Review, television, Things Happening RN

“ROSEANNE” IS CANCELED

On Tuesday, ABC announced that it would be canceling the reboot of Roseanne after the show’s star, Roseanne Barr, went on a Twitter rant that included a racist remark against Valerie Jarrett, former senior adviser to President Barack Obama, in which Barr compared Jarrett to an ape. Despite tepid headlines calling it “racially charged” or heading into “racial waters,” the remark was just plain racist.

The reaction to it was swift; Wanda Sykes, a consulting producer on the show, announced that she was quitting, Emma Kenney, an actress on the show, Tweeted that she was going to quit. This is after showrunner Whitney Cummings announced last month that she was leaving the show as well.

In a letter, the president of ABC Entertainment Group, Channing Dungey, announced that Barr’s comments were abhorrent and they were canceling her show. Dungey is also the first black American president of ABC.

To talk about this is to talk about how something can be both good and bad at the same time. It is good, categorically, that people had the response to Barr’s comment. It was racist, because Roseanne Barr is racist. It is good that ABC canceled the show, and that people on the show had the reaction they did.

However, Roseanne Barr being racist on Twitter and peddling in racism, bigotry, Islamophobia and conspiracy theories existed before her show was rebooted. Former U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice, who is black, said that Roseanne also compared her to an ape in a tweet. Roseanne also perpetrated the conspiracy theory that Hillary Clinton was running a child sex ring in the basement of a pizza restaurant. That theory led to an armed man entering and threatening the occupants of that restaurant.

ABC did not have a problem with Barr’s past comments, so it’s difficult to assume that this latest remark, even though it is a racist, repugnant comment, was what sent her show over the edge. ABC canceled the show for one reason: because it affected ABC. Without Cummings or Sykes, and with the possibility that several of its actors would leave, the show, and Barr herself, became a financial liability. That is why they canceled the show.

In February 2017, Simon & Schuster dropped Milo Yiannopoulos as a client after acquiring the rights to his book with an advance $255,000. The book deal was tabled after audio surfaced where it appeared Yiannopoulos condoned inappropriate sexual relationships between men and boys. This was decidedly too far for Simon & Schuster, the people signing the same man who was banned from Twitter for inciting racial violence and bullying against Leslie Jones, who called people faggots and derided feminists as “ugly and sexless.” Simon & Schuster did not drop Yiannopoulos because they were offended morally. They dropped him because the bad publicity and optics of keeping him were not worth it. They found worth in him, and subsequently cosigned his words and bigotry, when the benefits of him outweighed the costs.

ABC cosigned Roseanne’s actions because the benefits of her outweighed the costs. When the scales were flipped, they dropped her. It was, and is, business.

This isn’t to say that I don’t think that the people behind these actions, like the executives at Simon & Schuster or Channing Dungey, were not offended by the actions and words of their clients. I think it’s highly likely that they were. But what I’m saying is that everything else, and everything before, they did not have a big enough problem with to stop working with Yiannopoulos and Barr.

I think that there is a place for conservative shows on television, and I think that it’s necessary to have conservative voices in the conversation.  I think it sucks that everyone on the Roseanne show was unceremoniously fired, leaving their jobs and their paychecks in limbo. I think it sucks that Roseanne Barr was given literally a golden opportunity and all she had to do was keep her raging racism barely in check – and she couldn’t even do that.

I think it sucks that the ABC executives who greenlit the show fed into the lie that Roseanne was important because it represented the so-called “silent majority,” white middle-class Republican voters, perpetrating this lie that they are the people who are being marginalized. Losing your status as the only voice can feel like, I’m sure, losing your voice, but that’s not true. Roseanne was not, and is not, the only show that represents white, middle-class Americans. There is, without sounding facetious, countless shows that represent this demographic – The Middle, Bob’s Burgers, Modern Family, The Goldbergs, Family Guy, Fuller House… the list goes on and on.

I understand the push behind reboots; it’s the same reason why I re-watch the same shows over and over against. There is power in the familiar, and there is capital in nostalgia. But the shows being rebooted after remnants, unfortunately, of a time in television where the pre-eminent voices were white, cisgender and straight. What if we put the energy, money and passion that is being directed towards rebooting old shows into creating new ones? What if we created shows that were representations of the present and future of Americans?

The 2016 election uncovered for many Americans the truth of our country: that we are riven with cracks, that we are deeply divided and angry and frightened. I understand the impetus behind rebooting shows like Roseanne, that desire to reach out to different sides of the aisle. But I don’t think Roseanne was the answer. I think the answer is not in encouraging growth from a poisoned root, but in growing something new and wholly its own. There is a way to truthfully and accurately represent what it means to be an American in 2018.

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2018, pop culture, Review, Riverdale CW, television

REVIEW of RIVERDALE Ch.26, “The Tell-Tale Heart”

The devil you know.


Grade: B+

A “capo,” or caporegime, we learned tonight, is someone that does the killing – the dirty work of the boss. It widens the web of guilt, attaching other people to the sins of someone else.

Betty assists her mother get rid of the body of the man who came to the Cooper house, a crime that Jughead and FP will eventually get drawn into. Veronica negotiates with Mayor McCoy on behalf of her father. Archie gets pressured by Agent Adams. All of these tangential people are being drawn into the actions of others, almost against their will.

The energy of the episode catapults off last week’s, where, interestingly, Tall Boy was, in a sense, the capo of Mayor McCoy and Hiram Lodge. Now that Juggie knows that Tall Boy was working at the behest of Hiram, he sends back the head of General Pickens to the Lodges and uncovers the nefarious actions of Mayor McCoy – that the Lodges donated hush money to McCoy while she looked the other way on their business dealings.

What I love is that Jughead is, at his core, trying to do a good thing: stop his friends and family from being evicted. It’s getting overshadowed by, you know, covering up a murder but it’s still super nice! Veronica stops Mayor McCoy from going public of her crimes by threatening to release the information of her affair with Sheriff Keller, which would decimate them, their families and their social standings.

Archie is being pressured more and more by Agent Adams, who wants to get Hiram on tape. Archie uses the newspaper coverage of Papa Poutine’s murder to bring it up to Hiram, but Lodge isn’t budging. And when Archie doesn’t deliver the goods (and purposefully misleads the FBI), Adams goes after Fred with some made-up illegal immigrant worker business.

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Source: The CW // Cheryl was criminally underused this episode.

Upon a second visit to the dead body – wrapped in a rug and deposited in an old pipe – Betty discovers his phone, which show that he has a jealous girlfriend and a thriving drug-dealing career. This disproves my theory that he came to the house as a result of Betty or Chic’s cam-habits, but begs the question: is Chic doing drugs? Or is he involved in the dealing?

Betty cracks and involves Jughead in the cover-up. He, then, involves FP who utilizes his “getting rid of bodies” expertise to dissolve the body. He’s learned from his mistakes covering up Jason’s murder and he won’t be getting caught this time. Is it just me, or did we all gloss over the fact that FP got rid of Jason’s body?

After Archie comes clean to Hiram, that an FBI agent approached him but Archie hasn’t squealed, Hiram’s minion Andre – Hot Andre – comes to collect him for a visit with the boss. As the limo descends into darkness, conveniently scraping spookily against finger-like branches, Archie becomes more and more nervous.

And perched on the edge of a cliff, the river frothing below, is not Hiram Lodge. Instead, framed by liquid sheets of dark hair, Hermione Lodge is “the boss.” It turns out that, as we suspected, Agent Adams was not, in fact, an FBI agent. Instead, he was a test for Archie – to prove his loyalty. And the phrase, “capo,” comes back from the beginning of the episode. Agent Adams was the capo of Hermione. But more interestingly is the role, the active role, Hermione appears to be taking. She is not, perhaps, the capo of her husband. She might be an agent of chaos in her own right.

Archie is confused, and betrayed. However, the test worked: Archie didn’t snitch. But with the steely blackness of Hermione’s eyes, it doesn’t feel like a victory. It feels like a warning: that Archie is not safe, not because of Veronica, not ever.

This is the first time that the Riverdale ragtags didn’t involve the police in something that’s happened, and it marks an unholy shift in the narrative for me. Before, they circumvented the (relatively) hapless law enforcement when they had to, but they still were operating on the side of good. Now, with so many people moving to cover up a murder, and some getting deeper into the pull of mafia, our heroes of Riverdale are taking a distinctly antihero approach.

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Review, Riverdale CW, television

REVIEW of RIVERDALE CH.16, “The Watcher in the Woods”

Riverdale’s residents are playing with fire.


 Grade: A-

Before we get to the Kevin Keller of it all, let’s dive into this episode. Everyone in Riverdale seems to be entering dangerous territory: Archie’s deep in the Lodge lion’s den, Juggie is trying to navigate the gang-riddled waters of Southside High, Alice is facing a dangerous proposition and Kevin’s literally cruising in the woods.

At his new school, Jughead is at ground zero for gang violence and drugs (Jingle Jangle, which is such a stupid name that it veers out of stupid and into acceptable). Because he’s a better and more driven journalist than I’ll ever be (I spent my high school career stalking this one hot guy during free periods) he approaches his English teacher (after learning about Fahrenheit 451) to restart the Red and Black, Southside’s answer to the Blue and Gold.

Also at Southside, Jughead meets Toni Topaz, who I LITERALLY love already. She’s a Serpent as well (everyone cool is a Serpent, I want to be a Serpent). It seems that they’re positioning Toni as a way of complicating Bughead, but I would like to posit another theory. Allegedly Cheryl will be getting a love interest in Season Two. Could she be into Toni? The only man we know she’s had feelings for is her brother, and he’s dead, and also her brother and also dead. I don’t know which is a greater barrier for their love: honestly, it might be the dead thing.

Side note: Toni said, “Have fun in your safe space, snowflake,” to Jughead re the Red and Black. So Trump exists in the same space as Riverdale? Who did everyone in Riverdale vote for?
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Review, Riverdale CW, television

REVIEW of RIVERDALE Ch. 14, “A Kiss Before Dying”

Who is the green-eyed man?


Grade: A(yyyyyyyyy)+

And we’re back! After what feels like the blink of an eye but was actually five months, we’re back in the town of Riverdale. So let’s sip some milkshakes, shake the dust off our pearls and GET BACK TO IT.

Overall, the premiere of season two was BEAUTIFULLY-SHOT (ouch, no pun intended) and brought the drama. It felt a little messy and unfocused, as well as advancing storylines like Juggie’s in a forced way, but it accomplished what all premieres should accomplish – it made me desperate to watch the rest of the season.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. At the end of last season, Archie was clutching his bleeding father to his chest after a lone gunman stormed Pop’s Diner and shot Fred.

Now, Archie is driving like a maniac – he does not have his license, because he is so young (if the show’s absence has made you forget the pure ickiness of Ms. Grundy and Archie) – through the streets of Riverdale while Fred Andrews is turning the inside of their car – and then the hospital steps, hallway and everything else – into a Jackson Pollock painting. A hospital, by the way, whose ‘50s décor did not inspire confidence.

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Source: The CW

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Politics

A TAKE ON THE NORTH KOREA-TRUMP SITCH THAT STARTED LIGHT BUT GOT REAL DARK, REAL FAST

Header photo credit: U.S. Department of Defense 

I can’t decide if Twitter jokes about nuclear war makes me want to laugh or cry, and really that’s the best description I can think of for Twitter – and the internet world in general.

So I’m coming off working my first freelance job, and it was very exciting but a little draining for someone who, until now, has considered wearing pants with zippers to be the greatest triumph of any given day. So I almost considered skipping this, because I knew it would have to be about the whole Trump-North Korea thing and I just wasn’t ready to put on my journalist hat. But then I realized, infusing humor and drama into politics is what I do best. So I’m going to give you a Casual Cool Hip Take on the Trump-North Korea dramz.


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Review, television

REVIEW of RIVERDALE EP. 13, “The Sweet Hereafter”

Better the sweet hereafter than this awful limbo. 


Grade: A-

Giving this episode a high grade because yes it was good but it wasn’t as good as last week. In a similar way to Game of Thrones, the penultimate episode is the most dramatic and the finale serves more to tie up loose ends and set up new storylines.

So what are the storylines being set up for Riverdale Season Two? Well mama, read to find out!

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Source: The CW // I didn’t even know t-shirts could fit that well.

In the aftermath of Clifford Blossom’s suicide, Chief Keller (who is…hot. Have we talked about what a DILF he is?) discovered parcels of heroin packed inside the maple syrup barrels. It seems that the Blossom family business smuggled heroin from Canada into the U.S. Are we not even making our own heroin anymore? What has happened to American manufacturing?!

FP Jones is still in jail for being an accomplice in Jason’s murder and is being pressured into giving any information on Blossom’s heroin distribution. Because, obviously, in the town of Riverdale, only one group can be responsible for drugs—and that’s the Serpents. FP maintains that the Serpents don’t deal in harder drugs, and he refuses to be a snitch even when Keller offers him a plea deal. Damn, son.

To recover and save face from the fact that a pillar of the community murdered his own son and smuggled heroin into the town, Mayor McCoy is throwing all her efforts into the 75th anniversary of Riverdale, the Jubilee, and using it to highlight some of Riverdale’s best and (pardon the irony) brightest—Archie and Betty. Betty, who has psychotic breaks, and Archie, who fucked a teacher. Apparently that ranks higher on the list of Do’s than wearing a beanie, or being Latina. Betty is frustrated. How can Riverdale move forward, she wants to know, if they refuse to acknowledge the past?

Some people in town can’t imagine moving forward. Penelope Blossom is distraught and broken over the loss of her son and husband, and utters, “Maybe your father had the right idea. Better the sweet hereafter than this awful limbo.” The notion of the future, and coming to terms with it, plays heavily into this finale. It makes sense—when all energy is focused on solving something from the past, you are forced to live in the past. And when that’s over, all that energy might cause you to tumble over from the sheer momentum.

Archie and Veronica move forward into their future. Jughead has to switch schools and leans into his Serpent legacy. But Betty refuses to move forward without acknowledge the past—the mayor and the town won’t even talk about how Clifford Blossom did anything; it’s all about the Serpents. So she takes to the true hero of this season—journalism—to write about Riverdale’s need to forgo convenient amnesia. It ends with someone scrawling “Serpent Slut” and hanging a Betty voodoo doll from her locker—but the truth is rarely without cost.

This episode serves to end the awful limbo that this season has been trapped in, by going back to the beginning. Archie and Veronica solidify the passion they felt at first sight. Betty leans into the mantle of journalism her parents had laid out. Alice reveals that she, like Polly, had gone through the cycle of teenage pregnancy—one that ended with a baby boy given up for adoption. Veronica says what we’re all thinking, that that kid must be a 20-something “blonde Adonis” by now. And Cheryl—Cheryl ends this season where she first began.

On Sweetwater River.

After a farewell text to the girls, Cheryl made the journey to the frozen surface of the river. As the gang raced through snow to her, she flung her fists against the ice over and over and over. Her red hair was the only color on the bleached-white landscape. And as she heard the voices of the Sleuthsters, she rose and turned to them just as the ice gave way beneath her feet.

Underwater, she saw a vision of Jason—the bullet-piereced corpse of her brother—and it all became clear. She could go into his embrace and die, or she could finally let him go. And above her, another Hot Redhead shatters bones and sprayed blood as he slammed against the ice. Archie broke it open and dragged the languid body of Cheryl Blossom out. And when she coughed up water, she was halfway towards rebirth.

The other half came later, as she dredged her house in gasoline and set it ablaze. The last chill left her body as she watches Thorn Hill engulf itself in flames.

That entire sequence was probably the best of the entire season, and I still get chills thinking about it.

To move forward, you have to do two things. One, you have to decide to move forward, like Cheryl did. You have to choose life. And two, you have to accept the past.

Betty—after another one of Archie’s “songs”—said as much. “Veronica Lodge is Riverdale. Archie Andrews is Riverdale. But FP Jones is also Riverdale. We banish the truth when it’s too ugly. The truth that Clifford Blossom was also Riverdale. If we don’t face the reality of who and what we are…then what happened to Jason could happen again, or, God forbid, something even worse.”

And as the flames consume Thorn Hill, and Veronica and Archie, and Betty and Jughead “consummate” their relationships, everything seems, for once in Riverdale, seared clean. But when an armed robbery in Pop’s ends in Archie cradling his bleeding father, that cleansing has not scoured every evil from Riverdale.

Riverdale’s Gilded Age of Innocence has been shattered, marked by an “act of violence that was anything but random.”


So that’s it for my recaps. I can’t say I’m not glad that it’s over. Mama’s tired. But hopefully we’ll meet again—when we meet Betty’s hot brother, and Veronica probably DILFy father, and the probably sexy possible-murderer of Fred Andrews, and every other slutty villain in the greater Riverdale-Southside area!

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