I was so consumed with not trusting him and believing that he had to be the one really behind the contract on the hacker’s life (despite the fact that he was the one who hired Chance and co. to protect said hacker) that I almost couldn’t concentrate on the glorious ludicrousness of Chance FLIPPING A PLANE UPSIDE DOWN. Almost.

Later on in the season, Grace Park (Boomer, Athena) showed up with ridiculous hair as some kind of boxing expert. This actually kind of worked though, because while Eva Khan (KHAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) was duplicitous, she was actually being duped, and in the end we felt sorry for her. Thanks to playing two cylons who have varying degrees of guilt and contrition about the things they’ve done, the feelings Park brought out during the episode worked. Still, at the end of the episode when Chance got into the car with her I just kept thinking, “NO CHANCE!!! SHE JUST WANTS YOU TO IMPREGNATE HER WITH A CYLON/HUMAN HYBRID!!!!”

And it’s not just Human Target. Michael Trucco (Sam Anders) has been guest starring on Castle recently, and the show didn’t really help the issue by intentionally casting suspicion on him. Of course, he was revealed to not be the dirty cop. But since he was a cylon, I still believe it was him, and I just know he’s going to break Starbuck’s heart….. did I say Starbuck? Beckett. I meant Beckett.

I don’t watch V anymore, but I watched the first few episodes in the fall, and was unsurprised to see Rekha Sharma (Tory Foster) appear as a possibly untrustworthy FBI agent. As soon as I saw her I thought, “Oh, she’s a V. And she’s double untrustworthy because she killed Cally.” Well, turns out I was right. Well, about the V part. I don’t know so much about the second part. I don’t think there’s a Cally there to kill. And really, aren’t the Vs basically cylons anyway? Well, except that there seem to be a lot more of them. And they’re lizards instead of robots. Which means they aren’t half as awesome.

When flipping through the channels in the winter, I landed on Heroes thanks to Gossip Girl being on hiatus. I was surprised to see Kate Vernon (Ellen Tigh) on the show. She was the ex-girlfriend of the villain, Sammuel (who was very attractive in a kicked puppy kind of way), and she’d been kidnapped by him. And you know what? I was worried for the bad guy. Although, Ellen was the smart, enlightened one of the final five, so I may have just been worried for him because Ellen Tigh was fucking whore.

I didn’t even trust Lucy Lawless when she showed up on frakking Flight of the Conchords, for gods’ sake!

Sometimes casting a cylon does work. We weren’t supposed to trust Tricia Helfer’s Carla on Burn Notice, so the fact that she’d had a major hand in the destruction of the human race didn’t really effect my trust in her. She was fucking with Michael Weston. I hated the bitch already.

I think the only cylon I would really, completely trust is Leoben (Callum Keith Rennie). Because he was one sexy cylon. And he only wanted Starbuck to love him. 😦

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The West Wing … Still the Greatest

It’s been over ten years now since The West Wing first premiered on NBC.

Honestly, nothing since has even come close to measuring up.

The West Wing is my all time favorite television show. Any time I start to think that it might be something else, I’ll watch an episode of TWW and realize, “Oh, yeah. There’s nothing that even touches this.” I love it so much that, as I write this, I’m actually having a hard time thinking of the words to accurately express what I feel for this show. I think of the show, and there really aren’t words. Just misty eyes, a lump in my throat, and even after four years off the air, a place in my heart where the show should be. Some people might think it’s sad, but The West Wing will always be one of the most important things that ever happened to my life. And not just because it was damn good tv.

Though it was damn good tv. No other hour long drama has so effortlessly combined all of its elements so seamlessly. The characters are so real, so deeply and honestly flawed, yet so damn likable in spite of it. A character as endlessly egotistical as Josh Lyman, or as married to his job as Leo McGarry, or as pessimistic as Toby Zeigler, or as fond of yelling at men as CJ Cregg, or as willfully naïve as Sam Seaborn shouldn’t be so lovable. You shouldn’t identify with them so much. But we get to see why these people are the way they are, the things they have to deal with in such a high pressure job and, most importantly, how good and decent and honest they can be when the chips are down (Toby arranging a funeral for a homeless vet, Josh refusing his NSA instruction card because he doesn’t want to leave his friends behind) and those are the things that make us love them. They’re good people trying as hard as they can to make the world a better place. And sometimes that gets mixed up in politics, or in their personal lives. But that’s just because they are, above all things, human.

It’s always a little surprising how funny the show is. Aaron Sorkin is a BRILLIANT writer, and with The West Wing he wrote dialogue that is the stuff legendary television is made of. It’s a serious show that deals with serious issues. But, much like life, it’s often very funny. In an episode dealing with the heavy subject of the President hiding his MS from the world, the secondary storyline deals with the staff trying to write jokes for the Correspondents Dinner… and doing a really terrible job of it (We’ve got one, but it involves a John Wayne impersonation and a sock puppet). The second season’s February sweeps two-parter has Bartlet delivering his State of the Union Address and then having to handle a hostage situation in Colombia. In the same two episodes, Ainsley Hayes has two humiliating meetings with the President: one where she’s drunk in a bathrobe, and one where she’s stuck in a closet she thought was a bathroom. Even just the little moments – Oliver Babbish smashing his recorder, CJ losing it with the President after a particularly long story (“When I came in here, back in the late ‘50s, there was a purpose to it. But then one thing led to another and I blacked out.”)

But the show’s greatest strength was its emotion. I got into an argument once on Rotten Tomatoes with someone who said that the show was “dangerous”. When I asked why, he responded that it was because it gave people hope that the people in charge of running the country can be good and honest people who want to do the right thing. What planet was he living on that this is dangerous? Yes, sometimes the show was a little idealistic. But the fact that it was hopeful that people like these exist in the world is a good thing. I know it’s fashionable to hate any and all politicians, but if we don’t have hope that they can be better, that they can actually give a damn, then what they hell are we all still doing here?

And the important thing is that it wasn’t always easy for them to do the right thing. The characters often got so wrapped up in politics, in the ends justifies the means thinking, in wanting so badly to get what they wanted that they compromised what was really important. They didn’t always do it right. They had to make impossible decisions, knowing that no matter what side they came out on there would be fallout. When Bartlet finally made the decision to kill Shareef at the end of season 3, he knew that either way, the outcome would be messy.

There are just so many moments in this show that leave me in complete awe. So many moments that just bring me to tears. The ending to Two Cathedrals, set to Dire Strait’s “Brothers In Arms

The funeral at the end of In Excelsis Deo

Leo’s speech to Josh in Noel

The end of the first part of “In the Shadow of Two Gunmen” when Leo is telling Jed why he wants him to run

Bartlet’s speech following a bombing at a college in 20 Hours in America, set to Tori Amos’ cover of “I Don’t Like Mondays” – “This is a time for American heroes and we reach for the stars.”

Aaron Sorkin left the show after the fourth season, and it did take a bit of a dip early on in the fifth season. But by the end of the season, it was back to being amazing. It was different, but it was still the best thing on television.

Even now I don’t think I’ve come close to doing The West Wing justice. It’s really a show that has to be seen. If you never have, go out and get it on DVD now.

Here are some more scenes from this amazing show.

Bartlet smacks down homophobia

Cartographers for Social Equality

Sam gets his ass handed to him by the most adorable Republican ever

Josh’s secret plan to fight inflation

100,000 Airplanes

You can’t pardon a turkey?

Babies come with hats

Is this a real person or a Donna person?

Bartlet’s rant in Two Cathedrals

Blame It on the Bossa Nova

Good cop, bad cop

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… and Claire gets left. Again.

Claire really, really can’t catch a break. Just when it looked like she was going to be one of the gang, they fucking leave her behind again.

Maybe if she took a shower they’d like her better.

Well, at least it wasn’t Jack leaving her behind this time. It was all Sawyer. And Jack seemed pretty not happy about it. So at least my heart wasn’t screaming “NO JACK WHY ARE YOU ABANDONING YOUR SISTER AGAIN!?!?!?!”

And, okay, so in the end it was probably a good thing that she wasn’t on the sub, because there ended up being a whole lot of death happening there.

But it’s the principle of the thing.

At least things seem to be going better for her in the sideflash. She and Jack had something very much resembling the brother/sister scenes I was hoping for, and Jack invited her to stay with him, which is just too wonderful for me.

Adorable scene right this way.

I won’t go into all the death that happened last night, because I kind of still can’t believe it all happened.

In my mind, Frank Lapidus is riding a Dharma Shark to safety.

Or a Jimmy Buffet concert.

Either one.

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