Fan Girl Woes

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Anyone who has made a cursory glance at some of my blogs knows I’m a feminist.  More specifically a feminist who loves Supernatural.

My spouse pointed this out when I was watching a YouTube video that was simply guest stars talking about being on the show.  He wasn’t wrong.

Two shows I’ve been wanting to see for a long time are “Kings of Con” about two Supernatural actors on the convention circuit.  The other show is “Con Man” and has Alan Tudyk.  I loved Firefly (who didn’t, other than Fox?) and have long loved Alan Tudyk.  My short review of both:
Kings of Con is the funnier and more enjoyable series for me, but that is in large part because I’m not a fan of poop and Alan Tudyk really enjoys poop jokes that just make me gag.  Con Man is also a little more mean-spirited in general because the titular character is such an ass as to be almost irredeemable.  Both shows had me laughing out loud, by myself at least once an episode, so they are both enjoyable and worth the time, but with Con Man I did take breaks to watch things a little less dark.

I will say that one of the episodes of Con Man that appealed to my dark sense of humor was a musical version of  Of Mice and Men that the main character is forced into performing by Lou Ferrigno (who wrote it, of course).  The songs are horrifyingly funny – especially the recurring melody and line “Turn around and bang!” which had my spouse and I laughing in a horrified kind of way.  When Con Man is funny it’s hilarious.

Meanwhile, Kings of Con is a funnier show all around, in part because of the dynamic between the two leads, Rob Benedict and Rich Speight.  They are funny and have great bantering chemistry.  They also have a regular cast of characters that round things out in a wonderful way.  The show stealer for me was Kim Rhodes as Sue, who is so funny and sarcastic and badass.  Her lines almost always cracked me up the most.  “When I said go fuck yourself, this isn’t what I meant,” had me laughing so hard I had to pause the show.

Kings of Con is a show I would definitely watch again.

Kings of Con also has a show, Kings of Conversation which is the actors in the show talking about the show.  I definitely won’t be watching Kings of Conversation again.

I really wished I hadn’t watched it to begin with.  For the longest time, I simply wouldn’t watch actors I liked in interviews.  My best example of this is when I was watching BtVS a lot and I really liked Seth Green.  Saw him on the Daily Show one night where dude was so high he could barely talk.  I know that celebrities are human beings and I make a ton of allowances for that, but seeing someone incoherently giggle through an interview is a bummer.  I tried to write it off as a fluke, but most of the interviews I’ve seen with him have been disappointing at best.

Kings of Conversation was a bummer to me as a feminist and I couldn’t really put my finger on why it bothered me so much until the last episode.  The last episode all of these actors I would love to talk to or hear their stories were in the audience – Briana Buckmaster (Sheriff Donna Hanscom), Ruth Connell (Rowena), Julie McNiven (Anna), Alaina Huffman (Abaddon)and other women from the show I’d love to hear.

I get the main thought here – Supernatural is pretty testosterone heavy show with leading “lumbersexual” men as main characters.  The fans do tend to like men and some beefcake-y-ness (is too a word) in general, but one of the flaws of Supernatural (that seems to be improving in season 12 with Mama Winchester) is a lack of female characters.  The cool ones tend to get killed off (Charlie!!), which is why I say a prayer for Sheriff Mills and Sheriff Hanscom every night.

Anyway, the idea of these talented women sitting in the audience – some of whom never even got the opportunity to sit at the bar with the boys – just rubbed me the wrong way.  Especially after Lindsay Sloane was on the show.  This poor woman tried so hard to tell what might have been a simple story.  I’ll never know as she was interrupted so much she couldn’t even finish.  She was trying to talk about Jared Padalecki and her in California right when they first started acting, but in a show where the actors are trying to riff and joke, a slight slip-up means story derailment.

Lindsay said, “Fresh off the boat…” and Rich said, “From Texas??” and the laughter and joking from there meant that she had no opportunity to finish the story, not that she could have gotten a word in edge-wise.  This is something every woman I know has experienced at some point in time.  The look on her face of humor at her misspeak, but smiling frustration that she wasn’t going to be able to finish her story as well.  That smiling, fine, I guess I’ll just shut up look is one I recognize too well.  She still commented here and there, but she was mostly silent after this because why keep trying to swim uphill?

She was one of a handful of female guests – Kim Rhodes being the only other one I can even think of at the moment – who actually sat at the bar to talk and joke around with the hosts.

It’s a little thing to bug me so much, but it’s ok.  I can watch and like Kings of Con without having to delve further down the rabbit hole with Kings of Conversation.  But I really wish I hadn’t found out that God and Gabriel have the same inherent dismissal sexism of everyone else.

It’s disappointing.

Supernatural Spinoff Ideas

Supernatural Spin-off ideas better than the backdoor pilot “Bloodlines”

First – almost anything would be better than Bloodlines which was a mess. I’ve wondered a few times if they were forced at gunpoint to make the backdoor pilot so they botched it on purpose. This episode not only wasn’t a good Supernatural episode, but it wasn’t a good pilot. I didn’t give a crap about ANY of the characters. If you are going to make a Supernatural spin-off, at least go with some characters that people already like.  Maybe check the demographics of who is watching in the first place.  We’ve been loyal to the show for going on 12 years, so many of us are older and therefore cool with older characters.

I’ve watched up through the first two episodes of season 12, so I’m sure there are more ideas with the new season, but this is what I’ve come up with so far.  Also, below are light spoilers up through season 11.

Supernatural spin-off ideas:

  • Golem and Adam Bass rebuild the Judah Initiative while fighting threats from the Thule and other supernatural bad things. “My grandfather left me something important. Something only I can do.”
  • Werewolf girl and her adventures as a monster who isn’t monstrous. Can be kind of like The Incredible Hulk as she travels from town to town. Or maybe make every other season a different town, but the general idea of a wanderer werewolf who happens to be good. Bonus points if she meets up with Garth and his werewolf family.
  • From the “Shut Up, Dr. Phil” episodes bring James Marsters and Charisma Carpenter together for a series with these two mercurial witches. Buffy fans alone will tune in to the first season just for nostalgia.
  • Gabriel (who God hinted at re-creating) – this could be a fun kind of show about being careful what you wish for, or just Gabriel running across dicks and then having fun with making them sorry for it. Kind of like Tales from the Crypt, with the just desserts focus.
  • Another character that is currently dead, but has thousands of years of history to play with is Cain and Timothy Omundson is fantastic in the role. I wish he’d been on the show a lot more. He was fantastic.

Series Spin-Off I’d like if Supernatural hadn’t gone all women in refrigerators:

Ellen and Jo hunting – you could make it a monster of the week show, could still have the Supernatural theme of family, and tensions from a mother and daughter hunting things. Also, Ellen was an awesome badass and I miss her.

Charlie Bradbury – This could be another spin-off just following a cool character around while she exists in this world of monsters. I’d love it if she was brought back to life.

Finally, the series spin-off I know will never happen but that I long for with every fiber of my being.

  • Sheriff Jody Mills and Sheriff Donna Hanscum teaming up together to fight monsters, crime, and generally have a good time. The running gag could be the different ways Donna says Jody’s name, “Jods, Jodio, Jo-diddly…”

 

I know there are probably a lot more spin-off ideas from the existing series – what do you think would be a good spin-off?

Mama – A Feminist Horror Flick

We recently went and saw the horror movie Mama with some friends.  Will and I have long thought that part of enjoying movies is managing expectations.  If you go into a movie thinking it will be the greatest movie ever, as one of my friends once heinously and erroneously described Jurassic Park 2, you are going to be disappointed.  When your expectations are so high, there are very few movies that can live up to it.  When you go into a movie with low or no expectations, it is easy to be impressed by the movie you see.  Will and I had no idea what to expect from Mama.  We don’t have cable, we don’t watch television, and other than a subscription to Entertainment Weekly and what streams on Netflix we rarely have any idea when movies are coming out or what they are about.

Going in with no expectations was a really good thing as Mama was a great horror flick.  I am not saying it was a great film or great art or anything like that.  It is a horror movie, it is a popcorn movie, it is entertaining, but it is a flick not a film.

That said, it was a superb flick.  It starts off with a man killing his wife, taking his two daughters on the run with him, and then having a car accident as he drove like the madman he was in the snow.  This accident breaks the glasses of his oldest daughter (as someone who wore glasses from kindergarten on, this is always something I find distressing in films – not being able to see anything but blurry images is spooky in the best of times) and the youngest daughter is still very much a baby.  He takes his children into the woods where he finds a creepy, seemingly abandoned cabin.  He starts a fire in the fireplace, as it is snowy and cold, and then, in tears and clearly unhinged, he pulls out the gun and aims it at his eldest daughters head.  Something in the cabin takes exception to this and kills him before he has a chance to kill his daughter.  The supernatural creature of the film has more of moral compass than this douchebag.  The creature even gives the girls some food.  They start to think of her as Mama.

The opening credits are creepy as hell, too, as they are children’s drawings, but really the drawings of feral children.  They tell the story of how these two little girls lived out in the wilderness, on their own for the next several years, and they are unsettling at best.

The girls are eventually found and the youngest is pretty feral, but the oldest daughter remembers speech fairly quickly and is able to somewhat be integrated back into the real world.  The girls are taken in by their father’s brother and girlfriend.  Their uncle has spent all of his money and time searching for them and clearly cares a great deal about them.  His girlfriend, Anabel, cares a great deal about him and is thus supportive.  Annabel is a great character.  She plays in a band, she rejoices early in the film when a pregnancy test comes up negative, and she is what I would imagine a Riot Grrl grew up to be.  She doesn’t really want to do the whole mom thing, but she does it anyway for many reasons.  One of those reasons eventually becomes her love for the girls.

In discussing the film after seeing it, one of the things that Will brought up is many of the horror elements had been in other movies.  There are the scary bits where something unexpected happens and you scream or jump.  There is a scene where the only light is from a camera, so it is just flashes of bright then darkness which can be used to scary effect.  Many of the scary scenes are not terribly original, but they are put together in a pleasant way, and the story itself is pretty creepy.  There is one scene where the youngest daughter is playing with someone in her room with a blanket.  You see Annabel folding and putting away laundry, and assume she is playing with her sister, then her sister walks by Annabel, and you realize she is playing with Mama.  It is a spectacularly creepy moment in a flick that has tons of creepy moments.

I figured that the uncle would be the hero or main character in the story, but really he is a bit useless.  He gets hospitalized due to the titular antagonist of the film pretty early on in the movie, and while Annabel protests to him that she is not cut out to handle two emotionally damaged and somewhat feral children, because she love shim she takes care of these two kids while he is away.  Annabel is the hero of this story and the antagonist, Mama, is also somewhat heroic.  She kept the children alive in the woods, she loves the children, and she kept their father from killing them.  The sad part is she is also crazy and supernatural, which is never a good combination.

I doubt many people who see Mama are going to think that it is a feminist horror flick.  For me, being raised on horror movies where women were so victimized that they could not even run away from the bad guy without tripping and falling down with a sprained ankle, it is nice to see women as both the protagonist and antagonist.  I also really liked the Scream series of movies for this reason – the women kicked ass.  Annabel isn’t a fool.   She doesn’t trip and fall over her own feet.  When she realizes that the psychiatrist treating the girls knows more about the supernatural entity than she does, she goes to confront him, and steals all of his files without a qualm.  Annabel is badass in a very real, human way.  Meanwhile, the men in the film are either evil or fairly stupid.  Seriously, it is not a good idea to hunt for a supernatural entity alone, in the dark, without telling anyone where you are going – I hated it when they had women doing it and it is not any better having men do it.  I know you need to up the body count but when you do it through character stupidity, it makes me root for the villain.

Even the supernatural entity who the children call Mama is sympathetic when you get her backstory.

The overall story in Mama is a good and creepy one.  There is no gore, there is no nudity.  The main characters are women who are not stupid or useless or screaming or dying horribly.  That alone puts it a step above most other horror flicks.  In talking about the movie with Will, one of the things we both liked is that this is not a revolutionary, feminist movie.  Most people are not even going to notice or care that the main characters are heroic women.  The movie just has the women behave as real people would behave.  Believing that women are real people is pretty feminist, though, so I am giving it that label.