Quirky shows that nobody understands are right up my alley, and no matter how many times I tell myself not to get attached–confusing programs that make no sense don’t lead to ratings for some reason–I fall in love anyway. Though I think Dispatches from Elsewherewill at least get a resolution even if it’s not renewed because it’s an anthology show.
What is the series about? Guess. Really, your blind guess might be closer to the truth. Okay, I’ll try a summary. Four strangers are thrown together for what they think is a social experiment or something. It’s about characters doing stuff. They play games, dance with Bigfoot, and possibly don’t exist, so I really have no idea what’s happening. I still enjoyed whatever it is I watched.
There’s also lots of art, music, and artistic, intellectual stuff that goes over my head. So due to this, and because it’s a crazy show where you have no clue what’s real, I didn’t question it when the episode started flickering in and out. It was subtle, and the characters were exploring in the dark. The effect worked, the light going in and out while they pondered the mystery of a possibly dead girl. Good job on the eeriness, show!
Except it kept flickering, becoming like a strobe light. Still, I figured it was part of the vibe. Everything is a little mystical, experimental, and odd, so the picture flickering wasn’t even the strangest part of the episode.
When the big, emotionally resonant part of the episode happened, and the whole screen turned black off and on, I finally realized there might be a problem with the TV. Because the big, emotionally resonant part would be more, you know, big and emotionally resonant if I could clearly see the character’s faces.
I watched almost a whole episode of the hour long show where the picture went from a little off to majorly screwed up. Elsewhere is the only show where I would think, ‘oh they’re just doing a thing’ and not ‘something’s broken.’ Something was broken. But it’s fixed now. Yay!
Did you know the song Simply the Best is by Tina Turner? If you’re me, you definitely didn’t know that until right now. And if your first question after hearing the name Tina Turner is, hey, is she still alive? Yes! She’s Swiss now so that’s cool.
True story, I don’t like ballads. Which is less a story and more a sentence about my musical preferences. Simply the Best is no exception, so I’m not a fan of the song. However, I do like Tina Turner and have vague memories of trying to dance like her when I was a toddler. It’s a really good thing no photographic evidence of that exists because it sounds very embarrassing for me.
As someone with no musical ability, it’s crazy how someone can take a song and sing it differently and then I love it. Is it magic? I have no idea! I really love this version of the song by Noah Reid.
With the volume off and the TV recording Dispatches from Elsewhere, the show makes no sense. I also had zero idea what it was about beforehand. When I saw some of it on mute, my best guess was the show involves something about dolphin mind control and acid trips. Starring Sally Field and Jason Segel.
Watching from the beginning with the sound on helps… a little. It mostly still makes no sense and I still couldn’t really tell you what it’s about. People are playing what might be a game? I don’t love shows with big mysteries because they rarely get solved, but I’m loving the hell out of this one. The show is hilarious and quirky, and while I have no idea what’s happening, it’s great.
And it’s very, very pretty. I almost never notice visual details so that is the most explanation I can offer. Art is heavily involved and basically every scene is lovely. The music is also really good, and I think that’s important too, though I can’t tell you why. Everything is maybe important and it’s a show about people/art/music I think???? If I had to guess, the show is about making connections to anything you can make connections to, including people, art, and music.
There’s one part I wanted to share. At the beginning, the show promises to give you a quick character rundown before getting to the action without wasting time… it then spends the whole episode exploring the character anyway because it’s the show’s version of saying what the character needs like the song in Wizard of Oz. Which I thought was cool and really easy to see… once Jason Segel explained it.
So anyway, at the beginning, they say this is Peter or Fredwynn or Clara. Imagine them as you. And then there’s a few details to make the character relatable to the audience. I really love how this is done, super good storytelling disguised as lazy storytelling.
This is Simone. Think of her as you.
So that part is just like all the others, her intro is the same. Yet it’s still not something you hear everyday, openly inviting people to relate to a trans girl. It’s a small moment but one I absolutely adore.
My newest obsession is Schitt’s Creek, which has been on my Netflix watch-list literally since I got Netflix. It’s been so long that actually watching it marks the end of era as the show will never again be that thing I want to watch but have never seen. But that’s okay. It’s really freaking good.
I am now going to gush about the show a little, which I have given myself permission to do because I also found a way to relate it back to books.
Premise:Schitt’s Creek is one of those riches to rags stories about a wealthy family who loses everything and has to start over. Which feels like a trope even though the only other show I can think of like it with a similar premise is Arrested Development.
Schitt’s Creek is the name of the town the Rose family starts over in, and Schitt is the name of the town’s founders, and their descendants still live in the town. It’s also ‘shit’ with an extra ‘t’, duh, but that apparently makes it appropriate enough to display with no censorship at all, which I think is really cool.
Why it’s awesome: Everything everyone says is hilarious, or the way they say it is what makes it fantastic, and I adore stories about terrible, selfish people learning to be a little less self-centered, preferably while still being endearingly terrible.
Also, duh, there’s queer characters! Awesome queer characters too. Even though it took me forever to start watching, usually the quickest way I start a book or show is: Do I have a mild interest? Are there gay people? If the answer to both is yes, I’m totally there.
Alexis, the adventurous free spirit. She also has hella style game, and she’s gorgeous. I would love to say I’m more like her, but I’m not.
David is who I uncomfortably identify with. He’s a worried over-thinker who is moody and obnoxious with an acerbic wit that is usually not appreciated. P.S. yay for pansexuality. In terms of growth and personal story, I prefer Alexis’ arc better. But David has the best romance.
Okay, now after being a loser about a TV show I love, here is a quote from One Little Word about being chill and not a weirdo.
Friendly reminder to live your life with this much confidence. Not that I’m telling you what to do. I’m going through a Schitt’s Creek phase, so this is mostly just my excuse to post this video. Maybe it’s not good to be so oblivious to one’s own flaws, but on the other hand, if you don’t know about your weaknesses, you can’t let them stop you.
It makes me happy that all I had to do was type “a little” into Youtube and it knew what I wanted.
Soon as I started writing this post, intending to share an image quote, I got sidetracked and thought of something from Arrested Development, so I will now journey down this detour and see where it goes.
First order of business is, of course, the obligatory disclaimer. I, F.N. Manning, being an Arrested Development fan of Sound(ish) Mind and Body, and having seen all the episodes and seasons while in possession of a brain, do hereby acknowledge that the new offerings aren’t as good as the old ones.
If you like AD, you will never in your life be able to have a convo about the show without talking about how the Netflix seasons aren’t as good.
And now, a very brief version of the story of one family and their disappointing magician relative
Do I sound a little bitter? I didn’t hate the new stuff. (It wasn’t as good the original, I agree and I know, but I didn’t hate it) And without the new stuff, there would be no gay-magician Gob in all his glorious gay-magician glory.
I would never want to live in a world without the beautiful trashcan fire that was Gob Bluth and Tony Wonder. Two narcissistic showmen with few redeeming qualities realize that they’re alike enough to fall in love with the only person they could ever fall in love with: themselves.
A wild and very entertaining ride to watch. Gob, a person who only knows how to make a giant spectacle of himself had very little experience with being a human being suddenly had to handle real emotions in his over-the-top, completely stupid way. Basically, he was very suited to being in peak gay disaster mode, but he also got just about as close to acceptance and honesty as a person like him is capable.
Gob and Tony also have one of the best and most accurate couple names: Blunder.
Closer to what I actually intended to talk about
The very precise and thoughtful way I come up with titles for blog posts is just by writing down whatever and then going, eh, good enough. As soon as I wrote, a quote from nothing, it made me think of the moment (in the 4th season of AD) where Tobias starts singing what sounds like a show tune.
Why is that hilarious? I have no idea. I think it’s hilarious. That’s basically the story of AD, you either love it and all of it is brilliant for reasons you aren’t really sure of (minus the new seasons) or you don’t care about it at all.
At long last
We get to my original point, which is an image quote related to Ryan and Luke from the One Little Word series, but I’m pretty sure it isn’t actually from any of the books. Unless it is. Keeping track of things is hard.
Ryan and Luke are really good at being giant idiots together! So that’s… something.
I really wish there were more to this story, but basically Penn Badgley posted a picture of himself on the internet, then Rainn Wilson, Dwight from The Office, thought he was hot, and my Google newsfeed thought I needed to know about it.
Dwight from The Office is right. Penn Badgley is gorgeous.
Well, I guess my newsfeed wasn’t totally wrong. I am interested in guys hitting on each other. How did they figure that out, though?
One day I will finally watch You. It’s supposed to creepy, but it can’t be worse than Gossip Girl. I don’t think that was a great joke, but I’m still really proud of myself for it anyway.
Once when I picked up my nephew from a skating party, he turned the corner of the building before me and then when I went around the corner, he screamed boo and I jumped. He was only a few steps ahead of me, and I knew exactly where he was, and I still jumped.
He was very impressed with himself for being able to get me, but it wasn’t as big of a deal to me because I will jump at anything. I’m twitchy as hell.
When Stranger Things blew up, I watched the first season only a little before the second one came out. All I knew was people loved it, and I thought it was some quirky, cute show about weirdos. Turns out, there’s monsters.
The first season was terrifying.
Also, I’m super tough and I like a scary show!
Season three spoilers ahoy! (oh my god, I’m so clever)
Reading and TV combined is awesome, so here’s the script for a scene paired with the actual scene. Yes, this is mostly an excuse for me to talk about one of my interests, but it’s also relevant to the gay, so I’m on topic.
Steve slides under the stall instead of crawling like the script says, which is of no importance, but a way more Steve thing to do. Also, Robin says the girl Steve’s talking about (her) sounds awesome. It’s not in the script, but Steve instantly agrees she is awesome and I like to think it’s because Joe or Steve, both probably, just needed to make that clear because they’re sweethearts.
*hipster voice* I loved Steve from the start. In season one, he was supposed to be suave and a player or whatever, but he seemed like a giant adorable goofball who’s definitely cooler in his mind than real life.
For extra queer thoughts, bisexual Steve is a thing that exists in my mind and it brings me great joy. Once I saw something on Twitter or Tumblr, they both start with T how am I supposed to keep track? Anyway, it was a comment about how every 80’s movie was at the same time the gayest movie ever made and the most homophobic movie ever made, and s2 had that vibe with Steve and Billy. I would have totally supported them going down the gayest ever road.
Finally, while Stranger Things is the scariest book, movie, TV show, or idea ever created and I am a giant badass for viewing the entire thing with only mild screaming, it is possible that it’s not super scary. My 11-year-old nephew also watched all of it and even had parental approval to do so. His favorite part is how the kids are allowed to swear.
One Day at a Time was cancelled by Netflix a million years ago and I wanted to make a post about it in a timely manner… and then I didn’t. Crazy story, right? It’s all true. I wanted to write a post celebrating the cancelled but marvelous show and talking about how awesome it is, but when I started to do that I realized that I hadn’t even gotten to praising the show yet because I was mostly just pissy about it being cancelled. Basically? It was great and now I’m mad and sad.
Here’s some thoughts about ODAAT, Latnx representation, and queer characters on Latinx shows. And technically, this is still relevant because there is a chance that ODAAT may find a new home. Which yeah, that would be neat. (That’s me playing it cool. I really, really, REALLY want that to happen.)
Rita Moreno is Awesome
For those who don’t know, One Day at a Time is a Netflix show about a Cuban-American family that has Rita Moreno and is hilarious.
It’s so wonderful. A sitcom that’s not forced and terrible and that’s actually funny! And it’s about a Cuban family! And if that weren’t good enough, queer characters. And if that weren’t good enough, there’s whole storylines dealing with mental illness and working to de-stigmatize needing help for these problems. And if that weren’t enough, Rita Moreno! And if it that weren’t enough, it even got three seasons.
Sometimes the show is cheesy, sometimes it’s serious, sometimes it’s silly. Rita Moreno is an occasionally clueless old Cuban lady who rants about things the elderly fear and what is with kids these days, and then she gets worked into a frenzy about having Cuban pride, and then she loves on her grandson and basically I would believe they put stuff in the script like, ‘and here we’ll just let Rita be cute/funny/crazy and it will be awesome’ and it is.
The Stupidest, Greatest Joke Ever
True story, one time I watched this show called Black Sails because I thought it was about wlw mermaids, it was not, but it was really great anyway. I got interested because of the queer women and yet a straight white guy ended up being one of my faves. So, uh, yay Latinx people, but as I’m thinking of my favorite parts, both of them involve the token white guy. Oops.
This is really dumb, yet it’s by far my favorite thing to happen in the show. Yo enitendo means I understand. I don’t know if you need to know that to enjoy the joke, probably not, but there’s your impromptu Spanish lesson for the day.
My other favorite is anytime Schneider tries to do the sign of the cross.
More Hispanic People on TV, Please
When I was a kid, I remember hearing that the Mexicans were going to take over America. Being Mexican American, that sounded just fine with me. But when it comes to media portrayals of Latinx characters… If we’re supposed to take over, where are we? How come we never appear on TV?
Let me tell you something about our representation on TV. It sucks. Latinx people continue to be so poorly represented even though as a whole things slowly seem to be shifting in the right direction with more diverse casts. There’s a few shows like Brooklyn 99 and Superstore, so I’m mentioning them because they rock.
The Only Good Sitcom About Latinx People in the History of the World
That’s barely an exaggeration, at least when it comes to U.S. shows in English.
In the past undetermined amount of time I’ve been alive, I have watched at least one episode of about every sitcom focusing on a Latinx family. Seriously, even completely terrible ones no one remembers anymore like the Rob Reiner one or George Lopez one after the longer running but terrible first show he had. I’ve been doing this at least since I was a teenager and I usually watch with my mom. We do this for two reasons: one, we want the show to succeed whether we end up liking it or not because yay, Latinx characters and two, because maybe the show will actually be good.
They almost never are. There’s just so few of them already and there’s rarely anything that makes us want to keep watching. Occasionally, something has potential like Cristela and Telenovela, which was rough but I still loved, then it gets cancelled immediately.
Remakes, the Show You Loved Now with More Hispanics!
Not sure if this is good or not, but it seems like the thing to do these days is take a popular show that’s ended and redo it with a Latinx cast. Hopefully, there’s people who want to see it because they liked the first one, but then again there’s also people who liked the first one and hate that another is being made. There’s One Day at a Time, Charmed, Mayans.
So if you see the show you really loved when it was on is now being recreated with Mexicans, Cubans, or Puerto Ricans or something, please don’t immediately hate on it. Yes, I know, another remake, but we don’t get a ton of original content with Latinx casts, so please let us have this.
Hella Gay YA
Hey, that’s me! Or my blog. I figure that, when having a blog, blogging is, you know, better than not blogging. So not everything is always related to my books or gay YA lit, but there is a correlation here!
The show has a queer young adult character in a leading role, Elena. If you are well-meaning and awkward, she’s super relatable. She likes social justice and feminism and ladies and not wearing dresses.
Also, I think this is a callback to the original show or something, I don’t know and it doesn’t really make a difference to me, I just love how excited she is to be a handy (wo)man.
When I was growing up, my favorite show was The Simpsons. I thought it was the height of comedy, and I don’t even want to guess how many times I’ve seen some of the episodes. I used to be able to figure out what episode was on within the first ten seconds, which was more of an impressive thing when there wasn’t a guide that listed all the information.
I don’t hate The Simpsons now, but the show has lost the appeal it once had for me and also I think my brain is still taking a break from it after watching it all the time for years and years. And years. Like, even if I knew how many times I watched, I wouldn’t say because it would be embarrassing.
This post isn’t really relevant to anything, but I just wanted to share that there was such a thing as a Ned Flanders metal band. Have you ever looked at something and just been like, wow, I cannot believe this exists? I’m at least a moderately creative person, I write books!, and I would not have been able to think of this in a million years.
So, I have no idea why this exists, but I am glad that these grown men decided they wanted to dress as Ned Flanders and sing metal songs mostly consisting of Ned Flanders quotes. And because if there was one thing this bizarre combo needed, it’s puns, they call their music ‘nedal’ instead of metal.
Depending on your viewpoint, you’re welcome or I’m sorry that I showed you this exists.