Monday, April 30, 2012
Right, so, HOLY FREAKING HELL WHAT THE GOOD GOD ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? Um, they killed Cat. Like they really, really very, very killed Cat. I believe the sequence was Cat, text, car, dead. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. More than 24 hours after watching the episode and I’m still equal parts shocked and perplexed. And, much like the now very dead Cat’s signature facial expression, I have furrowed brow that just won’t quit.
In the interest of rational discussion and to prevent me from just repeating eight paragraphs worth of expletives, I feel it’s best to approach the whole “OH MY GOD THEY KILLED CAT” issue from a variety of angles, one at a time.
First, let’s talk story. As far as storytelling devices go killing off a major character can be high risk but also high reward. Think killing Joyce on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” Think killing Rita on “Dexter.” Think killing Gary on “Thirtysomething.” (Anyone here old enough to remember Thirtysomething? Anyone? Moving on.) But with risk comes failure and we only need to say the name Dana and gay ladies the world over shake their fists at an angry sky and scream, “Damn you, Ilene Chaiken, damn you to hell!”
This falls somewhere between those two. This is no “The Body.” The emotional resonance just wasn’t there. It wasn’t. Cat, while integral, is not as beloved. In fact my most prevalent emotion when seeing her was baffled annoyance. You have the perfect girlfriend, you tit. Stop mucking it up with that bean pole. So I can’t entirely say I’m sad to see her go. So in terms of losing Cat as a character, I’ll take it with a shoulder shrug and move on. (Though, this is nothing against the lovely Laura Fraser – who did the very best brow furrowing she could with a character whose entire existence revolved around fastidious indecision.)
Next, let’s talk about execution. Sure, they killed Cat – but how did they do while doing it? Here I’d say I give them good marks for showing how utterly horrible the sudden death of a loved one can be. Because watching that hour of television was utterly horrible. The painful silence. The awkward decisions. The terrible emptiness. It was a pretty miserable hour of television because death is pretty miserable business.
But then, sometimes it isn’t. Don’t get me wrong, death is death and it’s always bad. Still I can say from personal experience that amid the horrible sadness can also be glimpses of, dare I say it, the unstoppable human spirit. That thing that propels us to go on, love each other, do better, try harder. We didn’t see that – not one bit. Granted, it’s early. Cat just died. Everyone’s still in shock. It’s all so utterly horrible and raw. But let’s hope it’s coming, let’s hope really hard.
And finally, let’s talk impact. While I’m a tad “meh” about killing off Cat as a character, I’m 100 percent “WTF” about killing off Cat the character with relationships with all the other characters. Because this is where Cat’s death will have the biggest effect. Cat, for all her flaws, was a bit like the glue. Obviously there was the triangle with Sam and Frankie. Then her brother and Tess. So her death won’t just have a ripple effect; it’ll be a monster tsunami. And this is where I feel the writers went wrong. Sure, they felt painted into a corner because Laura was leaving for another show (which, by the way, she was ultimately dropped from – doh!), but there are so many other ways to make a character scarce that don’t blow up an entire season like killing her did.
And, make no mistake, that is what the writers have done – they’ve detonated a bomb on Season 2. When you kill a major, major character off in the second episode of a brand new season you ensure that that entire season will be about dealing with the repercussions of that death. When The Chaiken did in Season 3 of “The L Word” she at least had the decency to do it with only two episodes left. Sure, it still sucked big, hairy donkey balls. But then they were able to regroup after the season, pretend enough time had passed and move the fuck on.
“Lip Service,” on the other hand, has made moving on damn near impossible and that means more than likely we’re in for a lot of sad, angry, depressed, confused and gloomy lesbians on our TV. Oh, goody. Just what I always wanted. While we’re at it, does anyone feel like clubbing some baby seals for fun? Look, there are so few shows just about gay women on the television that it seems a damn shame to make the one we have such a bummer. And while I certainly don’t think that artists have a mandated responsibility to make all queer programming smiley, happy, sunshiney goodness, I can’t help but feel disappointed. This is not the TV show I signed up for. This is not the sexy, sudsy lesbian drama I dreamed about.
The thing is, it didn’t have to go this way. Sure, they were handcuffed by the need to write off Laura’s character. But death seems like the most severe and unforgiving way to handle the situation. She could have freaked out and left. I mean, it worked for Frankie. She could have gotten another job and left. Sure, also sudden, but less devastating for the other characters. Hell, she could have been replaced with another actress. I mean, it worked for “Bewitched.” Anything but this. Anything but turning it into a big lesbian downer.
I hope I’m wrong. I hope the writers do something amazing. I hope they find a way to bring back that something special, make us all smile again. I really do. But for now, and for I’m guessing the foreseeable future, my prevalent emotions remain HOLY FREAKING HELL WHAT THE GOOD GOD ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?
Friday, April 27, 2012
So this week – Tuesday to be exact – was my six – yes, SIX – year anniversary writing Dorothy Surrenders. Six years. Holy tea and crumpets. That’s a lot of years. In that time I could have graduated from college on a super slow track, earned a PhD in something nerdy or at the very least taught myself to play “Stairway to Heaven” on the guitar. But instead I was here, with you, shooting the shit about gay stuff and TV stuff and movie stuff and hot lady stuff. And you know what, I wouldn’t change a thing. Nope, not a thing.
The thing is, writing this blog every day (minus weekends, because I’m not a machine people) has been one of the most fulfilling things I’ve ever done. It’s been an outlet for all the things that bounce around my skull and otherwise keep me up at night. It’s been a way to find community, a way to find friends, a way to find opportunities. In short, it has been great. And even when it’s not so great, it’s been damn great. And that’s really because of all of you. Without you I’d just be another crazy lady on the series of tubes. I mean, I am that already, but because of you I know I’m not alone and we can all share in the craziness together. So thank you. Thank you, thank you for coming to my little corner of The Internets and spending some time with me every day.
This blogiversary, I’ve even got some news to share. First, I wanted to announce (finally – God I’m terrible at these things) the winner of the Rachel Maddow autographed copy of “Drift.” Congratulations @jenbattistella. Please check your email.
Second, I am coming out of my self-imposed witness protection program and will be speaking at the BlogHer conference in New York City this year. Yes. Me. In the flesh. For realsies. No tag backs. Come see me if you’re in the Big Apple August 3.
And third, I’ll be launching a Kickstarter to raise a little technical upgrade funds (i.e. I desperately need a new laptop and various accessories) next month. This is a tricky one, because I’ve never made a penny off of Dorothy Surrenders in the six years I’ve been writing. And I have steadfastly refused to put advertising on the site, because I believe it’s important to keep a few ad-free spaces on the internet where people can be creative without secretly trying to sell you life insurance. But a lady’s also gotta make a little scratch to keep the lights on. So if you’ve got a couple bucks, tuck it under your mattress for me and consider donating once the Kickstarter launches. Also I’ll have some cool incentives to share.
Right, so that’s that. Six years in the bag. Thanks for reading, my friends. You’ve made all the sleepless nights worth it. As always, I love hearing from you. So if you feel like saying hi let me know where you’re reading from and how much of the past six years you’ve been wasting here with me.
p.s. Yep, that’s me and my cuticles.
Thursday, April 26, 2012
p.s. I super suck and haven’t had time to select a winner of Rachel’s book “Drift.” But I will. Soon. And on The Twitters. Stay tuned.
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Boy, I had a shitty last night. And it’s carried over to be an unmitigated shitty morning. So today I just need a little pretty in my life. Please carry on. I’m sure all will be right as rain soon enough. Until then, please allow the holy trinity of Kate, Cate and Kate the Great to soothe us all into a better tomorrow.
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Hey, did you catch Conan last night? No? You were already asleep? You don’t get TBS? You prefer Jay Leno? p.s. I’m not entirely sure we can be friends anymore if that last one is true. But if you did happen to stay up, have cable and prefer TV hosts with red hair over enormous chins, you caught out and funny comic Erin Foley in her first late night appearance. You might remember Erin from her Philly Cream Cheese commercials or that hilarious Ilene Chaiken parody from a few years back. But if you don’t, please take five minutes out of your day and enjoy the funny. Why? Because sometimes stereotypes are true. Yep, that’s right – lesbians are funny.
Monday, April 23, 2012
Bonus lesbo points for Dana Fairbanks appearance.
The Swan Queen Wears Prada
I am so behind on this show. Have they kissed yet or what?
The Big Naomily
That woman! Emily! That woman! Naomi! That fandom! Naomily!
The Glee Games
Please, you know Santana Lopez would dismantle the rest of the Glee Club, and then force a two-winner ending with Brittany by threatening to eat nightlock berries together and/or kill them both with the razor blades in her hair.
You always knew R2 and C-3PO were Brokeback for each other.
Friday, April 20, 2012
I’m taking myself on a little three-day weekend. But no proper road trip would be complete without the proper music. And given my partial namesake and given The Gay, I can’t think of a better song to take me off. See you over the rainbow, kittens. Happy weekend, all.
Thursday, April 19, 2012
Look, I know it isn’t always a comments barn burner when I talk about my love for My Fake TV Wife Tina Fey and her Fake TV Wife Amy Poehler. But I can’t help it. I love them. Ilovethem Ilovethem Ilovethem. You can’t make me not love them. Neyner, neyner, neyner ney. The thing is, for all the virtual ink and internet blood spilled over a show like “Girls,” which depending on who you talk to is the triumphant voice of a generation or the worse than pouring hot wax into your eye sockets, shows like “30 Rock” and “Parks and Recreation” are still out there presenting for ladykind and funny fuckers everywhere. No, Liz Lemon and Leslie Knope aren’t perfect. Yes, both have had their share of dysfunction. But, dammit, if these aren’t quality shows that deserve love, attention and ratings. (But, seriously, if you know anyone with a Nielsen box – pay them in sexual favors if you have to tune into these shows.) So in celebration of “Parks and Recreation” returning to the Thursday line-up – albeit not back-to-back with “30 Rock” anymore – I am going to lavish love and attention and ratings on both these shows tonight. Because they deserve it. And, good God, are both these shows funny.
Knope 2012 Clinton-Knope 2016. Just saying.
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
So when a movie comes along that seems like it might be not bad and could even be quite good, we pay attention. And that movie this time is “Concussion.” It’s an intriguing story. A rich, middle-aged married lesbian suffers a concussion and then decides to become a prostitute for women. It’s not that the concussion changed her personality or gave her amnesia or turned her into a sexpot. It’s that it jarred her out of her sexless ennui. Sort of like “Belle de Jour,” minus Catherine Deneuve and with lesbians.
It’s the feature debut from writer-director Stacie Passon and produced by out ubJenny Schecterer-director Rose Troche (you know –
“The lesbian audience is a very difficult one. We have so few images that we tend to hang on so much to one piece. It's tough to hold up under that pressure. I imagine there will be much said. I just hope some of it is positive.”
Me as well. But even more than that, I just hope the movie is good. Because in the end what we want most from our art is it to be entertained. Tell me a good story. Make me think. Make me laugh. Take me outside of myself honestly. And we want the same from lesbian movies. Because, really, is it too much to ask for a good lesbian movie? I certainly hope not.
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
This makes me sad about “Pan Am.”
Amber HeardEvery time I see her, I have to remind myself that she likes girls – a lot.
Paula PattonShe should really be a bigger star. I mean, seriously.
Scarlett JohanssonA book and
Rosario DawsonThe saggy pants epidemic strikes again. Godspeed, Rosario.
Christina AquileraI still miss delightfully trashy Xtina Christina. But sassy judge Christina ain’t bad either.
Megan FoxForgive me, Internet, for I have sinned. I’ve posted another picture of Megan Fox on you. But, in my defense, tank top and aviators. Apologies.
Shania TwainI’m not really a country music fan. But who can be a music snob at a time like this.
Good luck making your peace with Uncle Sam today. I wonder if tank tops are tax deductible.
Monday, April 16, 2012
Kristin Chenoweth being hilarious having it done to her.
Jane Lynch being hilarious doing it to little kids.
There, who needs cute puppy wearing hipster glasses after that? Not me, that’s who. Or at least, not me as much. Oh, fine, they’re all adorable. Are you happy now, Monday?
Friday, April 13, 2012
Yet, still, I never thought too much about her. But then came this week. And now I’m thinking about her a lot. And what I’m thinking is thank you, Ashley Judd. Because this week she came out swinging against the patriarchy. Against sexism. Against misogyny. And it was awesome.
You see, Ashley has come to TV with the new short series “Missing” on ABC. And while doing promos for the show, the media latched on to something other than the plot. Namely, they latched on to her face. Even more namely that her face is, well, “puffy.” And then began the insane commentary, analysis, speculation and all-around body snarking that comes when a woman dares to somehow not look exactly how she looked yesterday or a year ago or 10 years ago. Or sometimes even if she looks exactly the same.
Women get judged for their appearance every day. Men, too. But for women it’s systemic and insidious and second nature. And it’s bullshit. And Ashley called it on its bullshit. Even more than that, Ashley came out swinging as a feminist. Which in a world where the “F-word” can be seen as a four-letter word, is pretty damn extraordinary. She wrote an essay for the Daily Beast which is well worth a read:
“Consequently, I choose to address it because the conversation was pointedly nasty, gendered, and misogynistic and embodies what all girls and women in our culture, to a greater or lesser degree, endure every day, in ways both outrageous and subtle. The assault on our body image, the hypersexualization of girls and women and subsequent degradation of our sexuality as we walk through the decades, and the general incessant objectification is what this conversation allegedly about my face is really about.”
She goes on to list an assortment of the things said about her, her face and her entire existence. She had work done. She is a cow. She messed up her face. She’d better watch out because her husband will now leave her. Lather, rinse, repeat. (For the record, her face is “puffy” because she has been sick and on steroids. Not that we deserve an explanation of her appearance. But she graciously gave us one none the less.)
She also quite pointedly calls out women for engaging in and often instigating the sexist and destructive conversations about other women’s bodies.
“That women are joining in the ongoing disassembling of my appearance is salient. Patriarchy is not men. Patriarchy is a system in which both women and men participate. It privileges, inter alia, the interests of boys and men over the bodily integrity, autonomy, and dignity of girls and women. It is subtle, insidious, and never more dangerous than when women passionately deny that they themselves are engaging in it. This abnormal obsession with women’s faces and bodies has become so normal that we (I include myself at times—I absolutely fall for it still) have internalized patriarchy almost seamlessly. We are unable at times to identify ourselves as our own denigrating abusers, or as abusing other girls and women. ….
I ask especially how we can leverage strong female-to-female alliances to confront and change that there is no winning here as women. It doesn’t actually matter if we are aging naturally, or resorting to surgical assistance. We experience brutal criticism. The dialogue is constructed so that our bodies are a source of speculation, ridicule, and invalidation, as if they belong to others—and in my case, to the actual public. (I am also aware that inevitably some will comment that because I am a creative person, I have abdicated my right to a distinction between my public and private selves, an additional, albeit related, track of highly distorted thinking that will have to be addressed at another time).”
In the end she asks a simple question. “Why was a puffy face cause for such a conversation in the first place?’ And she makes a simple pledge: “If this conversation about me is going to be had, I will do my part to insist that it is a feminist one, because it has been misogynistic from the start.” So let’s help her chance the conversation. See what I was saying about Ashley always winning the day? Happy weekend, all.
Thursday, April 12, 2012
Dear Jaime Murray:
We, the gay women of the world, would like to thank you, the great bringer of gay to our televisions, for continuing your grand tradition of gaying up every show you appear on. Our appreciation for your ability to make out in various states of undress (or at the very least share deep and meaningful pre-explosions eye sex with) with lovely ladies is legend. In fact, the only thing you do more often than play gay is play dead on TV. As for the former, you had us at that deliciously posh “hello” of yours from “Spartacus” to “Warehouse 13.” But now, well, now you’ve gone and done it. You’ve gone and gayed up yet one more show. And, in the process, you’ve made me regret giving up on “Ringer.” I mean, imagine my surprise when I saw you making out with the homicidal ex-wife of Andrew, Sarah Michelle Gellar’s characters’ (yes, kind of to both of them) husband. Of course, I fear that this role will eventually be filed under both “Gay, the” and “Dead, the” in your resume folder. But, for what it’s worth, we are eternally thankful for all you do in the making out with ladies department.
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
You know, as much as we complained – and boy did we complain – about The L Word, we also watched the hell out of it. Because it was ours and ours alone. And there is still, in 2012, a real hunger to see ourselves reflected back to us. While representation has gotten better – we’re sprinkled through a dozen or so North American shows right now – it’s still in many ways limited. And while it’s great to be part of ensembles, heavens is it fun to watch us all in a group.
p.s. What in good God have they done to poor Laura Fraser’s face? It’s like “When Photoshop Attacks: Demon Head Replacement.” Well at least Hot Cop looks good. We’d have come after them if torches if they touched Hot Cop’s face.
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Helping to stoke my excitement is the return of copious on-set tweets from as Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander. Because, I mean, just look at them. They’re so goddamned cute. Even when bloodied or experiencing bad hair days, something about their personalities just shines through. I can’t wait to chronicle all their TGTGT again come June 5. Because the girls can’t help it, they just can’t keep their hands off of each other.
Now, I know some folks scoff at my joy over the subtext on “Rizzoli & Isles.” Shouldn’t we be demanding more real same-sex relationships on TV? Why glorify relationships that don’t even exist? Isn’t this a little, you know, desperate? Well my answers are as such: yes, why not and hell no. It’s fun, that’s what it is. Should we always demand more real, rich and regular same-sex characters and relationships on TV? Yes, yes, a million times yes. But in the absence of that and even in the presence of that, why not also revel in subtext when the situation allows? In fact, it’s part of the grand tradition of queer culture. We carve out our own stories when the world refuses to tell them. We read cues, we notice signs, we speak in code.
So, yes, I am excited for Det. Sexy McBadass and Dr. Smartypants to return to my TV. And you’d better believe I’m ready to subtext them up to my fullest. Because it’s fun. Bring on the gayest non-gay show on television. Bring on the gayzzoli. The lesbians are waiting.
p.s. I know, I know – her politics. But, goddamn, look how hot she looks holding this big, shiny gun.
Monday, April 09, 2012
Oh, Lena. While the rest of the world may be cruel and unforgiving, don’t worry – you will always be embraced with open arms by the lesbians. So next you’re at a convention and all the GoT fans are being No. 9 worthy wankers to you, look past them and she the throng of fangirls squealing at the sight of you. Those are the lesbians. And we love you forever rand ever.
p.s. Hey, did you know Lena is on Twitter? Yeah. You know what to do, lesbians.
Friday, April 06, 2012
p.s. This one might be the winner. But really, they’re all fucking fantastic. Hil in 16, y’all.
Thursday, April 05, 2012
In fact, what the first movie did more than anything was make me excited about what is coming next. And that something is rebellion. The rich v. terribly oppressed themes were quite interesting. What the best dystopian stories do is hold up a potent mirror to our current state and worst impulses. Would humanity every really devolve to a society where the richest sacrifice the poorest children in bloodsport as entertainment for the masses? One certainly hopes not. But in other ways, to stretch the metaphor, we are a nation already that sacrifices the poorest children to the most inadequate healthcare, the worst educations, the most environmental violence, etc. Again, I’m stretching. No one is televising 12-year-old attack each other with machetes. Still the most startling futuristic tales have enough echoes of our current discords to make us squirm uncomfortably in our seats.
So then what helps make this story special is not just the glimpse of an unsettling future, but the promise of hard-fought salvation. And when that salvation comes in the form of Katniss Everdeen, it becomes quite extraordinary indeed. Tough, resourceful, savvy, practical, brave and determined, she’s everything you want in a hero and what we so rarely find in our big-screen heroines. Most female leads are so very concerned about you liking them. In fact, her struggle with getting people to like her is a theme in the film (and I assume book). So while she learns to play the game, she knows it is still just that. Like I was saying, extraordinary.
A lot was resting on the more-than-capable shoulders of Jennifer Lawrence to turn this series into a hit. And, man, did she ever deliver. Biggest opening weekend for a non-sequel (behind only “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” and “The Dark Knight” in all-time opening weekends). Highest grossing action film with a female heroine already. So now the test becomes if Jennifer can continue to be the champion we’ve dreamed of. If the oppressed can overthrow their oppressors. If we can save a fractured future and find a small piece of our more perfect union in our present. Interesting stuff, I tell you. I feel the odds are definitely in our favor.
Wednesday, April 04, 2012
Tuesday, April 03, 2012
I think in the end what I want – what I really, really want – is for the actors whose characters will be graduating and more than likely leaving the show after this season to be send off with respect. Say what you will about “Glee” and all it’s problems, and believe me – I have, the actors have done everything they can to please an often unpleasable fanbase. They know more than anyone (save maybe for the lowly TV recappers) how hard it is to keep a fandom happy.
I’d challenge you to find a more responsive, interactive, engaged and fan-friendly cast than “Glee.” Nor can you find a harder working one. Through three seasons, two concert tours, a movie and countless song and dance numbers, they’ve smiled through the insanity. Insanity like fake pregnancies, real pregnancies, near babynapping, near nosejobs, temporary stripping, temporary stutters, good outings, bad outings and so on and so forth. Plus they have done it all at bargain-basement prices by Hollywood standards. Because the vast majority of the cast was unknown before the show went on the air, most don’t have the biggest contracts or lucrative back-end deals. Yet you would be hard-pressed to find a cast that makes more for a network, while taking home less in their paychecks than those “Glee” kids. So I hope against hope that Ryan Murphy & Co. will finally do right by this talented group of shiny, happy young folk. Sure, “Glee” made them famous. But we wouldn’t love “Glee” without them.
Monday, April 02, 2012
Happy Monday, kittens. Now walk away, slowly.