Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Dollhouse Is Feminist (Part 17: 2x01)

(Written for the video version)

The Dollhouse second season has a different feel to it. It was pure chance that it got renewed at all. Joss and the others knew that they weren’t going to get another season, so they crammed the rest of the story into one season, leading to a rushed pace and a darker tone as we’re now slouching toward Bethlehem.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Dollhouse Is Feminist (Part 16: Pilot)

(Written for the video version)

The original pilot of Dollhouse, called “Echo”, was Joss’ original concept for the first episode, but it was discarded after concerns from FOX and is now very non-canon, though many of its scenes were scavenged for other episodes. Though it is non-canon, I think it’s interesting to look at the original pitch for Dollhouse.

"In the Company of Wolves" - Buffy Fanfic Review

I decided to review a bunch of fanfics I favorited a long time ago and haven't read in quite a while. Following up a review of a short little Animorphs poem, here's a good-sized Buffy the Vampire Slayer fanfic: "In the Company of Wolves" by Jonquil, posted November 3rd, 2000--February 2nd, 2001, with a twisted Willow/Spike romantic pairing. Following a shorter fanfic about season four Willow deactivating Spike's chip out of pity, "In the Company of Wolves" shows us the inevitable consequences of that action. Because of a threat Willow set up where if she turns up dead, an embarrassing video of Spike will be released, Spike instead imprisons her and takes her on a road trip to Canada. The fanfic focuses on the tense interaction between the two and the attraction Willow develops while trying (and mostly failing) to not become Spike's toy.

"Where Is My Son" - Animorphs Fanfic Review

I'm currently on vacation and nervous about accessing anything my parents would consider of a controversial nature with this Internet connection, so my choices of things to write about are fairly limited. I decided to go to my FanFiction.Net account and go through my favorited fanfiction pieces, most of which I haven't looked at in years. Fanfiction has narratives worth critiquing and analyzing, so why not blog about it? Hell, I've analyzed Troll 2. Basically anything is worthier than that. I'll start with the oldest work on my list: Animorphs poem "Where Is My Son" by NovaAni-Bookworm1, posted November 15th, 1999.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Dollhouse Is Feminist (Part 15: 1x13)

(Written for the video version)

The thirteenth Dollhouse episode “Epitaph One”, the season finale, is a dramatic break from the rest of the show, taking place ten years later in 2019 with a new group of characters. The Dollhouse technology has gotten out. The superpowers used it to fight World War III, and now it’s the end of civilization where most people have been imprinted to be mindless killers akin to zombies called Butchers. That’s right; the Rossom Corporation caused the apocalypse.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Dollhouse Is Feminist (Part 14: 1x12)

(Written for the video version)

The twelfth Dollhouse episode “Omega” starts where the last one left off. After Alpha leaves with Echo, Claire Saunders screams for help. Adelle and Boyd show up with a security force, way too late as usual. Topher reports that Alpha used crude surgery to remove Echo’s GPS locator implant, so there’s no way to track him. Adelle suggests that finding out which imprint he used on Echo would help, and she leaves him to that.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Dollhouse Is Feminist (Part 13: 1x11)

(Written for the video version)

The eleventh Dollhouse episode “Briar Rose” starts with Echo as a social services volunteer named Susan reading the story of Briar Rose (aka Sleeping Beauty) to a bunch of orphaned children. A girl—also named Susan—gets triggered by the story and explodes with anger about how the princess should have saved herself. An orphanage staff member apologizes to Echo, but she’s fine with it. She expected it would happen. She’s actually there specifically for young Susan. Echo thought that reading the story would trigger young Susan because it always triggered Echo. I just want to point out here how cruel it is to purposefully trigger someone in your care, especially a young girl you’ve never met. What the hell?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Dollhouse Is Feminist (Part 12: 1x10)

(Written for the video version)

Before talking about the tenth Dollhouse episode, I’d like to talk for a moment about fanvids. Fanvids are a selection of clips taken out of their narrative and put to music and arranged in a way that brings new context to them. Though most people use them to celebrate their favorite media, some use them to make political statements. There are some political fanvids I find very nice. Then there’s the fanvid “Dollhouse’s Secret War on Women” by henryevilx. I recently responded to this with my own fanvid “Dollhouse’s Overt Warrior Women”.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Dollhouse Is Feminist (Part 11: 1x09)

(Written for the video version)

The ninth Dollhouse episode “A Spy in the House of Love” is a partially nonlinear story following the four main Actives in separate storylines that intersect with each other. The first part is a set up that doesn’t follow anyone specifically.

It starts out with Echo as a dominatrix talking to Boyd about her job. I have issues with the portrayal of BDSM here, but I’ll leave that to the previous post “S&M Barbie”. I’ll just point out that Echo’s outfit is incredibly revealing and even though she’s supposed to be dominant, she comes off as just a sex object for the male gaze. Anyway, she talks to Boyd about the importance of trust and how it’s beautiful when a submissive trusts a dominant enough to submit to her. Boyd talks about how it’s dangerous to trust people, and it has the implication that the Dollhouse can’t be trusted and he feels bad for lying to her. Trust and specifically misguided trust is the theme of the episode.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Dollhouse Is Feminist (Part 10: 1x08)

(Written for the video version)

The eighth Dollhouse episode “Needs” starts with the Dollhouse staff meeting to discuss their trouble maintaining control of their Actives. Since Echo, Sierra, Victor, and November were exposed to the drug in the last episode, they have been experiencing repeated glitches where they have flashbacks from memories that should have been wiped. Topher thinks he can upgrade the mind-wiping technology to reduce the glitching, but the others are doubtful. Adelle and Dominic tell the handlers to report any behavior that suggests the Actives are becoming more advanced so they can send them to the Attic before there’s another Alpha incident, which Boyd and Dr. Saunders think crosses the line. Dominic urges the staff to think of the Actives as pets. The Dollhouse is an evil institution overall, and this look into the staff meeting shows the complexity of this, where some staff members are more moral than others.

Criticism of Feminist Frequency

In general I like Feminist Frequency. It’s an intelligent video series, and I like having a geeky feminist presence on YouTube. Its video on homophobia in Caprica actually influenced me to create a YouTube channel through showing that that kind of video could work. So, understand that this criticism comes from a place of respect.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Americanized Gojira (Godzilla)

In 1954, the epic monster film Gojira was released in Japan. Representing the horror of the atomic bomb, this radioactive fire-breathing dinosaur struck a chord for Japanese audiences, and the film was a major success, spawning 27 sequels. 27! The Gojira franchise is incredibly popular worldwide, but American filmmakers like to hijack this Japanese story. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I understand that without American appeal the franchise probably wouldn’t have become so popular, that artists build off of each other, and that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. American filmmakers take the core essence of Gojira and then place it in a context to be appreciated by American audiences. However, sometimes the art is Americanized to the extent that it loses what made it what it was.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Legitimacy of Violence (LTROI)

Let the Right One In is about violence. I mean, yeah, there's a whole vampire romance thing going on, but the main theme is about violence. The main character Oskar suffers violence at the hands of sadistic bullies and dreams of taking revenge on them with a knife, while his love interest Eli is necessarily violent as a predator but hates it. Håkan performs violence for Eli's sustenance, and in the book he performs sexual violence for his own lust. Finally, Lacke tries to kill Eli out of a sense of justice, and Eli ends up slaughtering the bullies to save Oskar. Rather than simply presenting violence for gratuitousness, LTROI asks questions about its legitimacy. Is all violence bad? Is any of it justified? I present my thoughts on the subject.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Zero Suit Master Chief

Artist Kevin Bolk put out this humorous image of the Master Chief making a sexy pose based off of Samus, the female action hero of Metroid to which he's often compared. It does a good job of showing how we've come to accept ridiculous sexualizing of female action stars by how jarring it is to see it on a male character. The speech bubble lampshades this. Nice commentary.

Feminist Analysis of LTROI

(Crossposted from posts on this thread; somewhat adapted into this video. Note that this specifically refers to the film.)

Okay, first of all, Eli is not a girl. This kind of puts a damper on analysis of hir as a female main character. The only female characters besides Eli I can think of are the mom and the teacher, both minor (I was reminded of Victoria later and included her at the end). Neither are very effectual in the narrative… but then neither are the male adults. When it comes right down to it, the film is really about a boy and his vampire, so any analysis of gender portrayal would have to be about the two main characters: Oskar and Eli.

Thoughts on Ringer Mid-Season Finale (1x10)

Meh, I don't know if I want to keep watching this show. The latest episode (1x10 "That's What You Get for Trying to Kill Me") threw in some sexist content that just makes me not feel invested in it. Bridget sleeps with Andrew, Siobhan fakes domestic abuse, Charlie kills Gemma, and Juliet says her teacher raped her--played in a way that heavily implies she's lying. I don't know... One issue at a time: