What Are You Watching...? Four Fast, Four Furious

Oh hello there,

It's that time again, I've been watching some things and oh boy do I have feelings... Well, what are you waiting for? Get reading!

Look out, look out, there are SPOILERS about!

Shrill - Shrill is a quick six episode watch, based on the book for the same name about a plus-size aspiring writer, whose Dad has cancer, whose Boss is a dick and whose boyfriend is a douche. This was pretty standard Girls-esque, Looking-like millennial dramedy fare, complete with that amazing, yet instantly recognizable millennial colour grade, you know where everything is a bit faded and pastel. While I enjoyed the show and, as a massive Aidy Bryant fan, it was exciting to watch her move out of SNL’s broad sketch comedy, something about Shrill kept me at arms length. Maybe because I’m not the show’s target demographic, but that’s never gotten in the way before. Maybe because the only gay guy, although expertly played by John Cameron Mitchell, is a body shaming bitch and the show feels like it’s trying to demonise the body issues rampant in the gay community rather than empathise in the universality of low self-image. I think a show about an oppressed minority should be punching up not sideways. Then again, she has an awesome lesbian roommate so I guess there’s fair representation there. Maybe this show didn’t grab me because it fell into the douchey boyfriend trope. The one where the cool woman, with failing self esteem, lets a man child treat her terribly over and over again. Like, sure, have him in the pilot, make her realisation that she deserves better be a catalyst for the rest of the series but please, PLEASE don’t keep him hanging around, don’t give him boring B story plot lines, don’t keep her going back to him even after he cheats and her cool lesbian roomate (with a crazy hot brother who’s crushing on you) bans him from the house. If you can’t tell I’m over the douchey boyfriend. Sack him off, I don’t care about him. Finally, Shrill seemed like it was attempting to create an anti-hero out of its leading lady. One of those central characters who becomes more and more self involved as the story progresses, putting her supporting cast out in the process. Which bugs me for two reasons. One, I don’t want to follow this person’s journey, it’s not up lifting, it’s not fun, it’s not a great depiction of people’s flaws or whatever. Especially, in a show where the protagonist’s original meekness is grating, now her new found confidence is worse. We should be rooting for her, despite her flaws, instead I just wanted her to stop and listen to her awesome roommate. Secondly, this bugs me for the same reason it bugs me when people say Carrie Bradshaw was selfish. It’s not the character’s fault that their the protagonist of a TV show. That’s how story works. If you want to give other characters more time down stage make it an ensemble piece. Don’t have your secondary characters complaining that they’re secondary, that’s your choice as a writer. I might be frustrated because I want to like this show more and I’ll stick around for a second season because hopefully the positives will outweigh the negatives. The episode at a plus-size pool party was an inspirational highlight, so I’ll be here for more of that. That douchey boyfriend better get the axe though.

The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann - I was surprised by how little I actually knew about the Madeleine McCann case. So it suppose it’s a good thing this documentary was slow and extremely through. I can totally see how people, who have already been inundated with news stories surrounding the case for the last decade, found the pacing here glacial. I was interested and still a little bored. That’s not to say there weren’t some creepy or intriguing elements to this documentary. On one occasion I was checking in cupboards and under the bed before switching the lights off for the night. While the doc tried to explore multiple avenues of suspicion it seemed pretty clear from the outset and by the end that she was probably abducted and that there was evidence that human traffickers were in the area, any conspiracies about the parent’s responsibility seemed pretty unfounded. The case is still unsolved and while other true crime docs, like Making a Murder and The Staircase, leave you speculating about the truth, this one just kind of leaves you saddened that we’ll probably never know the truth and this case will probably never be closed. I think going forward, what will be the true story here is the media circus which engulfed Praia da Luz.

The Order - Well, I tried. Now that I’ve caught up on The Magicians, there’s a sexy, magic college student sized hole in my viewing schedule and I had hoped The Order might fit the bill. After all it shoots at the same university campus used for Brakebills and Todd is here in a new guise. Maybe, I’m a little spoilt by the calibre of recent episodes of The Magicians or maybe The Order just isn’t up to scratch. Maybe it needs more than one episode to get going but unfortunately that’s all I can afford to give this show. It’s not for me. The plot holes were pretty massive, you’ll be screaming ‘That would never happen!’ ‘Why did she do that!’ from about the second shot, and the characters are woefully uninteresting. No one even took their shirt off. Sorry, but I’d like to cancel my order.

Queer Eye season 3 - Tissues at the ready boys? Full disclosure, I was in two minds about returning to Queer Eye. The second season got pretty samey, the contestants (people who get made over) were uninteresting, the stories and results all looked the same; and since the success of the first season the fab five have been a constant presence on social media, their hot takes and photo shoots ranging from embarrassing to full on problematic. Still, I sat down one night and thought I owed it to my people to give them another shot. I’m glad I did. I have to say the contestants, a more mixed bunch than usual, with straight and gay women thrown in, were compelling and lovable. The boys insistence that looking good and feeling good are intertwined, that self care and mental health are inextricably linked rang as true as ever and Anthoni actually did some cooking. I cried and smiled and bought a new house plant. Now if only I could come up with an original spin on the ‘Bobby does all the work,’ meme.

Now Apocalypse - I thought I’d be spending all of this edition talking about this show but I actually don’t have all that much to say. It’s great. Sexy, queer, weird, colourful. I’m hooked and excited for the ride ahead. I’ve only watched a couple of episodes and the second was a little slow (which may be the reason behind Starz altering their weekly release plan to a streaming style dump and binge to get viewers hooked faster). There’s enough here that I enjoy and find kind of inspiring (like can I make this please?) that I’ll be sticking around and already have my free week long trial of Starz and my binge locked in the calendar. Is anyone else watching because I’d love to chat? Also, do we think its coincidence or intentional that the title font looks exactly like the Now TV logo, is it a comment on the imediat nature of millennial culture? Gregg?

Thanks for watching and reading… stay tuned for more of what I’ve been visibly inhaling and oh, here is an image of an instantly classic moment from The Other Two, which has remained charming and fun as it’s freshman season continues… ‘I am gagging for you, f*gg#t!

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