Netflix review: GLOW Season 2

Last year I reviewed GLOW season 1, so natural next step: review GLOW season 2. This review will contain spoilers, so if you haven’t watched season 2 yet and you care about that sort of thing, come back and read this later. The 30 minute episodes make GLOW super bingeable so it’s pretty easy to cruise though the entire second season.

GLOW season 2 picks up with the ladies returning to work, trying to exhibit a little more ownership over their roles. For Ruth and Debbie this means trying to take on new roles on the other side of the camera, and for the other women, it’s exploring their characters and relationships more. As I mentioned in my season 1 review, it’s the side characters of GLOW who really hold my heart. And while the incredibly complex relationship between Debbie and Ruth continues to be a central-ish plot point, each of the other ladies (and Bash) also get their chance to shine. They are no longer “the one who dresses as a wolf” or “the British woman.” Instead we get a deeper look at these women in terms of what drives, motivates, and in some cases, transforms them.

This is important not just in terms of giving the diverse cast opportunities, but because for me, the relationship between Debbie and Ruth doesn’t have much of an arc and therefore, neither do their characters. At best, you watch them go from friends to enemies to begrudging co-workers, neither overly likable, despite the fact that outside the ring Ruth is often set up as hero of sorts whereas Debbie remains aloof and purposely removed, at times casting herself as a villain. These roles being the opposite of their wresting characters still isn’t really interesting enough to make up for the fact that Debbie and Ruth seem more like the anchors for the ensemble than anything else. More than anything, they provide a static touch point rather than any dynamic catalyst.

Another focus of this season is how these women operate in the space that has now been made for them. In season 1 we see them fighting for their place, trying to get a foot in the door, even if that means playing up to 80’s stereotypes of race and gender. In season 2 you get the sense that now that there is a bit more stability in their wrestling shows (they have fans and everything), many of the characters are exploring that space and are trying to take ownership of it. One of the more interesting arcs is Beirut’s. While she accepted her character in the beginning, her real desire is to shed the guise of a terrorist and rise again as her truer self, a phoenix. This, in parallel with the exploration of her sexuality make her character the one who has perhaps gone through the most transformation.

It’s so rare to get a show with such a large female ensemble cast, let alone one where the focus is on the internal relationships of the character themselves, rather than an outside male influence. As much fun as watching the evolution of the wrestling was, what really held my heart in GLOW was watching the evolution of the friendships and the formation of the family.

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San Diego Comic-Con 2018 Highlights

San Diego Comic-Con, as most of you probably know, is the pinnacle of pop culture conventions, one of the largest shows of its kind in the entire world. To be perfectly frank, I’d long thought of such an event as terrifying – too many people, all jostling to look at celebrities and learn about the latest movies and video games. Sure, comics are right in the title, but it’s become so focused on pop culture as a whole – would there really be anything there for me?
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The Real Christopher Robin

This Friday (Aug 3, 2018) marks the release of Walt Disney Picture’s Christopher Robin – a fictional tale about the adult Christopher Robin rediscovering his imagination.

While the film looks pretty adorable (assuming you’re a fan of Pooh and the gang), it’s actually kinda strange when you take into account that Milne, the creator and author of the original Winnie-the-Pooh books, based the character of Christopher Robin on his own son. That’s right, Christopher Robin was indeed a real person.

In the interest of learning a bit more about the real story behind the more fantastical one, here are some interesting facts about the real Christopher Robin. Continue reading

The Ladies Podcast – The Scumbag Who Was Right In Front of Him

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Copyright Disney

This month, we’re talking about tropes! What is a trope? What makes them so effective that they keep popping up again and again? Which tropes do we love? Which ones do we actively seek out?

We’ll be adding a few links to examples of our favorite tropes soon.

Check out previous episodes and subscribe to the podcast on our podcast page.

My Top Ten Steven Universe Episodes

I have been trying for ages to write about my love of Steven Universe. I’ll happily go on at length about the show and my feelings about it in person, but getting it all down in writing seems more elusive. I think it”s a sign of just how good the show is and how much I love it that my attempts to get it all down come off as a messy jumble of feelings and details that never really gets to the heart of what makes the show so good.

So instead of describing the entire show and my love for it, I’m taking on the still difficult but more manageable task of listing my favorite episodes. To give you an idea of how tough this is, I started out writing about my five favorite episodes and quickly discovered I couldn’t do less than ten. But, unlike an overview of the whole series, it gives me a narrower window to look at the series and my feelings about it through.

Like any such list, this one is totally subjective and reflects my opinions of the moment. Your list is almost certainly different. Next week, my list may be different. Heck, it may be different tomorrow or an hour from now. Discussion is welcome and encouraged. Continue reading

An Introduction to Kpop – What is Kpop?

So, you what to learn about Kpop? I can tell you from experience that it is not easy to describe. I can’t just tell you that Kpop stands for Korean Pop Music and have that be the end. It’s not that simple. I wrote a paper once where I compared Kpop to a video game addiction because at the time it was the easiest way to explain the type of music I like to my professor. That theory has grown a bit, but Kpop is not just a type of music. It cannot be explained in one way. There are many aspects of what Kpop really is and what it represents. Continue reading

On the Move: Tips for Taking Your Games on the Go

 

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Our New House!

Happy July! Summer is in full swing!  I want to thank Meepline for writing the last post solo last month. We have been in the process of packing, moving and unpacking at our new house!

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How Many Boxes? 47. The Answer was 47.

Back in May, I posted an Instagram photo of my packing and asked the question “how many boxes of games do we have?” The answer was/is 47. We have quite the collection, which includes role-playing books, board games, minis and GM supplies. That is where I got the idea for this post. How do you move things like game books and board games and hope they stay together? I hope to provide you some tips and tricks for packing your collection safely. Next month, Meepline and I will be back writing in tandem bringing you tips for convention going in honor of LadiesCon. Post LadiesCon, we will be writing about organizing your collection and setting up an effective (and fun) game space and I will (hopefully) have our new game room setup to show you pictures.

But for now, here are some tips about packing up your games. You can use some of these tips when you go on vacation as games are great entertainment for cabins or beach houses. Continue reading

The Vision and a Series of Unfortunate Events

Hope you are all enjoying the summer and staying cool. In previous posts, we have discussed some podcasts and books that we have been into lately. My current summertime media consumption has included reading The Vision and watching Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events.

So why am I talking about these two things together? Besides being the things I have most recently read/watched, they both employ a style of narrative storytelling that warns you what’s coming. Rather than dampening the story, these breadcrumbs lead you through the drama and guide you into darker elements without even coming close to diminishing the gut punch or (especially in the case of The Vision) some truly difficult emotional moments. The story remains compelling despite what could be termed as spoilers built right in.

Of the two, A Series of Unfortunate Events (SoUE) is clearly the lighter fare, geared for ages…well I would say 8 and up, but you know your kid. These stories were first a book series and then a Netflix series. The story follows the Baudelaire children as they are orphaned and then repeatedly terrorized by Count Olaf, a villain obsessed with getting his hands on the fortune the oldest daughter will inherit when she is of age. While I stopped reading the books after about 3 (there are 13 in the series), the Netflix series manages to stave off some of the repetition with a very strong cast and interesting stylized visuals. The most fun part of the series is Patrick Warburton who plays author and narrator Lemony Snicket. Snicket, with a dry gravitas that Warburton is just perfect for, tells you right off the bat what you are in for. And what you’re in for is horrible people treating some innocent kids horribly. Anyone around them is also pulled into the horribleness -horribleness that is largely orchestrated by Count Olaf. The narration acts as a teaser, breaking the fourth wall to remind viewers of the drama they are watching play out, reminding them that they are watching a show that is literally telling you it’s a series of unfortunate events. And yet, you still think and hope things might go the Baudelaires’ way.  But don’t hope, because they don’t. But still, I found myself moaning and groaning and hoping maybe, just this time, things would be okay, even as Patrick Warburton’s dulcet tones continuously told me they wouldn’t.

The Vision is a 12-issue comic series by Tom King. It’s available in two trades, so do yourself a favor and just buy them both because if you start this series, you are going to want to finish it.  

This story uses a similar narrative device to the one used in A Series of Unfortunate Events, SoUE is largely comical in its misery, The Vision is too real. An unseen narrator tells us that Vision decided to create a family. They move to a suburban neighborhood in the Washington DC area and try to fit in. This never happens. Instead, the Visions exist in a limbo, not quite human, not quite synthezoid. Sometimes they go through the motions, acting as they think humans should. Other times they are perhaps too human, unwittingly falling into the perils of violence, mania, and love. The villain in this story is largely unseen and debatable. Is it life? Ultron? Vision himself? Despite this story not having a mustache-twirling antagonist like SoUE, you know in the first few pages that this experiment in family won’t end well. Over 12 issues, we watch the pieces fall and shatter on the floor. Knowing this is coming doesn’t make this story any less compelling. Instead, it’s a study of an unraveling of a dream – its own series of unfortunate events, and we are never lead to believe it will be anything but that.

So, a similar narrative device, but 2 different stories in tone and weight. I would recommend them both but maybe have some tissues available when you read The Vision.

Summer Reading 2018 – Mixing It Up

For several years I’ve written a summer reading post around the Fourth of July. It’s the perfect time – Memorial Day may be the unofficial start to the summer season, but the Fourth is the heart of it. This summer in New England has been particularly aggressive – a brutal heat wave that’s started earlier and lasted longer than we usually see around here. And so I should probably offer you some light, breezy reads that you can bring to beach and promptly forget about. But I’m nothing if not a contrarian, so instead I’m going to offer two pieces of fiction to make you think, and one cookbook to lighten the mood and because I’m personally going to use it a lot this summer with my new ice cream maker.
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