eight men and women are arranged in a row as they sing emotively
TV Reviews

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, or: I’m Clearly Not Over You Yet

It’s the end of an era.  The last episodes of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend aired on Friday, April 5:  an ep to conclude the show’s storyline and a live special filmed in LA.  I’m so pleased the show’s creators were able to bring things to a close on their own terms, but it’s still hard to let go.  While far from perfect, CEG is one of my favorite shows in recent memory, featuring a flawed heroine, a cast of memorable supporting characters, and messages about self-acceptance, mental health, sexuality, reproductive health, and the power of female friendship — all told through songs at once hilarious and heartfelt.  I’m going to miss this show.

I’ve seen so many lists ranking the best songs of the series, but this is impossible for me to do.  I’d still like to reflect on the songs and their importance to the show’s themes, so I’ll list some of my favorite songs by category instead.  Here we go!

Female solidarity

“Friendtopia” – the Spice Girls parody/tribute is incredible here, and I wish more songs about girl power involved literal revolutionary action.  Favorite lyric:  “When my friends and I stick together, there’s nothing we can’t do / And when I say that I specifically mean we’re gonna stage a coup.”

“Let’s Generalize About Men” – the fab ’80s style is everything to me, and I appreciate so much how the show crafts songs that support women while simultaneously calling them out.  Among other things, this song draws attention to the problematic gay best friend stereotype.  Favorite lyric:  “Gay men are all really great, every single one / They’re never mean, just sassy / They’re all completely adorable and fun.”

four women dressed in colorful 1980s style dress suits sing the words "Let's generalize about men"

“Women Gotta Stick Together” – while I’m glad Valencia stuck around as a character and experienced growth, I love her thoroughly bitchy early songs.  Though claiming to be about female solidarity, Valencia uses feminism here to remind others of their flaws, a smile pasted on her face throughout.  Favorite lyric: “Women have the power, the power to make a change / Like this girl should pluck her eyebrows, and those jeans should be exchanged.”

“Feelin’ Kinda Naughty” – the show is great at pointing out the creepy underpinnings of so many relationships.  While parodying the fetishization of lesbian relationships, CEG also highlights another way women can convince themselves their bad behavior is somehow female solidarity.  Favorite lyric:  “I want to kill you and wear your skin like a dress / But then also have you see me in that dress / And be like, ‘OMG, you look so cute in my skin.'”

Wallowing a little too hard at your own pity party

“You Stupid Bitch” – this was a real turning point in the show for me; I felt this song so personally and both appreciated that and felt way too exposed.  Favorite lyric:  “These shards are a metaphor for my soul / Can’t stop the self-pity ‘cause I’m on a roll.”

“Tell Me I’m OK” – I hate how accurate these songs are; Rebecca needing assurance from random strangers that she’s normal, and convinced that everyone else knows inherently how to come across as normal.  Favorite lyric: “Seriously, Patrick, was I sick in school the day they taught you how to be a normal person? / It just feels like there’s something fundamental I’m missing out on / Like, is there an instruction manual?”

“Santa Ana Winds” – Rebecca uses the Santa Ana Winds as an excuse for her behavior rather than taking responsibility; she also manages to make herself the center of everything by convincing herself the Sana Ana Winds are out to get her personally.  Eric Michael Roy’s performance absolutely makes this song. Favorite lyric:  “I’m mystical but also carry dangerous spores / I bring whimsy and forest fires.”

a man dressed in a suit dances along the road as cars are backed up along both sides

“The End of the Movie” – another song I wish I didn’t relate to so hard; I just feel like life is supposed to make way more sense than it does.  Plus the Josh Groban cameo is perfectly executed.  Favorite lyric:  “If you saw a movie that was like real life, you’d be like ‘What the hell was that movie about? It was really all over the place’ / Life doesn’t make narrative sense.”

“No One Else Is Singing My Song” – oof, this one hurts because I know I’ve been guilty of wallowing in my own self-pity to the point I’m convinced no one could possibly ever relate to what I’m feeling.  CEG plays this up perfectly in this song, emphasizing that a lot of Rebecca’s isolation is self-inflicted.  Favorite lyric:  “Have you ever been far from home / So scared you had to roam / And now you’re beaten and tired with no one to call a friend (He doesn’t count).”

The power of self-delusion

“West Covina” – so many of Rebecca’s problems come from this place of seeing exactly what she wants to see while denying the reality of the situation.  Favorite lyric: “My life’s about to change, oh my gosh / Because I’m desperately, hopelessly in love with…West Covina.”

“I’m a Good Person” – the uncensored version is everything to me.  Once again, Rebecca looks to others for validation while completely deceiving herself.  Favorite lyric: “Newsflash, fuckwads, I’m a good person / Do what I can for you all the time.”

“Nothing Is Ever Anyone’s Fault” – Rebecca gets so close to self-actualization here, recognizing that her trauma and mistakes have shaped who she is.  Unfortunately, she and Nathaniel are blindly determined to blame their parents for all that has gone wrong in their lives.  Favorite lyric:  “It wasn’t technically Hitler’s fault / Hitler’s brother died and that made him super sad.”

“A Diagnosis” – getting an accurate diagnosis is a huge step for Rebecca, but it’s not going to be an easy journey.  Again, she gets so close to the point, yet misses it entirely, believing that the diagnosis equates to a solution to her problems.  Favorite lyric: “With a diagnosis, I’m ready to blow this joint / And by joint I mean my inner sense of confusion (You said that confusingly).”

a woman in a clinic wears a yellow dress and sings the words "A diagnosis"

“After Everything I’ve Done for You” – poor Paula is just trying to vicariously live out her romantic fantasies through Rebecca, so who can blame her for getting a bit upset when her scheming yields no results?  As this song demonstrates, Rebecca isn’t the only character fixated on fairytale romance.  Favorite lyric: “That’s right, I make yoga class schedules / There’s no limit to where my reach is.”

“Don’t Be a Lawyer” –  I absolutely love the ’90s vibe of this, as well as what I consider (further) confirmation that my decision to work in libraries was the best of my life.  Also shout-out to “I Want to Be a Child Star,” which is great and could have the alternate title “Don’t Be a Child Star.” Favorite lyric: “There are so many other professions that don’t turn you into Jeff Sessions.”

Toxic masculinity

“Fit Hot Guys Have Problems Too” – one of my absolute favorite songs of the entire show, this takedown of toxic masculinity never fails to crack me up.  It’s obnoxious how a group of extremely privileged dudes is holding their own pity party, though at the same time, it’s really their own conception of masculinity holding back their free emotional expression.  Favorite lyric: “Don’t look at us, we’re not dancing for you / Leave us alone, we have to twerk out our sad.”

three men without shirts dance onstage in front of a crowd, singing the words "Twerk out our sad"

“I Go to the Zoo” – playing against type, fuckboy Nathaniel reveals the illegal high he gets to forget about his broken heart:  visiting the zoo after hours.  Favorite lyric: “I look at the monkeys / Their eyes look like my eyes.”

“The Buzzing from the Bathroom” – the idea that Tim’s masculinity is threatened based on his wife’s orgasms is ridiculous, yet it’s a real fear men have. The Les Mis parody makes Tim’s fears seem all the more melodramatic while reminding us there’s a very simple solution here:  just ask what your romantic partner likes.  Favorite lyric:  “Oh, the buzzing, cursed buzzing, that damn incessant hum / I used to think I was a hero / Can’t believe she didn’t come…to tell me that she needed so much more than I could give.”

Problematic narratives surrounding romantic love

“Love Kernels” – the Beyoncé tribute is brilliant, the costuming incredible, and the lyrics inspired.  God, it hurts how desperate Rebecca is and how real it feels.  Favorite lyric:  “I’ll be patient until the kernels rain down like candy on Shaquille O’Neal in the movie Kazaam.

“Fuckton of Cats” — again, the TV version is good, but the uncensored version is exquisite.  Favorite lyric: “This is the future smell of my house / It’s the smell of my dreams that have died (and cats).”

“The Math of Love Triangles” – while love triangles are the bread and butter of rom-coms, they’re not as glamorous as Rachel Bloom’s Marilyn Monroe impersonation. Favorite lyric: “We’re starting to suspect you don’t sincerely want to know about triangles.”

a woman in a blue dress smiles broadly as a group of men wearing glasses look on around her

“One Indescribable Instant” – Lea Salonga sings beautifully about fairytale romance in the vaguest of terms.  Favorite lyric: “What, are you kidding me? / No, it’s for real-able.”

“Oh My God I Think I Like You” – this is surprisingly sweet and sad for a song that focuses so much on intense, no-strings sex.  Favorite lyric: “Is there spermicidal lubricant that can kill the fluttering in my heart?”

“I Hate Everything But You” – I relate to Greg a lot sometimes, most clearly exemplified by this song.  Favorite lyric: “I hate when people ask me if I’d ever get a tattoo / Hate combination conditioner and shampoo.”

Sexuality and sexual health

Cats songs: “Hungry Vagina Metaphor,” “Itchy Vagina Metaphor,” “Funky Vagina Metaphor” – it’s impossible for me to choose a favorite among these, though Fred Armisen’s cameo as Itchy Cat holds a special place in my heart.  I’m impressed with the show’s commitment to exponentially increasing the number of songs written about yeast infections.  Favorite lyric: “Funky cat is all the rage when something’s off with your pH.”

a man dressed as an orange cat crouches on all fours on a couch

“I Gave You a UTI” – Santino Fontana’s performance here is so great, while the song breaks new ground with its subject matter.  At least, as far as I know, there had never been songs about having a UTI until this one.  Favorite lyric: “I’m so good at sex / Your maidenship got wrecked.”

The un-sexiness of sex

“The Sexy Getting Ready Song” – truly an instant classic.  Right off the bat, CEG is interested in examining unrealistic beauty standards for women.  This one focuses on the misconception that looking flawless comes naturally; actually, it’s quite a process that is really painful and often downright disgusting.  Favorite lyric:  “You know what?  I gotta go apologize to some bitches.  I’m forever changed after what I just seen.”

“The First Penis I Saw” – unlike other songs about first love, this one doesn’t hesitate to bring up the awkward, embarrassing side of a first sexual experience.  The ABBA parody is brilliantly done, and Donna Lynne Champlin’s face acting is just so excellent.  Favorite lyric:  literally this entire song.

three women holding vegetables as microphones stand in front of a large squash, singing the words "First penis"

“Let’s Have Intercourse” – taking a romantic Ed Sheeran-style approach to this ballad, Nathaniel manages to make this seduction entirely about himself and his own gratification.  Favorite lyric: “Sometimes my body wants things that my mind does not / My body wants things that make my mind go ‘Body, what?'”

“Strip Away My Conscience” – shattering all of our illusions about sexy stripteases, Rebecca’s number includes throwing a shoe at Nathaniel’s head and reminding him that her thong has just been up her butt.  Favorite lyric: “Baby, it’s such foreplay / When you slither like a moray / EEL.”

Self-acceptance

“Gettin’ Bi” – such a fun song that captures Darryl’s enthusiastic personality while making important and valid points about bisexuality.  Favorite lyric: “It doesn’t take an intellectual to get that I’m bisexual.”

a man in a white suit sings into a microphone as four members of a band play instruments behind him

“Anti-Depressants Are So Not a Big Deal” — I strongly feel this should be required listening for anyone taking anti-depressants or other meds to manage mental illness, as well as people who don’t understand why these medications are so important and necessary.  Favorite lyric:  “Some cry that in the past we didn’t medicate everyone / Cool, witch trials and the crusades / Sounded like so much fun.”

Bonus round

“Dream Ghost” — I absolutely love this song and don’t know what category to put it in. The Dream Girls motown tribute is so catchy in and of itself, while the meta commentary is sharp, and Michael Hyatt’s voice is so perfect for it.  Favorite lyric: “This guy is deciding whether or not to leave his wife / This girl is wondering if she should terminate a pregnancy.”

three women dressed in long, shiny dresses stand in front of a cloud backdrop

“There’s No Bathroom” — the Weird Al cameo this show deserves with the reprise I never would’ve expected.  This song is as bizarrely fun as the man himself (complete with accordion).  Favorite lyric: again, this entire number.

Thanks for sticking with me through this behemoth of a post.  Thanks for the memories, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend!

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Life Rants, TV Reviews

If 10th Kingdom Had Been Made Today, It Would Have Been a Viral Sensation

The cancellation of Community.  Airing the American version of Prime Suspect.  The inexplicable, enduring popularity of Friends.  There have been so many NBC decisions I’ve found unacceptable from a cultural and personal standpoint.  Perhaps the one I will carry to my grave is the failure of the 2000 mini-series 10th Kingdom to gain traction–or to get the fucking sequel it deserved!

10th Kingdom was a fantasy/adventure show based on the premise that fairy tale characters live in another dimension and occasionally cross over to our world.  When the great-grandson of Snow White arrives in New York to escape his evil stepmother, waitress Virginia and her father Tony decide to help him.  As they are transported to the fairy tale kingdoms, all Virginia and Tony want to do is get home, but trolls, dwarves, wolves, and huntsmen stand in their way.  Will our heroes win out against evil schemes or is happily ever after a thing of the past?

It’s been close to 20 years since the show first aired and, rather than move on and become a productive member of society, I will cling to this injustice and air my grievances in the form of a blog post with a rather click-baity title, as internet conventions dictate.  (Internet conventions probably dictate that I tweet about this, but I just can’t.  Word limits cannot contain me!)

In honor of this series, which will forever live in my heart, let’s examine some reasons this timeless classic still deserves a second part…and some ways it maybe hasn’t aged so well.  Prepare for lots of SPOILERS ahead.

10 Reasons 10th Kingdom Deserves to be a Viral Sensation with a Million Sequels

  1. The cast!  Holy shit, the cast is incredible here.  Dianne Wiest, Rutger Hauer, Ann-Margret, Warwick Davis, Camryn Manheim, Siegfried from All Creatures Great and Small…I could go on!
  2. Once Upon a Time borrowed so many pages from this show’s formula.  Should we not reward it for actually being creative and not just a vehicle for Disney to further expand its empire?  Whereas OUAT took itself overly seriously and cranked up the angst, 10th Kingdom was always fun to watch and wove together different fairy tales much more seamlessly.
  3. Dianne Wiest!  I know I already highlighted the cast, but Dianne Wiest as the Evil Queen is everything in this.  She’s incredibly calculating, cold and thorough as a villain.  Yet I deeply relate to her schemes to turn more people into adorable golden retrievers and poison all of her party guests.  GTFO, everyone.  Also, true story:  I used to quote her lines to telemarketers in the days before caller ID.
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  4. Camryn Manheim as curvy Snow White — a casting decision that certain corners of the internet would still find offensive to their sensibilities.  In addition to being gorgeous, this Snow White is wise AF, and her spirit just kind of hangs around ice caves dispensing advice?  I’m on board with that.
  5. The dog!  One of the main characters is turned into a dog fairly early on, and he’s so so so cute!  The dog is ridiculously well-trained to cover his face with his paws, stand regally on his hind legs, and throw side-eye.  I’m not even a dog person and I’m obsessed with this dog.
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  6. The landscape — quite a lot of this series was shot in France, Austria, and the English countryside, and it makes for some gorgeous scenery.  The series could’ve just been our main characters wandering around Europe for 7 hours, and it still would’ve made for a decent show.
  7. Wolf’s mannerisms — probably one of the reasons I loved this show so much as a pre-teen was Wolf’s behavior:  closer to a puppy than a garbage 2000s man.  Boys, who needs ’em?
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  8. The swears!  I was sooooooooooooo cool that “what in the fairying forest?” and “suck an elf” made it to my regular rotation (at least in my internal monologue).
  9. The theme song!  It’s so very early ’00s, and I’m here for that.  You can call it cheesy all you want; I know full well it secretly gives you goosebumps.
  10. It’s just fun!  Admittedly this is maybe a reason 10th Kingdom wouldn’t work today; it’s much more committed to being a fun romp than getting overly dramatic and serious.  As much as I love a gritty drama, I appreciate the sweetness of this show and dedication to world-building that’s not always there in a sci-fi/fantasy show.

10 Things That Are Problematic AF about 10th Kingdom

  1. Lack of characters/actors of color — admittedly this problem hasn’t gone away, but the issue in 10th Kingdom becomes more pronounced in light of the increasing number of shows today written, directed by, and starring people of color.  The only characters of color are trolls, which is…uh, not a great look.  I also want some LGBTQ fairy tale characters in this.
  2. Jokes about women’s issues — when Wolf is on trial for murder, the argument Virginia sets up in court implies the victim was asking for it.  There’s a lot to unpack here surrounding victim blaming and rape culture.  There are also a few times when Wolf’s monthly transformation is compared to menstruation and it pisses me off.
  3. Representation of the Roma people — literally the only thing they’re here to do is tell fortunes and put curses on people.  It’s such a stereotypical representation (which probably wouldn’t be any different today, honestly) and most of the actors just appear to be vaguely Italian.
  4. Tony — I don’t even know where to start.  First of all, when he’s given 3 wishes, the first one is to enslave his boss’s family, and he feels totally fine hitting on his boss’s wife, who is hypnotized to believe she’s his slave?!??!  SO FUCKING PROBLEMATIC.  His character in general is insufferable in a ’90s sitcom dad kind of way, and he causes like 95% of the issues our heroes encounter.
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  5. The special effects are so bad.  Like, even for the time they were bad.  The human/dog transformation stands out as especially horrendous, but there are also some pretty tacky effects when certain characters are invisible or speaking through mirrors and other reflective surfaces.
  6. Virginia’s wardrobe!  Seriously, skirt + hoodie has never been a thing, so no early 2000s fashion excuses!  As a side note, it also feels extremely dated that Virginia is this sad loser who still lives with her dad at 21 since this seems to be much more common than not today.
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  7. The overacting — in particular, there’s a scene in which people are being poisoned that just hurts to watch.  And not because I feel pity for their plight; I just really want the cringey over-the-top acting to end.
  8. The weird sexual vibes — there’s a scene where Virginia is petting Wolf’s tail that I just don’t get (I mean, I do, but I wish I didn’t).  Also, there’s an awkward amount of attention given to Virginia being a virgin.  Wolf is a virgin too, but that gets so little time compared to the fuss that’s made over Virginia’s lack of sexual experience.
  9. No dragons!  This might not be as glaring if the series didn’t have an entire subplot based on finding Dragon Mountain where THERE ARE NO ACTUAL FUCKING DRAGONS.
  10. The singing ring.  This is absofuckinglutely unforgiveable.  Virginia receives an engagement ring with a pearl that SINGS about true love in an incredibly aggravating falsetto.  This is a dealbreaker as far as I’m concerned, though probably a really good way to annoy the fuck out of your coworkers.

    A CGI-animated pearl with a face sits in a gold and purple ring setting
    FUCK YOU, YOU SMUG LITTLE MOTHERFUCKER.

In spite of its flaws, in my heart I still feel 10th Kingdom deserves a sequel or at least some form of atonement for its vague, cliffhanger-y ending.  If we live in a world where Zoolander can get a sequel 15 years later that no one asked for, who’s to say it won’t happen for a beloved fantasy series with a sprawling, multi-talented cast that’s overly fixated on the sexual experiences of its characters and not quite as subversive as it thinks it is?  HBO, are you listening?

What TV cancellations have left you emotionally devastated and in all likelihood changed the course of your life irreversibly?

TV Reviews

Thoughts (And Way Too Many Feelings) on BoJack Horseman: Season 4

*Spoilers for BoJack Horseman seasons 1-4 below*

Time’s arrow marches on, as Beatrice is fond of reminding us during season 4 of BoJack Horseman.  Like so many words of wisdom uttered through the course of the show, this phrase has been passed down from the family–along with emotional baggage, trauma, and deeply rooted bitterness.  Though time’s arrow marches on, our characters regularly dwell on a past dominated by physical and verbal abuse, mental health crises, and feelings of powerlessness even as they long to return to the good old days.

Oh, right.  And this is a comedy.

Though we begin the season with the titular BoJack MIA somewhere in the desert, our characters remaining in Hollywoo must keep calm and carry on.  Or at least carry on.

Diane and Mr. Peanutbutter start things out on a sour note with his campaign for Governor of California.  Both of Mr. Peanutbutter’s ex-wives, Jessica Biel and Katrina, are helping with the campaign, fueling Diane’s insecurity and amplifying her guilt over not supporting his political career.  Writing pieces in opposition to Mr. Peanutbutter’s political stances gets clicks for the blog Diane now writes for but creates tension at home.  Is there enough left of their marriage to keep them together?

While BoJack doesn’t appear at all in episode 1, he does of course return to Hollywoo eventually.  After fixing up (and subsequently destroying) the summer home where BoJack vacationed with his parents, he returns to discover his long-lost (and previously unknown) daughter Hollyhock has tracked him down.  His relationship with Hollyhock is complicated by the arrival of Beatrice, who moves in when she is no longer allowed to stay in her assisted living facility.  BoJack’s determination to be a better person (horse) and avoid letting his daughter down is strong…but so is his desire to seek petty vengeance against his mother (now suffering from dementia).  Let’s return to this one later because it is bleak.  Bleak.

Meanwhile, Todd is up to his usual misadventures while learning to live with and accept his asexuality.  After agreeing to a sham Hollywoo engagement and briefly becoming a fashion icon, Todd teams up with Mr. Peanutbutter for yet another ill-advised business proposal.  Their latest venture is the horrifying marriage of clowning and dentistry, which is eventually shut down by the BBB.  However, since it’s Todd, this failed business leads to another (equally horrifying) opportunity.  This is a pretty good season for Todd, who even gets an episode paying tribute to his generous nature.  Is this a turning point for Todd or will others take advantage of his good nature yet again?

a crudely drawn scene shows a horse kneeling before a cuckoo clock with an angel emerging from the top
You’ve been reading this review for a while.  You deserve a picture.

Princess Carolyn, on the other hand, starts the season strong, but it becomes one of the worst for her on both a personal and professional level.  Her relationship with Ralph Stilton begins to crack when his mouse family fails to offer her a warm welcome (and even sings a song about hating cats).  Things unravel rather quickly in an episode in which a broken necklace is deeply symbolic (and even the framing device for this episode is meant to deceive you and destroy you emotionally).  All of Princess Carolyn’s dreams crumble before her eyes as her greatest strength (her ability to always land on her feet) becomes an obstacle preventing her from starting a family and achieving her professional goals.

Don’t worry, though, I’ve saved the saddest storyline for last—Beatrice Horseman.  Up until this season, she has been perhaps the most unsympathetic, horrific character on the show as one of the main reasons BoJack is so fucked up.  I still remember the emotional impact of season 2’s opening episode, in which all of BoJack’s resolve to change his life and adopt a brand new attitude is crushed by one short phone call with his mother.  Beatrice does still say and do terrible things in this season, but it’s hard to say as an elderly, ailing woman she deserves the treatment BoJack gives her.  We see more insight into her childhood and married life than ever before, which explains a great deal of her psychological and emotional trauma.

While BoJack’s life clearly demonstrates the impact of bad mothers, we also see what happens when fathers are terrible:  both BoJack’s father and grandfather.  We see the soul-crushing messages Beatrice receives as a child about her intelligence (she has too much) and body (also too much).  In her adult life, Beatrice holds the family together, gets her husband a job, and smooths over his (major) mistakes with no choice but to live bitterly with her regrets.  Perhaps most devastatingly, BoJack will never know the full story, and he and his mother continue to bring out the worst in each other.

As usual, this season consistently brings smart social and political commentary (see the entirety of Mr. Peanutbutter’s celebrity political campaign, as well as episodes about fracking and gun violence).  However, it’s at its strongest in the emotionally distressing way we’ve come to expect from BoJack during the latter half of the season.  It divides almost evenly, taking a dark(er) turn with episode 6, “Stupid Piece of Shit.”  We get insight into BoJack’s inner monologue, in which he constantly hurls verbal abuse at himself (his favorite insult being “you stupid piece of shit”).  This is much too real for me and culminates in Hollyhock asking if the voice in your head ever goes away.  (If only.)

an animated horse looks back at another horse, who is looking sadly from a wheelchair
Here’s another picture.  Which in no way is expected to make you feel better.

It’s not an easy season to watch—as the series has progressed, we as the audience have maintained a great deal of sympathy for BoJack.  However, there have been an increasing number of times when it’s become more challenging to make excuses for his damaging behavior—to Sarah Lynn, Penny, Herb, and his mother.  Whether this pattern will continue with Hollyhock is a major question this season asks.

Possibly my only complaint this season is the relentless setting up of positive moments explicitly to knock them down.  It works for the most part because of the nature of this show, but after seeing the 4th (and 5th and 6th and 7th) character experience a moment of happiness only to see it shredded to pieces a scene later, it becomes a bit played out.  I started having an almost Pavlovian response to the sound of laughter or genuinely uplifting moments.

Always in the back of my mind during this season was how it will end (especially in light of season 3’s downer ending).  This is one of the show’s saddest endings but its final moment is tinged with hope (spoiler:  BoJack is SMILING [and it’s not for a scene]).  The lives of our characters have certainly changed a great deal from the beginning of the season to the end, and several of them even grow to some degree.  However, can these characters really change or will they fall back into repeating the same patterns?  Will they ever feel complete or continue to be broken?  Can they stop hurting themselves and the others around them?  If you figure it out, let me know.

While I love every moment of watching BoJack, I have worried that watching these characters continue to make the same mistakes would grow stale.  My fears were put to rest this season, which manages the same level of emotional devastation as usual without becoming monotonous.  Though I am now an empty husk, I really loved this season as much as any of the others…you know, in that masochistic BoJack kind of way that demands a whiskey chaser, 7 pizzas, and too many apple fritters.

Collaborative Blogging, TV Reviews

Warrior Women, or: My Misandry Has Killed Thousands

Christa and I have talked about diving into TV for the Blog Collab but haven’t found a show that we could review after watching only 1 or 2 episodes.  Until now.  Enter the show Warrior Women, a History Channel-style series hosted by Lucy Lawless about the lives of real women warriors.  Um, yes please.

The Show:

Warrior Women

Where to Watch:

Netflix (US)

The Uncondensed Version:

The misandry is strong in this one, with LL uttering lines about Boudica’s anger killing 75,000 and her unstoppable quest for vengeance.  So it’s a bit like an episode of Xena but more based in fact.  Er, sort of.  And considerably more shots of Lucy Lawless just casually strolling around Stonehenge (and fucking leaning against it(!)—you’re part of the problem, Lucy Lawless).

a woman casually leans against a Stonehenge rock
How did no one tackle her??!?!

But anyway.

Boudica is the Queen of the Iceni and lone ruler after her husband’s death.  The Iceni had a complex society even though they are often portrayed as wild/uncivilized/all of the things empires call foreigners.  Complications arise in the form of Romans, who are taking over the world and want to show everyone what complete control they have in Britain.

Romans have to do everything in a really sketchy way, obviously, so they call in all of these loans they had given to the Iceni—money that the Romans had given as a gift.  The Romans are also definitely not ok with a woman ruler and severely underestimate the vengeance Boudica will rain down upon them (just go with it—this is seriously how the narration for this show was written).  When the Romans arrive, they severely beat Boudica and rape her young daughters.

Following this outrage, Boudica is able to rally support to attack the capitol at the time, Colchester.  Some of the other groups of Britons just really want to fucking destroy the Temple of Claudius in Colchester.  The slaughter continues to London, where things get a bit less clear-cut and you may experience conflicting feelings.  Or you’re just a sociopath, IDK.  LL helpfully tells us that “dreams of utopia so often end in murder.”

a woman in a leather jacket brings a sword down on a man wearing a suit of armor
I just really wanted to use this screenshot.

Boudica and her army kill Romans and Britons alike, with many of those left behind the very young and -very old.  One historian notes that Boudica wants to completely purge Briton of foreigners (rings a bell, eh), though I think that impulse makes a bit more sense when it’s the colonized trying to free themselves from their oppressors.

Everything leads up to a final battle, of course, which seems the Britons will win effortlessly.  However, the Romans are just more organized and have a better military strategy.  Ultimately, approximately 11,000 Romans defeat at least 100,000 Britons by sort of trapping and suffocating them.  It’s all over for Boudica, who dies shortly after the battle.

The Rating:

4/5 Pink Panther Heads?  Maybe?  I don’t know how to rate this one.

It’s impossible not to talk about LL’s role in this.  Her presence is really the highlight here as some of the battle reenactments are obviously just 20 people chanting loudly in a field.  LL does a reasonable amount of narrating while riding around in a chariot, strolling through fields in a fucking leather trench coat, and getting blue face tats.  She looks like your poli sci professor who is also a secret assassin.  I really wish LL had also done the historical reenactments.  New rule for this week/month/life = only watching TV with Lucy Lawless in it.

a woman stands in a field wearing blue face paint and clothing typical of the ancient Britons
I honestly believe she’s a perfect human being.

I appreciate that the view presented in this show is somewhat unbiased(ish), as the historians point out Boudica’s mission ultimately failed, plus she killed a lot of innocent Britons along the way.  It makes me honestly glad I am not an actual woman warrior because it would be highly disturbing to really stab someone.

Would Christa lead the charge into battle or…why is this a question?  You know she fucking would.  Visit her blog here for her thoughts and blood-lust!