Tag Archives: adolescence

Hermione Granger and the Patriarchal Dress Code

I had planned a post on egalitarianism for this week, but Christina’s poignant essay on Monday gave me pause.    This is less a response than a musing along similar/related themes.

As some of you know, I worked as a semi-professional costumer/designer for several years.  After a heart-wrenching amount of internal debate I have decided not to make it my career choice, although gifs like this  make me regret the decision.   As a costume designer, as an aspiring “obscenely polished” corporette (:-P), and as a pseudo-Orthodox Jewess (I call myself shomeret mitzvoth or observant), I think about clothing and appearance roughly 870,053 times a day.   More if I’m at a theatrical performance or at synagogue on the High Holidays…

The HP headline is not that relevant here.  Like every female bookworm with bushy hair in the past decade, I always assumed Hermione Granger was written about me.  During freshman year of college, the girls on my hall who Sorted everyone in my dorm decided I was Molly Weasley, which is much more accurate.  (Don’t. Mess.)   But Hermione is a fashion-awkward brown-nosing do-gooder, just like my teenage self.

Every outfit a conscious decision

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Why I’m Boycotting Season 3: Confessions of an Ex-Gleek

The following post contains all of my relevant feelings about Glee.  As of September 2011, I do not anticipate blogging about this show again.  Ryan Murphy done me wrong one time too many.   I would never command anyone to stop watching a show, but I don’t think it deserves any more of my energy.   I have been known to get literally upset during in-person Glee arguments before, and it was time for me to call it quits for my own sanity.   I welcome your comments, but you are not going to change my mind. 

Friends, Romans, countrymen, I must get this off my chest:

I am an ex-Gleek.

Given my unabashed love for all things Broadway, you shouldn’t be surprised.  I also love high school dramedies, goofy pop covers, and Darren Criss.   Really, it’s no wonder it took me until “Rumors”  (Season 2 Episode 19, The One Where That Blonde Guy Is Poor) to give up in a huff.  I actually haven’t even seen the return of Jesse St. James (Jonathan Groff) except for the “Rolling In The Deep” clip.   And I don’t even care.

Those of you who have always been feminists or annoyed by this show are no doubt wondering what took me so long.  Those of you who are obsessed with this show are no doubt wondering why I’m a humorless, self-righteous witch.   That’s fine.   I’m pretty used to straddling that divide.  :-p

The thing is, Glee had so much potential.   The first half of Season One was witty, irreverent, campy, and GOOD.  It was deliberately making fun of not just High School Musical but all the teen dramas that had come before it as well as all those Inspirational Teacher films like Freedom Writers.  (BTW, I hear that’s a decent movie, but the book was boring. Stand and Deliver is 1000 times more interesting.)   It seems pretty clear it was originally intended for adults, not high schoolers.   Back then it didn’t matter that half the cast looked 25 or there were too many people to keep track of.  Glee was like that sarcastic gay dude you skipped classes senior year with, the one who taught you how to smoke cigarettes and hold your liquor and could do a flawless Barbra impersonation at the drop of a hat.*

*My sarcastic gay friend was straightedge, and so was I.

Thing is, Glee got popular and Ryan Murphy got self-involved.   Reportedly that’s happened on his previous shows as well.   It stopped being about clever cruelty and cute covers and started being about BEING GLEE.   The writing got schizophrenic and the guest stars started rolling In.  Also, they started doing After School Specials that were neither clever nor properly moral-ed.  I maintain that the only two guest stars who were worth it are Kristin Chenoweth as April Rhodes and John Stamos as Emma’s Hot Dentist Husband.   And you’ll notice both of them had actual character arcs.   Gwyneth Paltrow doesn’t count because she’s awful.  Actually awful.  What’s the point of singing Cee-Lo Green if you’re going to do the radio edit?

Basically, when the show started really sucking I started noticing all of the -isms going on.  They’d always been there under the surface (or maybe openly in the name of satire), but Fox is the channel that has the Simpsons and Family Guy, so for a while I accepted it as part of the package with my primetime Broadway entertainment.

Then, “Blame It On The Alcohol” (Season 2 Episode 14) happened.

It is actually surprising how long it took me to find a full version of this scene:

Fangirl Reponses

Yes, he is.

-In Which I Talk About This At Length, With Video, For The Last Time

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Nick Jonas: brooding auteur and future leading man

I know this isn’t the promised “Sleazy” analysis.  Deal.

Confidential to caelestis albinus bibaculus: this one’s for you, kid.

Boy, am I glad he’s not engaged.  #stopreadingthoserumorsLadyG  #itsbadforyourhealth

Congratulations to Tara Rubin Casting; you may have just scored the biggest hat trick* of your career.    After all of the media types have finished blogging about this, please take the week off.  You deserve it.    (As a fangirl tangentially in the industry, I’d like to add: OMG CAN I WORK UNDER YOU????)

Those of you who don’t stalk Broadway.com might not know what I’m referring to.   Here, have some links from reputable sources in the lamestream media:

http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2011/09/07/nick-jonas-to-star-in-how-to-succeed-in-business-without-really-trying/

http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/09/07/nick-jonas-will-star-in-how-to-succeed-on-broadway/

And one excited link from fan media, just ’cause:

http://www.hypable.com/misc/2011/09/07/nick-jonas-to-follow-dan-radcliffe-darren-criss-in-how-to-succeed-starring-role/

*Tara Rubin has signed three talented young heartthrobs of similar coloring and build to the starring role in a Broadway revival within months.   This thing is already a box-office juggernaut for its tax bracket.  Every tweenmag is probably “hiring” another 5 PR interns right now just to track her movements.  They should give out casting awards.

What the Media’s Saying and Why I Disagree

The role of J. Pierrepont Finch, a window cleaner who rises through the ranks of the World Wide Wicket Company, calls for singing, dancing and, of course, acting. “The score is amazing, the music is absolutely incredible,” Jonas said. Perhaps because of the scope of the role, Jonas said that “I’m considering it my first Broadway experience.”  — WSJ

The WSJ arts analysis has always been written by and for Old White Suburbanites, most of whom seem to have definite tastes but not a whole lot of industry knowledge or industry-common sense.  Pre-Murdorch-takeover, I’d be inclined to believe that he actually said this, but check out what the NYT wrote (and what I already knew to be true):

Years before he was a teen pop heartthrob, Nick Jonas made his Broadway debut as the youngsters Little Jake in “Annie Get Your Gun,” Chip in “Beauty and the Beast,” and Gavroche in “Les Miserables” — three roles he credited for developing his voice for his band, the Jonas Brothers. The acting bug stayed with him, though, and he took the supporting role of the love-smitten revolutionary Marius in the London production of “Les Miserables” last year.

Yeah, somebody involved with the WSJ piece lied, and I don’t think it was Nick.   Although maybe they took his quote waaaay out of context.

ETA:  WHOAH, did not watch the end of that video before I posted it.  NSFW, guys.  I can’t believe the same Disneylebrity who used to wear a chastity ring was OK with this.  Wonder if all the tweenyboppers picked up on what she’s doing.

I fully believe this boy has the chops to succeed.  If you love Broadway, get over your (deserved) anti-JoBro bias.   Talented Jonas has always been talented, and he’s about to leave Slimy Jonas and Married Jonas behind in the dust.   Good riddance.

i’m saving my pithy remarks for the rest of the analysis;  click here.

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Collected Thoughts on The Hunger Games, Book 1: Team Katniss All The Way

first written 8/4/11,  edited a bunch of times.  technically beta-ed by Alice.

There is so much to talk about regarding The Hunger Games trilogy that this post is no more than a list of several themes that interest me in the first book.  Because July turned into the month of Easy A and I don’t want that to happen again, I am currently planning ONLY ONE other post on this series, at least for now*.  I won’t internet-publish it until I’ve finished rereading the remaining two books, which will take a while.   When the first movie comes out in March 2012 I will absolutely review it here, in sha’allah.

*Or perhaps one review post per book?  Vote in the comments.

This post only focuses on Book 1 because that’s the one I reread most recently, in 4 hours with almost no breaks.  I was really gratified to realize that it’s still an amazing read.  By no means is it the best YA novel out there (for 2009 or of all time), but it’s still really, really good.   Yes, Suzanne Collins jumped aboard the Dystopia bandwagon, but she did it better than most people — arguably, even better than Cormac McCarthy in The Road.   (COME AT ME, BRO.)    Book 1 (also called The Hunger Games, which is annoying) is definitely the best of the three, no question.

I’ll do my best to avoid huge spoilers, but just take a weekend afternoon to read it already. This post will be waiting when you get back.

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Exploring the Obvious Star Vehicle: The Unexpected Charm of “Sonny With A Chance” (1/2)

That’s a lot of tags, huh?   Well,the Disney Channel is pretty frickin’ complicated, even though it might not seem like it on the surface. Go ahead and skip this week if DisneyCorp makes you irrationally angry or something, but over here at Wednesday Art Criticism Central we’re too school for cool and are gonna talk about a fascinating television show for tweens, “Sonny With A Chance.”

I discovered SWAC last summer and watched most of season 1 and the sneak previews/whatever on YouTube during the off days of my incredibly draining internship.   Mostly because Sterling Knight is attractive, let’s be honest.  But that’s not why I stayed.  (There are, after all, 21 episodes in season 1: that’s  XXX minutes!)

This is not a fangirl tumblr, it’s a Srs Blog.  So I have restrained myself from posting 100 pictures of Sterling Knight in various cocksure poses and tagging this entry things like:  Sterling Knight I like your face; Sterling Knight is sexy; you can be my Knight any day; notice me Horton (big points for getting this reference, you nerd); Team Sterling; etc. Do not think that this is because I have any shame about my, uh, appreciation for this boy young man.*  No, it’s simply that I think the rise and fall of SWAC is fascinating separately from My Man Sterling here, although most of the Internet agrees that the show succeeded largely because he carried most of the dramatic weight on his lovely, lovely shoulders.   OK, OK, I’ll stop….

*For the Record:  He is legal and so am I.   Stop judging.   This will never happen, which is totally not the point of internet obsessions.   Go back to reading your Elitist Blawgs and pontificating on the use of Wittgenstein to predict the Dow Jones next month.

FIRST THINGS FIRST

If you’ve never seen a Disney Channel live-action television show for tweens, you probably have good taste and relatively in-tact eardrums.  Saturday Night Live has never been as funny as it thinks it is, but this clip is actually perfect:

My apologies to the international readers (hi, Chatulim!); Hulu is almost certainly the only option for viewing this one.  And let’s not talk about Raven-Symone here; girl absolutely deserves her own post.  (Her new show on ABC family is equally fascinating!)

Here’s the Theme Song for SWAC Season 1, which tells you all of the important context for the show, in solid cartoon theme song fashion.

And HERE is the best moment of the series, in which:  SPOILER ALERT the two love interests finally get somewhere with All That Sexual Tension. END SPOILER  Don’t skip this clip unless you were already planning to marathon the show; I saw this clip way out of order and it didn’t ruin anything.  And because it’s a Disney show, there is no touching.

Sterling did all the acting in that scene, didn’t he?  Demi’s not awful here (and she’s miles better than how she started out), but it’s really his charm as Chad Dylan Cooper that locks down the scene and creates fangirls across the globe.

(If you want to know her answer, you need to YouTube it yourself.  The 2-episode arc is called Falling for the Falls.   And kudos to the writers for not going the cliche route and HUGE KUDOS for Sterling for rocking his response to her response like A Real Boy would.)

is he really going out with her? + another 1000 links

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The Troubling Feminism of Teen Fantasy Films: Exploring the Erotic Empowerment of Easy A (1/2)

Due to (positive) personal life circumstances, I am very behind on my blogging for the week – I still owe Laz and CD comments on both of their eloquent posts, not to mention responding to the Beyoncé comments. I have a lot to say about the feminist issues this movie raises, so I will definitely be returning to this topic at a later date. Please consider this part 1 of at least 2 posts on Easy A.

I was excited about this movie from the minute I first heard about it last year. As a female, heteronormative pop-culture-consumer only three years out of adolescence, how could I not be? Plus, quite separately from the feminist glee, I appreciate a good literary joke, especially about something as boring as The Scarlet Letter. (Note: I do not consider all high school assigned novels boring.)

I am glad to report that Easy A lived up to my moderately high expectations. This movie could not have succeeded without Emma Stone’s charisma and endearingly clumsy grace, and they were very, very lucky to cast her. I hope she has a long, successfully feminist career in movies. Lord knows the industry needs more like her.

I would also like to compare Easy A to Juno, another well-made feminist teenage fantasy. Many reviewers before me have no doubt connected the two, but probably not in the way that I do. The movies are alike in tone – the irreverent, self-aware attitude of the 21st-century teenager – and in female empowerment – exploring and encouraging the sexuality of young women. The moral and social conclusions the feminist viewer can draw from them, however, are very different. More on this will have to go in the next post. Extra credit if you can figure out what conclusions I draw from Juno before I write them.

LINK TO SOURCE: YOUTUBE TRAILER


 

-HERE BE RELATIVE SPOILERS, FOLKS

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