As laid out in the first-ever Evan Yeong Literary Awards, the purpose of these blog posts has been to provide a retrospective of the books read in the past year. Typically these have been written and published in January, but here we are. Better late than never, as I always say.
This is the first of these awards to be written during my relatively new career in publishing. While I wouldn’t say I have a strong understanding of the ins and outs of what’s hot in the industry, I certainly have a healthier grasp of things, especially compared to past years when I had none whatsoever.
The other notable difference is that the list of books read has been censored in part, due to a number of the books having been unsolicited manuscripts that I was asked to read during my time as an Editorial Intern at Penguin Random House Canada. A handful were also unpublished manuscripts or ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies) and have been marked as such. You can check out a full list [with the exact dates of when I read each one] at this link.
ALMOST AS COMPLEX AS THEIR NAMESAKE
Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Aslan
Those who aren’t as familiar with the works of C.S. Lewis should know that “Aslan” is the name of the Judeo-Christian-God-stand-in of that author’s Narnia series. The lion is a complex figure, embodying a dichotomy of a being that is “isn’t safe” while also “good”. Aslan himself is a likewise complicated man, having been raised Muslim, converted to Christianity in his teens, then back to Islam, a faith he continues to practice, and did during the writing of this book. A fascinating fact for both believers and nonbelievers alike is his statement that whether or not he was the son of God, the Nazarene definitively performed miracles.
SHOULD HAVE WON THE 2017 GILLER PRIZE
Brother by David Chariandy
One of many short, powerful works of fiction that I read this year, Brother is as unpretentious and beautiful a novel as you’re likely to find, and a worthy contender for Canada’s loftiest and most coveted literary prize. Shining a spotlight on Scarborough in the 90s, an area that I have (recently) shamefully joked about only “technically being Toronto”, this book would have served as a reminder of the real life stories that are overlooked and underheard.
The actual winner of the 2017 Scotiabank Giller Prize was Michael Redhill’s Bellevue Square, which I read the ARC of. Brother was longlisted. Continue reading
Posted in art, Canada, Christianity, Comedy, food, Islam, literature, race, relationships, religion, review, science, sex, writing
Tagged An Ocean of Minutes, Anonymous, Beauty Queens, Blink, books, brother, David Chariandy, E. V. Cunningham, Evan Yeong Literary Awards, Horns, horror, Joe Hill, Joey Comeau, Joy Kogawa, Libba Bray, literature, Malagash, Michael Pollan, novel, Obasan, race, relevant, Reza Aslan, romance, satire, Ted Dekker, The Botany of Desire, The Case of the One-Penny Orange, The Incest Diary, Thea Lim, Zealot
Way back in early 2012 I posted a three-part series about two sitcoms that had premiered the previous fall. Covering 2 Broke Girls‘ and New Girl‘s respective casts, styles of humour, and approaches to race, these posts exist as a window into their first seasons as well as an unfortunate snapshot of some embarrassingly unrefined writing from yours truly [with some unrefined opinions as well, as my perspective on Morgan Freeman and Black History Month has certainly shifted since then].
All credit where it’s due, both have come a long way since their inceptions, and in generally positive ways. While not shying away from their trademark “classy-dirty” style of comedy, 2 Broke Girls eased off of the racist humour and began giving their secondary cast members more screen time and character development. New Girl had Hannah Simon’s Cece join the primary cast, with Damon Wayans Jr. even returning for a lengthy stint after his departure following the pilot. I feel fairly confident in saying that neither show every truly dipped in quality, which is saying a lot for the medium and genre they share. I would even go so far as to say that both managed to improve with each passing season.
Now, in 2017, there were a few weeks where the fate of these two sitcoms was in question. To address them consecutively…
2 Networkless Girls?
After months of reviews in which I mused on the future of the show I finally penned a post in April asking “Is 2 Broke Girls Cancelled?”. It has since garnered more comments than anything else on this blog. In it I catalogued what the creators and industry insiders had to say about its future, as well as my personal opinion as someone who has reviewed 101 episodes of the show. I felt like, as someone who stuck with 2 Broke Girls longer than the contributors to its very own wiki even did I was allowed some say.
It was Deadline that pulled back the curtain on the fact that CBS was airing a sitcom that was produced for Warner Bros. That same outlet also broke the news that the network had axed 2 Broke Girls. CBS scheduling director Kelly Kahl is quoted as saying that, as far as she knows:
“it was a creative decision more than anything else. It was not a show we own but we picked up (new comedy series Me, Myself & I and By The Book) from Warner Bros. So I don’t think it was a business decision, I think it was creatively we felt it was time.”
It’s noted that the show made Warner Bros. a very significant amount of money per episode. In spite of being a key players in their weekday lineup, CBS appears to be searching for something else they can wholly own, distribute, and profit from. Kahl even says in the same breath as “was not a show [they owned]” that it was “a creative decision”, but as with all art it comes down to profits. Continue reading
Posted in Comedy, relationships, television, writing
Tagged 2 Broke Girls, Beth Behrs, cancellation, CBS, comedy, Fox, Kat Dennings, New Girl, relationship, renewal, Renewed, reviews, sitcom, TV, writing
Let’s get right to business here, folks.
I’m sure most of you are aware that, last Monday, Late Show host Stephen Colbert joked about Trump’s mouth being Vladimir Putin’s “cock holster.”
This prompted outrage among many conservatives, and lead to the Twitter hashtag #fireColbert, along with calls to boycott CBS advertisers. Today, the FCC (Federal Communications Commission, for our non-American readers) announced it was starting an investigation into Colbert’s joke, “following up on complaints” of obscenity/indecency/profanity. As much as that sucks, it’s not the FCC I want to call up to the dock today. It’s the folks who got them involved.
Conservatives (who might accidentally stumble across this blog) – let me address y’all directly:
Many of you have cited that the joke was homophobic:
I gotta ask ya, Conservatives –
– since when do you give a **** about homophobia?
A sizeable chunk of the past twenty years has been dedicated to the battle to stop gay marriage, which was – to hear you talk at least – the breaking of the seventh seal. I mean seriously, we have had millions and millions of dollars and countless work-hours poured into this battle. Gays were, as you once claimed, destroying the moral fabric of the nation with the indecent and immoral behavior. To sanction it as a nation was to spit in the face of God!
Unlike rejecting refugees, widows, orphans, and the poor, of whom the Bible makes absolutely no mention.
Posted in advertising, America, bizarreness, celebrity, Comedy, government, internet, language, lgbt, media, morality, news, politics, television
Tagged #fireColbert, Barack Obama, CBS, censorship, Donald Trump, FCC, gay, homophobia, homophobic, homosexuality, Obama, political correctness, Putin, quote, stephen colbert, Trump, Twitter
Look, at this point pretty much everything is pointing towards 2 Broke Girls not getting a Season 7. I have a Google Alert set up for any related news, and week after week I’m sent articles tracking its flagging viewership and overall ratings. At 4.6 million, last month’s “And the Alley Oops” marks the smallest audience the show has ever had throughout the course of it airing. What’s more, at the time of this writing CBS still has yet to renew the sitcom for its 2017 fall lineup.
With all of that being said, and this very likely being the penultimate episode, I’m definitely realizing very late in the game that this show is all about Ms. Caroline Channing.
It’s an odd prospect to consider given how much the sitcom has focused on Kat Dennings’ Max Black. Dennings objectively has the larger personality and star power, given her minor role in the Thor franchise. Considering how much 2 Broke Girls has doubled down on their crass humour and one-liners, Max shares the title role but commands a larger portion of the spotlight. So what do I mean when I say it’s really all about Caroline? Continue reading
Posted in Comedy, money, review, television, writing
Tagged 2 Broke Girls, And the Rock Me on the Dais, Beth Behrs, Bobby, Candy Andy, Caroline, CBS, characters, Current Total, Disney, funny, Han, Kat Dennings, Matthew Moy, Max, movie, New Total, press junket, relationship, review, Rock Me Amadeus, S6E21, Sophie
I mentioned not too long ago that chances are Season 6 of 2 Broke Girls will be 22 episodes. That means that “And the Alley-Oops” is the antepenultimate installment, and you would hope that at this point the showrunners would begin lining things up in preparation for the finale. Nope, this is just an episode about bowling.
Caroline and Bobby have some mild conflict, but even it describing it that way feels hyperbolic. Max is very much a footnote to the episode, and on the outskirts the rest of the diner gang get up to their own light shenanigans. In other words it’s pretty par for the course, as 2 Broke Girls has been lately, but at Episode 20 we should expect a little more. Continue reading
Posted in Comedy, relationships, review, sports, television, writing
Tagged 2 Broke Girls, And the Alley-Oops, baby, Beth Behrs, bowling, Caroline, CBS, Christopher Gorham, conflict, Frank, gremlin, Han, Jonathan Kite, Kat Dennings, Matthew Moy, Max, Oleg, relationship, review, S6E20, Sophie