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Posts Tagged ‘YA’

My Fall TV Line-Up

In girl culture, teen soaps on September 14, 2011 at 3:14 pm

Phoebe Bronstein

I got this idea from one of my favorite daily blogs,Grantland, which did a Fall TV cancellation forcaste. I am super excited for Fall TV Season, so instead of a forcaste for failing, I decided to do a Fall TV Line-Up. So here are a few shows that I plan on most certainly watching (new and old), a few I might watch, and one I will definitely skipping.


The Secret Circle (CW): I just watched the first episode, which is available free on iTunes (Thanks Sarah Todd!). It is Vampire Diaries-esque, but with witches and set in Seattle, apparently the new West Coast home for creepy (ie The Killing and Twilight). I won’t spoil anything from the pilot, but there are teenage witches, romance, dark shadows, and plotting parents. Plus it will be on right after Vampire Diaries, so clearly there is no good reason not to watch it.

Cassie of Secret Circle

Ringer (CW): Okay, so Ringer premiered last night and stars Sarah Michelle Geller (aka Buffy) as both good and evil twins (anybody else noticed a twin/doubles theme on recent teen television? Vampire Diaries, The Lying Game, and maybe PLL if my theories about A are correct). I feel that SMG is all I needed to be sold on this show. Seriously, Buffy’s back and now she has a twin.

Ringer = Buffy v. Buffy. Awesome.

The Hour (BBC): So this Mad Men-esque drama is set in the 1950s newsroom right at the shift from radio to television news. It started a few weeks ago, but I am including it here as it is really good and worth watching. It has a little bit of Mad Men and a dash of AMC’s short-lived but awesome and slowly paced Rubicon. There is murder, there is intrigue, there are great clothes, and rampant1950s sexism. As if that was not enough, The Hour also stars Jim McNulty (ie Dominic West) from The Wire as the face of the news program. Turns out he is British!

The cast of The Hour. Classy, No?

Up All Night (NBC): So I am not usually a fan of sit-coms, however, Up All Night, has such an awesome cast that I feel I will likely break my no sit-com streak. Tune in for Maya Rudolph, Will Arnett, and Christina Applegate. Sounds pretty good, right?

The Up All Night Comedy Team

And a few old:

Vampire Diaries (CW): Firstly, I just downloaded the free catch-up from iTunes and plan to watch it tomorrow before the Vampire Diaries premier. As far as I remember bad things are afoot in Mystic Falls. For one, Stephen is evil again (right?), Elijah escaped with Klaus but was then killed by Klaus (oops), Damon is still smoldering but not dying from a werewolf bite (yay!), and Caroline is still the most awesome vampire around.

Gossip Girl (CW): Even though the old standby wasn’t too great last season, I can’t stop watching it. It did get better near the end after all, when Chuck punched some glass amidst crazy camera angles, Blair officially left him (but will she be able to keep away? I hope so!) and went for the adorable and sweet Prince Louis. Serena stopped trying to be Blair, but not before she had unforgivably betrayed her (right?), and Blair and Dan are still BFFs who watch Netflix together but are not in love. Their friendship makes me happy. Oh yeah, and the crazy cousin Charlie, who was not a cousin! But rather someone, Lily’s sister paid off. So where is Serena’s real cousin? And what is the crazy Charlie imposter going to do now? Reek havoc on the Upper East Side? Most likely.

A few that might grace my TV:

The New Girl (FOX): I will admit I did laugh a lot in the pilot. But I have my reservations … See Melissa’s thoughts on it to see why it is on the maybe list.

Prime Suspect (NBC): Another year, another remake. This year NBC tackles a BBC and Helen Mirren classic. Perhaps it will be good, though I doubt as good as the original. Then again, I am rather partial to British television and the BBC.

Pan Am (ABC): Christina Ricci, Flight Attendants, looks like Mad Men. Maybe, just maybe since I do like Christina Ricci a pretty reasonable amount.

Definitely NOT:

Charlie’s Angels (ABC): I see no good reason to remake this show, which was then a myriad of movies. Thus, no good reason to watch it.

And lots of other stuff too.

PLL Summer Finale Recap, Season 2 , Episode 12, “Over My Dead Body”

In girl culture, Pretty Little Liars, teen soaps on September 2, 2011 at 8:14 am

This week we recap the Summer Season Finale (tear) and answer questions about the best wedding dresses, possible father/son situations, break-ups and make-ups, theories on A, and more. See you in October!


Whose wedding dress was your favorite and why?

Phoebe: I think Aria’s. But I just thought Aria looked so pretty throughout the whole episode with her amazing eye make-up. Thus, I think I was predisposed to thinking Aria looked great. I was the most intrigued by Aria this whole episode.

Sarah: I also really liked Aria’s mixture of feminine-punk in the pink rosette dress with a black belt and black lace-up back. I also thought Spencer was rocking the halter dress. And I agree with Phoebe on Aria’s eye makeup—there is no such thing as too much eyeliner (especially on that girl).

Melissa: I did think that Aria looked great.  What creeped me out about her outfit was how her punk-y, rhinestone-y skull necklace reminded me of the jeweled owl thumb drive that Caleb gave Jenna last season.  But that was an aside.  I also thought Spencer looked fabulous, and if I was Wren, I would have kissed her too, though my sister and I were yelling the whole time, “No!  Toby will come back and see you!  No!”  Still, it was a very chaste kiss, so that was fine.

What is your best guess about the relationship between Jason and Mr. Hastings?

Phoebe: I think Mr. Hastings is Jason’s father … That is sort of the only I can think of that makes sense. Particularly given what he said about watching him grow up, but also perhaps makes sense as to why Jason was not in the will (particularly if Ali’s grandma is on her dad’s side). But also, that doesn’t explain why Mr. Hastings is kind of mean to Jason all the time and wants him to stay away from the PLLs. I want to know what he told Jason, when he went to visit his house. On another somewhat related note, I am SO sad about Toby and Spencer. He loves her so much!

Sarah: I concur, I think it’s quite likely that Jason and Spencer are half-siblings. (On a side note, it’s interesting that Spencer always ends up being connected with the people she’s so suspicious of—she was certain Toby was the murderer and he became her boyfriend, sure that Ian killed Ali and he became her brother-in-law, and now she’s positive that it was Jason and it looks like they’re related. I wonder if this is a hint about her own involvement/her family’s involvement the mystery of Ali’s murder?)

Melissa: You girls both did fabulous sleuthing there.  I concur with your assessments, though my first thought was simply that Mr. Hastings had had an affair with Mrs. DiLaurentis and just wanted to hush that up.  But I could easily believe that Mr. Hastings is Jason’s dad.  What if he and Ian and Garrett ARE ALL MR. HASTINGS’S SONS and their club was a SECRET SONS CLUB.  Not likely, but since Melissa married Ian in secret, I guess we can’t rule out the possibility, can we?

What do you make of Emily’s vision of Alison?

Phoebe: So I am wondering if Ali is alive. Or rather if she has an evil twin or something?! And here’s why: In Emily’s vision of Alison, she is wearing the same boots that the person dragging Emily out of the shed was wearing. And granted the girls often dream of/have visions of Ali, but this one seemed different and more real, particularly given the boots, which I felt were a clue because it seemed as if the camera focused on them a decent amount.

Sarah: I was initially more inclined to think that the vision was just a dream, but I think Phoebe’s point about the boots is a sound one. In terms of what happens during the vision, I didn’t really understand why it was significant to ask Emily to choose between coming with Ali (if that = dying) or staying/living – while Emily has been under a lot of stress lately, it doesn’t seem like that would be a tough call for her to make. So, since I still believe Ali is dead, that also makes me think that maybe Ali has a twin, and that coming with Ali didn’t mean dying but maybe joining A? And relatedly, if Ali did have a secret twin, how many of their memories are of Ali, and how many are of the twin?

Melissa: Oh my gosh goodness, this secret twin thing just blew my brain sockets.  I can’t even process that.  I also cannot process if Ali is alive or dead.  I think Ali is dead.  Even though a body in a shallow grave could be unrecognizable after 1 year, I still think they probably did some sort of science-magic identification and know that it was Ali’s body.  Right?  The show hasn’t yet questioned any forensic evidence … Then again, it did take the show at least six weeks longer than us to acknowledge that A might be multiple people, so there’s no saying … But I think Ali is dead.  So yes, a secret twin would make good sense.  I also noticed the boot detail; I yelled loudly at my sister “THERE ARE THE BOOTS!” and I think she spilled her wine.  That’s a hazard with mystery shows, I guess.  But also, couldn’t someone in those boots have dragged Emily out and then Emily, still high off of the carbon monoxide, just imagined those boots on Ali?  The light was so fake-y that I didn’t believe Ali was alive; it was the same light that always surrounded Lily in Veronica Mars.  I am just saying; it is Dead Friend Mystery Teen Girl Show Light.  Maybe Melissa pulled her out and Emily just imagined she was A.  I am still waiting for Melissa to come back.

What do you think A has on the therapist that made her susceptible to blackmail?

Phoebe: I don’t know! But I was so worried she was dead … It also made me wonder if the original call was a set-up? That is the call from last episode where she said she knew who A was. But I feel like maybe the therapist isn’t a real therapist or maybe she did something with one of her patients? Or maybe A did something to her or caught something on that bug that had been in the office under the bobbly head of Freud. A is so creepy!! And also, so clearly multiple people, right? Because A is always and already everywhere.

Sarah: Ah that’s an interesting idea about the therapist not being a real therapist/having an affair with a patient, since those are both pieces of info big enough to destroy Anne’s career and potentially make her do such a sudden turnabout. The idea that A has the power not only to hurt the people the PLLs love and trust, but to make those people turn against the PLLs, is really scary. Because it means A’s power, again, is much more psychological than physical, and that it can reach practically anywhere—since I really do believe that Anne was invested in the girls’ well-being and wanted to help them.

Melissa: What if Anne had an affair with one part of A?  That would seem like an interesting twist, especially if A is young (as we suspect) since it would reverse the older male/younger female power plays that have dominated the show.  I would be intrigued if an older woman had a relationship with a younger man, since it would bring into question not just gender and power but a larger general question of age and power.  Still, Anne seemed to cave so easily; we’re not talking about manipulating the girls into small things now.  They’ve been framed for murder!  Maybe I’m just a good person, but I think I would ruin my career prior to framing four innocent high school girls for murder.

Why are Garrett and Jenna setting up the PLLs for Ali’s murder?

Phoebe: Clearly, because they are evil. Also, so weird that Garrett became a cop only to be able to frame the PLLs or so it seems from this episode and Jenna and Garrett’s creepy police interview room chat. It makes me think that it is either payback for Jenna going blind and Garrett is doing it for the love of Jenna. Or they really did kill Ali, hence the comment Jenna makes about Ali deserving to die the way that she did. Plus, they went so far as to confuse Jason, and clearly have been plotting along with this frame job since Ali’s death.

Sarah: As Phoebe knows from an earlier rant, this part of the episode really made me mad, because I feel like their conversation SEEMED like it was full of reveals/interesting things but in fact could have been about their favorite My Little Ponies because it was so difficult to pin anything down—except that we now know they wrote Jason’s note, took page 5, and were behind the shovel set-up. Ha, now that I type that I guess it’s a fair amount of facts, I just want to know more about what really happened that night I suppose. But I don’t think they’re ultimately going to be behind Ali’s death, so I concur that it’s likely their motivation for setting the PLLs up is probably revenge—or perhaps a cover-up for another thing that happened that night (related to Ali but not necessarily her murder) that they don’t want anyone to know about.

Melissa: I was angry about this scene too, but my faith has been restored.  Here’s why.  Anger – it made me have Lost flashbacks, where the carefully crafted plot suddenly unraveled and settled for a totally unsatisfying and easy reveal that made zero sense.  But then, I was reading, this website which is convinced that Garrett/Jenna were A.

As I was reading it, I realized that I don’t think Jenna/Garrett are A, and that their big reveal was another red herring.  That would replicate the crazy bait-and-switch of the last season finale – where we were sure Ian was A until the last second when another mysterious figure showed up to shove him from the balcony.  I think that Garrett/Jenna set the girls up for murder, but I don’t think they’re all of A.  I’m not even sure why, but my gut just tells me that when questions get half-answered the way that Sarah points out happens in this dialogue, then it’s leaving space for the plot to thicken.  And given the way ABC family has been playing up PLL (referencing it in like every new show promo ever), we know this show is going to continue.  I still go with my multilayered A plan.  I think there are multiple As.  Ian might even have been part of A.  But they are full of competing desires.

You know what might make sense? If the We See All club had turned into A.  That would explain A’s schizophrenic behavior.  Then Ian would have been part of A, but another part of A killed him for trying to kill Spencer.  Then Jenna/Garrett could have been framing the PLLs for murder, but Jason could have been pushing them to figure out who really killed Ali.  And others like Melissa could have been brought in as things happened.  I hope it’s something that complicated; Jenna and Garrett just aren’t scary enough for me anymore.

What do you think about all the PLL relationship developments in this episode? Maya/Em, Ezra/Aria/Jackie, Caleb’s return, and Toby/Spencer break-up/Wren’s kiss?

Phoebe: I thought there was so much afoot in terms of relationships. I am glad that Maya is back in town, although I feel confused about the ditching of Samara so rapidly (although I am kind of glad). And I thought the exchange where Maya wants to get to know the new Emily and take it slow was really sweet. In the Ezra/Aria world, I am SO scared of Jackie. She is clearly evil and mean, and also interesting that the plagiarizing is on the table. Ugh, but I would be happy for Jackie to be written off. And I am so so sad about the Spencer/Toby break-up and a little suspicious of Wren and his swooping in and kissing Spencer. Toby is so sweet and would totally love Spencer and all her secrets, if she gave him the chance. But in my favorite PLL relationship moment, Caleb came back and was awesome. I was so pumped when he told Hanna’s almost evil-stepsister that her dress gave her back fat. Glorious! Go Caleb! I’m so glad he is back and not as grumpy and that he has Hanna’s back.

Sarah: I was wondering if the reason Spencer decided that the only way to keep Toby safe was to break up with him was because A cut his brakes, and brakes = break-up? That seems like the kind of decision I might make, so I get it. But I also thought that was very sad, and that Wren was out of line with the kiss—I get that he may have feelings for Spencer, but she seemed clearly not in the mood. I also delighted in Caleb’s return and his loyalty to Hanna, and in Maya’s as well. Jackie seems insane, which is maybe a little sudden? Although I guess we’ve mostly just seen her watching Ezra and Aria suspiciously up till now without knowing what was going on in her head, and apparently what was going on in her head was a bunch of evil demons building a watchtower. Aria’s breakdown on the phone in the police station when she called Ezra to ask him to come was really sad and moving (and well-acted), as was Ezra’s urgency at the station. I’m curious to see what Ezra will do now that he knows Ella has picked up on the age-inappropriate relationship but gotten the girl wrong.

Melissa:  All I can say is if Ezra and Aria let Spencer go down for their torrid affair, I will happily sic Jackie on them.  COME ON.  Just own up already.  You’re under serious suspicion of MURDER, so what’s a little inappropriate affair?  It’s not illegal- you haven’t had sex.  JUST… Aria, if you want your family to stop lying, YOU stop lying!  Sorry.  Okay.  Got that out.  Jackie is evil, but I just get so frustrated with Aria sometimes.  I kind of wish Hanna would throw up on Jackie and that would just speed things along.  I also thought the Toby/Spencer breakup was sad, though, as I said to my sister, “That was like the easiest breakup ever.”  Spencer:  “Toby, I lied this morning about my dad” [which is not surprising, because he is insane, and like, came out of a house and hit your truck last night, not to mentioned burned things – also my brother in law died.  Yeah.  Rough year.  So I told one lie.]  Toby:  “Why would you DO that?  Remember our UNDYING LOVE?  Remember IMAGINING WHAT OUR CHILD WOULD LOOK LIKE IN YOUR BEDROOM?  MELODRAMA.”  Toby, you are my favorite ’til I die, but you think running from the law would have toughened you up a bit.  As for the other girls/guys – YAY Caleb for the back-fat slap down, and YAY Maya for being sweet and kind.  Samara was lame-sauce.  She and Toby should go sit somewhere and pout about being misunderstood while their super-hot exes have awesome lives.  Then Samara should go away but Toby should get back together with Spencer.  PS – My sister and I watched some of the old episodes too, and I seriously adored Maya’s line from her date with Emily last episode re: Paige – “She held your head underwater and you still dated her?  Girl, I got back just in time.”  Perfect!

Final Thoughts on the Summer Season of PLL? And predictions for the Halloween return of the PLLs? 

Phoebe: I am so sad the summer season is over. But I am pumped for the Halloween episode. And I think we are going to learn a lot about Ali (or at least that is what I am hoping for). I feel like we were left with so many cliffhangers in this episode. Oh and also, this episode’s format is one of my favorites! I love the flashback from the police station format, where we find out how they get arrested, while they sit covered in dirt in an interrogation room. Awesome. And the return of the creepy FBI/policeman dude who is out to get the PLLs, also seems bad news bears for the girls. And I hope for AMAZING PLL Halloween costumes with crazy glitter, more ripped fishnets, and lots of eyeliner.

Sarah: Overall I think this season did a particularly good job of fleshing out the relationships between the PLLs and their families and of stretching out the scope of the mystery of Ali’s death. I’m also pumped for the Halloween episode and hope that it foreshadows the directions of next season, because I would love it if next season were devoted to developing the Ali backstory more (all flashbacks all the time, I love them!). I also think it’s likely that more information about the relationship between the Hastings family and the DiLaurentis family will be forthcoming. And high on my wishlist: more of Hanna’s grandma!

Melissa:  I’m skeptical of the Halloween episode, but that could just be the weird advertising angle that I’ve noticed on ABC family commercials lately.  I just don’t know that they’re going to tell us anything particularly plot-forwarding in this episode.  It seems like an excuse for costumes and flashbacks.  Don’t get me wrong – I like flashbacks.  But I want some answers too!!!  I want Toby and Spencer to have to reconcile their differences; I want Hanna to fight Jackie with her flask; I want Spencer to do some schnauzer-like digging and uncover her dad’s dark secrets; I want Melissa to come back, in a serious way; and I want the PLLs to realize that Hanna’s grandma is their perfect confident, who could handily defeat A with a wooden spoon and some serious sass.

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 »

PLL Roundtable, Season 2 Episode 11: “I Must Confess”

In gender, girl culture, Pretty Little Liars, teen soaps on August 26, 2011 at 4:00 pm

In this recap, Phoebe, Melissa, and Sarah develop a theory of barns, a theory of Hastings conspiracies, and a theory of dry-cleaning in Rosewood.

The Case of the Missing Therapist and the Downcast Mike

Phoebe: SO is the therapist dead?

that was so scary!

Also, why couldn’t she tell them who A was on the phone? Had she forgotten her office was bugged?

Sarah: I think she is dead, but another scary possibility that occured to me is what if she shows up in the next episode having been threatened/brainwashed by A and pretending like none of this ever happened?

Melissa: Sarah, that is scary. Because, yes, I think she’s either dead or kidnapped…and if kidnapped, she could be made to become part of A. Maybe that’s how A became multi-person; people were slowly blackmailed into joining a conglomerate force of evil.

Phoebe: I also thought maybe she could be buried alive? As isn’t that what happened to Alison? Or I thought maybe the girls would be rushing to save her in the season finale? OR the preview mentioned someone was likely dead so it could be her

Sarah: Huh that’s an interesting theory Melissa! Maybe that’s what the dolls in the box thing is about—like maybe the reason they’re going along with it is to try to save Anne.

Melissa: That doll thing is especially creepy, given that Jason just gave Aria that box with Alison’s old creepy doll

Phoebe: Oh yeah! And also, speaking of Aria her family prepared food AGAIN but did not eat

Melissa: I KNOW! I think I yelled something about it at the time. “See? Dinner again!?!?”

Phoebe: Why don’t they like to eat?!

Sarah: I’m glad Mikey is ready to get some help

Melissa: Yes, me too. I feel sad for him.

Phoebe: Me too!

Melissa: But I really want him to be on the case too, not just depressed. I don’t think his depression just happened to lead him to breaking into houses associated with A.

Phoebe: I don’t buy the depression/house breaking angle either. I feel like that family had a major breakthrough this week

Sarah: Yeah, but I don’t understand why Ella felt the need to hide the computer-wrist story from the dad

Phoebe: I think because she doesn’t want her son medicated/confused with Byron’s brother

Melissa: It also seems to be part of this larger concern about lying as a coping mechanism. We’re seeing that the girls all learned this lying behavior from their parents. Read the rest of this entry »

PLL Roundtable, Season 2 Episode 10: “Touched by an ‘A’-ngel”

In girl culture, Pretty Little Liars, teen soaps on August 23, 2011 at 3:09 pm

This week, Phoebe was away on wedding escapades. The rest of us (Melissa and Sarah) sat down to discuss massages we never ever want, the future of Dr. Anne, and why nobody should ever tell Aria anything.

1.  Not a question – but – SPOUT HORROR ABOUT THE MASSAGE SCENE.  That was soooooo awful.

Melissa: I knew from the moment that the gift certificate came out that this massage scenario would somehow take a turn for the worst.  At first, I thought they were going to play up the sibling rivalry angle and have Hannah “steal” the massage, though really, I don’t know how that would have been dramatic.  Then again, we did get a country club equestrian sibling rivalry scene, so my instincts aren’t entirely off.

I think A massaging Emily is incredibly horrifying because it puts A and one of the little liars in the same room together.  I mean, I know – A was at the dance with them in Season 1 – and A was right there, helping Spencer when things went down in the bell tower with Ian.  A has been lurking right outside their very windows!  However, it’s especially horrifying to have A actually touching the girls.  Creep factor of 12.  At first, when I saw A come in, I was afraid that A was going to start rubbing HGH cream on Emily again.  Thank God that didn’t happen, at least.  But still – the implicit threat of violence (how easy it is to get my hands around your neck) was horrifying.  Hannah may have been run down, but it didn’t have the creepy violence-directed-against-women feel of this encounter.  Why the violent threat?  Because Emily was about to tell?  Or does A really have it out for Emily — so many particularly brutal threats and manipulations seem to be coming her way lately.  And her body has become A’s pawn – keeping her in Rosewood; getting her off the swim team by affecting her pain cream; now this…

Sarah: Agreed! So violating and terrible. Poor Emily.

2.  How did you feel about Spencer going to Ezra re: the Jason situation?  How did you feel about Ezrr’s response?  About Aria’s mom’s response?  (I’m really bad at remembering the parents’ names).

Melissa: I had mixed feelings about this.  Spencer can be a wee bit controlling.  On the other hand, Aria can be a way bit dense.  So I can see why she thought it was a necessary measure.  Though with all her crafty planning skills, I think she could have come up with a better plan than “car outside the school.”  Frankly, I was surprised that Aria listened to Ezra; she hasn’t seemed particularly taken with him lately, except for when she’s straddling him in his office.  Maybe she feels scared of Jason too and was just happy for a graceful out that didn’t require her to say, “I still am slightly afraid that you will throttle me in my sleep with a strange surveillance camera tripod or something.”

Poor Spencer.  Always wanting older men.  Or at least getting caught for it!  I hope Aria’s mom doesn’t spread any rumors.  With Spencer’s track record (Ian; Wren) I think people would be likely to believe that she had a fling with Fitz.  And I don’t want anything to ruin the Tobey magic.

Sarah: I get why Spencer was freaked about Aria spending time with Jason, but I think it was probably a mistake to go to Ezra—not so much as the boyfriend as going to anybody in order to try to make decisions about Aria’s life. That said, I totally think Spencer’s heart was in the right place (as Aria clearly does too in their super-sweet apology scene). Ezra, I think, handled the news pretty well by going straight to Aria and being concerned without being overly jealous. As for Ella, her reaction to the idea of Ezra and Spencer is understandable—but a part of me wonders if she’s not subconsciously projecting the truth onto a different girl in order to avoid the truth… Read the rest of this entry »

Don’t Lose Yourself: Scott Westerfeld’s “Uglies”

In Uncategorized on August 17, 2011 at 11:44 am

Sarah Todd

[Spoiler warning: some plot reveals ahead]

I’m not usually one for conspiracy theories, mostly because I think people aren’t that good at being organized or keeping secrets. If UFOs were really cruising over to our atmosphere, I feel like at least one modern-day Deep Throat would start an anonymous blog or text friends some pictures or whatever. And then there’d be some other poor sap who’d forget to update a security code or give the alien a snack that disagreed with his/her/its digestive system, and before you knew it, Anderson Cooper would be hiding in a tree somewhere, getting the scoop.

But there is at least one conspiracy theory I definitely do believe in. I think the beauty myth is a giant scam designed to trick people into worrying so much about the way they look that they don’t have time to focus on the stuff that really counts. (Also, I sort of believe in time warps, but that’s another story.)

Scott Westerfeld’s sci-fi YA novel Uglies, the first of a trilogy, takes the beauty conspiracy theory to its logical extreme. In a society several hundred years in the future, everyone undergoes plastic surgery when they turn sixteen. Before you have surgery, no matter how you look, you’re automatically an “ugly.” Kids nickname each other for the features judged most egregiously flawed: “Fattie, Pig-Eyes, Boney, Zits, Freak.” The novel’s fifteen-year-old heroine, Tally, is called “Squint” for her narrow eyes. She’s fully internalized her culture’s standard of beauty, and describes herself in terms of her deviation from that standard: she has a “wide nose and thin lips, too-high forehead and tangled mass of frizzy hair.” She thinks she’s ugly, but she’s not too worried about it, because she knows that in a few months she’ll get the surgery and be as beautiful as everybody else.

Post-surgery “pretties” have the requisite “big eyes and full lips like a kid’s; smooth, clear skin; symmetrical features.” Slight variations in eye and hair color make pretties distinguishable from one another, but everyone basically looks the same after surgery, which is the whole point.  Schools teach young uglies that back in the so-called Rust Era, “Everyone judged everyone else based on their appearance. People who were taller got better jobs, and people even voted for some politicians just because they weren’t quite as ugly as everybody else [. . .] People killed one another over stuff like having different skin color.” The noble goal of achieving equality has resulted in a brave new world in the elite Pretty Committee decides what’s attractive, and everyone falls in line. Read the rest of this entry »

PLL Roundtable: Season 2 Episode 9, “Picture This”

In Pretty Little Liars on August 15, 2011 at 10:20 am

Just in time for this week’s new PLL (so excited!), we have last week’s recap. Read onto find out whether Jason is hot or creepy, why Fitz might be on the outs, why Em has poker problems, and what’s up with creepy camera situations.

Jason: Hot or Creepy? Or both? Or A?

Melissa: Soooooooooooo, PLLL (PLL lovers)…..who has a question for us to consider?

Sarah: I have one!

Melissa: 10 points to Gryffindor!

Sarah: It is this: it appears that Jason has definitely been taking those creepy pictures of Aria, right? There’s no way that was a set-up or that it was being done for some innocent reason. So, what are the implications of this discovery?

Phoebe: I think there is no way that was a set up, given that Jason cleaned his shit up afterward. Also, so creepy! The stalking lens and listening devices seemed, well, over the top.

Melissa: Yes, that’s true… but if it’s not a set-up, then how did A take the picture of Emily/Spencer? Because I don’t think Jason is A – it was too overtly being hinted at for that to be the case.

Sarah: I think A follows them everywhere. Like, if A was watching Em in her house, then A could def be prepared in the shed too.

Phoebe:  I concur that Jason is not A, especially because he does not remember that night, as Jenna and Garrett so nicely reminded us. I thought A might have been prepared in the shed, but also A cannot be Jenna at least alone, right? Because A presumably can see the picture that he/she just developed.

Melissa: Good sleuthing, Phoebe! Really, we always knew Jason was a creeper – isn’t that why he and Ian were buds? Because they window-stalked together?

Sarah: That’s true about him and Ian. I guess I thought Jason might just be into drugs (not stalking), especially because what Ian was into was spying on his sister, which seems like it would have a gross-out factor for Jason.

Melissa:  Maybe he just learned creepy tactics that he is now using on Aria? Or maybe he had a sexual thing with Ali – I always wondered about that, since the night Ali fled the house party at her place and came to Spence’s. And since sibling sexuality has already cropped up in this show with Tobey and Jenna.

Sarah: Oh yeah, she was so upset

Phoebe: She was soo upset … But it also seems like Jason and Ali had a super contentious relationship given that clip with the hockey stick.

Melissa: Oh yeah…could that be rage at him because he was being creepy to her? (I’ve been watching too much SVU). Read the rest of this entry »

Nature/Nurture & Teen Dating: Switched at Birth, Race, and (dis)Ability

In girl culture, race, teen soaps on August 9, 2011 at 10:06 pm

Phoebe Bronstein

Ever since Huge last summer, I have been a serious fan of ABC Family—a fandom that definitely took me by surprise. After Huge, then it was Pretty Little Liars, which I love. I watched the first season in one day. Then I couldn’t help being curious about Switched at Birth when it premiered earlier this summer. And truth be told, I am most certainly going to watch The Lying Game, when it premiers next week and am considering Revenge, whenever that premiers. Really, I think teen shows are where it is at these days in TV (I give Gossip Girl credit, despite not knowing whether that credit is due), and so I figure it is about time I talked about one of my ABC Family shows: Switched at Birth.

Switched at Birth Poster

So I think Switched at Birth is pretty well intentioned as television shows go—it tries really hard to be family oriented, embrace and represent diversity, and promote awareness about disability, and specifically deafness. If you have never seen it, Switched at Birth is about exactly what the title suggests: two baby girls, Bay and Daphne, are switched at birth in the hospital. Bay, the Puerta Rican baby, winds up with a rich white suburban family, while Daphne, the white baby, winds up with the alcoholic Puerto Rican single mother. Then, sixteen years later a DNA test, prompted by Bay, who has always felt out of place in the suburbs, reveals the switch. So Daphne, now deaf after getting meningitis as a baby, and her mom Regina, now sober, move into the wealthy family’s house so the girls and their requisite parents can get to know each other. Then, teenage drama ensues.

Vanessa Marano aka Bay

Katie Leclerc aka Daphne

The representation and discussion of deafness is central to the plot, and generally seems much more interesting than anything else I have seen where deafness on television is concerned. Particularly, the show insists that being deaf is not a disability, but just a difference. To this end, a significant portion of the show focuses on the deaf community and is in sign language with subtitles at the bottom of the screen. Instead of having deaf characters as side characters and integrated into the hearing community, for example Marlee Matlin’s character on West Wing, Switched at Birth suggests that there is a whole world with its own culture outside the hearing community. For example, we learn about an all American Sign Language version of Frankenstein. The show is careful to consider that the deaf community may not want to be integrated into the hearing community. Further, the show currently features a hearing/deaf romantic relationship as a means to think through the potential difficulties of such a relationship: Bay and Emmett respectively.

However, as much as I want to like this show, I find myself at times uncomfortable with the racial politics of Switched at Birth. At once, I think they are trying almost too hard to defy stereotypes; however, it just doesn’t seem to work in their favor. For example, the two moms represent two differing poles: Kathryn (Lea Thompson of Caroline in the City fame) is the uptight white suburban housewife, while Regina is Puerto Rican, a recovering alcoholic, artsy and passionate, and a single mom. Both are stereotypes. And what we learn from the show is that these qualities are genetic. That is, that despite being raised in an uptight white suburban home, Bay’s passionate and artistic nature cannot be tamed. She is fiery, and she gets that from Regina and her Puerto Rican side. While Daphne, at least initially, is more level-headed and logical and sporty (just like her biological father, a former pro-baseball player). Some of this stuff seems to be getting smoothed out as the show progresses, but the stereotypes are still very much there.

Blair Redford aka Ty

Charles Michael Davis aka Liam Lupo

Further, near the beginning of the series the two girls, Bay and Daphne, date two guys neither of whom are coded as white, Ty and Liam respectively. Ty Mendoza is (from his last name) likely Latino, he is poor, and he lives in Regina and Daphne’s old neighborhood, which in the show is clearly the wrong side of the tracks (however, Ty is played by the actor Blair Redford who appears to be white). Following Richard Dyer (I have an academic crush on him) in White, whiteness is an expandable and collapsible category and is cinematically, or in this case televisually, constructed. That, is whiteness is constructed through lighting, costuming, make-up, etc. And whiteness signals power, or at least proximity to power. So Ty, because he is figured as of a lower-class, is coded as less white than Daphne, and even Bay. And while Bay dates Ty, Daphne goes after Liam, who is African American and perhaps Italian (his last name is Lupo). Also, Liam happens to be Bay’s ex-boyfriend. So Complicated! However, very quickly both girls ditch these initial love interests and move on to two blond boys: Emmett and Wilke. And to keep in line with Dyer, dating two blond white boys (the whitest of the white) adds to both Daphne and Bay’s whiteness.

Sean Berdy aka Emmett, Bay's new beau

Austin Butler aka Wilke, who is now interested in Daphne

A few final thoughts: Given the show’s seeming sensitivity to discussions of disability, the racial politics seem odd and worth talking about. Not that bad or weird racial politics are unusual on television, but in a show that is seemingly so well intentioned and working hard against certain stereotypes, it does this at the expense of reinforcing other stereotypes. So I still think teen shows are doing some of the more interesting work on television at the moment, and thus I am going to keep watching Switched at Birth, if only to figure out what is going on. But also teen television, is also one of the few places we see shows about women and shows that would certainly pass the Bechdel Test. Now, talk amongst yourselves.

A Mostly Gleeful Project: Oxygen’s Glee Project & Cheering for Hannah

In girl culture on August 5, 2011 at 2:36 pm

Phoebe Bronstein

Most of the time when I watch Glee I rather wish the dialogue would stop, and instead they would just sing awesome songs all the time. This is also mostly how I feel about Oxygen’s newest reality TV drama, The Glee Project. I feel odd about this particular feeling given that I am generally a total sucker for narrative, but Glee’s dialogue is often not as compelling as its songs. However, on The Glee Project there is something oddly absorbing and intriguing about seeing Ryan Murphy on every episode just being Ryan Murphy (also, responsible for the dark and creepy Nip/Tuck).

The premise of the show is a bunch of awkward, nerdy, but charming kids compete for a story arc on Glee. Everyone is super talented, and the drama includes people competing to hit a higher note, somebody’s feelings getting hurt, and somebody telling on another cast member to Ryan Murphy (for example, when Damien told Ryan that Alex was picking on Mathias). Oh yeah, they also all live together. Drama, drama, drama. Also, each episode ends as the final three go to see if their names are on the call-back list for next week’s episode. For extra melodrama, their journey is accompanied by awesomely dramatic music. Oh melodrama, you are so reliably grand.

Hannah from The Glee Project

So of the contestants left on The Glee Project, Hannah is by far my favorite. She is a perky, goofy, cute red head from North Carolina. A few weeks ago she got her confidence, and realized she was sexy and great. She would be awesome on Glee. Plus she can rap; in the “Ice Ice Baby/Under Pressure” mash-up she gave Vanilla Ice a run for his money. I would totally watch her on Glee. And so it seems would Ryan Murphy; last week he told Hannah and her partner Alex that they were what Glee was about. That is, neither of them should be a star, per Murphy’s logic, because of their looks. Put another way, what Murphy informs them of is that they are not Hollywood or TV good looking, but rather they are both self described “fat kids.”

At once, Glee is about making stars of those that might not otherwise be—it is a show about misfits (even though many of them are HOT and at least were once popular, ie Finn, Quinn, etc.). And so too is The Glee Project. This is among the many lessons we learn about Glee from the show’s creator Ryan Murphy. Other lessons include that the show is very much about teamwork (no divas allowed), and you don’t want to be the guy or gal that we have to do extra takes for. The show is filled with little gems about the what Glee is about. The small lessons for the contestants let them know what they’re getting into while promoting the show. And Glee, per Ryan Murphy, is a highly ethical, teamwork oriented, friends forever set.

But to briefly return to this notion of misfits and Glee as the happy television home for said misfits. One of my issues with Glee is that many of the misfits wind up functioning to showcase the main couple, Finn and Rachel, and support their on and off again romantic coupling (click here for more on this). Further, by looking for misfits, it seems The Glee Project and Glee are redefining and reiterating what it means to be a misfit, not to mention what it looks like (although we learn that even football stars can be misfits). On the plus side, maybe Glee/The Glee Project are working to make the nerdy misfit cool. But perhaps that’s why I like Hannah on The Glee Project: she seems like a 19 year old (which she is), she is super talented and when she performs my eye goes to her, and she equates her sexuality to a Koala bear. Awesome. However, she doesn’t play up her potential misfit-ness. And in this way she reminds me of Glee superstars Lauren Zizes (Ashley Fink) and Mercedes (Amber Riley), who on the show are perhaps two of strongest personalities, and two of the most comfortable in their own skin (Kurt might also be in this category). Or at least as comfortable as teenagers potentially can be …

Ashley Fink who plays Lauren Zizes on Glee

Amber Riley aka Mercedes on Glee

By way of a conclusion, I am not really sure how I feel about The Glee Project. Truth be told, I often fast forward through the dialogue. However, it is an interesting show to think about and I am rooting for Hannah big time. In part, I think why I like her, Zizes, and Mercedes as potential Glee and current Glee characters respectively is their characters insist on beauty in so many different forms; for example, Puck is attracted to Zizes because she is stronger than him and does not put up with his shit. In fact, Puck + Zizes is my favorite Glee couple by far. In the best of all possible worlds, Glee is about making stars out of people who do not, for Murphy, fit the Hollywood mold, even if his leads most certainly do (ie Finn and Rachel). And perhaps his acknowledgement of this is rather savvy, albeit depressing. However, I am waiting for the day where a Hannah, Lauren Zizes, or Amber Riley are the leaders of a Gleeful pack.

PLL Roundtable: Season 2 Episode 8, “Save the Date”

In girl culture, Pretty Little Liars, teen soaps on August 4, 2011 at 6:33 am

This week, we quake in fear of the morgue (though the cookies there are always fresh), decline to take steroid cream in our coffee, and root for the end of Azria.

A is so scary! Also, does A live in the Rosewood morgue? Maybe.


Phoebe:  lying in the morgue?!?!?

Sarah:  A sitting up under the sheet in the morgue soooo slowly

Phoebe:  so scary!

Sarah:  It was the scariest A tag ever I thought

Phoebe: I was a little sad that I was home alone at that moment

Sarah:  I can definitely understand that.

Buried Alive! Not the best way to go.

Sarah: And A’s morgue appearance in combination with the information that Ali was buried alive made this episode especially scary/morbid.

Phoebe: And that page 5 is missing?!

Sarah:   Yes!

Phoebe: Oooh the buried alive is so scary! And more disturbing than I feel like we had previously imagined.

Sarah:  Yeah. Really the violence of the crime has been played down pretty significantly, which makes sense for a teen show, until now.

Phoebe: I totally agree … I felt like this was a seriously upping of the violence in an unexpected way. Read the rest of this entry »

Pretty Little Liars Roundtable: “Never Letting Go,” Season 2 Episode 6

In girl culture, Pretty Little Liars, teen soaps on July 22, 2011 at 5:21 pm

This week, Phoebe is in Australia hanging out with kangaroos! The amazing Melissa agreed to fill her recapping shoes to discuss terrifying videos, A-conspiracy theories, and insane fashion choices. She also suggests a social activity to rival the awesomeness of glamping: do read on.

“The Bitch Is Back”


Sarah:  Yes! I started feeling like A’s approach to Alison is very contradictory (which has always been true). Like, on one hand A is pretending to BE Alison even though we are pretty sure (?) she is dead, on the other hand, A haaaates Alison and calls her things like bitch and monster and evil.

Melissa: Right. I think A has some identity confusion with regards to Allison. Part of what was so awful about the video is that it first says “The Bitch is Back” and calls Allison a monster, but then A turns around and identifies as Alison with the slide: “My dresses, my rules.” So I wonder: does A hate Allison, or does she just like torturing the girls, and being awful about Allison publicly was an easy way to humiliate them and exert more power over them?

Sarah:  I feel like there are a lot of possibilities, depending on who A is, for how A feels about Alison. If A is Mona for example, the dualism makes sense because Mona would both have some hero-worship for Alison (and thus like being her)  and also hate her (because she was so mean to her). But then, if A is more than one person, that could also explain why there’s so much contradiction.

Melissa: Yes…if A is more than one person, it would also make sense. And Jena could have a similar worship/hate complex, though I’m growing skeptical about her…what happened to her and Cop Loverboy?

Sarah: Yes, good question! I think this is two episodes in a row they’ve been absent. And Jenna in the fashion show would have been awesome; she is FIERCE. Which also wait, can we talk about the fashions?

On the Catwalk of Craziness

Melissa: Hahahaha, the hilarious fashions.  Like…Hanna’s weird hippie-tribal outfit, complete with headband?

Sarah: But WHAT WAS UP WITH THE ARIA-SPENCER DUO FASHION? You know the look I mean, where Aria was like a goth witch and Spencer was like a goth Little House on the Prairie person?

Melissa: This? Yeah, super strange.

Sarah: These are not outfits!

Melissa: Also, when they came out for the second walk and all had their hair suddenly teased, I laughed and laughed. Come on, ABC family – haven’t you watched Top Model? There is no time for hair changes backstage.

Sarah: Right??? I was wondering about the logistics of that too


Sarah: It’s so confusing!  And also because, remember Mona’s glampover where Aria and Emily are so mad about their hair? THEIR HAIR LOOKS EXACTLY LIKE THAT IN THIS FASHION SHOW.

Melissa: Good point. The whole fashion angle seemed quite abrupt to me, actually. Like, where did Ali’s sudden undying passion for fashion come from?  It was the least believable Ali flashback yet, I think.

Sarah: Yeah I think you’re right! I know we’ve seen them trying on clothes together before in a giggly-friend kind of way, but here we were supposed to believe she was like a Fashion Maven versus trying on different shirts from Target with your pals.

Melissa: Yes! I was with the girls on this one – it was pretty darn weird for Mrs. DeLerentis to be like, “I’m going to have 3 bloody marys. You girls unwrap some dresses from my dead daughter…and wear them in public, please!”

Sarah: Hahhaaha

Melissa: Because it’s not like Ali designed them; it sounded like she found them online in the flashback. So, “Please wear these items my dead daughter got on E-Bay. Maybe you could wear Hanna’s E-Bay purses, too.”

Frenemies and Flashbacks

Sarah: HA!  But I thought the flashback was interesting in that it reaffirmed Ali’s relationships with the girls (namely Hanna and Emily), where Ali is semi-flirting with Emily/trying to draw her crush out and then negging Hanna on how she couldn’t fit into her dress. I think Ali had both closer and far more complicated relationships with those two.

Melissa: That’s a really good point. We’ve seen that she was afraid of Spencer; and she seems to have just had a strange relationship with Aria, mostly involving knowing about her dad while also being into older men.  But we’ve seen moments of tenderness and harsher cruelty with both Emily and Hanna.

Sarah: Yeah! I agree 100 percent.  I think Spencer and Aria may have both represented more competition, potentially? Spencer because she’s the strongest; Aria because guys seem to like her almost as much as they liked Ali.

Melissa: I agree. I think that Spencer and Aria both fit in better in the past – Aria had been taught to think for herself, pink hair and all; and Spencer had been taught to fight for what she wanted.  Emily and Hanna had built-in insecurities.

Sarah: Very true.

Melissa: So Ali had to get dirt on Spencer and Aria – involving Ian and Aria’s dad – but she could toy with the other girls more. But also feel safer around them, to have feelings.

Sarah: Right, because the only times Ali has seemed at all human are with Hanna and Emily.

Melissa: Right. It seems like since they are less of a threat, she can sometimes let them in; but she can also be soooo cruel with them. We did see her be a bit human with Spencer that one time she came over late at night b/c of the party at her house…but even then, she didn’t really let her guard all the way down. Read the rest of this entry »

Luna In Space

In Uncategorized on July 18, 2011 at 12:50 pm

Sarah Todd

I’ve never understood why spaciness is supposed to be a bad thing. In high school and college, my French teachers (for some reason it was always the French teachers) complained about my spaciness all the time–to me, to my parents, to the rest of the class. “Sarah est comme Le Petit Prince,” a professor announced mid-lesson during my freshman year of college. “Sa tête est toujours dans le ciel.” I was taking the class with a few other girls from my hall, and as we exchanged bemused looks, I knew I would hear this phrase repeated to me at parties for the next four years. And so it was.

Petit Prince references aside, my French teachers’ frustration didn’t make much sense to me. I wasn’t being disruptive; I was still doing all of my work, still getting As and high Bs. An occasional daydream didn’t really interfere with my learning or with the class. What they found so annoying, I think, was that they could tell I wasn’t paying attention, which they interpreted as a sign of disrespect. But shouldn’t people be allowed to be in charge of their own thoughts? Does the authority of the teacher extend inside students’ brains? Many schools and offices ask people to restrict their thoughts to very specific topics for eight-hour stretches, but this seems like a flaw of the system, not a problem with people whose minds are prone to wandering.

To me, being spacey is like being stubborn; both are qualities that may bug others, but can be positive forces too. If you’re spacey, you’re thinking about stuff that’s not right in front of you. You’re using your imagination, and you’re not afraid to say or do things that other people may find strange.

The wonderful Luna Lovegood of Harry Potter is the best ambassador of spaciness I could ask for. She wears radishes for earrings and expresses her school pride with enormous lion hats. She professes her belief in creatures like Crumple-Horned Snorkacks in a wispy, reedy voice. People call her “Loony Luna,” but if you actually stop to listen to her, everything she says is smart or funny or kind—most often all three, all at once. Take, for example, this scene from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Luna’s star turn):

Harry Potter: How come you’re not at the feast?
Luna Lovegood: I’ve lost all my possessions. Apparently people have been hiding them.
Harry Potter: That’s awful!
Luna Lovegood: Oh, it’s all good fun. But as this is the last night, I really do need them back.
Harry Potter: Do you want any help finding them?
Luna Lovegood: I’m sorry about your godfather, Harry.
[clasps his hand comfortingly]
Harry Potter: Are you sure you don’t want any help looking?
Luna Lovegood: That’s all right. Anyway, my mum always said things we lose have a way of coming back to us in the end.
[they look up and see a pair of her shoes hanging from the ceiling arch]
Luna Lovegood: If not always in the way we expect.

For me, the scene encapsulates everything that’s great about Luna, and all the possibilities that spaciness can open up. Because Luna is naturally kind of vague and far-off, she’s able to shift gears mid-conversation without worrying about whether or not their talk is following a deliberate line. She doesn’t let the tricks other students play on her ruffle her feathers, because she already knows she’s different, and it’s her difference that lets her brush off bullies. She can talk about her missing shoes while telling Harry something else. And she can do it all so gently, and so easily, that Harry finds comfort with her in his grief. Read the rest of this entry »

SUPER 8: Where the girls at?

In Uncategorized on June 17, 2011 at 1:34 am

SUPER 8: Where the girls at?

Phoebe Bronstein

This afternoon I went and saw Super 8, the new J.J. Abrams summer blockbuster, in the theaters and I must say I rather enjoyed it. The film is about a group of middle school boys, sort of Goonies style, who are trying to make a zombie movie when quite suddenly a train crash unleashes an alien upon the unsuspecting town. Great parts included, but were not limited to, hilarious 1970s middle school style banter, a murderous yet sympathetic alien that was mistreated by the government, an unexplicable section where all the dogs flee from the town of Lilian, and an odd reference to Three Mile Island.

However, upon leaving the theater I wondered why are there not any movies about girlfriends kicking butt and saving the world? And I do not think Sucker Punch counts. Seriously, why can’t a group of five hilarious young women protect a town from a mean and misunderstood alien? As it stands in Super 8, the only young lady, Alice, that we other young ladies might sympathize with winds up in need of saving and the romantic interest of the main young lad, Joe Lamb (delightfully played by newcomer Joel Courtney). Further, the town itself is absent of women: Joe’s mother dies before the film starts, Alice’s mother left her father long ago, and some of the other boys don’t even appear to have parents. The only grown up woman we encounter is Joe’s friend Charlie’s mom and she is the picture of 1950s housewife perfection, although her children seem a little lacking in the discipline category.

This is all to say that I am rather looking forward to Katniss kicking some butt in The Hunger Games. And I think that it just might be rather refreshing to see some bad ass young ladies minus the sex kitten leather saving the world up on the silver screen.