Dec 10

Five ways to bring The Walking Dead back to life (and I’m sorry about the pun)

The Walking Dead

What a lovably ragtag gang of misfits!

Well, thank God that’s over.

The Walking Dead, in its first season, wasn’t a terrible show. It was something far, far more frustrating than that: an okay show that had the potential to be an incredible show. The series premiere was a wonder to behold– beautiful and eerie, humane yet brutal. And every episode since then did nothing but squander the promise of that first installment.

So I was very fucking relieved to hear last week that director Frank Darabont had fired all of his writers. I’m taking it as an acknowledgment on his part that the show hasn’t been everything it could be, as well as a sign that he has some idea of how to fix that. Much as I’ve complained about the show’s big flaws, I don’t think it’s irretrievably fucked up yet. In fact, if the first ten minutes of Sunday night’s finale proved anything, it was that the show can still be fascinating when it wants to be.

In the spirit of optimism, here are five things I’m hoping Darabont and his freelance staff will do for us next season. (Spoilers for the first season of The Walking Dead ahead.) Continue reading →

Oct 10

“Rocky Horror Glee Show”: In which we realize Sue is right to hate Will

Cory Monteith as Finn in "The Rocky Horror Glee Show"

No, Finn, I don't get it either.

This week’s Glee cemented an increasingly obvious fact: Will Schuester is the single worst thing about Glee. Somewhere along the line, Will has morphed from a flawed but well-meaning teacher to such a complete jackass that he needs Sue Sylvester– Sue Motherfucking Sylvester!– to act as his moral compass. I’ve begun to feel about Will the way Sue does: disgusted. And that is a problem, because the show does not seem to realize that one of its central protagonists has become the show’s nastiest villain. (Spoilers follow.)

Continue reading →

Oct 10

In praise of Freaks & Geeks’ rude, crude Kim Kelly

Kim Kelly

Do not mess with this chick.

Whenever the old “Are Judd Apatow’s movies sexist” debate gets dusted off again, someone inevitably trots out Freaks & Geeks’ Lindsay Weir as proof that Apatow and his roving band of merry potheads might not be completely allergic to decent female characters. Lindsay’s strong and smart, but has her flaws. She’s not just another generic girlfriend or sister type, but the three-dimensional protagonist of her own show. She’s a girl so many of us were (or felt like) in high school, but rarely see reflected onscreen. And for all those things, Lindsay deserves her place among Daria Morgendorffer, Veronica Mars, and Angela Chase in the pantheon of great female teen characters from the turn of the century. Bravo, Judd Apatow, Paul Feig, affiliated writers, actors, and assorted crew members!

But we’re not here to talk about her today.
Continue reading →

Sep 10

My life would suck without you: a plea to Glee


Why are a bunch of high schoolers in a cubicle? Who cares? The important thing is that they look good.

Loving Glee has been a singularly frustrating experience. When it’s good, it’s brilliant, poignant, hilarious, and like nothing else on television. When it’s bad, it’s so cringe-inducingly awful that it’s embarrassing to admit you’re actually following this show. I keep watching because so far the good has outweighed the bad, and because despite the occasionally horrendous writing, I’ve come to like and care about the characters. But hot damn, this show needs to pull it together.

Continue reading →

Aug 10

Ramona Flowers and 5 Other Manic Pixie Dream Girls Who Aren’t

Scott Pilgrim

Scott & Ramona

As a pop culture junkie and a feminist, I spend a lot of time bemoaning the state of female characters in mainstream cinema. And at the top of my list of pet peeves is that most supremely irritating and unfortunately ubiquitous of archetypes: the Manic Pixie Dream Girl.

But! It doesn’t always have to be that way. It is possible to create a cool, sexy, offbeat gal without turning her into a Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Bryan Lee O’Malley did it in Scott Pilgrim, for one:

When Scott meets Ramona, she’s just as mysterious and adorable as you could expect, and true to form, her purpose is indeed to force him to grow up. But she’s also packing some serious baggage, and not the empty MPDG type. The apparently shallow conceit of having Scott fight each one of her evil exes reveals itself as a way of explaining Ramona as a person — as someone who’s wronged and been wronged, as someone who gets angry and sad and yes, even bored.

Check out the rest of that paragraph, plus several more about other quirky women done right at Geeks of Doom. You know you want to…