The Life & Times of an Auteur.

Commentary on Pop Culture, and maybe creating some of my own.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

But Mo-o-om, George Carlin made offensive jokes!


I can't really talk about the awards without first discussing the dubious choice the academy made in selecting their host. Let's make one thing clear. I have a sense of humor. I have a very irreverent sense of humor. George Carlin, Bill Hicks, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Conan O'Brien, Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Mel Brooks, Monty Python and so many other comedians are among my heroes. But, like every other art form, offensive humor takes skill. To make an analogy to action movies, on one side you have people like John Woo, John McTiernan, Quentin Tarantino, Christopher Nolan, Richard Donner, Steven Spielberg, etc. On the other side you have people like Brett Ratner, Uwe Boll, and Michael Bay. Seth MacFarlane is the Michael Bay of both comedy and animation; and like Michael Bay before him, he had no business being at the Academy Awards. Yes, George Carlin made offensive jokes, but the difference is that Carlin was funny and could use offensive humor to make an astute observation about the human condition. Carlin had style.

I'm baffled by the people posting in support of MacFarlane. Unless he was trying for some kind of Andy Kaufman/Neil Hamburger anti-comedy, there was nothing "edgy" about what he did. It wasn't funny. Sometimes he succeeded in being mean, racist, and misogynistic  but he wasn't clever or funny about it. He doesn't know how to weave cutting humor and never has. MacFarlane's target audience has always been the douche bag frat boy, and MacFarlane himself is a seventeen year-old  boy in a thirty-nine year-old's body. His rise to being the highest paid producer in the history of television fascinates me in the same way Michael Bay's flicks gross a billion dollars; because they are reflections of our broader culture and the success of both, along with the success of "The Twilight Saga," "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo," "Jersey Shore," and "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" say some very disturbing things about where we are as a society. We are the ones who put $100 million into his bank account, we are the ones who put him up on that stage and that is the greatest travesty of the evening.

With that out of the way, on to the awards themselves.

I was a little bit surprised that what seemed to be the early favorite, "Lincoln" got almost completely shut out. But it won the one award it was supposed to win, the one it needed to win, and Daniel Day-Lewis earned his third Academy Award for Best Actor.

The big winner of the evening was "Argo," which surprised me even if it shouldn't have. I can't be too upset because "Argo" was amazing on every level. I just thought the other Best Picture nominees that I had the privilege of seeing were better. "Lincoln" was great. "Django Unchained" was awesome. But my pick of the litter was the amazing "Zero Dark Thirty." I knew ZDT wasn't going to win, there's been a lot of manufactured controversy over it. But I thought it was amazing.

Overall, I felt 2012 was one of the best years for movies in a long time, and I can't be too upset about anything at the Academy Awards... except for the host. Good lord, the fucking host.....

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Hunt


Another week, and we are no longer inching our way towards the finale, we are at a full gallop. The runaways are sent to the War World by Lex Luthor to free the Team from the Reach's clutches, while Arsenal does what he does best.

The Team scored a much needed victory this week when they freed themselves from the Reach's captivity, but once again that was a victory engineered by the Light. As Luthor's sending in the runaways was all a distraction for Deathstroke to boom box in and steal the key to the War World. Likewise, G. Gordon Godfrey exposed the Reach's fleet to the world at large as well as the ambassador's lies. What can I say? The Reach are having a really bad week.

One theory I have heard in the weeks leading up to this was that the Light and the Justice League would find themselves on the same side to drive the Reach off world, and they would "ally" against their common enemy. But, with the key now in the hands of the Light and the Reach having their terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week, I'm beginning to wonder if history has already been changed and something else is about to happen.

Nightwing already seems to be getting some crap on the internet for kicking Arsenal off the team. Yes, the guy saved their butts this time, but he is a loose cannon. A guy like that is way too difficult to work with for a covert ops team. I'm not saying Arsenal doesn't have his uses, and I understand his trauma, but the guy needs to get a grip on his personal demons. He is not a team player. You can't really rely on him. I'm sure we'll see him again before the season is out, but for now, the guy has to work out his own issues.

I was glad to see the runaways recognize that they've been used by Luthor and decide to ditch him as well. Is this their send off for the season? Time will tell. I think it's fairly clear at this point that had "Young Justice" been renewed for a third season, they would have been part of the team after the next time skip. Will they show up one last time? We'll see.

Great episode. The Reach have been discredited and are on the ropes; the team is back together; Kaldur and Artemis' mission is back on track; and the Light possess the key to one of the most powerful weapons in the universe. The stage is set for Invasion to reach its end game. But can the team end this invasion without a visit from their ultimate enemy, the unexpected hiatus?

And what about Wally West? Will he ever don the tights again? Will Dread and Nygma stop arguing about him on Superhero Hype? Will the author of this review stop talking about how awesome Demona was? The answer to those last two is.... no! ;)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Complications


As we close in on the finale, we check back in with two characters I have enjoyed from the get-go. Sportsmaster and, especially, Cheshire. It's been eight episodes since Cheshire vowed vengeance on Kaldur while Sportsmaster wanted to nail Black Manta in order to protect his rep and finally, we get pay off. All the while Nightwing investigates what happened on the War World last week.

This title wasn't kidding. Things get more complicated, and in some cases it actually helps, as in the case of Sportsmaster and Cheshire invading Black Manta's submarine. Had they not invaded there would have been no way for M'Gann to escape without Artemis and Kaldur compromising themselves. In this plot, we also get some of the series' best choreographed fight scenes, as well as two family dynamics that are as different as night and day.

Sportsmaster's relationship with his children is strained to the point where recovery seems extremely unlikely. Does that mean I believe him when he says his rep is all he cares about? No. But the fact that the guy is so incapable of acknowledging even some care for either of his daughters is very telling. Cheshire may put on a tough front when she tells Artemis that she only wanted someone to babysit Lian, but she's admitted before that she loved her sister. Does Sportsmaster's rep really mean more to him than his daughters? I would say yes, because he goes so out of his way to protect it, he won't acknowledge that he wants to avenge her at all. It doesn't mean he doesn't want to avenge her, but I do believe him when he says his rep comes first.

Contrasting that is Black Manta. He genuinely cares for Kaldur. He's been affectionate and he doesn't care who sees it and who knows it. The guy may be a dangerous and murderous supervillain, but he is still genuinely a father. And, try as I might, I find myself feeling sorry for him knowing that the son he genuinely loves is playing him for a chump. But I can't feel too sorry, because I refuse to let myself forget what Black Manta is and what he represents. And, yes, like Sportsmaster, I do enjoy seeing somebody play the Light for chumps now.

The B-plot of this episode is the aftermath of the previous. The team is now missing, all except Nightwing, Blue Beetle (and now the free Miss Martian). While it isn't action-packed, it's a lot of fun to watch Nightwing do some real detective work to deduce what happened in the last episode. Although I do think the Reach overplayed their hand in their public honoring of Blue.

On that note, I've seen some people complain about the lack of world reaction to the Reach having a fleet on Earth after lying about only having the single ship. I don't think this is a detail the producers of this series would ignore. We'll likely see some reaction very soon.

Four more to go.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Turtles Forever Was Right


As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I have been re-watching the 1987 "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" cartoon for the past couple of weeks. I just finished the fourth season last night, and while I plan to keep going, I think I've seen more than enough by this point to write this. I know a lot of people in my generation who grew up with the 1987 Turtles don't like to hear this, but "Turtles Forever" was 100% on the nose. Anyone who disagrees probably hasn't seen the show since before their first pubes grew in.

Let me preface this, I do not hate this show. In fact, I've been enjoying my re-visit to it, even if on a more ironic level. I was six when this show premiered, and like everyone in my generation, I ate this shit up. I had all the toys, I remember being so happy when I received the Technodrome for one of my birthdays. I loved it. I also remember going to see the first movie in theaters and being confused as to why Splinter was always a rat, why Hamato Yoshi was someone else, and wondering where Krang was. I remember reading some of the comics at a comic store and being somewhat shocked at the differences.

Like most people my age, I grew out of it. "Batman the Animated Series" came next and blew it out of the water, and... I always believed the nostalgic cut off is twelve. After that, you (hopefully) become a little more discriminating.

I remember when the 2003 "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" premiered, and many people my age flat out hated it. I checked it out and, to my surprise I liked it. I liked it a lot. It won't make my Top Ten Animated Series list or anything, but it was very good. Great in places, sadly terrible in other places. But when I found out that Peter Laird had much tighter controls over this series than he had with 1987 (where his control was non-existent) it made sense. The 2003 series did feel a lot more like a labor of love than the 1987 series.

Let me describe an episode of the 1987 TMNT series. A new, and powerful macguffin is broadcast to the world by April O'Neil on Channel Six. Shredder and Krang make plans to steal it so they can power up the Technodrome, the turtles fight them, April gets captured, Bebop and Rocksteady act stupid, April is rescued, Shredder does something ineptly stupid and blames Bebop and Rocksteady for it, the turtles all go get pizza. Wait, I think I described just about every episode of the 1987 series. It was very formulaic.



The 1987 series also had no story editor to speak of. They did have an Executive Story Editor, but I did some research and found out that was more about getting whatever toys into the script they wanted to promote. Once again, I'm not saying tight continuity and story arcs are the only way to do a show. But the first episode of season four and the last episode of season three are supposed to take place minutes apart, they were both written by David Wise and even I wondered how he couldn't keep track of his most recent script. I'm not angry about it, don't get me wrong, but I am raising an eyebrow. There is nothing in this show that could make me angry, except for Zack the Fifth Turtle... where's JMS and his truck when we need him?

I've seen people bitch and moan about "Turtles Forever's" treatment of the 1987 series, and as I said, the show is right. In fact, "Turtles Forever was right" became something of a mantra my friend, Pterobat, and I would repeat to each other as we re-watched these episodes, often at the same time. People complain about April being attacked by a giant banana and leprechauns in "Turtles Forever" and while I haven't seen a giant banana yet, does it really matter? The show had all sorts of crazy shit. A giant cheese monster in one episode; a giant plant monster they distracted by having Mikey dress up as a girl flower to seduce it; it had a magnet that can be set to antiques; it had a bunch of alien Elvis clones tickling people with feathers; it had Splinter save the Turtles lives with mothballs and saying "Sometimes if you wish hard enough for something to happen, it just might come true"; I could go on and on and on. Again, this isn't me saying the show sucked for having these things, but don't say the giant banana was out of place. You can't.

I've heard people say the 87 turtles running around without disguises was slander, and... good god, no. They were outside in broad daylight without disguises way more often than they ever wore disguises. Way more often.

I remember when people said Leonardo was always serious, and the 87 turtles were way too pizza obsessed. Um, they were always pizza obsessed in the show, all four of them. In "Corporate Raiders From Dimension X" when business leaders all over the city are being kidnapped, Leonardo has no interest in investigating until he learns the CEO of the world's largest manufacturer of pizza dough was among them. Yes, Leonardo. Never mind they also did an episode where he ran away from home after having a nightmare about Shredder stealing the city's supply of cheese danishes. Okay, he was also an early riser, so "Turtles Forever" was wrong about his waking up and asking "is it noon already?" So, "Turtles Forever" was 99% right.

The show is kooky and extremely stupid. It loves its status quo and makes love to its formula every day. If I'm being rough on it, don't take that as hate. If I hated it, I would have jumped ship on this re-watch before the end of the first season. But I can only take so much of it before I feel like way too many of my brain cells have been murdered and I put on an episode of "Gargoyles" to get them back. I don't think "Turtles Forever" was trying to be mean spirited in its honesty, because, despite everything, it was 87 Donatello and Bebop and Rocksteady who saved all of existence from destruction at the hands of the Utrom Shredder.  But that being said, I am so glad people like Greg Weisman and Bruce Timm matured cartoons well past what this was. And before anyone says anything, I am aware of the Red Sky seasons, I haven't gotten there yet. I admit, I am curious, but I'm not particularly excited about them either.

Oh, and how come the 1987 turtles always called each other by their full names? You'd think the goofy turtles would be all over fun nicknames.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

In Honor of Valentine's Day


So I decided to blog about some of my favorite romances in the realm of fiction. Here are my Top Eleven. Why top eleven? Because the Nostalgia Critic is back and I'll go one step beyond. Seriously, I was going to do ten but then I had an idea for one that I thought was just funny, I'm sure you can guess which one it is.

Honorable Mentions: Hunter/Dingo, Broadway/Angela, Aragorn/Arwen, The Monarch/Dr. Mrs. The Monarch, Niles/Daphne, Beatrix Kiddo/Bill.

Very Dishonorable Mentions: Edward/Bella, Anybody/Betty Brant, Korra/Mako, Buffy/Spike, Gambit/Rogue.

11. Shredder & Krang



I've recently, for the first time in many, many, many years been re-watching the 1987 "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" and, trust me, I'll have some things to say about it on this blog in the near future. But what I will admire here is just how progressive it was. I do believe Shredder and Krang were American TV's first same-sex marriage. And look, they failed to bring about the downfall of society. If their love won't destroy the world, I think the two lesbians who live next door to me will be all right.

10. Clarence Worley & Alabama Whitman



This has got to be the ultimate wish fulfillment love story. But if it is, why do I like it so much? I give full credit to Quentin Tarantino's brilliant writing, Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette's endearing performances, and Tony Scott for making it all work. A down on his luck guy who works a minimum wage job at a comic book store just happens to meet a women at a Kung Fu movie marathon, they go for pie, tour his comic shop, she likes all the same things he likes, have sex, she reveals she was a hooker after hired by his boss to cheer him up, but she genuinely fell in love with him and they go to City Hall and get married the next day. Yeeeeeaaaaah... this never happens in real life (although she did confess she hated the Partridge Family afterwards). Thankfully, that's only how the movie starts up. How does it end? Well, frankly, that depends on if you subscribe to Tony Scott's happy ending, which made it into the movie, or Tarantino's tragic ending which appears as an extra on the DVD. Well, considering that Alabama became a thief and was at some point partnered with Mr. White before the events of "Reservoir Dogs," I subscribe to Tarantino's ending being the true canon. So why is it on here? Because I admire it for taking a concept so fucking ludicrous and not only making it great, but heartwarming. Execution is everything.

9. Demona & Macbeth



Yeah, I admit, this probably shouldn't be on here. It's not canon, and a lot of it is based on where I think these characters would ultimately end up after a couple more centuries of character development. So why are they here? Because there is still an intimate connection there. Because even Weisman admitted there was love there at one point, definitely on her side. Hey, Demona was their Shakespearean Lady Macbeth. They just have so much chemistry between them, and even if I am wrong they are still great fun to watch. So yes, I admit, this shouldn't be here. But call it an exercise in self-indulgence.

8. Guts & Caska



"Berserk" is such a great series that I would hate to spoil it for anyone who hasn't read it or seen it. But this particular love story is about two broken people who get over themselves after years and get together... only for tragedy to strike and for them to get broken far worse than they already were previously. Their story is still not over yet, Caska is still shattered and Guts has only recently begun emotionally healing, if physically destroying himself even further. And yet, I just cannot see a happy ending here.

7. Lucifer Morningstar & Mazikeen



Okay, this isn't love so much as two twisted people who enjoy each other's company while playing a game for the cosmos, they're just on the same side (most of the time). If Lucifer respects anybody, it is Mazikeen. He's fond of her, but he doesn't love her. She is devoted to him, but not naive enough to believe he'll love her either. It's not that these two are using each other, even if Lucifer uses everybody, but two people playing a game with a prize being their own place in the universe. Of course, they end up going their separate ways.... but it was fun while it lasted, even if it could never have worked.

6. John Sheridan & Delenn




A lot of couples hook up saying they're going to do great things. Become stars. Stick it to the man. Sheridan and Delenn came from two different worlds (literally), but united with one goal in mind. To defeat the Shadows and save the galaxy. But as the Shadow War played out, and the stakes were raised beyond what they could see coming, they expanded their own goals as well. Sheridan and Delenn kicked the First Ones out of the galaxy, Delenn stopped asking her people for permission to form a union with a human and just did it anyway, and Sheridan toppled a fascist regime that arose on Earth... they stuck it to the man. Then they formed the greatest empire the galaxy had ever seen as President and Vice-President of the Interstellar Alliance... they didn't just become stars, they became legends... and then they became myth. It all came with a hefty price, however. Aside from the fact that they did have to work hard for this, their time together was brief. But that was they price they paid.

5. Hawkeye & Black Widow


"Love is for children." I am using the movie versions of these characters because, quite frankly, this just about sums up every tryst or relationship I've ever had. These two are good together now, could be better for each other later, but they're not there yet. Will they ever be there? That's not what's important. What is important for them is the reality of now. And right now, neither one of them is the settling down and marrying kind. That's where I am now, and I thought it was very refreshing to watch play out on screen.

4. Peter Parker & Mary Jane Watson


You know what? I'm still angry about these two. I am continually amazed at how hard outside forces have worked to destroy them; and I don't mean Green Goblin, Doc Ock, or Venom. I mean terrible editorial decisions or edicts from above, or terrible portrayals in just about every adaptation. Peter and MJ in the 90's cartoon? Terrible! Peter and MJ in the Raimi Trilogy? Disgraceful! I think what I like about them in the original comics is that these are the two people who shouldn't have gotten together, weren't meant to get together, but destiny pushed them in that direction. Sometimes the characters tell you what their story is and not the other way around. So when they did get together and get married, it felt like true organic growth. This is why Marvel's undoing of all this doesn't work, it wasn't organic or believable, it was a forced edict and a complete re-writing of their characters. This is why it didn't work in the two adaptations I mentioned, because MJ is there to be the love interest and nothing more. It wasn't love at first sight, they didn't share this connection when they were toddlers. They met as adults, went on a few dates, it didn't work out but they stayed friends while they saw and fell for other people, and time, tragedy and life eventually brought them together. It was an adult relationship. But Marvel doesn't want that, and the adaptations I mentioned can't have that.

3. Goliath & Elisa


The whole notion of beauty and the beast has been done to death long before "Gargoyles" came along, and yet I loved this relationship from the word "go." Once again, it's an adult relationship. While we don't know much of anything about Elisa's romantic past before meeting Goliath, when she meets Goliath he is, for all intents and purposes going through a very violent divorce. There are many reasons why these two should not have gotten together. Even if Elisa was a gargoyle, it wouldn't have made this relationship any easier. Gargoyles mate for life, the very notion that Goliath's mate can be out there without the two of them being together is almost an alien concept to them, likewise they don't take new mates after one mate dies. There are many reasons Goliath didn't think he should fall for Elisa, the two of them being different species being just one of those reasons. Likewise, Elisa had many reasons to deny and refuse to talk about the feelings she was developing for Goliath, although with her the species thing was the big one. This is a couple who love each other and respect each other. But they won't change for each other, and they respect each other so much they wouldn't eve dream of asking the other to change for them. But they still make sacrifices for on another, and in the end they both realized that normalcy's so overrated.

2. Rick Blaine & Ilsa Lund


If you love someone, let them go. I hate that phrase, but here it's true. You know this story, even if you haven't seen "Casablanca" you know this story. Two star-crossed lovers who meet during war, are torn apart only to meet again. The first time they met, Ilsa believed her husband, Victor, was dead... only to learn he was alive and organizing resistance against the Nazis, and she left to join him. When Rick and Ilsa meet later, on the run from the Nazis, they could get back together, almost do get back together, have Victor's blessing to get back together, but don't. They love each other enough to say good-bye because there things much bigger and more important than they are. During a time of war, everybody has to make sacrifices and for them, their love is a big one. But they do it. Lesson is, if you're going to break up a beloved couple this is how you do it. Take notes, Marvel.

1. David Xanatos & Fox


I'll be honest, as far as fictional couples go, these two have always been my idea for what a perfect relationship is. David and Fox love each other, respect each other, and admire each other as equals. For as much as he is the villain, David didn't want, well let's face it, he didn't want a Harley Quinn. Only a pathetic lowlife would want their own Harley Quinn. Nor did he want June Cleaver waiting at home for him. David wanted someone cut from the same cloth as him. Someone who could outplay him at chess, challenge him, and had ambitions outside of him. Real love and romance isn't all consuming obsession with the other, these two still live their own lives and have their own projects. They would do just about anything for the other, and neither of them ever make the other prove it. Like some of my other top contenders, these two are adults, and neither of them changed for the other, nor did love soften them. I suspect they'll both continue to scheme as they grow old together.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

War


Now this episode kicked ass. After the more low scale stories of the previous weeks, we get a sense of grandeur that seems like it's going to permeate through the final five episodes following this.

Having not seen several major members of the Justice League since the third episode of the season, we catch up with them on trial on Rimbor. It does not seem to be going well as news breaks that the Reach are on Earth, and as they were invited, have every legal right to now be there. Vandal Savage, also on Rimbor watching the trial, whispers some suggestions to Mongul who brings his War World to Earth in order to prevent the Reach from gaining enough power to challenge his own plans. The Team takes him down before Blue Beetle sucker punches them all and makes off with the key to the War World.

Greg Weisman and Jamie Thomason have a history of reusing certain voice actors from his previous shows. Thus far, "Young Justice" has brought back Josh Keaton (Spider-Man); Thom Adcox (Lexington, Tinkerer); Ed Asner (Hudson, Napoleon, Uncle Ben); Clancy Brown (Hakon, Wolf, Rhino, George Stacy); Bill Fagerbakke (Broadway); Tim Curry (Anton Sevarius); Brent Spiner (Puck); Cree Summer (Hyena, Ember, Glory Grant); Kath Soucie (Princess Katharine, Mary, Weird Sisters, Nerissa, Martha Conners); Jeff Bennett (Brooklyn, Owen, Magus, Vinnie, Shocker); Ben Diskin (Venom); Kevin Michael Richardson (Tombstone); Steve Blum (Green Goblin); Lacey Chabert (Gwen Stacy); Vanessa Marshall (Mary Jane Watson); Peter MacNicol (Dr. Octopus); and my personal favorite, Marina Sirtis (Demona), among others. But, from almost day one, I've been wondering when Keith David (Goliath, Thailog, Officer Morgan, Tombstone) would make his debut on the show. He had to be coming. I definitely had my theory on who he would portray, and it wasn't Mongul. Not that I'm complaining at all, because Keith was perfect for Mongul. It was a joy to hear that voice again.

The action was fast and intent, and it's a lot of fun to sometimes watch our supers cut loose. But this episode is, thankfully, far more than just super-powered wrestling as it seems to be laying the groundwork for what's to come.

One gripe I have with this season is sadly summed up in this episode. I wish we had twenty-six episodes instead of twenty, because I feel some character focus was lost. It's not as big a deal as some other comments out there seem to think it is, the characters who need the most focus are getting it, and in the realities of this world, there is only so much time to go around. Wonder Girl has gotten barely any development this season, outside of one episode where she proved she could cut it. Likewise, Guardian and Bumblebee's reunion lacked a little bit of punch. Yeah, we got some moments here and there with them this season, but more would have been nice. But hey, more would be nice for every aspect of this show. I wish we had more of Batgirl, too. But it is what it is, and that gripe aside, the twenty episodes of screen time seem to be budgeted as best they can be, and certain choices need to be made. So far, those choices haven't been wrong choices, I just wish there was more. But wanting more is hardly the worst complaint in the world.

Now comes the question, what is Vandal Savage's game? We know he wants to evolve mankind to take its place among the cosmos, and they can't really do that as just meat for the Reach. The Reach obviously had no idea the War World was coming, so Savage clearly did not fill them in. I doubt Vandal wanted Mongul to destroy the Earth, so he probably banked on the Team and the Justice League defeating him, which they did.  Does he know that Blue Beetle is a pawn for the Reach now? Did he expect the Reach to steal the key to the War World? Was the gambit for the Reach to lose most of their fleet to make them easier to defeat once they had outlived their usefulness? Time will tell.

Also interesting that Mongul was overthrown once, and feels the best way to retake his throne is to conquer the galaxy first... to defeat someone. Hmm, who is this someone?

Saturday, February 9, 2013

1980's Gargoyles!



A lot of people are nostalgic for 80’s cartoons. They call that the best period in TV animation ever (those people are mentally ill). So, what if “Gargoyles” was an 80’s cartoon?

- Goliath and his clan would never have evacuated the castle. And Xanatos never returns to the Eyrie after his initial defeat, instead relocating to a secret underground lair of evil, with all dark colors and robot servants and a skull motif.

- Elisa Maza would have been a man. She’d have probably been Matt Bluestone, actually (though not named Bluestone, because that's too Jewish). But if she did exist as a woman, she would be the perpetual damsel in distress, and probably a reporter instead of a cop. And she would be white.

- Goliath would have no character flaws, whatsoever.

- New gargoyles would appear, as members of Goliath’s clan, out of no where.

- Angela would have worn pink. Hell, Angela would have BEEN pink! And she wouldn’t have been Goliath’s daughter because that would imply sex happened.

- Lexington would be such a savant, he could build space ships, time machines, dimensional gateways, and anything.

- Brooklyn would talk like Michelangelo in the 80’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. He’d also be Angela’s love interest.

- Broadway would be, well, do I need to tell you what kind of stereotype he’d be?

- Bronx might have been able to speak, or at least, make noises that would sound halfway between speech and a gargoyle beast’s growls.

- Xanatos would have been a straight up criminal “mastermind” who’s plans never worked. The Pack would have been his incompetent henchmen. Owen wouldn’t exist. Demona and Sevarius would be his two more competent, but still unsuccessful henchmen. He would also frequently throw temper tantrums while taking Demona’s and Sevarius’s ideas and claiming them as his own.

- Demona would not be Goliath’s ex-mate (because that would mean they once had sex). She’d either be Goliath’s former friend, former rival, or rival sister. I imagine she’d serve as Xanatos’s Starscream… with a matching track record.

- Sevarius as a mad scientist would be an expert in EVERYTHING.

- The major plot line would have involved Xanatos wanting to gather together the three great talismans so he could rule the world. This would never get resolved.

- Xanatos would wear a mask and you’d never see his face. Probably a cape, too. Also, you’d never hear the name “David.” He would just be “Xanatos.”

- Alex Xanatos would never exist. Once again, that would imply that sex once happened.

- Thailog would exist and remain loyal to Xanatos. Or he would exist for one episode and one episode only and we would have a “Who is the real Goliath” contest where our heroes can’t tell the difference between the Goliath they know and the one who doesn’t know anyone’s name or his way around the castle.

- The motorcycle and helicopter would have been in every episode.

- At some point, Goliath, Hudson and Brooklyn would have gained elemental control over fire, water, and ice respectively.

- William Shakespeare? Who is that? Some English fart? He doesn’t sell toys.

- Goliath and Xanatos would join forces to battle an evil drug dealer! Because drugs are so evil, even the evil criminal masterminds think they’re bad!

- History would be mutable. In any give time travel episode, the bad guy would change history…For some reason the change would be visible in the present and the characters would notice—without explanation—Lex would build the time machine, and they’d go back in time to fix the problem.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Shipping and Consequences


I don't like being one of those "stop liking what I don't like" kind of douchebags, but every time I encounter a Goliath/Demona 'shipper, I roll my eyes and hope they are talking about the tenth century and the tenth century only. Then I find out they're not, and I wonder if they're considering the full implications of what they are supporting. Then I find out they're not but they don't care anyway... because Goliath/Elisa is "weird."

Let's talk about why Demona and Goliath being a couple again is just a preposterous idea. Yes, gargoyles mate for life. The idea of "divorce" is practically non-existent among gargoyles... but I also tend to think that one mate attempting to blow the other one away with a bazooka because they don't agree with their dreams of genocide is practically non-existent, too. A lot of these people tend to put the burden of Goliath and Demona no longer being a couple on Goliath himself. Greg Weisman already wrote an excellent essay about why such thinking is wrong, so why am I posting? Maybe because there are some things I cannot let go either. I have witnessed spousal abuse, you don't need claws or a big gun... it's not pretty to watch. In this relationship, Demona was the abuser. Even in the "good days" she deceived her mate, lied to him, manipulated him... it was never an ideal relationship, even if Goliath himself didn't realize it until the moment she pointed a bazooka at him. I hear a lot of people say that Goliath and his clan never gave Demona a chance, and every time I hear this I get so angry, I wonder what kind of planet these people are on. I have witnessed spousal and familial abuse, and I have heard others say that it was the abuser who was getting the unfair shake. Whether it's in reality or in fiction, this kind of thinking makes me nauseous. If you still 'ship Goliath/Demona then you support spousal and familial abuse. I know there are some here who want to see Demona reform and make up with Goliath, and I suppose I can understand that to a degree... but I tend to think of that as foolish wishful thinking. If you are ever in a situation where you are with an abusive significant other, and you break free of that relationship, the worst thing you can do is get back with them. I know in some of these fantasies, Demona's change of heart is supposed to be genuine... but it still sends a message that is, at best,  poorly thought out.

As for Goliath/Elisa being "weird" and "unnatural." Yeah, I've heard this quite a bit also. According to Greg Weisman, human/gargoyle couplings are so rare that there isn't even a taboo against it. On his entire timeline, between 9386 B.C. and 2199 A.D. there is only ONE other besides Goliath and Elisa. I like that. It makes G/E and the mysterious other couple a lot more special. That being said, to write off the mutual, and respectful love between two or more consenting adults and dismiss it as "weird" is, quite frankly, rather disgusting. There was a time when interracial couples were considered weird... and in some parts of the world, even in so-called developed countries, they're still considered that way. Same thing with same-sex couples. Elisa herself is interracial, and her relationship with Goliath is an allegory for everyone who ever fell in love in a situation that society deemed was abnormal. "Gargoyles" was first and foremost a show about tolerance, so it blows my mind that some fans of it completely missed that particular point. Do any "Star Trek" fans dismiss Sarek and Amanda Grayson's marriage as "weird". Do any comic book fans dismiss Superman and Lois Lane's relationship as "unnatural"? I live next door to two lesbians who are raising two beautiful, happy children... should I dismiss them as "weird" and "unnatural"? Do you know what depresses me? I'm sure there is at least one person who would say "yes" to the previous sentence.

I don't expect to change any minds. But I had to get this off my chest, because I believe that how two or more consenting adults find true love and respect (or are found by it) is sacred and none of us are in any position to judge them. I also believe that no one should ever feel pressured to stay in a relation that they find damaging be it physical, mental, or emotional abuse.

Oh, and before someone throws my hatred of "Twilight" back at me, that entire "saga" is all about remaining in a damaging relationship. If Stephanie Meyer was writing "Gargoyles", Goliath would have likely stayed with Demona and kept on being emotionally abused and manipulated by her, with the narrative not understanding that this is a terrible relationship.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Runaways


Hmm, I don't know about this one. This episode was by no means bad, and it did advance the plot... but I can't help but feel that's all it did without any surprises or any real insight. We got to know some new characters, which is fine and necessary since they are obviously going to play a critical role down the line. Yes, that's a good word to describe this episode: necessary.

So Green Beetle turned out to be a villain, I cannot speak for anybody else but I saw that coming the moment he first appeared. I kind of wonder why they bothered to even keep it a secret from the audience. Blue Beetle now being under the control of the Reach wasn't a surprise, just a confirmation of what Green did to him last week. In an attempt to escape destiny, Blue created a self fulfilling prophesy. Of course, this pretty much means Blue is a mole on the Team, which is cool... no need to create another mystery about that after last season's.

Lex Luthor recruited the runaways to become agents of the Light, as he said he would do two weeks ago. No surprise there, although watching him play everybody was entertaining as always. Speaking of the runaways, they are intriguing characters, and I do like the new take on Ty's powers being a massive astral projection instead of physical growth.

Red Volcano's return annoyed me. He was pretty definitely destroyed in the first season. I know he's a robot, he can be rebuilt, but I guess I'm curious as to how, and why he is now an agent of the Light. Well, I guess they reprogrammed him, and I realize I am answering a lot of my own questions, but this aspect of the episode was unsatisfying.

I know it sounds like I was down on this episode, but I'm not. I liked it, I just thought it was the weakest episode of the season thus far. But this is a serialized show, and I know payoff is coming.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Quoted For Truth!

Everyone out there who complained about the “multiple endings”, I gotta say: cry more on this one… sorry.
The thing I really like about this compared to Harry Potter, which is also a book where the protagonist suffers a lot, is that “The Lord of the Rings” follows Frodo for a while after the end of the plot and shows that no, he doesn’t really get a happily ever after. Battle and trauma doesn’t come with a reward; it drains you, it changes you, in Frodo’s case it’s killing him slowly. So Harry gets his happily ever after, marries the girl he’s shown a tiny bit of interest in and then he pops out some kids and yay? I just don’t buy it, if anything I read this as just a facade.

So if you ended the movie in Minas Tirith and implied that the Hobbits were honored forever and la di da and happy ending it really undermines the sacrifice they made. So I’m really glad they didn’t leave those scenes for the extended cut; Frodo didn’t really get his happy ending. His story therefore is a lot more poignant than Harry’s because after all he’s been through he can’t return to the very thing he’s set out to save. And there’s this great little scene at the end with the four Hobbits just sitting and looking at eachother like “wow, we have been outside the cave. We can never relate to these people again.”

The damage done to Frodo wasn’t just there for some shallow drama, and we the viewer actually get to see that it had some real consequences. Frodo ends up having to leave the very thing he set out to save, and that’s some real poignancy you don’t see in big blockbusters.

— Lindsay Ellis

And that, right there, is why "The Lord of the Rings" is one of the only emotionally honest blockbusters ever distributed by Hollywood.

A Typical Episode of Justice League - A Dramatic Reading



So a bunch of us were dicking around on Skype again and this is the result. Once again, no alcohol was involved, and once again the script was written by Hobogoblin and can be found here: http://www.spidermancrawlspace.com/wwwboard/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=8318