Watch This: Revenge

Emily Thorne and Nolan Ross

When I first saw the advertisements for Revenge, I did not think that I would watch it, let alone love it for its strong and progressive female characters.

I was mistaken on both counts.

Revenge comes on ABC on Sunday evenings, right after Once Upon A Time. Though Once is probably nearer and dearer to me (I love magic and I love Disney enough to forgive the odd choices that the writers frequently make), I adore Revenge.

The protagonist, who now goes by the name Emily Thorne, grew up the daughter of a man who was framed as a conspirator who handles money for a diabolical terrorist organization. Her father was taken from her, and her childhood from then on was a nightmare—until, after emerging from a juvenile detention facility, she learned of her father’s innocence, that he had been framed through an elaborate cover-up, and that she was now an incredibly wealthy woman thanks to a clever investment that her father had made long ago.

Her father had already died in prison, but Emily sets out on a long mission to destroy (not kill—but to emotionally, financially, and socially ruin) the people who conspired to frame her father (to hide their own involvement with this terrorist group).

Emily is a beautiful woman. Posing as “just another wealthy heiress” (not revealing that she is actually much, much wealthier than almost any other character on a show full of rich people), she moves in and begins her machinations.

You watch and, early on, you think that this is is going to be a show about soap opera-like maneuvers. An adult Gossip Girl with blackmail and affairs?

I won’t lie, there are both of those. Catty exchanges, hidden cameras, cheating spouses.

But there is also a brilliant bisexual hacker, Nolan, who is one of the main characters. There’s Emily’s childhood sweetheart who does not recognize her as an adult (and she wants to keep it that way—as “Emily” is a pseudonym for a reason).

And Emily is the main character. She is brilliant and extremely competent. She also has more weapons at her disposal than wealth, beauty, charm, and a friendly computer genius. Part of her backstory (this is not, I think, an actual spoiler) is that she traveled around the world and received training in survival, weapons, and martial arts.

A wealthy orphan who adopts a pseudonym and pretends to be another spoiled rich kid spending time on luxury and charities while actually being a physical and intellectual badass, hell-bent on being vengeance personified?

That sounds familiar to me.

Watch Revenge. It’s a compelling story with complex, enjoyable characters. And it’s nice to see a drama star a woman who is also qualified to make Gotham City a safer place.



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Watch This: Once Upon A Time

photo of once upon a time pictures
You guys, my Super Best Friend has only recently started watching Once Upon A Time. He and I tend to watch a lot of different television shows and put off watching others or giving others a try. When we finally do, the result is usually similar to Squidward’s first time tasting a Krabby Patty on SpongeBog Squarepants: “All the wasted years!”

I mean, he’s the guy who first got me to watch Gossip Girl, 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation, Dante’s Cove, Titan Maximum, and Gundam Wing. And, soon, Revenge, which I know is totally up my alley. “This is not a story about forgiveness.” That line could be the blurb under my biography.

Right, so, the show comes on ABC on Sunday nights and, honestly, I was not all that impressed when I watched the first few episodes. Well, the first episode. It’s one of those shows that has an awkward beginning but gets better and better until you can no longer remember a time when you were not in love with the show. Every week slows to a crawl as you anticipate the arrival of the next episode.

Yeah. This show also has a very rabid fandom.

I want to talk about the women on the show. Women have not, historically, had the best roles in fairy tales. They tend to be the villains or the helpless damsels. And while Disney “villains” are typically the most interesting parts of the films (and ABC is a part of Disney, so there are overt references on the show to Disney’s interpretations of a few fairytales. Jiminy Cricket is a character, the “Evil Fairy” from Sleeping Beauty is called “Maleficent,” etc), the princesses did not really possess a great deal of agency until more recent years.

Regina Mills is, as far as I am concerned, the main character. In season one, the writers try to make her out to be the primary antagonist, but …

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What Makes You Happy?

photo of food is happiness pics
This post isn’t about ABC’s Once Upon A Time series, but a lot of that Disney-influenced fairytale show revolves around people pursuing their own happiness (which, in some cases, means destroying that of those who have wronged them). And that show, among other things, definitely has me wondering about different people’s definitions of happiness, and what sources they find for it.

Plus, you know, happiness is kind of integral to human existence.

And there are a lot of different types of happiness.

For example, there is a sort of happiness that comes from hate. I don’t mean the angry, raging sort of hatred. And I do not mean bigotry. I mean a calm and pure hatred for an evil person who has grievously wronged you to such a degree that you can only imagine what your life would be like if you had never encountered that person. A cold hatred of sufficient intensity is such a sweet and satisfying sensation that it is almost an ecstatic experience. One can only imagine (legally, anyway) how satisfying it would be to erase the object of one’s hatred from existence.

Some people come from a different line of thinking, and believe that true happiness comes from forgiveness—from letting go of that hatred. These are probably the sorts of people who don’t cope with the world by fantasizing about murder (like, is there any other way to read about Chris Brown or Michael Vick or Casey Anthony and stay sane?). Personally, I don’t know how they …

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Michelle Bachmann is Defensible … On This One

Photo of Michele Bachmann and Jimmy Fallon
Michelle Bachmann is a lot of things, very few of them pleasant, in my opinion.  That being said, the recent clusterfuck on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon (in case you’ve been hiding under a rock, Bachmann’s appearance was accompanied by Fishbone’s “Lyin’ Ass Bitch”) was completely inappropriate.

Why?

Because it was sexist.  Misogynistic.  A cheap shot taken at a woman just for being a woman.

I mean, if the song had been implying that Bachmann is a liar, that’s one thing.  That’s political commentary, in a way.

Had the song been called “Lying Asshole” or something, I’d be totally fine with it.  I’d even agree.  After all, “asshole” takes away the gender focus.

Which was real … and wrong.

Anyway, Fallon apologized (via Twitter … don’t you love the internet?), as did the network brass.

From Slate:

Doug Vaughan, NBC’s vice president for late night programming, sent a personal letter to Michele Bachman, in which he said that the song played during her appearance on Jimmy Fallon’s show was “not only unfortunate but also unacceptable,” a spokeswoman for the GOP presidential candidate told the Associated Press. Vaughn also said the band had been “severely reprimanded.”

So, while I disagree with Bachmann’s characterization of this incident as “proof of the political bias and sexism of ‘the Hollywood entertainment elite’”, I do believe that her gender was, once again, used against her here.

Of course, Bachmann managed to somehow not capitalize on any sort of connection she might have made with feminists in a recent run-in with a high school student in Iowa questioning her on gay marriage.

From ABC News:

Bachmann told [high school student Jane] Schmidt it was the government’s role to treat all people equally, and not give preference to any group based on sexuality.

“As Americans we all have the same civil rights,” she said. “That’s really what government’s role is, to protect our civil rights. There shouldn’t be any special rights or special set of criteria based on people preferences. We all have the same civil rights.”

“Then why can’t same sex couples get married?” asked Schmidt.

“They can get married, [if] they abide by the same laws as everyone else. They can marry a man, if they’re a woman, and can marry a woman if they’re man,” Bachmann said.

Oh, Michele, a high school student … you’ll never learn, will you?



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