rynling: (Terra Branford)
Some lovely and wonderful person left a comment on one of my Powser fics saying that the bickering between Peach and Bowser reminds her of the dialog on Archer. I was like, What the fuck is Archer. Five hours later, the Netflix app on my PS4 was telling me that prolonged periods of physical inactivity may be accompanied by health risks.

What I've been trying to capture in the Peach/Bowser dynamic is a theme I'm going to call "adults being shitty to one another." I'm not into sexy kidnapping or any sort of Beauty and the Beast redemption nonsense; I'm into the idea that both characters have terrible personalities. Bowser is thoughtlessly obnoxious, Peach is cloyingly passive-aggressive, and they're both extremely narcissistic.

I thought I'd made good progress in how I write the characters, but watching Archer has taught me just how much of a novice I am at adults being shitty to one another. I need to step up my game, and I want to get started by writing flashfic. Here are some scenarios I came up with:

* Peach shits on Bowser for buying ridiculous things
* Bowser taunts Peach for not having children
* Peach cuts Bowser down for complaining about villainy and double standards
* Bowser mocks Peach for being obsessed with beauty products
* Peach gets up in Bowser's business for eating nothing but garbage
* Bowser tries to bully Peach into admitting she has a problem with alcohol
* Peach and Bowser bring on the snark as they speculate about who Mario and Luigi are dating
* Peach and Bowser accuse each other of being an unpopular character in Super Smash Bros
* Peach and Bowser get nasty and jealous about Zelda and Ganondorf
* Bowser gets sloppy drunk and calls Peach
* Peach watches Bridget Jones and calls Bowser

The romance, such as it is, needs to come from the sense that these two garbage people have somehow managed to find an equally garbage partner; and that, underneath their spiteful pettiness, they care about one another because of their flaws, not in spite of them. A lot of shipfic I read tries to normalize characters with difficult personalities through romance, but honestly bros, that sort of thing stopped being interesting to me a long time ago.
rynling: (Silver)
Title: Mahou Shoujo Nante Mou Ii Desu Kara
Episode Duration: 4 minutes
Synopsis: A middle school student is fed the fuck up with being a magical girl.
Why I'm Watching It: The protagonist has no problem saying what we're all thinking vis-à-vis the male gaze.

Title: Ojisan to Marshmallow
Episode Duration: 3 minutes 30 seconds
Synopsis: A female sex pest publicly harasses an overweight salary worker with marshmallows.
Why I'm Watching It: I can't look away.

Title: Ooyasan wa Shishunki!
Episode Duration: 2 minutes
Synopsis: A college student moves into an apartment building managed by a middle school girl.
Why I'm Watching It: I'm intrigued by the (extremely) oblique suggestion that the girl killed her parents.

Title: Oshiete! Galko-chan
Episode Duration: 7 minutes 50 seconds
Synopsis: Two high school girls discuss common myths pertaining to female bodies.
Why I'm Watching It: The fact that the takes-no-shit popular girl and the cynical nerdy girl share an easygoing and uncomplicated friendship hits me right in the feels.

Title: Yamishibai, 3rd Season
Episode Duration: 4 minutes 30 seconds
Synopsis: A series of demonic women kill and devour hapless men.
Why I'm Watching It: For me this show is like a glossy lifestyle magazine. I feel like I should be taking notes.
rynling: (Celes Chere)
Read 100 books.

I read 156 books. In addition, I read 112 graphic novels. I also read 235 manga in English, 53 manga in Japanese, and 115 dōjinshi. It's anal retentive to keep track of shit like this, but I swear I have a good reason. Or rather, it's a horrible reason and an uphill battle I will never be able to win. Maybe I'll write about it one day, or maybe I'll just let it simmer in the stew of my feelings of inadequacy; either course of action is equally terrible.

Post one book review a month.

I made 32 posts to my professional blog, which had 108,795 views in 2015. This is up from last year but way down from 2013, when I became the target of legions of asshole trolls from Reddit and 4chan. The blog also has about two thousand subscribers across several feed reader services. Considering how specialized the subject matter is and how infrequently I update, I think I'm doing well for myself. Now if only I could convert this success to money.

Leave two comments on AO3 a month.

I kept a running total of all the comments (with a complicated set of rules for what does and doesn't count) that I made across AO3, Tumblr, and ff.net, and I ended up with 109 comments. I'm not sure if that's a lot – it's certainly far less than my yearly total of comments when I was active on Livejournal – but I feel like I did okay. I'm not saying that the comments I did leave weren't sometimes awkward as fuck; but hopefully, at the very least, I helped to improve the intersite and search engine rankings of a small handful of stories.

Watch some quality tee-vee.

Fuck television, I hate television. I canceled my subscription to Netflix months ago. I managed to get through the first season of Hannibal and four seasons of Parks and Rec, and they weren't bad, but I felt like I was wasting time that I could have spent playing video games. Instead of actually watching anything, I decided to cheat by listening to the podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour and appropriating the opinions of its hosts whenever someone tries to talk to me about television. I did watch a ton of anime though.
rynling: (Cecil Harvey)
I can read and play games for hours, but I dislike television, even on my new huge big screen. What I do with sitcoms and anime is to watch about five minutes per day of a handful of shows through an app on my game machine before I start playing. I can sit through five minutes of anything, and in this way I can more or less keep current and not be that hipster who never watches tv.

Hannibal, though. Each episode is an hour long, meaning that it takes me two weeks to watch one of them, and it's even more time consuming in that for every five minutes I spend watching it I spend at least ten minutes sitting there afterwards getting angry about how stupid it is.

I understand the fandom for Sherlock, because Sherlock is witty, beautifully produced, and a lot of fun; the central OTP has fantastic chemistry, and the supporting cast is brilliant. A sizable portion of the Sherlock writers and artists moved to the Hannibal fandom over the past year, and I don't get it. Are we watching the same show? Are they seeing something I'm not?

This is why I'm deathly afraid of watching Doctor Who. Hannibal will finish its run and the fandom will move on, but I don't want to risk becoming one of the people who hates the source text for an always-fandom. I already have enough trouble with my feelings about Star Trek.
rynling: (Gator Strut)
How I Feel about Archer: too mean

How I Feel about Bob's Burgers: not mean enough

How I Feel about The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: why isn't she dead

How I Feel about Breaking Bad: why aren't they all dead

How I Feel about Orphan Black: trying too hard

How I Feel about Daredevil: too precious too pure

Thank god I can play video games forever otherwise what would I do with my life.


Mar. 5th, 2015 10:16 am
rynling: (Silver)
I watched two seasons and the first episode of the third season, but I think I'm done with this show. It started off as interesting and funny but then got really uncomfortable and depressing early in the second season. The episode at the end of the season with Chris Rock (in which Louis ends up stranded in New Jersey) was especially painful.

I understand the appeal of the "awkward and embarrassing" style of humor in a philosophical sense, but it doesn't particularly appeal to me personally. For what it's worth, I wasn't a big fan of Curb Your Enthusiasm either. I mean, I got it, but I didn't enjoy it.

I am a major supporter of the "no hugging no learning" Seinfeld brand of humor, and yet I didn't like Seinfeld itself because I don't find irony to be automatically funny.

I guess, for me, humor has two components:

(1) It needs to be good-natured – although I think I might be using a special definition of "good-natured" here. Humor can be gross or angry or sarcastic or politically incorrect, but it needs to be coming from a good place. For example, mocking the weak from the vantage point of the strong is never going to be funny. Likewise, reinforcing stupid stereotypes is never going to be funny. Irony can be brilliant, but only if it overturns majority opinions instead of reinforcing them.

(2) It needs to be clever and original and unexpected. I don't like "wacky" humor because it follows set patterns, but I can get behind "over the top" humor because it challenges boundaries. I think this is one of the reasons why gallows humor works so well and always stays fresh – because death/disfigurement/disease is a fairly strong boundary, and most of us are always in a sustained state of individual negotiations with it.

So yes, rape jokes can be funny. Gay panic can be funny. Dead baby jokes are funny. Horror movies are especially funny. The ridiculous and hateful shit that people write on 4chan and Reddit and Something Awful is fucking hilarious (as long as you don't take it seriously or it doesn't actually become serious).

Louie works best when it focuses on Louis's two daughters and his struggles as a single dad. This is outside the show, of course, but my favorite Louis CK routine is the Jizanthapus story. This is funny not just because kids are weird and do bizarre and random things that are funny in and of themselves, but also because we as a society don't really talk about the more terrible aspects of raising a child. It's absolutely not acceptable, for instance, to talk about removing liquid feces from your daughter's vagina, but this is a real thing that happens, and it's impossible to discuss without either creating a humorous situation or coming off as a total creeper. In other words, we need to talk about that sort of thing, and we need humor to talk about it. Louie does this type of "acceptable social outlet" humor really, really well – and not just with kids, but also with topics like the stigma surrounding discussions of race and sexuality.

Louie doesn't work when it's being self-indulgent. When it's about an adult white man with a modest amount of money and success not being given something he wants and then getting upset about it, it's just not funny. When it's about how relationships don't work because men are lazy and women end up overcompensating, I don't care. When it's about how men don't listen to women and engage in invasive and stalker-ish behavior, it's kind of a downer.

Anyway, people keep recommending Parks and Recreation. I tried to watch it from the beginning a year or two ago and didn't like it, but apparently one needs to start from the second season. I'm going to give it another shot this weekend. Wish me luck?


Mar. 3rd, 2015 08:36 am
rynling: (Teh Bowz)
I watched one season. And now I'm done, right? I think that was my resolution, right?

I therefore resolve, in the new year, to watch one current tv series from its first season to its most recent.

Okay, fuck. Maybe I'll take a month-long break, then.

The production quality of the show is fantastic, but...

(1) It's almost completely humorless. The three crime scene investigators are the sole exceptions, and they never appear for more than three or four minutes in any given episode. Of the three, Beverly Katz has a bit more screen time in the early episodes, but then the show decides that those extra two minutes of someone not being ALL SERIOUS ALL THE TIME are two minutes too many.

(1.5) Actually, now that I think about it, the special effects are pretty funny. The totem pole of human corpses on the beach is especially hilarious, and I don't use that word lightly. It's also cool when Hannibal has one of his dinner guests eat human flesh. Maybe those things are not supposed to be funny, though?

(2) It's kind of stupid. Will Graham is supposed to be a super-genius, but then he's hallucinating and having blackouts, so instead of taking a few days off work to go to the fucking doctor he's like, Naw just give me a gun I'll be fine. Sure, Hannibal messes with his diagnosis, but honestly, if you're seeing hallucinations, you probably need to get a second opinion! It's like, Dude! You work for the government; you have good insurance! Or at least hit up one of your many doctor friends for advice! Or check WebMD? Will is supposed to be socially awkward and live in a cabin in the woods or some shit, but presumably he has internet access on his phone. I also don't get why none of the Very Smart People in the show suspect Hannibal. He has freakishly specific medical knowledge, he has insider information about every single murder, and he was at the scene of every single crime. And all of his patients end up flipping out and attempting murder! But there is nothing suspicious about him because, I don't know, he has an accent? Why does no one in this show think or behave like a normal person? I can suspend disbelief for a two-hour movie, but it's harder to maintain this suspension over the course of thirteen fifty-minute television episodes.

(3) I don't think the show's writers or producers have ever been to the East Coast. Will Graham is supposed to live in Wolf Trap, an unincorporated satellite community of Vienna, Virginia, which is on the north side of Fairfax County, which is famously the single wealthiest and most developed county in the United States. (It's where I work, but I can't afford to live there.) There are golf courses and Super Target parking lots in Vienna, but not huge open fields with little cabins. Hannibal lives in Baltimore, which is a two-hour drive north of Fairfax County if there are no traffic conditions, road construction, or weather-related complications, which never happens. Since there's no public transportation between Fairfax and Baltimore, Will would have to get on I-66, the second worst highway in the United States, and then get on I-495, the absolute worst highway in the United States. During the afternoon and early evening, it can take more than four hours to drive from Fairfax to Baltimore, and then you have to deal with shitty Baltimore traffic and road conditions (the city is broke and doesn't maintain its infrastructure, true story). In other words, Will can't just jump up and go to Baltimore to visit Hannibal whenever he wants to, and it makes zero fucking sense for him to do so. And then, in the last episode of the first season, Will and Hannibal drive from Baltimore to Minnesota in one night? That shit takes at least twenty consecutive hours, and that's if you're peeing into the seat of your car.

In conclusion, this show looks pretty but takes itself way too seriously and doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Gillian Anderson should maybe take a rain check on producing Hannibal and go work on Ghostbusters instead.
rynling: (Default)
I try to stay informed about popular television series, but I have trouble actually watching them.

I'm not an "I don't own a tv" hipster, because I need something to play video games on, and I subscribe to basic cable, because cable+internet is for some reason (advertising subsidies?) cheaper than internet alone, but I have to force myself to sit still long enough to make it through even a single episode of any show on tv, even if I'm watching it on the PlaySation Netflix app or broadcasting it from my laptop. American television is just so cheesy and poorly produced...

That being said, you can't tell people that you only "watch" television through blog posts and articles on Jezebel. I therefore resolve, in the new year, to watch one current tv series from its first season to its most recent.

Sherlock is my darling precious baby and doesn't count. I watch Adventure Time and Arrested Development compulsively, so those don't count. Nature and science programs don't count, because I watch them for work. Anime, which I consume like candy (sparingly but with great relish), doesn't count. Although I haven't seen it and probably should, The Legend of Korra also doesn't count, because I don't know anyone offline who watches it.

I'm thinking... Hannibal? Non-fandom people like that show, right?

My brother recommends House of Cards, which apparently is not only good but also watched by my conservative middle-aged aunts. Since these aunts are embodiments of the platonic ideal of a non-fandom person, perhaps the show will serve my purposes if I become too fannishly attached to Hannibal.


rynling: (Default)
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