English 1102: Television and Feminism

Dr. Casey Alane Wilson • Georgia Institute of Technology

Tag: theme Page 1 of 2

Perceived Pandering; The Possible Superficiality of Themes

With the increased demand for television to represent public opinion and increase inclusivity of all types, television shows, including Switched At Birth, have responded by, at least ostensibly, supporting these themes. However, occasionally, such as in Episode 10 (The Homecoming), such demands are, in fact, bucked in favor of a blander, more palatable theme.

Take, for example, the existence of hearing-deaf relationships in the episode The Homecoming, whereby Bay (hearing) and Emmett (Deaf) formally agree to a relationship (leading to Emmett notifying Daphne (Deaf) of his decision to remain with Bay). Against the pressures of the Deaf community, many of whom desired a display of genuine Deaf-Deaf relationships, which had previously never been displayed on television, Freeform instead opted to portray a softer message of acceptance of all relationship types between Deaf and hearing individuals through the tones portrayed by each character. For instance, Emmett’s passionate yearning for Bay (as noted in the statement “I just want you” and “I don’t want a Deaf Bay”), far from embracing the attitude previously reiterated (of the incompatibility of him with a hearing girl), reverses the trend and, seemingly randomly, portrays him as more accepting. In addition, such themes can be seen in Daphne’s reaction of reluctant acceptance; by not portraying Daphne as immediately supportive, the episode thus pits acceptances against denials, and by extension, embraces an acceptance-based theme.

This image perhaps best represents the broad agreeable themes found in Switched At Birth of tolerance.

However, far from being merely a singular theme, the theme is symbolic of the greater nature of Switched At Birth’s at-times vague themes as a whole. For example, when compared to other themes such as its broad anti-gambling message, as expected from a family-friendly network, its tolerance-based theme represents a broader trend of simplistic, inoffensive traits, and as a result, represents the general public stance (in relation to Deaf relationships). However, such themes, as previously stated, can clash with the Deaf community’s perception. Thus, although Switched At Birth ostensibly provides a relatively progressive theme (in regards to Deaf culture), due to circumstances such as its channel of release, the primary themes that eventually resulted more so resembled the traditional television shows that it explicitly attempts to break from.

People Other Than Josh Chan Can Love Me?!

In “Josh Has No Idea Where I Am!”, Rebecca Bunch takes a flight to New York City to go back to her old life because she doesn’t believe she can find love, romantic or with friends, in West Covina. She has a conversation with her “Dream Ghost”, her therapist Dr. Akopian, after taking many sleeping pills. The show is arguing that mental health is a real issue and that adults in professional fields struggle with their mental health.

The show supports this argument by showing the adverse effects of abusing prescription drugs and the realizations that Bunch makes while using these drugs. Bunch ends up having vivid dreams involving her “Dream Ghost”, which shows how the sleeping pills make her hallucinate. She realizes in these dreams that other than her love for music and for her mother she doesn’t have any romantic love in her life. Dr. Akopian proves her wrong by showing her that there are people in her life that love her in different ways. Her therapist ‘takes her’ back to West Covina, where many of her friends are worried about her. Greg is particularly worried and had been searching for her at hospitals and morgues. This shows Bunch that her friends care about her and love her. It also makes her realize that she has been focusing on Josh Chan when she can find love in other places. Her anxiety is displayed through these instances because it demonstrates her worry about how others think about her and her assuming that she is not loved by people in her life.

The theme relates to the show as a whole because much of the show revolves around mental illness and how it affects Rebecca Bunch’s life and those around her. It also relates to conversations about mental health because mental health is something that isn’t heavily discussed in mainstream media. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is a show that does discuss mental health and its effects and does so effectively through this episode.

Rebecca Bunch and her therapist, Dr. Akopian.

Trust in Wynonna Earp

The sixth episode of Wynonna Earp, Constant Cravings, focuses on a theme of trust, parallel to its main plot. The trust lessons center around Dolls and Waverly. The episode questions the trust we have placed in Dolls and gives newfound responsibility to Waverly.

Waverly’s plot begins when her Uncle Curtis leaves her a riddle to solve. When she does she finds a skull and learns her uncle has left her to assume his title as “Keeper of the Bones.” Waverly takes this title as a vote of confidence in her abilities. Later, when the Blacksmith bonds her to the bones, the Blacksmith remarks “You poor sweet girl, what was Curtis thinking?” This remark highlights how Waverly is an unlikely recipient of the title “Keeper of the Bones.” She is the weaker of the two Earps, so it is surprising that Uncle Curtis chose to place his trust in her. Here the show questions who we should place our trust in, and it recognizes there may be an unlikely hero if we look a little harder.

The Blacksmith comments on how Waverly does not seem like a character who should be given a dangerous responsibility.

Dolls’ plot in this episode revolves around the revelation that he is addicted to drugs, something he lies about and hides during the episode. This comes as a revelation to the viewer because previously Dolls has been a morally upright character. At the end of the episode it is also teased Dolls may not be entirely human, which questions the amount of trust Wynonna should have for him. Overall, this episode questions who should be trusted in the show. It takes the character least ready for responsibility and trusts her with a huge burden, and it also takes the most responsible character and reveals he has been hiding something huge. This can be seen as a commentary on one’s own trust in others. Perhaps our own trust is misplaced and we should reconsider who we rely on.

You Want a War? Revenge in Sense8

The explosive beginning of Sense8 s2e11: You Want War? is dead-focused on the theme of revenge. It features Sun’s infiltration into her brother’s lavish gala, intent on killing him. The ensuing action sequences and car chase feature several moments when the other sensates give their input on Sun’s decision. Wolfgang, the dark killer seems to support killing Sun’s brother, whereas Kala seems to oppose violence in favor of making her brother confess. Will and Riley are neutral, ignoring the issue altogether and purely looking out for Sun’s safety. Through the other sensates, the metaphorical angels and demons on Sun’s shoulders, the authors of the episode present competing views of revenge. Should we seek retribution for past crimes or simply seek to right wrongs?

 

The show provides context for Sun’s decision through flashbacks to her brother’s very wrongdoings. From pleading with Sun to take the fall for his crimes, to killing their father who was going to turn him in, Sun’s brother is painted as a very clear-cut villain. The only thing bringing nuance to his character is his relation to Sun. At the climax of the chase, Sun decides not to kill her brother. The exploration of this theme of revenge seems to fall very flat in the end. There were a few throwaway flashbacks to Sun’s mother saying “Look after your brother” and her sensei telling her that she is “as gentle as a butterfly”, but overall the final decision was a simple “oh she did the right thing by not killing anyone”. The issue could easily have been expanded on by developing the character of Sun’s brother or by giving more serious consideration to killing him. It seemed cliche and inevitable that Sun would decide to spare her brother.

 

The episode takes a dramatic turn when Wolfgang is kidnapped by the Biological Preservation Organization. A violent torture scene reveals the identities of Kala and others in Wolfgang’s cluster. The sensates quickly hit back, avenging Wolfgang’s capture with a well executed kidnapping of Mr. Whispers and Jonas- prominent opposition figures. Here we continue to see the sensates pursue proactive revenge. Rather than kill the two, they kidnap them so that they can save Wolfgang and hopefully stop BPO.

 

The entire episode takes a very proactive view on revenge, where characters choose to fight for each other rather than kill out of anger.

The sensates attempt to persuade Sun not to kill her brother

AKA The Theme of Ladies Night

This is the first episode of Jessica Jones, entitled AKA Ladies Night. It is a good episode to talk about the argument of, because it kinda sets the standard for what the show is about and what the underlying message is throughout the first season. The episode is arguing for the consequences, both physical and psychological, of rape. It shows how one can become trapped in one’s own mind in a sense as well as the eventually the effect that the justice system has on victims. The premise of the episode is all about introductions. It introduces Jessica, Kilgrave, and Hope. In this episode Hope is raped by Kilgrave and later forced to murder her parents. She is overwhelmed by Kilgrave’s power and the legal system is of little help to her especially after such a traumatic event has damaged her psyche.

Hope under Kilgrave’s influence.

This episode argues its point by showing the lasting trauma that Jessica experiences from her encounters with Kilgrave as well as making non-tangible consequences, effects, and concepts of rape into physical things that one can view through the show.  Over the course of the show, Jessica and Hope as well as the many other victims of Kilgrave are shown to have to deal with the trauma inflicted upon them. They show the very real affects that such an event as having one’s own minds and bodies overpowered and/or raped can have on anyone of any class, race, or gender. This episode’s argument is carried throughout the rest of the show because that is the whole overarching idea that is presented through Kilgrave’s powers and Kilgrave’s morals. As far as the legal aspect that continues onwards throughout the season, the inability of the police or judicial system to deal with such a matter illustrates the occasional but common enough incompetence that arises through cases of rape while under the influence of another. This is a very real problem in today’s society and Jessica Jones does a rather good job in showing it.

Second Chances in Jessica Jones

Theme is very tricky in Jessica Jones. There is no underlining theme that applies to every episode or the whole series as a whole. However, there are certain episodes that have a theme that pushes the whole episode.

Today, I am going to analyze episode 8 of Jessica Jones. First of all, I need to give context about Kilgrave. He has the ability to command people with his voice, and he has used it to kill countless people and ruin countless lives. Jessica, the main protagonist, is living with Kilgrave, so he doesn’t kill any innocent people. In the middle of the episode, Jessica takes Kilgrave and makes him save two children from an abusive father. This makes Kilgrave and the entire audience think the theme is that “people deserve second chances”.

However, the show surprises the audience by having Jessica drug Kilgrave and lock him up at the end of the episode. This hits the audience hard and establishes the new theme of “doing good deeds doesn’t remove your past crimes”. All of the viewers thought that Jessica was going to teach Kilgrave to use his powers for good and be a superhero, but they shut that down very fast at the end.

Kilgrave trapped in cell

This theme helps relate to the show as a whole. It shows that no matter what good deeds Kilgrave does in the present, it doesn’t excuse all of his past murders and crimes. This also helps relate the show to modern law. You could save 1000 people after killing one person, but you would still go to jail for murder and be remembered as a murderer.

This creates a question about how are people redeemable. I believe some people should get second chances after doing a mistake. They should get the ability to redeem themselves and make good in the world. However, there is a certain point beyond return. People like Kilgrave, who have ruined and killed dozens of lives, do not deserve a second chance. It is hard to tell where the line should be drawn between a second chance and not, but some people deserve another chance to make the world a better place.

Facing your kryptonite-Theme of New Girl (Topic 4)

The overarching theme of New Girl is about the importance of friendship and being true to one’s self and desires. For this blog, I am going to be only looking at the episode Kryptonite’s theme. This episode focused on one’s ability to overcome ones “Kryptonite”. Jess is unable to face her ex-boyfriend who is the equivalent of a human toilet paper. The episode centers around the fact that Jess is too afraid to get her things from her ex-boyfriend house.

Side note: I seriously hated Spencer, and I know the show purposefully makes him dislikable, but I genuinely don’t see how someone could be deluded-or desperate- enough to date him.

However, Jess is unable to see the flaws of her ex-boyfriend -Spencer- and is constantly being pushed over by him. Her ex-boyfriend mercilessly takes advantage of her and her possessions, using her even after the break-up.
But when Jess sees that her Spencer ignored her request to water the plants, she finally snaps. She realizes that she has the right to her own belongings and that now she has friends that will support her. Jess realizes that Spencer cheating on her was really a blessing in disguise because otherwise, she would have probably married that sorry excuse for a person.

Jess gets her things back including her TV!

She had to muster up the self-respect and confidence to stand up to someone she once idolized and loved.

I felt this episode’s theme was probably one of the most important because this is Jess truly matures as a person. She starts off being too afraid to even drive to Spencer’s house and finally has the confidence to yell “Suck it, Mr. Crabs” to a man she was once hopelessly in love with. I think a theme in this episode is also the fact that sometimes negative events in our life may actually improve our lives in the long run. Cheating on Jess may have been the best thing Spencer ever did for her because it allowed her to move on from that toxic relationship.

Jess getting ready to approach Spencer

Quite honestly, I really liked how this episode expressed the importance of facing your past and moving on from it. I felt that this episode contributed to the overall theme of the show because, in order for Jess to confront Spencer, she first had to find her self-respect and self-worth, and realize that she deserved to be treated better.

More Than Just Criminals

I thought I was going to have to search really deep in order to find a central theme of a single Orange is the New Black episode, as episodes of the show often feature several plotlines that each try to advance a certain theme or narrative, something the show is able to do in its 55 minute format without seeming too scattered. In comes Episode 4 of Season 1, “Imaginary Enemies.” The episode, while still featuring multiple plotlines with only surface level overlap as far as characters go, relates these plotlines by using them to drive home an overarching theme.

Get it, drive home, because they lose a screwdriver in the episode haha I’m hilarious

This show does not want you to judge its characters before knowing their stories, their backgrounds, and their motivations first. Where this episode pushes this theme most blatantly is in this episode’s flashback storyline, which features Piper Chapman’s new roommate, Miss Claudette. Throughout previous episodes, Miss Claudette has been portrayed as mean without reason and overly controlling. The first two flashbacks explain why this is. We first see her as a young girl who, it can be assumed, is subject to indentured servitude as a way to pay off her parent’s debt. In the second flashback she is a grown woman whom we see has risen the ranks and now runs the cleaning service she worked for. She is shown in the second flashback being as stern with her young workers as her boss was to her in the first flashback. Her reason for asking discipline of others in prison is now understood; it is what she has known her whole life. Outside of flashbacks, the episode also shows that Miss Claudette is capable of sympathy, something that most in the prison thought impossible, after Piper stands up to her.

The episode also approaches this theme from another angle, dealing with some of the mental health issues that inmates deal with and how they often stay hidden. The lunchtime conversation that occurs between Piper and Nichols reveals that both of them are having a hard time coping with their conditions, and Piper even assume Nichols has found a way to deal with them, asking her when the depression ends, to which she responds “I’ll let you know.” Nichols also has a conversation with Alex, in which Alex breaks down and reveals that she too is experiencing depression.

This theme is tied in with the rest of show through the storyline involving the lost screwdriver, which shows that inmates are often dehumanized and thought of as nothing more than criminals. Caputo even explicitly emphasizes that the women in the prison are criminals during the search for the screwdriver as a way to ensure the guards do not show them sympathy. This is something the entire show combats: by following the lives of the women in this prison, we see how they are human and can be sympathized with.

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

Movin’ On Up

Broad City’s general brand of humor deals with the relatable yet wacky incidences of daily millennial life, and Abbi and Ilana are perfect portrayals of twenty-somethings trying to get ahead in life. While this brand of comedy accords with the general millennial, season four of Broad City takes a slight turn from wacky to mature. In episode 3 of season 4, titled “Just the Tips,” Abbi’s and Ilana’s characters progress from an innocent, early-20’s mindset to a more mature, late-20’s mindset.

“Just the Tips” reflects the general theme of season 4 in that Abbi and Ilana are not the same wacky, young semi-adults that they once were in earlier seasons. They are maturing into adult women, and they start to attain a sense of stability and maturity that is unlike themselves in earlier seasons. While there still is plenty of craziness that goes on, the protagonists are evidently growing up, and this episode reflects how in real life, people grow up, and they start to make more stable, mature decisions for themselves.

Season 4 of Broad City, spoofing Beyonce’s “Formation” 

In this episode, Ilana is enjoying the fruits of her new high-paying waitress job as she is able to afford daily things that were otherwise luxuries, such as a king-size bed. Abbi, interning at a graphic design firm, is coming to terms with her complicated relationship with Trey, her former boss, and she starts to realize that sex-only flings are not important anymore. While at a party, Abbi and Ilana confront these new lifestyle changes as Abbi is forced to think about her relationship while Ilana is forced to confront Lincoln, her former friends with benefits. Abbi realizes that she needs to invest more time in her well being, and Ilana moves on from the pain of leaving Lincoln as she talks with him face-to-face. Ilana even tells Lincoln that “I[Ilana] am much more mature than when you last saw me.” Both Abbi and Ilana acknowledge what they want, and they start to think for themselves as adults rather than young, innocent millennials. They face their past conflicts head on, and they do not shy away from improving their lives as adults in New York City.

Ilana enjoying her new disposable income

The theme of maturity and growing up in “Just the Tips” relates to the course of Broad City overall because the shift from the earlier seasons to season 4 resembles what happens in real life to most young people. In the earlier seasons, Abbi and Ilana are working dead-end jobs, and they engage in risky endeavors to unsuccessfully better their lives. However, in season 4, Abbi and Ilana are working at stable, worthwhile jobs, and they feel much more content. While there is still plenty of absurdity, Abbi and Ilana are clearly maturing into better versions of themselves. In the end, Broad City takes a more progressing turn as Abbi and Ilana “move on up” in their respective lives.

Ilana and Abbi leaving the party in “Just the Tips”

Decisions… Decisions in Grey’s Anatomy

Every episode of Grey’s Anatomy shares a common thread that ties the whole episode together. In some specific episodes, however, the commonality is a theme or concept usually concerning debates within the medical world. Episode 4 “Save Me” really delves into the foggy part of the medicine as it concerns ethics and a patient’s choice.

Doctors and surgeons are tasked with helping the sick to the best of their ability and to “do no harm” according to the Hippocratic Oath. Then comes the question of whether a medical professional should perform a procedure that might do harm, if that is the patient’s choice.

Ultimately, the patient has the last word.

The topic of abortion is one of the most common dividing arguments. On one hand there is the health of the mother especially if the birth is going to have complications, but also, there’s an unborn life that can’t speak for itself. As Cristina meets a woman who wants to keep her baby even though it will kill her, she can’t understand this mentality as she is trying to save lives. In another situation, Alex, another intern, is tasked with helping a girl who needs a heart valve replacement. However, due to her religion, she won’t let them put a pig’s valve inside her.

Throughout the episode, the interns and patients go back and forth. The interns know that at the end of the day, decisions are ultimately up to the patient, yet this doesn’t stop them from wanting to convince the other party to save themselves. In both the situation of the abortion and the heart valve, both patients inevitably concluded to have treatment (though the girl settled on a cow heart valve).

To me, this episode showed more clearly than any other, the stance of the show’s writers. “Save Me” is saying that doctor must respect their patients wishes, but that the best treatment plan is the one that will elongate someone’s life, and that these kinds of decisions shouldn’t be based on morality or religious views. This kind of conversation is really big in the medical world and political world at the moment with things like STEM cell research, assisted suicide and abortion. Even for a medical show, that’s a really heavy theme to put into a 45-minute episode.

Makin’ Babies: A New Girl Story

First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a little Schmidt in a baby carriage. Have I scared you New Girl watchers off yet? No? Good, New Girl‘s S1E21 “Kids” addresses the reality of the relationships of the characters on the show, following the Theme of the complications in love, pregnancy, and the general relationships in the show.

Cece being asked if she used birth control after missing her period S1E21

This episode runs through some relationship issues of the characters of the show. Jess has to babysit her older boyfriend’s preteen daughter, Sarah, who happens to be her student in school as well. Meanwhile, Nick is figuring out his insecurity with having a long-lasting relationship with a mature adult, and Cece must deal with the troubling thought of whether or not she is pregnant with Schmidt’s child. Of course, there is plenty of cringy drama through the episode to ruin every character’s plans, as it also serves to further the topic of the episode.

While at the beginning of the episode everything seems to be working straightforward, as Nick’s current fling girlfriend seems smarter than he is, Jess’ boyfriend’s daughter is the average curious and rude preteen, Cece is the normal rambling mess when it regards her relationship with Schmidt, and Schmidt is his average douchy self. However, this quickly changes as the complicated nature of relationships is revealed. Nick’s girlfriend is 19 and just graduated highschool, as Jess was once even her teacher. The girl that Jess is babysitting has a confusing crush on Nick. And Cece has a total emotional breakdown about possibly being pregnant with a mini-Schmidt.

Cece got her period! Yay!

The episode as a whole serves to explain the fact that relationships are beautiful but confusing by nature. Love is not simple, and it is an emotion that needs processing. Sarah thinks that she is immediately in love with Nick, while despite having a several month long relationship, Schmidt and Cece still will not acknowledge their feelings for each other, while Nick, in general, does not understand his own feelings about what he is seeking in his life in a relationship. The show is arguing throughout this entire chapter of episodes, but specifically, in S1E21 that relationships are difficult, and knowing what someone wants in life regarding love is confusing.

However, at the end of the episode, every character understands themselves and what they want better, as Sarah stops heavily crushing on Nick, Nick realises that he cannot date a 19-year-old out of highschool, and Cece is content with not being pregnant. Though even in the conclusion, Cece and Schmidt’s relationship is not secured, demonstrating again that relationships are never logical or straight, as they depend on the emotions of two people who need to work through what they want themselves. This episode is arguing that no one ever truly knows what they want, but by making mistakes, they can work through and figure out at least what they may want.

The Real Santa?

The theme of a TV show determines the central focus of the story, it is able to connect the characters and the plots to demonstrate the message from the director. In The Real Santa (Episode 10, Season 2) of Fresh Off the Boat, the story focuses on the Huang family celebrating Christmas. There are two subplots in the episode: Jessica and Louis trying to convince Evan of who Santa really is and Emery and Eddie trying to find the perfect present for their mother.

 

One of the main question posed in this episode is: “Who is Santa Claus?” Jessica believed that Santa needs to be “improved” and tries to instill values upon Evan by trying to create a Santa Claus who is a scientist that graduated from Princeton. When the plan for Marvin to act as Santa backfired, Jessica told Evan that Santa is actually Chinese! At this part of the story, the question of “Why Can’t Santa be Chinese?” is raised. Instead of forcing everyone to believe the white and chubby Santa Claus and sticking to the norm, Jessica’s version of an intelligent Chinese lady as Santa offers a look on diversity as a part of Christmas culture. In the end, Jessica successfully convinced Evan of her version of Christmas, and Eddie and Emery were both able to find amazing presents for their mother.

 

Jessica as Santa Claus

 

This particular episode relates to the show overall as the Huang family finds balance between their traditional Chinese values and the American culture. Throughout the show, the Huang family sees the differences between the two cultures but are able to find the pros and cons of both and adjust appropriately to the new environment. In this episode specifically, Emery and Eddie were able to learn what “good presents” really are, and Jessica was able to create a different concept of Santa Claus. It was an interesting episode as it wasn’t the usual gift and Santa Christmas episode and offers a cultural twist on the idea of the holiday.

The Value of Hard Work in Fresh Off the Boat

In the show Fresh Off the Boat, Eddie’s parents had always expected him to work hard, and when Eddie starts yearning for some extra spending money, his parents expect no less of him than to work for his cash. Eddie gets put to work as “Fajita Man” in the Cattleman’s Ranch restaurant to capitalize on the Fajita craze of the 1990’s and soon learns that his father expects no less work from him than from any other employees at the restaurant.

Eddie working hard as Fajita Man to make some extra money at Cattleman’s Ranch.

After starting to work Eddie soon realizes that the role of Fajita Man is the worst job possible in the restaurant due to its repetitive and demeaning nature. Louis Huang continues to explain that it is his duty to make sure that Eddie works hard for his money because Louis remembers that his father made him work hard for his money to build a strong work ethic within himself.

Ultimately Eddie begins to get discouraged at work because he drops food and breaks plates and has a hard time focusing on the job at hand, which causes Eddie to stop showing up to work, much to the dismay of his father. His father lends Eddie some money so that he can buy the legendary video game, Shaq Fu, because he wants to have a better relationship with Eddie than he had with his father. Eddie returns to work because he realizes that he should work to earn the things he wants in life.

Eddie works to buy the video game “Shaq Fu” which has become known as one of the worst video games of all time.

The episode reinforces the theme that hard work is needed to earn what you need in life throughout the episode but also reminds the audience that occasionally gentleness is needed in relationships. While Eddie ultimately came to realize that hard work makes him feel more fulfilled, Louis realized that occasionally he needed to show affection to his son in order to help Eddie grow as a person and not just a worker.

 

“Freedom”

In the world of The Handmaid’s Tale, everything’s changed. We see the oppression, the lack of freedom, the seemingly hopeless world. However, the people running the new society have a different viewpoint. Aunt Lydia claims that beforehand, the girls had “freedom-to” and now they have “freedom-from” unpleasantness.

The theme of freedom is explored thoroughly in The Handmaid’s Tale. Aunt Lydia’s words are true to some extent, but the new Handmaids have neither freedom-to nor freedom-from. Most of the Commanders, Wives, and Aunts have kept a bit of their morals from “before,” but justify their actions by creating lies that seem positive to convince themselves that this is utilitarian.

Serena’s, the wife, character has been developed more in the recent episodes. Similar to Petra in Jane the Virgin, the viewer begins to understand the character’s motivations and reasons for acting the way they do. Before the cultural shift, Serena was a powerful woman- a powerful woman who supported the ambitions of her husband and his fellow officials- and had to watch as her own power was stripped away. Not only did she lose her power, she lost love and her freedom. Although the life of a Wife is not as despairing as that of a Handmaid, they are also prisoners: always forced to watch, but not allowed to participate. I’m not only talking about the Ceremony, but Serena, a woman used to playing a big role in her life, watches as the men and Handmaid decide the path of her own life. She smokes, even though she isn’t allowed to, to gain a sense of control back into her own life especially since she has to rely on another quite rebellious woman to give her fulfillment of her own biological destiny.

In S2 E6, Serena’s past journey is revealed a little bit more and her humanity is revealed with it.

The Handmaid’s with their red capes and white wings, are to be distrusted in the society. The officials convince themselves that they must punish the Handmaids because they are distrustful, but actually, the Handmaid’s are distrustful of the government because all their rights have been stripped away from them. June claims that Gilead is afraid of them escaping, both from Gilead and from life. The society needs them to continue the human race, but also do not respect them. For them, it’s easier to torture a few Handmaids to scare the others than to try to please all of them. Aunt Lydia’s comment that they have freedom-from violence and the unpleasantness of the world is frankly untrue. They outlawed rape, but renamed it to the Ceremony. They outlawed murder, but gave the government permission to do it.

We’ve all heard that saying about how it’s better to die fighting for freedom than to live as a prisoner. But the women in The Handmaid’s Tale live as prisoners, and getting a death sentence is just hard to achieve as freedom.

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