Monthly Archives: January 2014

Merlin Club, S01E02, “Valiant” or “Freud would have a theory about this.”

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Merlin club is a weekly feature in which Jessica Jarman, Bronwyn Green, and myself gather at 8pm EST to watch an episode of the amazing BBC series Merlin, starring Colin Morgan and literally nobody else I care about except Colin Morgan.

Okay, I lie. A lot of other really cool people are in it, too.

Anyway, we watch the show, we tweet to the hashtag #MerlinClub, and on Fridays we share our thoughts about the episode we watched earlier in the week.

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The Big Damn Buffy Rewatch S02E08, “The Dark Age”

In every generation there is a chosen one. She alone will spill coffee on her shirt at 9AM, then just decide to go topless all day because who’s she trying to impress, the queen of France or something? She will also recap every episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer with an eye to the following themes:

  1. Sex is the real villain of the Buffy The Vampire Slayer universe.
  2. Giles is totally in love with Buffy.
  3. Joyce is a fucking terrible parent.
  4. Willow’s magic is utterly useless (this one won’t be an issue until season 2, when she gets a chance to become a witch)
  5. Xander is a textbook Nice Guy.
  6. The show isn’t as feminist as people claim.
  7. All the monsters look like wieners.
  8. If ambivalence to possible danger were an Olympic sport, Team Sunnydale would take the gold.
  9. Angel is a dick.
  10. Harmony is the strongest female character on the show.
  11. Team sports are portrayed in an extremely negative light.
  12. Some of this shit is racist as fuck.
  13. Science and technology are not to be trusted.
  14. Mental illness is stigmatized.
  15. Only Willow can use a computer.
  16. Buffy’s strength is flexible at the plot’s convenience.
  17. Cheap laughs and desperate grabs at plot plausibility are made through Xenophobia.
  18. Oz is the Anti-Xander

Have I missed any that were added in past recaps? Let me know in the comments. WARNING: Some people have mentioned they’re watching along with me, and that’s awesome, but I’ve seen the entire series already and I’ll probably mention things that happen in later seasons. So… you know, take that under consideration, if you’re a person who can’t enjoy something if you know future details about it.  Continue reading

Merlin Club, S01E01, “The Dragon’s Call” or “The one where Merlin meets everyone in Camelot in a single day”

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Welcome to the first installment of Merlin club. Much thanks to Jessica Jarman’s daughter for drawing what is an eerily accurate representation of all of us. Let me make it clear: this kid has never met me in person, and she managed to come up with a more truthful likeness of me than a camera does.

Merlin club is a weekly feature in which Jessica Jarman, Bronwyn Green, and myself gather at 8pm EST to watch an episode of the amazing BBC series Merlin, starring Colin Morgan and literally nobody else I care about except Colin Morgan.

Okay, I lie. A lot of other really cool people are in it, too.

Anyway, we watch the show, we tweet to the hashtag #MerlinClub, and on Fridays we share our thoughts about the episode we watched earlier in the week.

So, here’s a quick run down of episode one: Merlin rolls into Camelot looking for Gaius, the court physician who also spent some time wizarding around. Merlin was born with naturally powerful magic that he can’t really control, so his mother sent him to Gaius in the hopes that the old man can teach him how to use his powers for good. Oh, and also, so he doesn’t get persecuted by the tyrannical king Uther Pendragon, who hates magic the way I hate any food not dusted with bright orange cheese powder. Uther hates magic so much, there are executions all the time, and Merlin just happens to show up when one is going on. When the man being put to death turns out to be the son of a powerful sorceress, Merlin must face down a powerful enemy to save Camelot, and in doing so, he saves the life of the prince, Arthur, who is like 100% testosterone fueled dickishness. Despite their protests, the king rewards Merlin by making him Arthur’s servant, and they all live miserably ever after until episode two. Also, Merlin meets an imprisoned dragon who is full of sass and can communicate with him via telepathy.

If I had written this episode, I would have changed: Okay, so, at the beginning, when the sorceress staggers out of the crowd and delivers her warning to Uther, it’s clearly Eve Myles in old woman drag. Later, when the sorceress seeks out a singer headed to Camelot for a command performance, the singer is clearly Eve Myles with spectacular hair. The old sorceress sucks the life out of the singer, taking on her likeness… which… was her own likeness to begin with? Except old? If I had been in charge, Eve Myles would have played the singer, and someone else, someone who looked much different, would have played the sorceress. Because it just seems too coincidental that they would look that much alike.

The thing I loved most about this episode: In the Merlinverse, magic is treated from the very beginning as an allegory for homosexuality. When Merlin tearfully asks Gaius, “You don’t know why I was born like this, do you?” and expresses that he would rather die than hide who he is, it’s a gut punch, and it’s handled beautifully.

The thing I hated about this episode: You have Eve Myles in the first episode. And you use her for a one-off character that gets killed. Great work, guys. It’s not like she wouldn’t have made a fucking amazing recurring character or anything. You had one job.

Some things I never noticed before: In one scene, Arthur warns Merlin, “I’ve been trained to kill since birth.” Later in the series, we learn that Arthur’s mother, Igraine, died in childbirth.

Favorite costume: This amazing dress, worn by Uther’s ward, Morgana.

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Here is proof of some random head canon I’ve created: Nothing in this episode, but believe me. More to come (see also: my face in the banner up top).

What object would Bronwyn steal from this episode?: These lamps, found inside the singer’s tent.

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What Merthur moment did Jess have the naughtiest thoughts about?: When Arthur tells Merlin, “I could undo you with a single blow.”

Check out Jessica Jarman’s take on the episode here.

Check out Bronwyn Green’s take on the episode here.

That’s it for this week. Join us on Monday as we watch S01E02, “Valiant,” at 8pm EST on the hashtag #MerlinClub.

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The Coffee People

If you were even slightly aware of broadcast television in the 80′s and 90′s, you’re probably vaguely aware of the coffee people. They started out in commercials in the UK, then later in the US, in a kind of viral-marketing-before-viral-was-a-thing on-going serial that featured two very sophisticated people meeting and falling in love gradually through increasingly far-fetched coffee related interactions. At the height of the coffee people craze here in America, TV Guide actually ran advertisements about when the ads were going to be on. No, seriously, people were that wrapped up in the ongoing drama of these two coffee-obsessed commercial characters hooking up that they actually tuned in just for the commercials.

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Why our exclusionary attitudes toward self-publishing must change.

This afternoon, I read a piece in The Guardian about John Green, and some remarks he made in a speech to the Association of American Booksellers. Most of his statements, overall, are inoffensive. He gives the reasons he would not self-publish, despite his large internet following, and all his reasons are fine. Writers generally get into writing because they want to write, not because they want to be independent publishers, and you can’t really fault someone for saying, “what I’m doing right now works, so there’s no reason to change it.” The only statement Green made that seemed at all controversial was the following:

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Don’t blink.

See this?

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This is what a-holes do.

Well, a-hole friends who put waaaaaaay too much work into their pranks. This weeping angel was made by my friend Bronwyn Green. She came to my house for a visit recently, a friendly sit-and-knit kind of situation. And while she was here, she snuck this little bastard into my office, and somehow, with her shortness and teensy little T-Rex arms, got it onto the top of my very, very dusty bookshelf.

Seen also in the photo is very, very dusty garland of Doctors, which was unfortunately removed during my flailing, screaming reaction when I finally saw the damn thing up there.

The best part about her prank? She’d already done it to other people, and gleefully shared their reactions with me, thus lulling me into a false sense of security. Because what kind of deranged maniac tries to pull off pranking someone who already knows the prank?

Good work, Bronwyn Green.

Retribution is coming.

State of The Trout: Something magical happened on Twitter.

First of all, I want to bring to your attention a project. It’s called Quake: The Film and its creator believes so strongly in it, she made a video while wearing a fake mustache. If you follow me on Twitter, you’ve probably seen me mention the Kickstarter campaign behind this independent dance film. It only has 56 hours left, and they’re a couple thousand short of their goal. If you support the arts monetarily, this might be a good place to throw some cash. If you can’t, that’s awesome, too. But if you could share the link, that would ace. And if you still can’t do that, that’s okay, too. If you’ve been a citizen of Trout Nation long enough, you know I’m kind of a sucker for independent projects that seem intriguingly unusual.

Second, remember that post about Jennifer Lawrence? Well, it got all kinds of virally, and I got picked up by the Huffington Post. You can see the story here.

If you’re not on Twitter, you missed something… I don’t want to say it’s magical or basically the greatest twitter story of all time or whatever, but that’s what it is.

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