Bipolar disorder, christinesrant, Entertainment, Feminism, gender, gender identity, Mental disorders, Mental Health, Mental Health issues, Mental Illness, Prejudice, Rant, Television, TV, TV-series

Homeland. Making a Home Run.

TV show Homeland (2011-) is interesting for many reasons.

Carrie Mathison (portrayed by Claire Danes) is a strong female lead. She is actually one of the most complex female characters I have seen on TV.

All while not being stereotyped as the sexy female skimpy outfit hooker agent (Yup, an older rant here).

That and the sensitive portrayal of Bipolar Disorder make Homeland a series to watch.

I know the show has been criticized for its stereotyping of Muslims (originally based on the Israeli series Hatufim/Prisoner of War  (on my to-watch list)), and for fear of exhausting the story. Both equally legitimate but not the focus of this rant.

Before watching it, I was afraid that the show was only a copy of 24, but what do I know? I have not seen 24. And probably never will.

I am glad I gave Homeland a chance.

I am impressed by the portrayal of Bipolar Disorder in the first season. Somebody knows what they are writing about!

It is off course simplified. It needs to be, to tell the story.
And the story is not about bipolar disorder, mental illness or awareness at all.

Claire Danes is perfect for this role. I have personally been a fan since My So-Called Life (1994-95) but feels she has made some weird choices during her career. Now, as Carrie, I feel she is right at home, playing on her strengths as an actress.

Her subtleties, wide range of emotions and expressions are executed perfectly. Carrie is intense and somewhat unpleasant.

Her strengths are also her weaknesses. I would actually go so far as to say that she is excellent at her job, not in spite of, but because she is Bipolar.

Claire makes her believable and watchable.

Carrie is pushy, confrontational and ambitious without becoming bitchy.

Her highs and lows intricately played out; from incoherent, maniacally chaotic to her dark and silent meltdown feels raw and real.

Carrie is flawed but never flat.

Christine

 

If you have questions about Bipolar Disorder or other mental health issues, please contact your national and/or local mental health organizations and clinics.

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Bipolar disorder, christinesrant, community, Discrimination, Entertainment, Genre, Mental disorders, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Prejudice, Rant, Television, TV, TV-series

How Many Crazy People Do You Need? A Box set.

Did somebody loose the key to the loony bin?

It seems like every show on TV these recent years consists of one or several crazy people. Usually solving things.

Some of them are known to us as Superheroes. As if that makes everything alright! Sorry, this rant is not about supes. Or is it?

I am not here to put labels, but as one who wants awareness, I am curious about how mental health issues are expressed or implied on mainstream TV-shows. What is this interest in the psychotic yet helpful?

Why is it almost always connected to behaving as a douchebag?
Does mental illness/high intelligence give a free pass to behave as a dick?

Is it just another bad boy (needs saving) trope, a fixation on the Eccentric, or just another tribute to the Genius?

Or are they in fact the new superheroes, their issues often described as talents and gifts in an almost supernatural sense. A common man hero, sort of. More common than the common man becoming a superhero, that is.

Or is it a poorly concealed, yet bogus pat on the shoulder to all fighters out there, living, enduring or barely holding on.

Cue: Heroes by Alesso ft. Tove Lo.

Some of the shows are following this trend head on. I have made a compilation rant of them. I might have missed some. I might have ignored some.

House M.D. (2004-2012)
Honestly, I have not seen enough of this show to say anything meaningful about it. But then again, there might not be any meaning to it at all. I have however seen enough to make highly astute guesses. Because lets be honest, every episode is the same one.

House is being an asshole but occasionally he shows a couple of seconds of remorse or goodwill. Enough to like him, or at least accept his bullshit. Not to forget; he saves life!

His superpower: He can medic-babble for 40 minutes.

Dexter (2006-2013)
I saw perhaps half of the first season back in 2006 so I am really just shooting blanks here.

As I remembered it, it was no confusion to the fact that Dexter is mental, but he was not an unsocial jerk. He just could not stop killing (bad) people. How people would sit through this for seven years is beyond me.

His superpower: a never ending supply of duct tape and plastic wrapping.

Monk (2002-2009)
Adrian Monk is the human personification of OCD, complete with 312 fears and phobias. The show is comedic in its form but portrayed with so much love you are compelled to see his beauty.

His superpower: Did I mention he has 312 fears? It is a miracle he gets out of bed in the morning!

Bones (2005-)
It is implied that forensic anthropologist Dr. Temperance “Bones” Brennan has Asperger’s.

I have only seen an episode here and there, but I get the impression that she comes of as a strong female lead in spite of her challenges. Flawed but lovable.

Bones superpower: When she points a finger out in the air, a three-dimensional graph or other medical image pops up, showing someone’s insides.

Homeland (2011-)
Carrie Mathison is another strong female lead on TV. I am immensely impressed by the portray of bipolar disorder in the first season of Homeland.

Carrie is very good at what she does, but her strengths are also her weaknesses. It deserves a better mention than just a paragraph in a compilation rant, so I am writing a whole post on her, but this is all I got for now.

Her superpower: A never-ending supply of highlight markers in different colors.

Perception (2012-2015)
This investigating duo consists of a flat Rachael Leigh Cook and a scrubby heterosexual Will  from Will&Grace, complete with flannels and a 3-day beard.

His mental health problems are first referred to as visions, incidents, then goes on to be called conditions, schizophrenic hallucinations and finally recognized as Paranoid Schizophrenia.

Not a good show. However, portraying the different phases of his illnesses is very good although oversimplified.

Superpower: His hallucinations are just as smart as him.

Elementary (2012-)
This show  tries to remake Sherlock (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle) in a more modern version. By moving him to the US, giving him some AA advice and a female Watson. Not to forget, a female Moriarty. You know you are witnessing post-modern stuff when half the characters change their gender. It is however, worth watching because of the cast.

Sherlock’s superpower: Animal companion: Clyde the turtle.

The Following (2013-2015)
A change from the other shows, The Following does not have a psycho investigator. Ryan Hardy might suffer from different disorders he self-medicates with alcohol and self-sacrifice, but it is this shows antagonist Joe Carroll that is the crackpot. Although I believe his followers must be even crazier because this cult leader is as charismatic as a wall-to-wall carpet.

Why someone would follow this man, and why people would watch this, is still an enigma to me. Perhaps that is Carroll’s superpower.

The Blacklist (2013-)
Yet another crime/drama/mystery worth mentioning. Reddington is leading agents around in a maze, not sure when he will turn on them or not. Is he psychotic, desperate, fatherly or only out for revenge? Is he an intuitive genius or has he staged everything from the beginning?

Reddingtons superpower: No one beats him at party planning.

Scorpion (2014-)
If one genius is not lovable enough, why would you bring in some more? Now we have a whole band of them. Are they mental or just unpleasant? This is a relative new instalment of the “crazy and obnoxious helping the happy (?) untalented”. This show lost me just a couple of episodes in.

Superpower: Instant WiFi access.

The Bridge (2013-)
This one is on my to-watch-list. In fact, all of the versions are on it. You have the Swedish/Danish original Broen, the US version The Bridge at the border to Mexico, and the UK version The Tunnel between UK and France.

Sonya Cross (US) seems like a flawed and strong female protagonist. I have read somewhere that she is supposed to have Asperger’s but it is never explained during the show. Anyway, I am looking forward to checking this one out.

Hannibal (2013-2015)
This is also on my-to-watch-list, but is it yet another version of the crazy leading the blind?

It is based on the novel Red Dragon (Thomas Harris, 1981) about our favorite cannibal Hannibal Lecter. What is not to love?

Christine

If you have questions about mental health issues, please contact your national and/or local mental health organizations and clinics.

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christinesrant, Entertainment, Genre, Marvel, Movie genre, Movies, Rant, Sci-fi, Science Fiction, Superhero, The Avengers

The Avengers. Age of Boredom.

I was not expecting much except be entertained by The Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015).

No breakthroughs. No innovative methods for soul searching. No deep touchy feely stuff.

Just good fun popcorn kind of time.
With a lot of CGI.

Alas, I have not been entertained by Marvel since the first Iron Man movie (2008).

Is it me or is the whole Marvel Superhero franchise becoming crappier by the minute?

Sorry, the franchise is not getting crappier. It is actually thriving and rightly so. Each movie installment however is a whole ‘nother matter.

Yup, they are milking it. Everybody can agree and accept this (they are not alone!). The difference now from the earlier installments is that they kind of count their chickens before the eggs hatch. Meaning every movie feels like a 2-hour trailer for the next one. Nothing more.

Alternatively, that half the movie story wise was discarded in the last production stages. Cause the movie does not make any sense. At all. What so ever.

The public’s negative opinion of the Avengers drives the heroes into hiding. How dare they save the world by destroying it!

This permeates the whole movie but perhaps more in the beginning, implying it as one of the main storylines.

Both you and I know the Avengers does not fix things from behind a desk. Already we have a pending conflict. An interesting one, at that.

Because we all know they (the heroes) are going to fuck it up. Stark and Banner fulfills that prophecy pretty quickly.

What happens to this conflict?
Nothing. Absolutely fucking nothing!

Not once is this brought up after its initial introduction.
No angry public. As if it wasn’t an issue.

But it was. The fucking Avengers went into hiding because of it!

Looking past the obvious shitty logic of the movie, the usually witty exchanges seemed stale. At one point, it seemed like everyone was tired of their own dialogue. You and me both!

Stark is doing his own thing. As always.

Captain America disagrees a lot with Stark. And can never have romantic relationships with anyone since Peggy Carter has become her own thing on TV.

Thor has absolutely nothing invested in this movie. He is the character in the background apologizing to everyone for stepping into the other’s scenes, seemingly awaiting his own movie franchise update. Okay, he did two things. He verbally showed off his very boring human girlfriend, and at one point took his shirt off and waded waist deep in a pool. Sexily.

Banner is more Whiney-Hulk than usual.

Who the fuck is Barton/Hawekey again?

Once the only female (movie) Avenger and alibi, Black Widow is in love with the Hulk, only seeing his beastly power and soft heart.

We have seen this before, folks. Belle from Beauty and the Beast has the same problem, and just like another Bella (Twilight) Black Widow has to put up with a gloomy and (self) destructive boyfriend.

It is easy to say that Black Widow is just as cool, powerful and sexy as her male companions are. She even gets to fight men! Sometimes.

Then they (who ever the fuck is in charge) go and screw this up. BIG TIME.

And this did it for me. The point of no return.

Black Widow breaks down emotionally feeling incomplete as a woman because she does not have children. Worse, she cannot have any.

Worser (if it is good enough for Shakespeare, it is good enough for me!) still, the spy/assassin training camp took this away from her. To make her a more effective agent.

As if pushing a child out your hooha would erase 15-20 years of brainwashing and extreme fitness training.

I am not buying this bullshit.

I am not even going to mention that Ultron actually is really cool as a bad guy.

Christine

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christinesrant, Discrimination, Entertainment, Feminism, gender, Prejudice, sexism, Television, TV, TV-series, Women empowerment

Covert Affairs. Not So Covertly Discrimination Against Women.

My first reaction to Covert Affairs was this:

I have now finished the 1st season and let me be clear; I am horrified!

Annie Walker, a young sexy female CIA trainee is handpicked and fast-tracked suddenly finding herself Operative.

This could have been a funny twist on the sexy female agent trope. Perhaps that was what they were going for but let me tell you why and how they fail. Miserably.

Introduced as a pretty tomboy, Annie quickly evolves into Action Junkie Barbie.

When called in by a (male) CIA/military trainee officer, she awkwardly blabbers on admitting to sleeping with her taekwondo instructor. Which btw, is not against the rules. She has already checked.

In a couple of seconds, she is transformed into a geeky-girl-next-door type who knows how to google.

The CIA clears her after interviewing her with a series of questions about her sex life. We now know her beach relationship with ex Ben Mercer ended ugly, she is fluent in six languages and she likes to wear outrageous cleavages. It is a good thing her breast barely manages an A-cup or it would be boobies all over the place!

She comes off as a man-eater as we see her flirt with Conrad, a man she just met on the steps of her new CIA home. Who, in all honesty, is flirting with her.

Her awkwardness is yet again apparent when she tries to walk through security without her passkey. Switching her from sexy confident to silly and girly.

Here lays the secret to what I hoped this show would be like.

Already we have seen Annie as confident, silly, headstrong, naïve, determined, awkward, sexual, weak, smart, emotional and strong. Not completely one-dimensional.

It gives me hope.
However, there are signs I do not like.

Her commanding officer points out that she is the best driver of any women the CIA academy (?) ever have had. WTF?!

And, Conrad is goading her to make the no-passkey mistake.

The bureau needs Annie because she can pass as a hooker. Seemingly, as the only other woman in this department, Annie’s female boss gives her this assignment. As if that makes everything all right!

Her boss is another example of the sexist craftsmanship of the writers. She cannot trust her unfaithful husband, and continues to interrupt his business meetings throughout the entire season trying to shame him in front of others. Resulting in high bitch levels herself.

Auggie, a blind agent now acting as the geeky IT guy and obviously the romantic lead in this show, he cannot judge her by her looks. He has instead perfected the skill of listening to how other men talk to women to find out if they are sexy or not.

Back to Annie.

She flirts wherever she goes. It is her secret weapon but is seriously rattled when finding that her contact guy is an ugly middle-aged man, and she frowns at the ordinary looking man her sister sets her up with. Not giving it a chance in hell.

Instead of CIA mentoring her so she slowly gets better at what she does, everybody seems to be goading her and then laughs or yells at her for not doing her job well. Her ex being the only actual reason she is there.

She screams like a girl, cannot walk in those high-heeled Louboutins as if her life depended on it, and is manipulated by everyone around her.

At one point, her ex and her new loverboy bickers about how to best keep her safe, while she is there. Doing nothing.

Every episode ends with her being rescued by a man. She tries to fight but is defeated every fucking time.

In the second episode, just to be certain we get how womanly weak she is, she is equipped with a panic/rape alarm and pepper spray. Emphasizing her (gender) as a victim.

When Annie’s only female to look up to, her boss, gets the career opportunity of taking her husband’s job, making her the highest-ranking woman in the history of the CIA and do an amazing job at it.

In spite of all her confrontations with her husband, she turns the offer down willing to fight with him (instead of against) keeping their marriage true.

Is this actually an accurate portrait of a working woman in the patriarchy? Especially working in a male-oriented workplace?

Because when ex Mercer romantically asks Annie to change her ticket the next day, all I hear is, “Please sacrifice everything for me! As a man I cannot, but you are only a woman. You can.”

Christine

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Adaptation, christinesrant, Entertainment, Fantasy, Feminism, sexism, TV, TV-series, Werewolf, Women empowerment

Bitten. A Showdog Through and Through.

Bitten is a crap show. I am surprised by the news of a second season, starting January 2015.

The werewolf setup is simple.

Elena is bitten by a big dog when visiting her fiancé Clayton Danvers (her former boss at the University) at his home estate. Alas, it was not a dog.

Against all odds (!), she survives which means she is the only female werewolf in the world. ‘Cause girly were-pooches cannot handle the change. They die.

They (writers and production) try hard to make her the hero. Molested as a child, she has this whole rape-revenge thing going on. Unfortunately, she is an uninteresting character played by Laura Vandervoort, a non-awe-inspiring actress.

Sure, she is a surviving bitch who does her own fighting and demands a lot of sex but she does not come out of it empowered. The rest of the time, she just comes off as lame. Very sexual, but still lame.

To no-ones’ surprise, werewolves are either born or bitten. Organized in one Pack with a Pack Master and a set of rules spread around the world. Secrecy the number one rule.

Individual wolves (Mutts) live outside the Pack either by choice, lack of knowledge or by Packs decision, and are therefore the sworn enemy of the Pack.

Born werewolves (males only) always has a pooch for a father and a human mother. They usually grow into their hairiness during early puberty. However, if bitten the change is immediately.

When a baby boy is born, Fido is supposed to kidnap the baby and raise it within the pack, which means raising it among men only. Now, this I find refreshing!

The pack members’ masculinity is quite, eh, feminine. They really are just soft cuddly puppies really.

And stereotypical.
Strong, muscular, healthy, protective and brutal when necessary.

Men of integrity.

There is a lot of hugs, kisses and different displays of physical affection, even love, between them. They ugly-cry when Antonio dies, snot and all.

They are comfortable with their own, and each other’s nudity.

They always gather around the kitchen table for huge meals. A table also used when members are wounded/dying, so it is constantly covered with either food or blood.

Clayton is the irrational one. Acting out every emotions whether it is love, happiness, anger or destruction in a pair of jeans and flannels. He is their best fighter (with a mean streak), introverted, moody, scruffy, pushy and protective. He craves Elena. Going against everything, just because he wants her. Willing to sacrifice himself. A typical male hero, that is. But he is smart too. He is a professor at the Department of Anthropology.

Clayton tears up on multiple occasions, after interrupted moments with Elena, when begging Elena to come back and save him from his rampaging. And, ultimately when Elena puts their former engagement ring back on his finger comforting him that there will be no more sacrifices.

Jeremy is the conflicted father figure. His own father threw him in a lake as a puppy with a rock around his neck. He is the law, love and soul of the pack. He has saved/adopted/taken responsibility for everyone in the Pack at one point. He is artistic too. His paintings displayed around the house.

Antonio and Nick, actual father and son (i.e. kidnapper and victim) are business types dressed in suits. They have a loving relationship. Nick is comfortable with both sexes in bed, sometimes together. He is Elena’s favorite shopping stand-in and generally a metrosexual man.

Logan is the outsider in the pack. Raised by his mother he had a painful upbringing. So much that he became a psychologist. Or, is it that he is the only African-American member in the pack? Complete with an African-American girlfriend. Now an expectant father, he decides to run and hide his family from the Pack.

Clayton is not the only one craving Elena. He is getting competition from the Mutts, now organized.

Since she is the only bitch that can give them beautiful and true puppies, her status is skyrocketing.

The Mutts worship her as The Mother/The Goddess/The Bitch. An archaic patriarchal enjoyment of women. As a baby making machine.

The Pack equally needs Elena but recognized as Clayton’s (somewhat unwilling) partner, it is a non-issue.

It is however clear that Packmaster Jeremy is weak (as a man and as a leader) because he is not using her full potential when he chooses not to rape her.

Am I going to watch season two?

Nope.

Christine

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christinesrant, Entertainment, Sci-fi, Science Fiction, Television, TV, TV-series

The Importance of Being Pregnant.

Stories have a correlation to the world we are living in. They are man-made. There is nothing natural about stories.

Shortly after 9/11 a bunch of mainstream Hollywood movies best described as revenge movies came on the scene. No one explicitly taking on the subject of course, it was too early to do that.

We have struggled for a long time now with an enormous amount of post-apocalyptic movies and TV-shows. It does not seem to fade away.

Not so strange when crisis after crisis has had the world in turmoil this last decade. Economic collapses, political and environmental disasters. You name it!

Post-apocalyptic themes and zombies usually follows vampires, a leech that not so strangely correlates with economic changes in society.

I am not kidding. You can google it.

What comes after the post- apocalypse?

Babies, is the right answer!

We need something stabilizing. We need society to move one. We need the family to stay together and we need hope. Nothing says hope like a baby.

I do hope this fad is short-lived.

The last time we had a wave of pregnancies was during the mid-90 to mid-2000 and every drama/comedy in mainstream cinema had at least one pregnant woman or unprepared parents in it.

TV science fiction is now picking up the torch, expecting and bursting with babies.

Extant combines pregnancy with alien intrusion. As if it was not hard enough, Halle Berry need to struggle with aliens, a husband on a mission and Roboboy too.

This show tries hard at many things. Thankfully, they have money enough for visual effects, good actors and a solid production.

Perhaps it would be a better show if they had not done both the ‘alien pregnancy conspiracy’ plot at the same time as the ‘Roboboy is just like human boys’ plot.

The Lottery  is seriously taking the subject of pregnancy, or the lack of, straight on. This show has potential.

I know. It is just another way to say they fucked it up.

It was supposed to be Children of Men  for TV but perhaps they got too afraid it would look like a copycat? Children of Men was good on as many levels as this show is bad.

Okay, you had a beautiful baby. Can we please move on now?

Christine

 

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christinesrant, Doctor Who, Entertainment, Sci-fi, Science Fiction, Television, TV-series

Doctor Who. An Apple a Day.

This is a difficult rant to write but the necessity has become alarming.

My Whovian affinity began with me accidentally watching part of an episode at a friends’ house. Tennant was the Doctor. I admit, I remember it as a bit embarrassing.

However, one thing was clear.

The Doctor might be in almost every scene but the show is not about him.

Awkward, there was still something there. Enough for me to want to check out more.

I wanted to part-take. I liked the whole space and time concept, although wibbly wobbly timey wimey.

Before I jumped on the new series bandwagon, I decided to watch the old stuff first.

It took me a year to go through it all.
From 1963 up until 89, including the movie from 1996.

I was hooked.

Early on, my theory about the Doctor was confirmed.

His part in the story became clearer through each regeneration. The Doctor is as much a character as the Tardis is. The story was not about him.

The new instalment changed this.

Doctor Who needed to follow the New Golden Era Formula for TV series. Which means an emphasis on character driven plots (hooks) at the expense of story driven ones.

He became the main character.
He became a man.

He is not.
He is an alien.

We needed him to fulfill the (epic) hero role. Complete with romance and everything. With the ugly and embarrassing affair of Rose and the 10th Doctor as the result.

The Doctor is not supposed to be a romantic hero.

He is a tool. A device.

I do not want to figure him out, or know more about him because there is no unresolved mystery there.

He is simply the Doctor.

Doctor Who?

Exactly.

Christine

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