English 1102: Television and Feminism

Dr. Casey Alane Wilson • Georgia Institute of Technology

Tag: television Page 1 of 3

Fresh off the Meaning of TV

For my final post, I figured I’d review what I thought the show was trying to tell us overall. I began my blog talking about the themes of the show, and progressed to talk about the role of gender in the show. Because I did these heavy- hitting topics towards the beginning of my blog, I feel that it could be useful to revisit now that I’ve seen more and been able to have a clearer idea of how these review topics have influenced the overall meaning of the show.

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look back at it

The show revolved around central abstracts like feminism, gender roles, family dynamics, and immigration.  The show was first aired in primetime in the slot directly following Modern Family, a telling fact which I missed in earlier reviews. This shows the audience that they were targeting as set up by the viewers of Modern Family and can indicate the style the show follows. Both shows are a little sarcastic, comedic, family-friendly sitcoms with adult twists here and there to keep it interesting for the adult viewers. They are overall family friendly but make a point to revolve around key social issues like homosexual marriage, mixed families, immigration, women’s roles, and more. This pattern holds their target audience and is extended through the show’s presence on the online streaming network Hulu. The show wants to have its audience but make its point too.

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yes, you can be both fully Asian and fully American

Fresh off the Boat normalizes and brings down to earth characters which challenge the norm. The main female lead is very much in control of her family and leads her husband in many ways, being a strong-willed yet feminine and sweet character. The father is an Asian-American immigrant who is pursuing the American Dream. These characters border on satirizing the norms of American culture and bring to light the ‘melting pot’ aspect of American culture in a positive and endearing way. This results in not only a huge following but also a meaningful one which reflects that these ideas will have an effect on mainstream culture with its audience.

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My Final Farewell Before Being Fresh Off the Blog

Alright, yay! Last blog post! Party time! My journey with Fresh Off the Boat is finally coming to an end. Looking back, I am going to be honest. I did not like the show to begin with, and I still do not like the show now. However, it is a good show. I see that. It is just not my sense of humor, but it is well made and touches on real issues going on in the world today in a subtle way.

However, I feel like it’s only gone downhill. I love analyzing themes in shows and the deeper messages and the commentary on society. All shows do this (even the funny ones), but Fresh Off the Boat has lost its touch. They started the season really strong discussing topics such as stereotypes and gender roles. Now I have no idea what the show is talking about.

I saved my choice blog post topic for last, and I always had the intention of writing about theme for this one because it’s so interesting for me to discuss. But if I’m being honest, it hasn’t been interesting at all in the last few episodes. I watched 3 episodes today (I’m last minute I know) with the hopes of something worth talking about coming up and I got nothing.

The first episode I watched was about a gay man who came to visit who thought he had dated Louis Huang and had dated Jessica Huang as a cover for his sexuality. There’s nothing there so I try to search for some significant theme in the Huang family children. Eddie is unable to think of a science fair project, so he tries to get infected by his brothers’ chicken pox to avoid working and fails. In the end he learned so much about chicken pox by accident that he did his project on that with the help of his brothers. So, yay for comradery, but what’s the message. Learn about things you are passionate about? Even though he doesn’t actually care, and it was a ploy to do his work?

This is the Wham Halloween costume of Louis and the visiting college friend. It was too good to not include.

Fresh Off the Boat is doing good things in terms of putting a spotlight on important topics, but I don’t think that just because a show is lost in the middle of the season it should give up on delivering an important message. The writers don’t even have to come up with new themes and messages every episode – just thread the same ones throughout the entirety of the show. But, hey, I have to cut them some slack; I am basing this off of half of their first season. Maybe there’s more to discover if I keep watching?

Part Of The Resistance: How Broad City Tackles The Current Political Climate

Broad City is a show known for its absurd sense of humor that plays well with its demographic of millennial viewers. But with this off-brand sense of humor, the show tends to not cover critical current events that happen around us. That changed when the fifth episode of Season 3, titled “2016,” aired in early 2016.

While Broad City is not usually known as a deep show that tackles current issues on a large scale, the creators Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer decided to chime in by creating an episode based on the 2016 election. This episode is pivotal for the show, not only for its cameo appearance of Hillary Clinton herself, but also because it signifies a tremendous shift of the tone and mood from what the show initially conveyed.

Hillary Clinton’s cameo appearance on Broad City

In “2016,” Ilana stumbles upon the HRC headquarters in New York when she picks up a job being a bike messenger. Ilana adores powerful feminist icons, and she holds Hillary Clinton to an almost deity-like stature, so she decides to quit and volunteer for the campaign. At the end of the episode, Hillary Clinton walks into the room to meet the girls, and Abbi and Ilana, for the lack of better words, lose their shit.

After this episode aired, there were speculations as to why Hillary chose this show to cameo on, but it does bring up a point that relates to Broad City’s unique demographic of young, female viewers. Maybe her cameo was to boost her exposure and likability among young voters, but maybe this appearance was a way for the creators to show their support for her campaign in the upcoming election. Besides the speculation, “2016” was a pivotal episode for the show, but it was not entirely intentional.

Many did not see Hillary losing the election, especially Abbi and Ilana, so when the show came back for a fourth season, Abbi’s and Ilana’s characters surprisingly matured from their pasts of being absurd yet optimistic about the future. This maturity and part-of-the-resistance tone is evident throughout the fourth season, especially in the second and eighth episodes. The second episode of Season 4 opens with Abbi and Ilana wearing the pink Women’s March hats as they guide women through protests to the Planned Parenthood clinic. The eighth episode has Ilana seeing a sex therapist because she cannot have sex ever since Trump became president.

Abbi and Ilana escorting women to Planned Parenthood

Ilana going to sex therapy

These examples highlight the hysteria around the 2016 election, and the results have created a polarized atmosphere where the young people are increasingly resisting and opposing the current administration. Therefore, it is key to note that Broad City has taken a step back from their comedic absurdity in order to shed light on the atmosphere of the country after the election, especially for their demographic of millennial viewers. The show as a result has become a beacon for the millennial psyche of resistance, which makes Abbi’s and Ilana’s characters much more relatable, real, and funnier than before.

Diversity on Screen

When I was trying to figure out what to write about for this blog post, I honestly was stumped. I have a hard time looking past the surface entertainment of a television show and seeing the deeper topics and ideas that these expose audiences to. So it got me thinking about what makes Supergirl so important? Is it because it’s a part of the comic book world and has a huge fan base. Is it the feminist plot lines, and how it shows the strength and talent that can be found in many types of women? Maybe, but the main thing that stuck out to me was what the show is doing for the LGBTQ community.

Alex Danvers played by Chyler Leigh

In the middle of season two, Alex Danvers came out as lesbian which was a huge deal for many fans of the show. Normally, audiences don’t see these kinds of stories in comic book and superhero television because of the traditional target audience of these types of shows, but this show has really been helping to bring both gender and sexual diversity to mainstream television. Because of it, Supergirl has had a very positive impact, and Alex’s story of acceptance and growth has resonated with so many viewers. Actress Chyler Leigh who portrays Alex has even shared some of the many responses that she has had because of this. “Fans in their thirties and forties have told her that watching her helped them ‘put the pieces of the puzzle together,’ to the extent that Alex’s dialogue has given them a model of what to say and expect in their own coming out.” What’s even more amazing is that Leigh is using her platform to not only bring diversity to the television screen, but also to help build a community and support system around the fans of this character.

In addition to this, it was announced earlier this year that Supergirl would introduce its first ever transgender character to the show in the upcoming fourth season. This comes at a time when transgender actors and actresses are not really receiving as much recognition as they deserve, and they are having to fight to get acting jobs. Because of shows like Supergirl, we have started to see much more gender and sexual diversity on screen. It will only continue to get better as they keep on creating that space and supporting the actors and actresses as they work towards creating a more diverse and accepting television landscape.

 

Works Cited

https://www.elle.com/culture/movies-tv/a43186/supergirl-sanvers-lgbtq-fandom/

https://www.pinknews.co.uk/2018/05/22/supergirl-is-about-to-introduce-its-first-ever-transgender-character/

The Mothers of Fresh Off The Boat

So I’ve avoided discussing gender in Fresh Off the Boat. I wanted to give the show a chance to defend itself – but I’m low on topics so the time has arrived. Now I have to give a bit of a disclaimer – this show is a satire. It plays off stereotypes for comedy, so it should be expected that some of those are going to seep into gender.

For starters, In terms of screen time, there is only one lead female roll and that is Jessica Huang. The grandma rarely gets screen time and has very few lines. It is only for comedic sake, but it still rings true that females don’t get much time. In this particular episode they got far more time than usual, because it followed the story line of Jessica instead of Eddie.

In this episode in particular the topic focuses on Eddie Huang’s crush on an older girl. All she cared about was dropping out of school to go to beauty school… ok. This is problematic. But they don’t portray all women like this. The only female main roll is the mom, Jessica Huang. She is obsessed with being the best at everything and encourages her kids to be the same. Her determination is so strong that she temporarily quits her efforts to become a realtor because she is worried she will not be the best realtor in the district. So we have a strong female lead. She’s determined to work her hardest and refuses to even be associated with stay at home moms, because she wants to be associated with the image of a powerful working woman. The side characters are stuck in the past. We have the previously mentioned crush. In addition, we have a huge culture of stay at home moms that the show features who are aggressively conservative and look down upon working mothers (bad) but the show frames them in a way that is clear that they are looked down upon for not supporting fellow women (good). In this episode in particular one of the moms tries to encourage Jessica to work hard to accomplish her dreams, while playing the role of a very stereotypical mom.

this is a look into the stereotypical moms on the show

Although the show presents gender through stereotypes, it endorses women being proud of who they are, and supporting other women. In the end that’s the whole message of the show, be who you are.

A Friendship Between Two Broads

Broad City is objectively a unique comedy series, especially under the category of female-centered television shows. The uniqueness of the show stems from a variety of characteristics, but the show’s most defined characteristic is its implementation and representation of gender throughout each episode. Yes, Broad City is centered on the lives of two female millennial city-dwellers, Abbi and Ilana, but the show is much more than that.

Generally, the show includes a wide spread of gender throughout each episode, notably through male side characters as well as gender-fluid characters (RuPaul’s cameo in Season 4). Also, the show intersects gender with many other representational axes such as race, class, and sexual orientation. Ilana’s friend with benefits, Lincoln, is black, and her roommate is a gay Hispanic man named Jaime. Also, Ilana herself does engage sexually with both men and women, so the millennial, open-minded, unbiased representation of characters definitely shines through. Despite all these characteristics, the show does place a predominant focus on the women of the show, specifically the two female leads in Abbi and Ilana. The inclusion of the peripheral characters is mainly to bolster Abbi and Ilana’s story-lines, and the intent of the show is to portray a unique and non-stereotypical female experience.

Cast of Broad City, (left to right), Lincoln, Ilana, Jaime, Abbi

With the premiere episode of Season 4, titled “Sliding Doors,” the viewers are exposed to a more direct development of gender representation, particularly in the basis of female friendships. The opening episode is about the crazy story of how Abbi and Ilana met as young adults in New York. Ilana witnessed Abbi struggling to get into the subway, so she helped Abbi by swiping her in. However, they both missed the train, so they were basically stuck together. Although they met by chance, Abbi and Ilana do not take that for granted, and it was ultimately their decision to develop this new friendship. Television shows usually depict women as competitive or opposites of one another, and female friendships tend to be more one-sided. Broad City shatters this stereotype, however, by blossoming the friendship between Abbi and Ilana in a more authentic way in the Season 4 premiere. Abbi and Ilana recognize each other’s quirks upon first meeting, and they are willing to mutually interact and help each other out. For example, they both enjoy lighting one up from time to time, and their sense of humor plays off each other. This embracing of each other’s personality emulates a sense of relatability with the viewers that is otherwise lacking in other TV shows.

When Abbi and Ilana first met (“Sliding Doors”)

Therefore, the basis of female friendships plays into the representation of gender in Broad City because it helps to portray women in a different light. Without the stereotypes of envy and competitiveness being shown, female friendships like Abbi’s and Ilana’s are strong, embracing, and supportive of each other no matter what, making Broad City a much more refreshing show.  

Gender Representation in Crazy Ex Girlfriend

For a show that is largely focused on two female characters, Crazy Ex Girlfriend sure does have a lot of men. This may seem like an obvious conclusion, as the show is mostly about the romantic travails of the straight female main character, but the abundance of male characters isn’t just limited to Rebecca’s boyfriends. In Rebecca’s work, the only character that has any depth and storyline (aside from Paula, who doesn’t really count since she is the other main character of Crazy Ex Girlfriend) is her male boss, Darryl. While Darryl is bisexual, making him a type of male character that doesn’t get enough representation, the females of the office consist of neurotic Karen, whose defining trait is that she talks too much about her personal hygiene, and Mrs. Hernandez, who is literally mute. Neither of those women get any real character development or insight, whereas Tim, one of the most bland annoying white men ever seen on the silver screen, gets a whole subplot related to his deep dark secret of being an illegal (Canadian) immigrant. Most of Rebecca’s friends are men as well: While she does eventually strike up a real friendship with her neighbor Heather, she spends most of the first couple of seasons attempting to be friends with White Josh, Greg, Hector, as well as two other bros that are so bland I can’t even remember their names as I write this.

This discrepancy isn’t limited to Rebecca’s life, either. Though two mothers are introduced (Mrs. Bunch and Mrs. Chan), and Rebecca’s mother gets one hell of a mother-daughter episode, the parental figures with the most real impact are the fathers. Greg’s father is the reason why Greg stays in West Covina, gives him relationship advice, and ultimately provides him with the means to escape California. Never an explosive figure like Mrs. Bunch, Mr. Serrano is nevertheless a constant presence whose character has more influence on the outcomes of the show. In contrast, Rebecca’s father Mr. Bunch manages to have more of an influence and development than his ex wife though having just a fraction of her screen time (which is already limited). Through flashbacks, we learn about the complicated father figure he was and how his influence continues to sway Rebecca into so many decisions throughout the course of the show. Both father figures certainly fare much better than poor Mrs. Chan, who is reduced to a traditional mother who loves the idea of her son moving back in, and who can always be counted on to do the cooking for family events. In the end, through her role as a conduit from Rebecca to Josh, it is how she is influenced by the main characters than her influence on them that really defines Mrs. Chan.

I find myself left with the question, why does Crazy Ex Girlfriend fall so short in female representation after breaking so many feminist boundaries?

“Oh my goodness, I get a line that isn’t about Josh or cooking??”

Does hip hop make him supreme – or is it all a scheme?

One of my favorite parts about Fresh off the Boat are the voice overs. Eddie Huang, a middle schooler, narrates the first and final scene of every episode, but as an older post-pubescent man. As the main character, he is telling the story from his perspective and how he views the plot. Therefore, this implies that this is how Eddie sees himself. This is just a hilarious ploy by the writers to me.

The voice of this character is unique to say the least. He reflects Eddie’s love of hip hop by using popular slang terms, because those terms are ~cool~. The speech used by this narrator is based off the speech of the popular hip hop artists who act as Eddie’s role models. The voice drastically contrasts with the voice of the real Eddie Huang which is high pitched, and the slang terms don’t sound quite as natural, because he’s a little kid. When Eddie uses the same slang it looks like a kid who is pretending to be cool when in reality he’s not, but the narration voice really is. Again, what this says about Eddie is that he genuinely believes he’s really cool.

This says a lot about Eddie’s character. Eddie’s character struggles to make friends. He is often rejected by the kids at school. In season 1 episode 5, the episode starts out by Eddie narrating how he doesn’t get invited to any sleepovers. This statement alone is a bit odd, considering the narrator is an adult and adults don’t exactly have sleepovers (in the traditional sense of the term…).  The narrator continues by saying he was “mad siked” about getting invited to the sleepover which is something a ~cool~ person would say. And then the shot pans to Eddie, a small pudgy middle schooler who lacks in eyebrows (no offense Eddy, still love you). Despite this you might start thinking Eddie was actually a cool kid, because he finally got invited to a sleepover and was making friends. But again, the show reminds us that he is not. The next shot is of Eddie’s mom telling Eddie that there is “no way” he’s going to that sleepover. Again we’re reminded that he’s just a little awkward kid (again no offense).

I mean look at him… his cheeks are so chubby.. he has baby fat!

This really just serves as a constant reminder that people view themselves as a little bit cooler than we actually are. Not just kids, adults too. If the joke didn’t apply to adults, it wouldn’t be funny. Obviously low self esteem is a real thing, but the way we view ourselves is never exactly how the outside world views us.

Long Takes and Heartaches

CINEMATOGRAPHY in Scandal

Camera Crew with Kerry Washington on the set of ScandalS


Season 1, Episode 6, of Scandal dives into the story of how Olivia and Fitz’s notorious affair began on the campaign trail. The episode is the most fitting to study cinematography within the show because very distinct cinematic strategies and elements are used to tell the backstory and current status of the relationship.

The show is shot very methodically and has a few captivating cinematic characteristics I would like to specifically point out. For example, opening scenes and occasional transitions are shot with pans through the background setting or behind an unfocused blocking object before focusing on characters. In addition, Scandal is filmed with extremely close-up shots. A large majority of the scenes in this episode and others are purely facial. Scenes with two or fewer people hardly ever show below the shoulders of the actors.

Another factor in the cinematography and filming direction of the show is the length of takes. The most notable length of cuts are the very long scenes of just Olivia and Fitz. This episode, in particular, emphasizes their alone time through lengthy takes with only their faces in the frame. For example, twice in the episode, Fitz asks for just “one minute” of silence with Olivia and the cameras grant him both of those moments in full. The only short takes with these two characters are during sensual scenes. During the sex scene, the camera spends very little time on each frame and there are nearly a hundred different takes within the two-minute scene. The intro itself is a flash of multiple images within two seconds with a clicking noise, which imitates the paparazzi cameras.  I believe the directors wanted to stay true to the theme of the theme of the show, its namesake, scandal. The longer scenes with Olivia and Fitz are more romantic and pure. Meanwhile, the sex scene being more inappropriate (since Fitz is married) is much shorter and filmed like the intro, insinuating the scandal that it is.

In regards to lighting, the show uses it to reveal mood and dictate morality. Olivia and Fitz’s scenes are always dark with a few warm colors, indicating romance and a sensual tone.  During interviews, debates, and other campaign events, the scenes are very bright. I believe this is to show how the darkness attempts to hide the affair, but the lights used during the campaign events follow the old narrative that where there is light, there is truth. Thus, a brightly lit campaign demonstrates a candidate of truth. However, the darkness tries to hide reality.

The use or lack of color may be the most distinguished cinematic element in the episode.  The directors choose to desaturate the frames in order to reveal flashback moments. This specific episode, “The Trail” explores the Grant campaign trail of two years prior and details the evolution of Olivia and Fitz’s affair. Therefore, the lack of color in certain scenes is what tells viewers that this happened previously.

Crazy Ex Girlfriend and Deconstructing the Love Triangle

In the season 2 episode “All Signs Point to Josh… Or is it Josh’s Friend?” Rebecca spends most of the 42 minutes allotted looking for a heaven sent sign that will tell her whether she should date Greg, the man whose heart she has broken multiple times, or Josh, the man she has been obsessing over since the start of the show. Although she’s genuinely distressed by her indecision, there’s a fair amount of glee in her tone when she tells her best friend Paula that she’s in a “love triangle.” The Love Triangle is a common trope in media, and what is somewhat desirable about being the apex of the triangle is that the person having to choose essentially holds all of the power in the situation, while the other two can only try their best to enrapture them. Rebecca goes through the episode weighing the pros and cons of the two men, never doubting for a second that she will decide everything and that both men want her desperately. However, outside of Rebecca’s inner world, that is clearly not the case. While both Greg and Josh do want Rebecca, they are also both consumed by more important problems: Greg must decide whether to follow through on his dream of attending Emory University (far away from the show’s setting) and Josh must try to get his adult life back on track after losing his apartment with Valencia. While Rebecca imagines that she is the one making the decision that will end the love triangle, it is actually the two men in her life that decide to opt out of the triangle, with Greg abandoning his chance of a new beginning with Rebecca in favor of Emory and Josh ending their relationship after a pregnancy scare that makes him realize he is not remotely ready to settle down. In this episode, the show essentially argues how much of a fallacy the Love Triangle trope is- in reality, people rarely have such all-consuming importance to two others, and the two ends of the triangle have just as much of a say as the apex, as demonstrated by Greg and Josh’s refusal to participate. This deconstruction of a popular trope is very much in Crazy Ex Girlfriend’s purview, as the show is largely about the delusions of the main character, who often imagines that she lives in a much more romantic and Rebecca-centric world than she really does.  In a broader interpretation, this episode’s theme confronts a fallacy that most people fall into- the fallacy that we are the protagonists of the story, and everyone else are merely side characters affected by our actions.

Rebecca realizing that people around her have inner lives that have nothing to do with her

Nothing to See Here – Cinematography in Fresh off the Boat

After watching many episodes of “Fresh off the Boat,” it’s still hard to decide if there any elements of its cinematography that distinguish it from its counterparts. For the most part, the show follows similar shoot patterns as other ABC comedy shows (except for “Modern Family,” which mostly uses shaky shots to simulate a reality show). Conversations are shot with quick cuts between the talking characters, and with most of the show being conversations, we rarely see any continuous shots. For a show that is so unique, it’s a shame that its editing is essentially a carbon copy of its channel-mates.

The use of color, however, is a bit more interesting. Most of the show is filmed in well-diffused daylight. The walls are always a pastel color, and this combination of color and light create a constant “warm” feel to the scenes. This mundane warmth could be representative of their new, cookie-cutter life in the American suburbs. It could also represent their new comfortable lifestyle thanks to the restaurant’s success. Another interesting color scheme difference in the show is not quite related to cinematography but is still interesting enough to be noted: clothing. Throughout the show, the white women in the neighborhood are always shown wearing brightly colored clothing with very unique patterns, a trademark of the early 1990s. In contrast, we see that Jessica almost always wears plain, light-colored clothes. This is likely a note of the cultural difference between the two parties; a direct symbol of the Huang family’s conservative values. It also shows that in spite of how well the Huangs have immersed themselves in their surroundings, they still remain different and not entirely a part of the community yet. This is especially apparent in S2E2 (my current episode), during which the neighborhood women (Honey included) make several more appearances alongside the Huangs than a typical episode.

Note how Jessica stands out from her neighbors. A clear example of color scheme differences used in the show.

I am far from a cinematography expert, so it’s safe to say that I am missing something, but as far I can see, “Fresh off the Boat” does not attempt to be unique in terms of cinematography. I believe the show-makers are aware that a majority of their audiences take cinematography for granted (myself included), so they focus more on the uniqueness of the plot. While it’s a little disappointing that the show does not innovate in this aspect, it doesn’t take away from it as a whole. “Fresh off the Boat” makes it place with unique writing and casting, not with camerawork.

Research Question – The Working Woman

Question: How has the Career Representation of Women in the top Cable TV Shows by decade changed from the 1960s to Now?

Our question concerns how the representation of women’s career on television has changed by decade, starting from the 1960s. Our preliminary research shows that within this time period, the percentage of women working has drastically increased. In contrast, several women on television remain to be depicted as the traditional stay-at-home moms or in “feminine” jobs. However, no recent research has created a comprehensive data source of the careers of TV women. Our research will fill this gap in research by providing numerical figures on the depiction of employed women on TV, as well as an analysis of the career fields of these employed women. The subject of our research will be limited to a set number of the most popular cable television shows by decade.

The world we now live in now would be unrecognizable to someone from the 1960s. Everything has changed drastically, especially cultural and social norms. Throughout this period of time, television has also transformed from black and white to color and from a novelty to a part of our daily life. At the same time, feminism and evolved norms have contributed to increasing gender equality in the workforce. However, this change has not always been reflected in television.

Through our research, we hope to better understand how the change in cultural and social norms have affected the career representation of females on television. This research will provide an analysis of how effective the waves of feminism and social movements have been, allowing for the evaluation of their impact. Furthermore, this will also provide insight into the television industry’s responsiveness towards social and cultural changes, especially that in gender equality. Because television is designed for mass appeal with general audiences, images of women on television directly relate to how society feels women should be depicted. As a result, the depiction of women on television is a reflection of society’s view on working women. Therefore, our question is important because not only does it show how accurate TV depictions are compared to real life, but because it provides insight into the minds of the consumers of these shows.

Thanksgiving with Jess: Themes in New Girl

This episode of ‘New Girl’  is centered on one of everyone’s favorite holiday: Thanksgiving. The theme of the episode is Jess and all her friends plus a new guy that she’s crushing on: Paul. By inviting Paul to their house, the day just turns into chaos. The episode goes over all the issues they have during the day such as Nick being irritated, all of the food preparation going wary (the turkey gets WAY too burned) and ends up with them finding a dead body in their neighbor’s house. Regardless of all of these scary and chaotic events, the group of friends still manage to have a meaningful and fun Thanksgiving day together.

Jess going all out for Paul and her roommates.

The show makes this argument by starting the episode with all of Jess’ roommates hating on Paul, but in the end, they all warm up to him and welcome him into their small family. This relates to the overall theme that despite issues and differences, people can still come together and enjoy a holiday together. This theme relates to the show as a whole because every episode, the characters have conflict but still manage to come together and realize their love and care for each other at the end of the day.

I think this episode, in particular, relates to a greater cultural meaning as it shows the importance of holiday’s, especially Thanksgiving, where in America it’s a holiday where you’re supposed to be thankful for the people regardless of the circumstances. Besides this, a lot of what happened in the episode was extreme, and would normally not occur in normal life, but it was done for humor purposes. Also, I have a feeling that Nick likes Jess, which I also think was the purpose of this episode – to overlay this fact. That is why I think Nick dealt with Paul, to make her happy. The things you do for someone you love are endless.

More Homework Means “I Love You”

For this blog post I chose to discuss the theme of season 1 episode 2 – Home Sweet Home-School. This episode focuses heavily on family values versus personal wants and needs.

To begin with, here is a quick summary of the episode. It begins with Jessica Huang being disappointed that her son, Eddie, got straight A’s because school is too easy. Evan is annoyed with Jessica because she is too commanding at the restaurant so he sends her to tutor the boys afterschool for more stimulating work. Eddie is annoyed by this because he wants the free time to play outside like the American boys. While Jessica is gone, Evan bonds with restaurant employees and makes the restaurant a more joyful environment. Eventually, Eddie discovers what his dad has done, and helps his mom Jessica catch him, so she moves the studies to the restaurant. A few boys dine and dash on the restaurant which would not have happened had Jessica taken care of it instead of Evan. When a few of the workers offer to pay for the meal themselves, Jessica realizes that the restaurant is benefiting from spending money to foster a better environment. She tracks down the boys who dined and dashed and forces them to apologize to Evan to restore his faith in the goodness of people. She also gives the boys the afternoon off from their studies in order to play basketball with their dad.

Throughout this episode, every character learns a lesson. Jessica learns that relationship growth and happiness are also worth time and money. She begins to change her actions at the end of the episode. By giving Eddie free time and forcing the boys to apologize to Evan, she shows how her perspective and values have shifted.

Eddie learns a similar lesson, while playing basketball with his dad and siblings. While he plays, one of the neighborhood boys approaches him and is jealous that his family pays attention to him. His dad was playing basketball with him and that shows how much his dad cares. He then finally understands how much his mom cares. All together the family realizes the importance of prioritizing each other’s needs and recognizes that they show their care in untraditional ways. They don’t say “I love you” but they show it.

The Huang family does not say they love each other unless they are hiding something. They show their love in different ways.

This connects to the rest of the show by proving that the Huang family doesn’t have to conform to look and act like those around it. All the other families don’t spend as much time together or don’t care about grades that much, because the members of the family don’t care about each other that much. The Huang family can be unique and independent and has nothing to envy from other families.

This is what the show is trying to portray to the audience. All families or individuals are special in their own way and being different from those around you isn’t necessarily a bad thing. All families and individuals are unique and awesome in their own way!

Wynonna Earp? More like Wynonna Sucks.

The writing in Wynonna Earp is mediocre at best, specifically the character writing. Not only are the characters all tropes, but they are also written in an incredibly boring manner. I will focus in on Episode 2 to give a closer look at how sucky the writing truly is.

 

I’d like to start first with Agent Dolls, a character so one-dimensional every conversation he has is the same. To be fair, it does not help he only interacts with one character, Wynonna, but he still fails at having any character traits other than serious. Dolls is ALWAYS talking about work and he ALWAYS sounds threatening. Most of the time he is talking to Wynonna, who is never serious, but even when he has a chance to talk to another character, he fails. When Officer Haught comes in to his makeshift office, he threatens her with death if she ever barges in again. Dolls is a simple character whose only motivation appears to be destroying the demons. Even when Dolls has a redeeming moment, saying he argued against the destruction of the town in New Mexico, the show does not explore it in any depth. Unfortunately for the show, Dolls is a totally weak character with no unique qualities.

 

Wynonna, the title character, is not written much better than Dolls. Admittedly, she does have more than one side. She has two sides. Wynonna’s first side is when she is speaking to Dolls. Here the show writes her as the exact opposite of him. When he is strict, she takes events with levity. Wynonna’s responses almost always consist of some wise-crack that usually fails to include any semblance of humor. I think the show is trying to portray her as a bad-ass that doesn’t take orders from authority, but instead she seems like an asshole. Dolls is usually trying to help, but Wynonna just makes a stupid joke. Wynonna’s second side is used when she is talking to her sister, Waverly. In these interactions Wynonna actually seems like a real human being. She speaks like a normal older sister would to her little sister, except she can’t resist cracking jokes. For some reason, the writers have Wynonna make wise-cracks while she is comforting her sister. Overall, Wynonna is a failure as the main character of the show. She has a flat personality and she fails to be even a little funny.

An example of Wynonna’s terrible one-liners

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