Fangirl Poetry: An Ode to Agent Carter

Some TV Execs are pleased with themselves, over at ABC

“Women have never had it so good!” they’ll say in synchrony

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They’ll say, We gave them a show,

with a Lady Hero,

But cancelled ’cause ratings were low

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They’ll go on, We gave it a shot,

But the ratings were not

Worth it’s prize prime-time spot

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They’ll go,  We don’t need someone like Peg on TV

A dynamite gal, an upper-case “She”

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A character with brains, and brawn, heart

A woman who isn’t afraid to be smart

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There are plenty of others, to whom girls can look up

Like those ladies on YouTube who barf in a cup

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So we’ll let the ax fall, and give Carter the boot,

The fans, how they’ll wail, though their point will be moot

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But we on the ground know the truth, ever tragic:

With Peggy gone, TV lost something magic

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Whitney Weldon

 

Fangirl Talk: Why Every Guy Should Watch Agent Carter

 

It’s a truth rarely acknowledged that if you’re a lady in any industry, even when you win, sometimes you just can’t win. And for all it’s glamour, show biz is no different. (Don’t believe me? Then tell me, Where’s Rey?)

And while there does seem to be a general upswing for the portrayal of women in pop culture, “better” should never be mistaken for “good”. I can count on one hand the number of well-rounded, realistic, inspiring females in film or TV that aren’t also overly 1363991751468,0sexualized and whose character arc doesn’t ultimately lead her on a quest for romantic fulfillment. Calling a woman in TV “complicated” is shorthand for saying that she has a dark past. Calling her “strong” is another way of saying she’s emotionally unavailable. These have become the hallmarks of an empowered and sexy woman on TV.

When viewed as a whole, the representation of ladies in TV can seem pretty bleak. Luckily, there are some shows that are getting it so right,  it’s hard not to feel optimistic. Enter ABC’s Agent Carter.

If you aren’t watching the second season premiere of this Marvel spin-off tonight, you’re either not aware of just how good it is, or (frankly) a dude. Or possibly, you’ve been scared off by accusations of skewed gender politics (side note: it’s a show about a working woman in the 40’s. The fact that she’s surrounded by white men is just an accurate reflection of the time). Peggy Carter  (Hayley Atwell) is exactly the kind of hero prime time needs.  She’s carving her own path in a male dominated industry.

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And she’s doing it better than most of the males dominating that industry.

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She’s got an infallible sense of self…

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And self worth.

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Her hotness…

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Is the least interesting thing about her.

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The real tragedy of Peggy Carter’s situation is that her struggles with being looked over, objectified, underestimated, and undervalued aren’t specific to the 1940’s. Perhaps the reason this show has resonated with audiences and critics is because, almost 100 years after the ratification of the 19th amendment, it’s still easy for women to feel like an accessory. So if you’re still not watching this show, you might want to rethink your stance on Agent Carter. Watch it because it’s well-written. Watch it because it’s good TV. Watch it because it explores the conflict between perceived weakness  and inner strength. Or maybe watch it because Peggy Carter has a wicked right hook.

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You’ve been warned.

Whitney Weldon

Fan Rants: Why You Should Be Watching Agent Carter

Not too long ago, I had a conversation with one of my Fellow Fems about female under representation in pop culture (like many a pretentious, twenty-something, bra-burner before us). She made the inevitable leap to how unfair it was the Marvel’s Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) doesn’t have her own stand alone movie. My initial response was, ‘right on, sister’. Then I asked if she’d been watching ABC/Marvel’s new series Agent Carter. She answered that, no, she wasn’t. Come again?…

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It’s probably the worst kept secret in network TV history that Agent Carter is serving as a dry run for strong female leads in the MCU. If smart, empowered, beautiful, charasmatic Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) can’t draw crowds with a limited run TV show, why should Marvel shell out millions upon millions to make a female driven superhero movie? And let’s not kid agent-carter-pilot-hayley-atwell_article_story_largeourselves, Carter is enjoying pretty abysmal ratings, despite the fact that, in my opinion, it’s a good show. It’s got a great lead in Atwell, James D’Arcy as bulter Edwin Jarvis makes for an awesome Girl Friday, and frankly, it’s been much fresher and more entertaining than Agents of Shield ever was in it’s first season. So why in the Susan-B-Anthony can’t this show seem to thrive?

I keep coming back to one thing. Because really, there is only one reason I can think of why audiences would be more receptive to a Black Widow stand alone than a Peggy Carter one. Black Widow is defined by her sexuality. I mean, yeah, she can quip with the best, and kick all the necessary ass, but she’s also severely underwritten and hyper-sexualized.  If Peggy Carter ran around in a black cat-suit, would that make her more marketable? I’m actually scared of the answer. la_ca_0325_captain_america

I guess what I’m getting at is, let’s not perpetuate the idea that Marvel’s fan base won’t support strong, independent, female leads with more to offer than their butt-kicking capacity and deft application of feminine whiles. Let’s promote female characters with emotional depth and intelligence and appeal that isn’t directly related to how good they look in skin-tight stealth suits. Watch Agent Carter, Tuesday’s at 9 on ABC, and you’ll see what I mean.

Whitney

How Does ABC’s Selfie Suck? Let Me Count The Ways

I have one hard and fast rule about Fall TV season: no matter how much you may hate a pilot, it is VITAL that you make it to at least episode two. Because usually, the things we hate about pilots get ironed out during the first season. That is what first seasons are for. If the premise is good and the writing is solid, there is always room for hope. But some shows are so fundamentally flawed, so irreparably stupid that a second look only serves to draw out the inevitable and necessary cancellation. Selfie falls, face first, into this category just like Ellen said it would. Let’s break it down.

abc-selfie-eliza1) Eliza Dooley (Karen Gillan) might be the Worst, and not in a good way. I know that as one of Doctor Who‘s resident red heads, Amy Pond was kind of a polarizing character. And it is totally possible that I am projecting my dislike of The Girl Who Waited onto Eliza, a character with many of the same flaws that kept me from registering with the Amy Pond fan club (selfishness, over-confidence, tends to take others for granted). At least Amy was an interesting character; the most interesting thing about Eliza is her ability to fill two airplane yarf-bags. Which, when you think about it, really set the tone for the rest of the show.

2) Your main character should be redeemable, not reprehensible. By the end of the pilot, we should have had a reason to root for Eliza, and I don’t feel that we ever got it. Most of the attempts to add depth to her character were pretty weak (you mean, she was able to stash her distaste for the office hipster girls long enough to let them clean her apartment, loan her nice dresses, do her hair and make-up free of charge, and generally extend her an undeserved hand of friendship? What personal growth). If you are going to write horrible characters to populate your show, a la It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, at least make sure their horribleness is offset by their hilarity. Which brings me to…

3) Traditionally, TV comedies should be, you know, funny. If nothing else, Pilots should be clever enough to give audiences the idea that, even if the rest of the show isn’t prefect yet, the experience won’t be a total loss. Selfie did not make me laugh once, and I laugh at everything. Seriously. Everything.

4) Being unpopular in high school does not a tragic backstory make. Selfie isn’t the first show to try and make not being selfies-main-character-is-eliza-dooley-dooley-grew-up-being-most-butt-in-high-school-butt-as-in-ugly-so-she-modeled-herself-after-the-most-popular-girl-in-her-school-and-grew-up-to-be-beautiful-but-vapidthe most popular person in high school a credible excuse for sucking in the present, and it won’t be the last. TV comedies can still be fun and lighthearted even if they delve deeper than an unpleasant school dance experience. But Selfie is just as shallow as it’s main character, which is why I’ll be taking my business elsewhere. Better luck next year, ABC!

Whitney

Fangirly Crush of the Week: Adam Pally!

adampallyJack and Rose. Romeo and Juliet. Joey and Pacey. Whitney and Adam Pally. These are just some of history’s most endearing and tragic love stories, where couples are torn asunder by war, icebergs, teen drama, and insufficient ratings. I guess now that Happy Endings has been unceremoniously axed by ABC, we’ll never know if Max, Pally’s character on the show, and I could have made it work. Sure, he was gay and gynophobic and kind of a burnout and not super hygienic (and did I mention he was gay?) but I like to think those trivialities wouldn’t have stood in our way.

Well Max, this is good bye for now. I’ll treasure our moments together, and raise a glass of Sweet n’ Creamy in your honor.

Whitney

TV Obituaries: RIP Better Off Ted

Better-off-Ted-better-off-ted-10352512-2000-1331You know what I hate? I mean, other than perfume commercials, mashed potatoes, or sentences that end in a preposition? I hate watching a young show get cut down in it’s prime. Three years after its cancellation, I’m still reeling from the loss of ABC’s Better Off Ted. Speaking as someone who strongly feels that the world can never have enough zany workplace comedies, the show was the bright spot of my week during its brief two season run.

On paper, the premise of this show seems pretty ho-hum. Ted Crisp (Jay Harrington) manages a research and development team for a massive corporation. Bored yet? Then perhaps I should mention that Ted’s boss, the stoic and well-coiffed Veronica, is played by the one and only Portia de Rossi, with all the stellar comedic timing and deadpanned delivery we’ve come to love. Oh, are you back on board? Awesome. Let’s proceed.

Of course, you can’t have a great workplace comedy without some great writing attached. I can’t tell you how many funny one-liners I’ve pilfered from this show. Oh no… there’s no stopping it… I feel a cluster-quote coming…!

There was the time Ted and his love interest/employee Linda invented the game of throwing stale bagels into an air vent:

Ted: What are you afraid of? If you throw a game, it’s gonna keep you out of the time-wasters hall of fame?
Linda: No. My position there is secure from getting my art history degree.

Or the time Ted inadvertently forced Ryan the security guard to quit his job:

Linda: So did you hear the latest office gossip? Ryan the security guard quit his job because you’re a giant douche-mobile. That’s right, you’re a douche on wheels. Or perhaps a decorative sculpture hanging above a baby douche’s crib. The gossip didn’t specify.

And how could we forget Veronica, the company mouth-piece:
Veronica: If you want to get the company off this, you have to show them that this new pace will cost them money. Because the company loves its money. If they could, they’d go to strip clubs and throw naked women at money.

Like the Temptations, I ain’t too proud to bed. Please, please, please, watch this show. You can find both seasons now on Netflix streaming!
-Whitney

An Impassioned Plea for Mockingbird Lane

I watched the pilot of NBC’s Munsters remake Mockingbird Lane on a whim, but less than 20 minutes in I was ready to add it to my DVR lineup. Obviously it was far from perfect, but I thought it showed a lot of promise. That being said, I was devastated when I heard that the chances of NBC picking the show up for a full season was pretty much non-existent. In an effort to quell the fangirlish rage in my heart, I compiled a list of reasons why this show should be given a chance.

1) The friggen cast!

Listen NBC, if you’re lucky enough to get Jerry O’Connell, Eddie Izzard, Charity Wakefield, and Portia de Rossi on screen together, at least be smart enough to realize you’re sitting on a comedy goldmine! That’s like locking A. J. McLean, Howie Dorough, Brian Littrell, Nick Carter, and Kevin Richardson in a recording studio and telling them not to make a hit record (look it up, kids). Next time you axe a show after one episode, make sure it doesn’t star some of the coolest people in show business. Nerds.

2) It’s better than the actual Munsters

Yeah, I said it. Bryan Fuller and Bryan Singer took a cheesy 60’s sitcom and gave it some actual substance! I for one was totally intrigued by the way the characters interacted with each other. For example, what was the deal with all the thinly veiled tension between Grandpa (Eddie Izzard) and Marilyn (Charity Wakefield)? And how is Eddie going to handle the knowledge that his family tree is populated by things that go bump in the night? All good questions that may never be answered.

3) It’s time to take a risk, NBC

Haven’t you heard? Quirky is the new black! Viewers are looking for something different, which explains why ABC’s Once Upon a Time was the surprise hit of last season. And no offence, but your lineup consists of reality shows, family dramas, procedural cop shows and goofy sitcoms. Maybe it’s time to mix things up a little.

What were your thoughts on Mockingbird Lane? Tell us if you think it’s worth saving in our comment section!

-Whitney