thinking big: feminism, media, and pop culture

Posts Tagged ‘abc family’

Re-Plotting History: Omission, Race, and “The Vampire Diaries”

In race, teen soaps, The South on December 5, 2013 at 1:54 pm

Aoife Ní Dhochartaigh

THE VAMPIRE DIARIES

It’s no secret that The Vampire Diaries is obsessed with history. I suppose it’s kind of a given on a show about immortality. The past informs the present: the characters constantly react to, reference and repeat history. Mostly, of course, they engage with their own, private histories. Stefan thinks of the people around him in terms of people from his past: Caroline as Lexi, Elena as Not-Katherine, Klaus as Damon (once upon a time.) Damon casts his sexual partners as himself, and himself as Katherine – reliving that particular shitstorm over and over – which has resulted in some pretty horrific abuse over the course of the show.

And one of the great things is that TVD references its own history – the history contained within the show – in really effective ways. They don’t need to tell us that history is cyclical, because they do such a good job of showing us. The dialogue and visuals contain so many parallels that the repeated settings and lines become hugely meaningful, especially to dedicated viewers like me. (To name but a few: Wickery Bridge, Elena’s porch, the whole ‘always’/’right now’ thing.)

Despite this historical obsession—both American history and the show’s own history—the story TVD tells is structured by one clear and egregious absence: slavery. Instead, the hideousness of slavery keeps being suppressed, and keeps manifesting in gross, awful ways: compulsion, sire bonds, the relentless economics of the doppelganger body. Read the rest of this entry »

GLG Year-End Picks: Phoebe’s Top 5 TV Shows

In ABC Soaps, Dance Academy, Pretty Little Liars, Scandal, Television on December 19, 2012 at 11:31 am

I watch a lot of TV. Like a lot. Thus, I was excited to put together this list, which did prove quite hard as there is a lot of fun TV out there right now. Anyway, as I made this list, I realized that all my favorite shows feature amazing leading ladies (both on and off-screen). This top five (perhaps save for PLL) is in no order in particular.

1) Pretty Little Liars

Pretty-Little-Liars-Aria-Spencer-Emily-Hanna

PLL continues its reign in my top spot. I realize this is not a 2012 show BUT last season was so good. It included such gems as a Psycho-esque season finale, a Rear Window reference, and Jenna regaining her sight in the best femme fatale scene ever. Oh and then there is Mona … the best villainess ever.

2) The Mindy Project

mindy-project__oPt

I was sold by the preview and the pilot. There is something so hilarious and charming about the Mindy Project and its hilarious and pretty awesome (and very pretty) heroine. I love Mindy’s spacey and craziness, but also that she has this super successful and amazing career. Most recently, we saw sadly that her new boyfriend turned out to be a jerk, but the highlight of the episode was how great her friends were afterwards. Basically, The Mindy Project is delightful and snarky simultaneously.

Read the rest of this entry »

Pretty Little Liars Halloween Recap, “This Is a Dark Ride”

In ABC Soaps, Pretty Little Liars on October 26, 2012 at 8:47 am

All aboard the ghost train: Pretty Little Liars is back, Halloween style, in one of the craziest episodes yet.  Flashbacks reveal that Ali was murdered at least three different times on the same night. Aria gets drugged and trapped in a crate alongside Garrett’s fresh corpse (!!), and she’s about to be pushed off board a moving train when a combination of her killer screwdriver aim and her fellow Liars’ good timing saves her life. Meanwhile, Hanna’s mom and Pastor Ted encounter what appears to be an actual ghost — one of the twins from last year’s Halloween special. And in the TWISTIEST TWIST since we saw Toby in A’s trademark hoodie, Ezra. Fitz. Has. A. Bandage. On. His. Hand. Read on for more of the spooky twists and turns of this year’s Halloween special.

The Liars’ Halloween costumes were, as usual, flawless. Hanna was Marilyn Monroe in her iconic white dress, Aria was Daisy from The Great Gatsby (“the book,” she clarifies, although really what difference it makes with respect to her costume is unclear), Spencer was Lauren Bacall circa To Have and Have Not, and Emily was Barbarella. Which was your favorite look? And any other notable costumes from the rest of the cast?

Sarah T: Hmm I can’t choose a favorite, they all looked great — and of course the choices were perfectly tailored to their personalities. (As Spencer tells Hanna, “How could you have been worried that we’d pick the same costume?”) But in terms of other noteworthy costumes: Jenna showed some dry wit with her pirate eye-patch costume and admirable commitment with her dreadlock-and-curls hairstyle. I couldn’t tell what Noel was supposed to be. (A prince?) It’s fun that Mona wore a costume under her costume. You KNOW our girl was probably wearing a costume under the paper mache mask too. She’s turtles all the way down.

Phoebe B: Aaah Mona, what a wonderful evil genius. Her costume was SO scary! But I think Aria’s Daisy was actually my favorite since it seemed an homage to the one book we can be certain the PLLs read and Ezra’s former career as a high school teacher. Remember when they read The Great Gatsby forever?! After that, I thought Emily was rocking her Barberella costume too! Also, I kind of missed Spencer’s ridiculous queen costume from last year’s Halloween flashback.

If Garrett’s version of events is true, the night Ali died he saw her arguing with Byron. Then he threatened her with a hockey stick, making the then-blind Jenna believe he had killed her when in fact he was hacking away at a poor old tree. Do you buy Garrett’s story? And if so, what might Ali and Byron have been fighting about?

Sarah T: I think I do believe Garrett. For one thing, he’s dead now, and I feel like on PLL people usually get axed right after they tell the truth about something. Also because we saw a flashback, and thus far none of the flashbacks have been disproven, which makes me think they’re a truthiness-indicator. I think Ali may have been blackmailing Byron about his dalliances with Meredith the College Student, which makes him a new member in the ever-growing lineup of people who had motive to want Ali dead. I am thrilled about this development, because Byron has always seemed like a creeper and this seals the deal.

Phoebe B: Good questions! And I agree. That was a crazy revelation and I am inclined to believe Garrett now that he is very dead. I have always suspected Byron of something as he just seems so creepy and suspicious all the time. I agree about Ali blackmailing Byron but I also thought perhaps Byron made the grave mistake of sleeping with Ali. I realize that’s extra creepy, but there seemed to be something more afoot than blackmail. But the story too about Garrett fake killing Ali was so weird! What were her and Jenna fighting about? Why were they going after each other? I thought Jenna and Ali reconciled when Jenna was in the hospital. I’m so confused.

Read the rest of this entry »

Pretty Little Liars Recap, “The Lady Killer” (Season 3 Summer Finale)

In Pretty Little Liars, Recaps on August 31, 2012 at 7:54 pm

This week’s PLL was SO scary and filled with many creepy twists and turns. Plus we got a reveAl, and Paige was cleared of all A-related business. Read on for our thoughts on the PLL summer finale.

Toby?! No! Wait really, do you think he is part of the A-team? Or is he playing Mona?

Sarah T: This reveal made me cackle out loud. And THAT is how you do a twist. I think it’s definitely possible that he’s a double agent who’s crossed over in order to bring down the A-team. He basically threatened to do as much earlier in the season when Spencer was stonewalling him. However, I hope that he’s in the Axis of Black Hoodie Evil for real — not because I want to see Spencer get hurt, but because that is so interesting if it’s true. It’s a total game-changer not just for his character and his relationship with Spencer, but for the entire series. It impacts what we think about his relationship with Jenna: What if she’s the innocent in this scenario? Or what if they’ve both been on the same side the whole time? It also has implications for what we know about the night Jenna got blinded and Ali’s argument with Toby in its aftermath. What if Toby really WAS spying on the PLLs the night of the Jenna Thing? What if Ali had something on him that was bigger than the step-incest intel? I like this plot development for the way it breaks the show open, so I hope it sticks.

Phoebe B: Oh my goodness so many good questions ST! Oh man I actually really hope that Toby is a double Agent and not part of the Axis of Black Hoodie Evil … Mostly I don’t want him to be evil and playing Spencer because they just slept together for the first time (right?) and I feel like it would be super messed up if he was then evil. I feel like if he was evil, then the show would be somehow punishing Spencer for sex and that would make me sad. BUT also, if Toby is indeed evil that would be an insane turn of events since then maybe he really was guilty back when he was accused. And Toby does randomly disappear a lot. Although remember when A-knocked him off that ladder/scaffolding situation at the Hastings? That seemed real and he seemed surprised. But maybe he was playing Jenna or was horrible to her? Rather than the other way around. Oh I don’t know anymore, I’m just so confused!

Read the rest of this entry »

Pretty Little Liars Recap, “Birds of a Feather” (Season 3, Episode 4)

In Pretty Little Liars, Recaps on June 28, 2012 at 9:48 am

This week, we learned a lot about the patterns our PLLs fall into with their extended network of psychopaths, boyfriends, and family members. Hanna and Caleb continued their who’s-protecting-who spiral of deceit. Spencer had blinders on when it comes to her big sister’s nefarious ways. Aria was still trying to shield her mom from her father’s skeezy choices, and Emily was still grieving over Maya (and finding comfort in talking with Maya’s new-to-town cousin). But a few twists — and at least one major revelation — shook up the status quo. Read on for this week’s recap, and let us know your take in the comments.

“Trust me. It’ll work. Hot. Mama.”

Melissa is the Black Swan! And we found out that she had been faking her pregnancy for super-long. But do you believe her?? Was she really threatened by A?

Sarah T: The first part of this season seems to be devoted to giving all the prime suspects alibis. Last week Jenna explained why she’d been faking her blindness; this week Melissa explains why she’s been faking her pregnancy. Maybe next week Noel Kahn will explain why he’s been faking his… general opaqueness? Anyway, it’s true that Melissa was trying to tell Spencer something in that one episode last season, and that she called it off when she saw Spencer’s phone, so that part matches her story. And I guess I believe that A might have made her be the Black Swan, although why she would end up running away when she saw the rest of the PLLs still doesn’t make much sense. Actually, you know what I think? I think Melissa a) had something to do with Ali’s murder and b) is not part of the A-team. So I believe that she was getting threatening texts from A but I don’t believe she’s innocent — not with the incriminating video evidence, Ian’s line about how he was doing all this for Melissa, and her ample motivation for wanting Ali dead.

Phoebe B: Hmmm, Sarah I think you are on to something! I too am oh so suspicious of Melissa and can’t imagine that she is completely innocent. I mean she did fake a pregnancy for months and was sketchily hanging out with Garrett before his arrest. It would make sense if Melissa had something to do with Ali’s murder or at least knew something. (maybe Ali had something on her too?? Just like the PLLS.) But I agree I don’t think she is A or perhaps even on the A team. Also, I LOVED the PLLs snooping around Melissa’s apartment and making comments about she was more anal than Spencer and then I also giggled when they found the feather in the costume dress after the dramatic unzip. Such great stuff.

Read the rest of this entry »

Pretty Little Liars Recap, “Kingdom of the Blind” (Season 3, Episode 3)

In teen soaps on June 20, 2012 at 9:45 pm

This week things started to get a little bit out of control for the PLLs. It appears Mona is faking her crazy, Lucas is being creepy and also visiting the not-so-crazy Mona, Caleb is getting grumpy, and Mr. Fitz bonds with everybody. Read on for more thoughts on this week’s “Kingdom of the Blind”!

Do you believe that Jenna is scared? Or is she playing the PLLs?

Melissa: I really can’t tell for this one! The story she told about Emily just wandering around town drunk was a little out there…but then again, “out there” things seem to happen all the time in Ye Little Towne of Rosewood. The infamous fly-smashing shot really set her up as a villainous femme fatale, and her wide green eyes shouldn’t make us forget the scheming she and Garrett got up to last season. Then again…she did almost die in a fire and she did go blind in a fire, so Jenna has plenty of reasons to be scared. Could she have been a pawn in A’s game? And how hilarious was the bait and switch scene that led us to a doctor’s office and then to a gun store, all based on a note in a flute case? I kinda wanna call the girls paranoid, but Em had a good point: “You’re not paranoid if someone’s really out to get you.”

Sarah T: Jenna is nothing if not complex: I think she’s probably genuinely scared of someone and that she’s definitely not telling the Liars everything. But why should she trust them, really — from her perspective, these are the girls that blinded her and have done nothing but yell at her and act spooked ever since. She’s been sketchy too, of course, and she definitely set up Garrett for who knows what reason last season, but at this point it’s impossible to say what side she’s fighting on or what her motivations are.

I’m also interested in the implications of Jenna asking the Liars to keep her sight a secret. This is the first time she’s ever asked them for anything — not counting asking Aria to be her accompanist I suppose — and it has the potential to forge a bond between them. (Ben Franklin argued that if you want someone to like you, you should ask them for a favor, and I think he’s probably right.)

Phoebe B.: I agree with both of you! I am SO confused by Jenna …  At once, she is totally the victim of Ali and the PLL’s cruelty but at the same time she has been set up as a femme fatale and also was super tricky last season. I just don’t know! But I am inclined, at least for the moment to believe her, though the story of her picking up Emily seems pretty weird although not impossible. But why would Emily be at Ali’s grave ready to get framed for digging up the grave? Was that just a coincidence? It seems so unlikely. Though I do agree that Jenna asking them to keep a secret seems like a gesture of trust, but what if she is just playing them? Trying to rope them into trusting her? It all seems so dangerous! Read the rest of this entry »

Pretty Little Liars Recap, “Blood Is the New Black” (Season 3, Episode 2)

In Recaps, teen soaps, Uncategorized on June 13, 2012 at 11:01 am

The PLLs are gearing up for a scary, confusing, and crazy season. This week, we discovered a dark secret in Aria’s past; Meredith returned (ugh);  Ella took a test; Mona stabbed her finger with tweezers; and the PLLs proved that Jenna can see. Read on for some GLG musings on this week’s episode!

What’s up with Jody from Center Stage (aka Meredith) getting all up in Aria’s grill? Does her end game involve Jamiroquai

Phoebe: Firstly, is is so weird to see Jody from Center Stage being mean! I just want her to do a rock ballet to a Jamiroquai song. Secondly, Meredith is SO mean! Although some of her meanness makes sense now that we know she was unfairly accused of destroying Byron’s office … It also seems like maybe she suspected Aria of the vandalism already. Also, why are all the women that work at Hollis College really mean and horrible? Like Meredith and Ezra’s ex-girlfriend Jackie (was that her name?).

Melissa: I was also wondering why Meredith and Jackie were so…similar. Snarly diva attitude? Check. Hair that’s just like the PLL’s hair from season one (voluptuous, shiny, long, and curling-iron perfect)? Check. Vendettas straight out of eighth grade? Check. Inappropriate levels of rage towards a high school girl (having nothing to do with her TERRIBLE dress made out of a canvas sack but having everything to do with her terrible, pretentious, cheating father and her terrible choice to date a semi-adult-man who is her teacher)? Check. Also, just for the record, while I’m not planning on having an affair with a much-older and meaner married man any time soon, should I do so, I would kinda expect his children to be vengeful. I’m just saying…

Spencer drank all the coffee out of this bag, then I draped it around my knees and used belts to hold it up!!!

Read the rest of this entry »

“Bunheads”: Regrets, They Have A Few

In teen soaps, Television, Uncategorized on June 12, 2012 at 8:44 am

Sarah T.

The smart-aleck heroine at the center of ABC Family’s new dance drama Bunheads isn’t a mess — though she sure thinks she is. She has, however, messed up several times over.

In the show’s pilot episode, Michelle (Sutton Foster) reveals that she let a promising dance career slip away, gradually sliding from the American Ballet Academy to the life of a jaded Las Vegas showgirl. She lives in a bare apartment with a broken air conditioner and a fridge containing precisely one six-pack of beer.

That’s Mess #1.

Mess #2 happens when Michelle is summarily dismissed from a Chicago audition that she’d hoped would be the start of a comeback. Fearing that she’s over the hill, she opts for a different kind of overhaul. Thanks to a perfect storm of desperation, martinis, and the kindness of a mild-mannered yet ardent suitor named Hubble, she marries a practical stranger. The next morning, she wakes up in the passenger seat of a car bound for the sleepy coastal town of Paradise, California. She ogles her wedding ring, stares open-mouthed at Hubble, and falls back asleep.

As a sucker for heroines who make big mistakes and live through them, I’m already pretty much set to love Michelle without reserves. As played with screwball-comedy jauntiness by Broadway darling Foster, she’s a complicated woman: brittle, warm, goofy, disappointed. She’s willed herself into tailspin for most of her life, using parties and drinks and easy laughs to muffle the nagging doubts that clip at her heels.

“You’ve squandered a lot of potential,” her new mother-in-law tells her. She’s a former professional dancer herself, so she knows what she’s talking about.

“I know,” Michelle says.

“Are you sorry?”

“Every day of my life.” Read the rest of this entry »

Pretty Little Liars Recap, “It Happened that Night” (Season 3, Episode 1)

In girl culture, Pretty Little Liars, teen soaps on June 7, 2012 at 10:20 am

The Prettiest of the Little Liars are back and A is scarier than ever. Last season ended with a Psycho-esque turn. With Mona tucked away safely in a mental institution, the PLLs thought their A-related troubles were over. Sadly for them, but lucky for us, they were wrong. This season looks scarier than ever replete with empty graves, a new and more terrifying A, and much much more. Read on for GLG’s thoughts on this season’s opener.

“Mona played with dolls, I play with body parts”. -A

What do you think about the PLL’s individual states of being? Emily is understandably having a rough time…

Sarah T.: I’m glad they all had prototypical summer activities: Spencer was scholarly, Aria was artsy, Emily was a do-gooder and Hanna had fun with cooking classes and new vocabulary a la Cher from Clueless. (Maybe my favorite moment of the episode was her solemn attempt to comfort Aria by correctly yet oddly using the word “jubilation.”)

Spence and Hanna seem to be the most stable at the moment. It completely makes sense that Emily’s in heavy-drinking and mourning mode: she’s now lost two people she was close with (and with whom she had romantic relationships ranging from semi- to fully-realized). Shay Mitchell did good job of showing how Emily’s sullenness is a cover for the real pain she’s dealing with.

Aria seems more fragile than usual in the aftermath of the A-bathroom scare, which probably has as much to do with the fact that her parents are splitting up as it does how terrifying that hoodie person was. (What happened when the stall door swung open slowly? We never find out. Did she have a panic attack and black out the way Emily did, or was there no one there at that point?) I’ll be interested to see if A is finally going to start coming after her the way A has with the other three girls.

Phoebe: I totally agree about Emily and feel like her response is pretty reasonable. Although, I felt so sad for her when she felt guilty as if A basically abducting her and taking her to an empty grave (ie framing her) was her fault! Also, I thought it was weird that this episode the PLLs were apart so much. Like they were together initially at Spencer’s house and then the Lake house but then spent most of the episode in separate places, which made me anxious!

Also, Aria! So, while the episode totally set us up to believe that she has having a panic attack (what with her earlier bad dream at Ezra’s) I am not sure that she did have a panic attack. I wondered if perhaps A was in the bathroom and being extra scary. Since A seems to always know everything, maybe A knows and is cruelly playing on Aria’s panic attacks?

Lastly, I love that Spencer spent her summer sitting in the former A room at the former creepy motel and trying to reconstruct it from memory. (Although I am worried that her computer will be gone by next episode since she foolishly left it in the room when the PLLs went out to discover all the photos in Spence’s car.) But I love that she realized that there is more to A than Mona and that she decided to be proactive and detective like about it. Go Spencer!

Read the rest of this entry »

Welcome Back Pretty Little Liars!

In girl culture, Pretty Little Liars, Recaps, teen soaps, Television on May 29, 2012 at 5:58 pm

Next week, the Pretty Little Liars are back! And a few of us at GLG are pretty excited for their mystery-filled summer return. But before they’re on our screens again, we thought a little pre-season catch-up might be in order. Read on for our thoughts on last season, our favorite and least favorite beaus, and some predictions for the PLL’s summer homecoming.

In your opinion, what are some of the most important things that happened last season?

Phoebe: Jenna can see! Remember when she hit that fly in the mirror and it was AMAZING. Also, Mona is A or part of A and also pretty crazy, it turns out. Poor Hannah … But, oh man was Mona’s final monologue in the season finale amazing (and Norman Bates-esque). And, Mona was visited by somebody (maybe Vivian Darkbloom?) while in the mental hospital. Also, definitely worth noting, A is definitely a group of people, not a single person. The therapist is back but I’m a little bit worried that she has returned to do A’s bidding, rather than help the PLLs. Importantly, the season ended with the PLLs finding out that Maya is most likely dead and most likely killed by A, whomever that may be.

Melissa: Phoebe really hit the highlights. Can you say VIVIAN DARKBLOOM? Also, love-problems: Aria’s dad tried to send Mr. Fitz to Georgia; Toby thinks Spencer was dating Wren (or does he?!?!?!) and seems to be back in service of Jenna; the probably-dead Maya seemed to have some secret goings-on that she kept from Emily, and I’m not talking about under-water light-mobiles; and Caleb is going behind Hanna’s back to elude her overly-protective, blender-wielding, thumb-drive-demolishing ways. Also, the moms thought about mobilizing again to protect their daughters, though that hasn’t yet come to fruition.

Sarah: Since you two have covered the most important plot points, I’ll focus on the most important style points. Aria wore neon platform clogs and ladder pants and some kind of dead Muppet vampire vest. Wren perfected the rumpled, spritely English gentleman vibe. Paige dressed in a tuxedo at the final dance and she looked hot. Mona was a vision at all times and I started wearing a side ponytail so I could be more like her, although now it appears I should also invest in an oversized black hoodie and a straitjacket.

Read the rest of this entry »

Pretty Little Liars Recap, “If These Dolls Could Talk” (Season 2, Episode 24)

In Pretty Little Liars, teen soaps, Television, Uncategorized on March 14, 2012 at 12:38 pm

This week, our beloved show finally lost its mind, and it was amazing. Dolls came alive and murdered everybody; creepy psychic children ate lollipops while imagining what it’s like to be buried alive; Garrett was arrested; Jenna is not blind (what?!); and Ali sure gets around for being six feet under. Things fall apart, the center cannot hold, you get the drift. Read on for more of this week’s end-of-times-esque PLL adventures.

PLL is really pushing hard for the sheer skirt over short skirt trend these days.

Let’s talk creepy dolls. What did you hide behind (scarf, pillow, sweater, etc) during the “Follow me, end up like me” scene? And why are the grandmother and kid on A’s dole?

Phoebe: Oh my goodness, this scene was SO creepy. I most certainly hid behind my hands and the dog. And, then peeked out to see what I was missing. Between the creepy doll-voice and all the dolls falling on the PLLs, it was totally freaky. Also, I want to know how the creepy doll store owner and A knew that the girls would go back to the store and thus had the perfect set up to terrify the PLLs. Or, was A there and thus controlling the strings of the creepy dolls coming alive situation? But, also, that child! So terrifying. And, I cannot figure out what their relationship is to A, maybe the grandma owes A a favor? Or maybe they are related?

Sarah: I actually can’t remember the last time I was so freaked out by TV. I was totally edging back on my couch and looking wild-eyed at the door as if a tiny Ali doll was going to burst in bearing a butcher knife. But that image of the Ali doll parroting “Follow me, end up like me” half-buried in a mound of dirt is so powerful — it’s going to stay with me (terrifyingly!) for a while.

Good question on whether A was there at the of the flying shelves and cymbal-banging monkeys — I feel like either A or the grandmother must have been behind the doll attack, unless PLL is straight-up going the supernatural route. (But how would A or the grandmother make the dolls’ eyes snap open like that?? AGH they’re alive.) And also: how perfect that this show keeps coming back to creepy dolls. Every time we see dolls — normally a symbol of innocent girlhood — they’re always monstrous. Our core four don’t live in an innocent world.

Read the rest of this entry »

Gender, Sexuality, and Coming-of-Age in ABC Family’s “Huge”

In gender, teen soaps on August 30, 2011 at 3:41 pm

Sarah Todd

ABC Family’s short-lived, much-loved teen drama Huge gets camp right. Watching the show, you can practically smell the rough-hewn pine cabins and feel the rising moisture from freshly washed cafeteria dishes on your skin. The difference between camp time and regular time comes flooding back: one camp afternoon was equal to eight or so off-season ones. You may remember waiting in line to call home and pick up care packages from your parents (socks and Kleenex and stuffed animals), how friendships forged in the fires of camp shone with devotion after just a few days, how camp crushes were always big and sweet and extra-heartbreaking. In a major coup for camp-accuracy, Huge even includes a clogged toilet in the boy’s cabin that everyone kind of surreptitiously pretends isn’t happening.

But the real secret to the show’s authentic feel is the way that it quietly and respectfully explores the complex emotions of its teenage characters. Huge is all about change. Most, though not all, campers are at the wellness camp at least in part to lose weight—but the show is really about kids going through less visible, deeper transformations.

Like most adolescents, Wil, Becca, Ian, Amber, Chloe, Alistair, Trent, Piz, and company are struggling to figure out who they are and who they want to be. Camp provides them with a place to try on new identities or affirm old ones. Often, they surprise themselves. Wil, the fighter and proud feminist who initially planned to wage war against all camp activities, discovers that she actually likes basketball. Trent, the good-hearted jock, longs to be in a band, and befriends bunkmates he might never have acknowledged in high school hallways. Chloe climbs the social ladder by leaving her frizzy-haired, giggly old self—and her former BFF Becca—behind.

Huge conveys these changes not with dramatic speeches or blowout fights, but through small, carefully observed moments. The camera lingers on a character’s face after her friends walk away, or follows an exchange of gazes without tacking on an explanation. Huge isn’t afraid to leave characters and scenes open to interpretation, and it extends that approach to its complex depictions of teenagers exploring gender roles and sexual orientations. Read the rest of this entry »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 137 other followers