The Thing About Love Triangles

Veronica Mars actors supporting their opposing factions by wearing the “wrong” T-Shirts.

Love triangles are essentially double-no, triple edged swords. They are tricky to begin, even harder to keep interesting, yet are incredibly easy engage the audience with. So many of these love triangles fall flat, but writers keep turning to them every chance they get. I have yet to see a single love triangle that didn’t do at least one thing wrong, but at the same time, I have yet to see a single repeated trope that gets as much as a response as these do. As terrible as they often are, people love love triangles. Everything about them just draws you in. They involve characters you care about, they incite dangerous shipping instincts in all of us, and they are so damn divisive. There is nothing in this world that unites us more than an enemy, and love triangles create them in spades. This is why when love triangles are introduced, people tend to classify their preferred choice for the fought over party with teams (Ex: Team Peeta vs Team Gale). Its that adversarial aspect that initially draws people in, but its also the ways people can relate to them in real life that strikes such a cord. Not everyone will be locked in a three-way love or death struggle, but whether you like it or not, someone’s going to end up on the wrong side of a choice between two suitors. However, even with our natural desire to be invested in romantic entanglements, they still tend to fall apart a lot for a few big reasons.

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The Hobbit: The Battle of the 3 Unexpected Desolations of Integrity in the Journey for Cash

Credits to Harry Partridge (a youtube animator) for this excellent portrayal of Peter Jackson

Man do I hate The Hobbit movies. Yes, obviously I can’t stand what a blatant cash grab the franchise is, but there’s also the little personal reasons I have to hate it too. When I told people I was going to make a blog, this type of post was what they had in mind. Random vitriol pointed at something that probably doesn’t deserve it with nothing new or insightful to say about it. I think this post will fall into that category. So if you’re a big fan of the series (in which case we can’t be friends), stop reading now. Here are things I hate about The Hobbit, and the Lord of the Rings franchise as a whole.

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BoJack Horseman’s Christmas Special is a Triumph in Writing

“And a Goober in a Pear Tree!”

And with that jovial line-reading, the entire spirit of the holidays, sitcoms, and manipulative Christmas themed episodes are encapsulated. The Netflix original series BoJack Horseman stars a misanthropic, washed up television star that is going through depression. Also he’s a horse. Because he was the star of a popular 90’s sitcom titled Horsin’ Around (which ran for 9 seasons), he essentially has an endless flow of money. In the world of BoJack Horseman, where the titular star has nothing but time, he finds himself to be lonely. For this reason, he allows this dead beat named Todd to live with him rent free. Todd is mostly this chipper weirdo that shamelessly mooches off BoJack’s hospitality, and while he does have a habit of being grating at times (much to BoJack’s annoyance) he is perfectly utilized here. Todd is just one of the elements this episode handles so well, since on the whole it is a masterstroke of comedy.

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The Legend of Korra and the Problem With its Villains

Writing villains is hard. This is often a problem because in the plots of many stories, the characterization of the villain is the most important component and often what makes them compelling. In large scale and themed stories, villains act as cautionary tales, tools writers use to help teach an important lesson in their stories. Within the world of the TV shows Avatar: The Last Airbender and its successor The Legend of Korra, villains largely fall into the role of “teachers”. They would take a certain ideology way too far and the audience and the characters in the story would come to understand the flaws in their thinking through their failure. Despite generally (and rightly) being regarded as a masterpiece though, The Last Airbender did not have many truly great villains. There was the ambitious Admiral Zhao of the first season who was held back by a level of patheticness that overshadowed the rest of his character, and there was the much talked about Fire Lord Ozai who was suitably cruel and unpleasant but also surprisingly generic (which is odd if you consider the fact that he was a character that was built up since the beginning of the series). The writers struck lightning (ha) when they created Azula, the chief antagonist of the second season, and the only compelling antagonist that remained after Zuko officially joined the side of the heroes (for real) in the third season. To put it bluntly, Azula was a stone cold bad ass, but at the same time she was the most developed and complex villain in the original series. The approach to developing Azula was definitely under a “less is more” philosophy, with little hints about her mental state being given here and there, and with the writers leaving a lot of things for the viewers to figure out. It was very intelligently done, and for those who were paying attention, it paid off big time in the finale with a powerful message about forming connections through love rather than fear. Unfortunately, most subsequent villains in the Avatar franchise started following Azula’s example in the “less is more” style of development, and eventually it was morphed into “less for the sake of less”. The precarious balance that was present for Azula’s development was lost. All the pieces are there, but the development never follows through. I’ve already discussed where Ozai went wrong (quick recap: he was surprisingly shallow), but what about the Korra villains?

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Manga review: Persona 1

truewildcard

I am thou, thou art I…from the sea of thy soul, I come…

Every story has its beginning. Every successful gaming series has its origin. Shin Megami Tensei: Persona (originally a spinoff of the Megami Tensei series) was the game that started the Persona series. Though its gameplay was average at best, Persona 1 was praised for its use of Jungian psychology, compelling characters, and modern setting (aspects that are still prominent in modern Persona games). It sold relatively well in Japan and even managed get localized and released overseas (which was rare at the time it was released). It was eventually followed up by Persona 2, Persona 3 and Persona 4, and in truth, despite kickstarting Persona series, Persona 1 isn’t exactly well recognized by most Persona fans. In fact, if you’re reading this article, you’re probably significantly more familiar with Persona 3 and Persona 4, which is fine; Persona 1…

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The Newsroom on Rape: Misunderstood but Still Wrong

“Well, it’s complicated for a lot of reasons”

This is a phrase uttered by Don Keefer, a cable producer and one of the stars of Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom, regarding a certain rape incident at a University. After watching the controversial penultimate episode for the series “Oh Shenandoah”, I’m not sure he truly understands the complexity of the situation or rape in general. In fact, it seems as if he’s driven by the goal of simplifying it as much as possible to follow a moral guideline that does not really apply to the issue presented here. The issue being the fact that a woman was raped at her university by two men after being heavily intoxicated, and in retaliation (and after effectively being ignored by the police) she created a website for others like her to anonymously post about their sexual assault experiences and accuse their attackers. Don’s news corporation (ACN) would like for him to track Mary (the rape victim) down and invite her onto one of their shows for a joint interview between her and one of the men she is accusing. Don, due to his reservations about the nature of this hypothetical joint interview, tracks down Mary and does everything he can to convince her not to go through with it only to fail; but he ends up stopping it from happening anyways when he lies about being unable to find her to his furious superiors. This series of events, the portrayal of Don, and the execution of the story itself is problematic for a number of reasons, but I feel those reasons got lost in a barrage of righteous indignation that came about in response to the writing.

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Things of Interest on Person of Interest

Watching Person of Interest has been an… interesting experience (pun obviously intentional, but also made with pride). This show, like The Good Wife is a hybrid of a procedural and serialized drama. To make a long story short, our heroes (the hyper intelligent Harold Finch and the highly skilled John Reese) receive tips on “people of interest” who are about to be involved in a violent crime, and then go to stop it. Along the way they have to balance fighting various criminal organizations and evading the law since what they are doing isn’t strictly legal. It’s fun, it’s action packed, and it comes with a whole slew of fun elements to point out. I’m only 2 seasons into the show, and after a shaky first season, it has picked up considerably. This is probably going to be closer to a traditional blog post than most things I’ve got on here so here goes. Here are random tidbits of interest on this show. There’s plenty of good things, dumb things, and hilarious things abound so get ready.

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Troy Baker’s Nightmare: A Voice Actor Shortstory

Disclaimer: If you don’t know anything about voice acting and Troy Baker in particular, you probably won’t enjoy this short story to the full extent that it can be enjoyed. All the context you need to have is that Troy Baker was a small time voice actor who hit it big and does less roles for obscure projects.

Troy Baker lies in his bed but he can’t sleep. Or he doesn’t want to. He’s not sure yet. All he knows is that he came home after recording lines for the protagonist of the latest Call of Duty game, and that means that sleeping will be hell. He did voices for the new Call of Duty game, so that means he is going to pay him a visit again. He does not question it, he just knows that it is a natural consequence of his actions of the day, just as it is a natural consequence for his body to seek rest. He hates the lack of control, he wishes he could either stop getting visits from him all together and just sleep, or that he could somehow will his body to not sleep at all. He chuckles to himself, remembering a character he once played with a similar dilemma, but he steels himself; determined not to succumb to his tiredness. But it’s no use, and without even realizing when or how, Troy Baker closes his eyes and goes to sleep.

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Are Bioware Games Being Viewed as Dating Sims?

“Permission to dock?”

Bioware games have always been ambitious. They always try to hit every entertainment base imaginable, from gameplay to story, from mindless action to dramatic moments, from mystery to romance… Even as far back as in their breakout success, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, romance has always been an element in their games. One small element, but an element nonetheless. Then a shift happened upon the arrival of their previous gen hits Mass Effect and Dragon Age: Origins. Bioware, being the Canadian and open-minded company they are, decided to really expand their romantic options in their games going forward. As a result, we’ve seen a rise of extremely divergent love interest options in videogames that we haven’t really seen in the past, and thanks the optional sex scenes, Bioware has created a veritable powder keg of controversy. The focus on sex and relationships in Bioware games has swelled to the point where it earns actual coverage from major news outlets. We are in the 21st century and people are still being scandalized by the idea of nudity, human-alien relationships, and homosexuality  in our videogames. Excuse me as a seriously contemplate whether or not I want to laugh or cry.

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