Whitney and Ellen get back at it after their summer hiatus by talking about the summer’s most bingeable show, Stranger Things. 80’s nostalgia, conspiracy theory, Winona Ryder, and a hot dad sheriff, it’s all here. Plus, we delve into how the Netflix model is changing how we watch TV, for better or for worse. As always, Whitney tries to embarrass Ellen in a new game, this time quizzing her on Netflix taglines.
If this trailer doesn’t give you girl-power induced tingles, try watching it with your eyes open. DC’s Wonder Woman is one of the most anticipated movies of 2017, if you can believe my twitter feed. It combines all the things I love most: superheroes, period pieces, and brunettes gettin’ it done. But in light of the most recent DC tent poles, my Wonder Woman hopes now have a pretty big asterisk.
If you’re at all familiar with Fangirly, you know that Ellen and I have some issues with the way women are portrayed in superhero films, DC films specifically. And although DC is far from the sole guilty party, it’s safe to say that they struggle the most with bringing their female characters to the big screen in a empowering and (frankly) interesting way. I think I’ve pretty much said my peace on Batman V Superman and Man of Steel, so lets look to more relevant examples.
In a long list of disappointing things about Suicide Squad, perhaps the most substantial bummer is how it obliterated its opportunity to bring us any well-rounded or well-thought out women characters, which would have gone a long way toward engaging DC’s ever-dwindling non-fanboy audience. Take Harley Quinn. Here’s a character who lost her freedom, her career, her sanity, to her relationship with a green-haired gangster. She’s a poster child for the devastating effects of abusive relationships, but the most interesting thing this film found to say about Harley Quinn was that she was “hot” and “crazy”, not necessarily in that order. And don’t even get me started on the scene where the Joker offers Harley’s “services” to a male business associate. Seriously, don’t.
The other ladies in the movie are hardly worth mentioning. In lieu of giving June Moone a personality they gave an age old shortcut: a love story. Katana serves no narrative purpose at all, unless the shadowy government agency that formed the squad had some kind of Affirmative Action quota to fill. And Amanda Weller, easily the film’s most intriguing character, male or female, get’s boiled down to one word- bitch. Reductive? Sure. But also not that surprising.
The reason women can’t seem to catch a break in these films is because I’m fairly certain that they aren’t made with women in mind. Several scenes in Batman V Superman were complete undecipherable unless you were intimately familiar with the comics on which the film was based. And even though girls are carving a real niche for themselves in the comic book arena, the fact still remains that most comic fans are one X chromosome shy of a matching set. Dudes, in other words. Which is why, you understand, I have my concerns about DC attempting to launch a franchise centered around a character that is an icon of Third Wave Feminism.
DC, you cannot get this wrong. Wonder Woman will be the first female stand-alone superhero franchise, and it’s success means more than just a bottom line. That means resisting the urge to put women in hot-pants. I know you have it in you.
I’m not going to tell you that there is nothing to like about Suicide Squad. The latest DC offering, with it’s confetti-colored Hot Topic aesthetic, is a fun time at the movies. But like it’s similarly underwhelming big brother Batman V. Superman, this movie unnerves me in a way that goes beyond just poor film making. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Squad is an ostensibly anti-superhero film about a handful of colorful villains that, through the cloak-and-dagger machinations of some deadpanned civil servants, get drafted into the hero business. They can save the world in exchange for a commuted prison sentence, or they can get dead. Even so, it’s a hard sell. These baddies are, apparently, the only people in the entire DC universe equipped to take on Enchantress, an extra-dimensional witch-demon who is, I don’t know, trying to bend mankind to her will? As ever, villain motivations are a little fuzzy here.
The story itself is about as messy as it could be, and not it a good way. The entire first act is Viola Davis’ Amanda Waller sitting in a restaurant with a colleague, delivering endless backstory and exposition between bites of steak, and even then the film manages to forget to introduce some of it’s characters (sorry, who is Slipknot?). It then proceeds to hit all the predictable notes, never letting you forget what kind of people the protagonists are (at one point, Harley Quinn smashes a store window for no discernible reason and drawls, “What do you expect, we’re bad guys!”, as if we were likely to forget).
As sloppy as the writing was, I’d happily overlook it if, just this once, DC had given me some interesting, fleshed-out characters to work with. Swing and a miss. All attempts at depth and humanity fall just short, resulting in a coterie of criminals that never really feel like much more. Deadshot (Will Smith) stands out as the most sympathetic character, a man who is trying to reconcile the killer he is with the father he wants to be. Otherwise, there isn’t much to relate to here. June Moone (Cara Delevingne) is an archeologist with all the charisma of a Crate and Barrel lampshade. Diablo (Jay Hernandez) is a former kingpin who murdered his family in a fit of rage. Killer Croc and Boomerang, who between the two of them accrued about ten lines of dialogue, zero of which were memorable. And these were the least troubling of the crew. No, the majority of my beef lies with loony lovers Joker and Harley Quinn.
On the one hand, you’ve got the Joker (Jared Leto), who’s particular brand of crazy is surprisingly formulary. It’s hard not to draw comparisons between this Joker and the Heath Leger performance that preceded it. The scariest part of Leger’s Joker was his restraint; his outward insane levity was constantly at war with the much darker madness within. Leto’s Joker wasn’t quite so…layered. And for as much unjustified screen time as he had in this film, there should have been layers.
Speaking of missing layers, we have Harley Quinn, who in true DC fashion is yet another female character not allowed to cover more than 40% of her body at any given time. As with the Joker, we are told that she’s nuts rather than allowed to see any evidence supporting that fact. Not to mention the fact that she’s fetishized beyond the point of relateability. I present exhibit A…
I don’t want to say there was nothing redeeming about Suicide Squad. It boasts some pretty impressive cinematography and special effects. You might even say that Harley Quinn is a metaphor for the film itself: pretty to look at, and not nearly as wild as it could have been.
Jane Austen. Fan Culture. Romance. Wit. This web series give me everything I need. And the fact that it was written by Fangirly’s own Ellen Lloyd only makes The Cate Morland Chronicles more obsess-able. Ells, I love this and I like this.
It’s not as weird as you think, I swear.
Actually, that might depend on who you ask. ASMR (not a clinical term) is a sensory response only experienced by a certain percentage of the population. Exactly what that percentage might be currently remains a mystery. What researchers do know is that not everyone experiences this very nebulous, and as yet unexplained, phenomenon.
So what is it? Good question. Have you every gotten that tingly feeling that starts at your scalp and then slowly works it’s way to your limbs? Maybe it happens when you’re getting a haircut or talking to a friend. Triggers can be as diverse as the people who experience them, but there are a few common denominators: soft voices, personal attention, hand movements, and a non-threatening atmosphere are only a few.
So you might be thinking, “Yo, Whitney, how does the fall under Fangirly’s purview? You guys write about pop culture, not fringe science.” Very astute.
Turns out, there’s a burgeoning internet subculture surrounding ASMR. YouTube is lousy with what’s called ASMR “trigger videos”. Here are a few of my favorites. Heads up- theses videos work better with headphones.
I only recently discovered ALBinwhisterland, who was recommended by a friend (word up, Amanda). This channel is quickly growing on me.
3) And finally…
Another of my favorite channels, whispersunicorn has the added benefit of being quietly, and surprisingly, hilarious. A quality we value highly here.
So that’s it. My not-so-dirty little secret. What are you favorite ASMR videos? Hit us up in our comments section!
Far, far away and long, long ago
and his rebel associate, Poe
Their bravery earned them the widest acclaim
Combined sex appeal got them all kinds of game
The Galaxy by their deeds was impacted
And the enemy by their butts was distracted
In all the ‘Verse, there wasn’t a Lady or Foe
That wasn’t slayed by the likes of Finn and Poe
But it ain’t gonna work, girls, go cry to your mother
‘Cause these dudes only have eyes for each other.
There once was a normal girl who lived on a normal street went to her normal school and had a normal day. She even had a normal name of Whitney.
One day, Whitney came home to her normal house and began her normal evening routine wishing she could have something other than normal.
What this normal girl didn’t know was that she was destined for greatness and would soon be a member of the coolest, most exclusive club there is: The Society for Exceptional Ladies.
As Whitney laid her normal head on her normal pillow, she was pulled out of her bed by masked figures.
They seemed to be taking her somewhere and before long she was made to sit in a chair.
“Where am I? Who are you? Is this a Saw-type situation? Because I will have you know that I am well trained in the horror movie genre and know how to handle any situation you throw at me?”
As her hood was pulled off, Whitney saw she was sitting on a chair in the middle a darkened room with only a single light bulb hanging over her. She could see others standing in the shadows, but decided to first deal with the person standing directly behind her.
“This isn’t a horror movie, Whitney. You’ve been selected for The Society for Exceptional Ladies.”
The woman came around to face her.
“The Society…. wait. Are you Peggy Carter?”
“Yes, I have nominated you for the society based on your general badassery and for always fighting for superior representation of women in superhero movies.”
Whitney was still in a state of shock but managed, “Batman v. Superman was a bit of a mess, right? They should never have cancelled you, Peggy.”
“Sorry,” Whitney said. “I didn’t mean to bring up a touchy subject.”
Peggy shrugged and moved back into the shadows as two more figures came out into the light.
“Tina and Amy?” Whitney exclaimed.
“Yes, it is…we. We have nominated you for your hilariousity and your ability to always make your cousin laugh. Without fail.”
They moved back into the shadows as a Tina of a different variety emerged.
“I have nominated you for respecting the male form, especially those of the famous variety. And especially their butts.”
“It has been my absolute pleasure,” said Whitney.
Over the course of the next hour, several more extraordinary ladies came forward.
Rey nominated Whitney for her never needing a guy to hold her hand.
Veronica Mars nominated her for being as sassy as all get out.
Penny Hartz nominated her for always trying to make the best out of a bad situation.
Jane Kerkovich Williams nominated her for owning up to her peculiarities.
Alex Kerkovich nominated her for knowing the value of both TV and a well placed pop culture reference.
Jane Austen nominated her for being one heck of a writer.
The Clones nominated her for embracing all all aspects of her personality.
Mindy nominated Whitney for knowing her self worth.
Kimmy Schmidt nominated her for always keeping it cool.
And her cousin Ellen nominated her for being the best cousin, friend, psuedo sister, all-around-awesome person that a girl could ask for.
(Oh, I’m sorry. Did you not think I was going to be in this club?)
Whitney accepted her new membership in the club with aplomb.
She went on to eventually become the club’s president because even the most extraordinary of ladies had to recognize that Whitney was the most extraordinary of them all.
Happy birthday, Whitney! I agree with everything the extraordinary ladies said.