Popular Culture Has a New Responsibility, Whether it Likes it or Not

Star Wars Protest

In the age of Trump, millennials, a generation raised by popular culture, have been looking to it to draw meaning and make sense of the world. Everything that happens these days is apparently just like that one moment from Harry Potter, every time someone gets fired it brings to mind a shocking character death on Game of Thrones, every government official is just like that villain from Star Wars; even that horrific Charlottesville march and the President’s equally horrific response to it reminded people of that one time this character did that thing in this book/movie/TV show. We can argue until we’re blue in the face about whether or not this is a dumb way to look at the world, but it’s the way things are now for a lot of people. As we begin to isolate ourselves through technology and media, those things become enormous influences to us. The irony is that pop culture has become less explicitly didactic, TV creators these days aren’t interested in teaching word for word blatant lessons of the day, and more writers are content with trusting audiences to figure things out for themselves. We have such a diverse group of people consuming media in these increasingly confusing times, and in a lot of cases, people are taking the wrong lessons.

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Love In This Club?

Usher Club

I went to a club about a week ago, and it was an interesting experience. As one could probably tell from the quantity of Good Wife articles I’ve written on this site, I’ve never actually been to one before, and a lot of my preconceptions were blown away. For one thing, a club feels like a sad to place at its core. I don’t mean that it makes you sad or that I was sad being there, but it feels like a place who’s essence is based on something more depressing than the music suggests. Another thing I noticed is that it’s basically impossible to have a conversation because of how loud the music is. I mean, I knew it’d be loud, but I didn’t realized you literally had to scream into someone’s ear for them to know what you’re saying. Because of the noise, most communication is done through body language and gestures, and this is key because you can read a lot more from a person’s behaviour than you normally would in a setting where you’re distracted by what they’re saying. Finally, as a friend said to me, people there are mostly just there to bone, which really contributed to the depressing vibe of the place overall.

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How The Good Fight Shares Strengths with The Good Wife

The Good Fight 2

I’ve written before about how The Good Fight shares problems with The Good Wife, so I thought it’d be only fair if I went over its strengths, and since it’s me, I’ll also sprinkle in some criticisms here and there because every positive note to this show seems to be a double-edged sword if you analyze it as excessively as I do.

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How The Good Fight Shares Problems With The Good Wife

The Good Fight 1

Unsurprisingly to my most loyal blog followers, I watched The Good Fight‘s first season (the new spin-off series to The Good Wife) every week, and for the most part it was a very entertaining show. Unfortunately though, there was a creeping sense that disaster was just around the corner. The original Good Wife managed to be phenomenal for 5 seasons, and that’s truly impressive, but the problems that eventually overwhelmed it were always there, lurking in the background, festering. We tried to ignore them, we tried to write them off as growing pains but the same problems kept popping up until eventually, it was too late. Worryingly, I see them in The Good Fight too, perhaps not as pronounced as they were during the latter days of The Good Wife, but enough to have me worry.

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The Captain Underpants Movie Improves on the Books by Introducing Empathy

Two superhero movies were released last weekend. Wonder Woman, which I hear was amazing and I will definitely watch later, and Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie, a movie based on the book series that first got me reading as a child. Since you can’t beat nostalgia, my brothers and I decided to watch our first favourite super hero adapted to the big screen, and boy was it a pleasant surprise. Charming animation, surprisingly great voice work (with Kevin Hart in particular giving a great performance), and one key element that actually elevates it above its source material: Empathy. This movie had a big heart, it reminded me of a time during my childhood when I actively tried to not think about other people’s, especially adult’s, feelings and then got confused when I was forced to confront them. This movie isn’t centred on that dynamic (it’s centred on the importance of friendship and creativity), but it addresses it in a way the original books never did.

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The 5 Rules to Murder Mystery Culprits

And Then There Were None

An adaption of Agatha Christie’s masterpiece and perhaps the most famous murder mystery of all time: And Then There Were None.

I love murder mysteries. I love them in movies, I love them in books, I love them in videogames, but most of all, I love them in TV shows. I’m not talking about a simple case of the week, I’m talking about a single, significant case that permeates the season of a TV show and is given around a dozen or more episodes to develop and expand and twist and turn, all leading to the inevitable reveal of whodunit. A good season long murder mystery has led to some of the greatest TV seasons of all time, like with the first two seasons of Veronica Mars, a series I believe perfected the season long murder mystery arc. Nothing feels quite like the rush of putting together the clues and solving the case yourself, and seeing your suspicions confirmed in the electrifying murderer reveal, a moment that should always be a highlight of a show’s season. Unfortunately there are shows that don’t quite grasp this, that completely botch the killer reveal and leave you feeling deflated. Two recent shows that come to mind are Riverdale and Trial and Error. You may think, wait a minute, Trial and Error is a comedy, why does it matter if the killer reveal is good? Well, because revealing a murderer should be powerful no matter the circumstances. Murder, killing another member of your own species, is one of the most human things out there. You can draw so much emotion, and yes, even humour, from it. The taking of another life and why the mastermind of the crime chose to act the way they did should be explored on a character worthy of such exploration. Every murder is a story, and botching the murderer is like botching the protagonist. Since shows seem to be screwing this up recently, I’ve decided to write my own criteria for how to properly handle a murder mystery through the use of 5 important, absolutely correct, inarguable rules that without a doubt must be followed.

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Undead – Laptopstein: The Machine That Refused To Die – The Untold Story – A Canadian Horror Story

Phoenix Person

Note: “Laptopstein” is the name of the engineer that created my laptop, my laptop should be referred to as Dr. Laptopstein’s Laptop.

The last update on my laptop was a joyous post of celebration. The one before, was a tragedy on the levels of King Lear and Oedipus Rex. Today, I give you an update that brings the status of my laptop in flux, that places its well being between my previous two updates. Between life and death, in the twilight of my triumph and ultimate despair. My laptop has died, but it continues to live. It is currently being torn apart at the seams, but I have found a way to suspend it in something of a stasis. By not closing it anymore, my laptop is no longer in a state of constant structural deterioration. But new problems arose before and after I finally made that decision.

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Mob Psycho 100 is the Anime That Actually Tells it’s Viewers What They Need to Hear

Mob Psycho 100 is an anime that satirizes shonen stories (action anime/manga aimed at boys), pulls them apart, and actually uses their tropes as tools for didactic story telling. With Mob, those dumb action tropes don’t have to be just that, they could also be used as examples as to how one should or shouldn’t live their lives. Cocky guys with super powers that think they’re better than everyone are depicted as deeply insecure, supervillains who want to take over the world aren’t fearsome killers, but are actually manchildren that failed to grow up, and those musclebound jocks that spend all day working out aren’t mean bullies, but are instead people worth admiring because of their desire to improve themselves. That’s what Mob Psycho is at its core, it cuts through the superficiality that defines the shonen genre, and actually arrives at the morals of hard work and teamwork naturally and in a surprisingly grounded way considering its a show about psychics.

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Mass Effect Andromeda, the Uncanny Valley, and the Looming Threat of Memes

Mass Effect Drak

Bioware’s latest entry into the acclaimed Mass Effect franchise has become a punchline on the internet. Countless gifs, video compilations, and complaint threads were created in response to its… odd looking character models and animations. Going further, I would argue that the response to the animations and models have overshadowed the game itself, with people unable to get over how “off” they look. It’s understandable, we’re suppose to be in the next generation of gaming, but this game looks noticeably worse than any of its predecessors. How could this happen? I’d imagine many Bioware fans like myself (who has loved them since Knights of the Old Republic) feel baffled as to how they could fail so many who had faith in them. A gaming company whose work was once synonymous with great RPGs has fallen into the pit of being a cautionary tale for the perils of entering the AAA gaming market. The contrarian hipster in me wants to pin the blame for this mess entirely on just that, a big corporation like EA forcing a once pure company to churn out mediocre content for a quick buck, and eventually corrupting them in the process. The problem of course, is that issues like this tend to be far more nuanced.

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What the Beauty and the Beast Remake Misses in Making LeFou Sympathetic

LeFou Mob

A big change came to one of the main characters in the live action remake to Disney’s breakthrough animated feature, Beauty and the Beast. No, I’m not just talking about making LeFou gay, I’m also talking about making him “good” too. In the remake to the film, LeFou isn’t the soulless sycophant he is in the original, but rather a confused gay man with a crush on the wrong guy. While this is progress in terms of gay representation, I can’t help but feel like something was loss in the rehabilitation of one of Disney’s most subtly despicable bad guys.

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