Even though I wrote a little over a thousand words last week on my experiences with Doctor Strange [required reading for this blog post] there were a couple of additional criticisms I wanted to level against both that specific film and the industry as a whole. While I covered pretty thoroughly how Asians were poorly represented in Marvel Studio’s latest offering, what I didn’t really touch on was why.
When Diversity Means Painting With All the Colour of the Wind
In the months leading up to the release of Doctor Strange the conversation about the Ancient One’s casting began heating up. With mainstream news outlets picking up on the controversy there were many waiting to hear from the creators themselves, which brings us to the episode of the Double Toasted podcast that guest starred screenwriter C. Robert Cargill.
While his explanations regarding the character have since been championed by those defending the casting decision, even after his rescinding all comments made, and in spite of them being refuted by others, in particular by Shaun of the No, Totally! podcast, what I want to focus on are what he says right after that:
Now if you don’t want to actually listen to him, which I find perfectly understandable, I’ve also transcribed the relevant quote [emphasis added]:
“But when you start to see this film you’ll see that what we were able to do with Kamar-Taj, we made one of the most multicultural films most people have seen in years. Like this film is [. . .] I’m not certain that there’s a single major race that isn’t represented with a speaking role in this film. It allowed us to bring in, even as small characters to build upon later, a lot of characters from the Doctor Strange universe who come from all over the world. We were able to play with a lot of things and it gave us a lot to work with.”
Posted in Asia, film, race, television, writing
Tagged accessible, Ancient One, Asia, asian, authentic, Big Hero 6, black, C. Robert Cargill, casting, Cheo Hodari Coker, Danny Rand, diversity, Doctor Strange, film, Finn Jones, Iron Fist, Japanese, K'un-Lun, Kamar-Taj, Luke Cage, netflix, race, representation, San Fransokyo, Scott Derrickson, screenwriter, showrunner, stereotyping, television, TV, writer, writers' room, writing
So not only has CBS stopped updating the 2 Broke Girls page on their site with advance stills, but this week I was unable to find any trailers uploaded to YouTube to use in my header image. It’s like they don’t want anyone online to get excited about this show anymore.
Which is actually a darn shame, since this week’s episode was pretty good! Not only did we have some genuine character progression with one of the two leads [it’s always Max, please never put your money on Caroline] but there were some really solid jokes! I’m not even mildly disappointed that the actual events that occurred only barely mirror the synopsis that the Google search up above provided; it would’ve been nice to see Earl take centre stage more, but I enjoyed 2 Broke Girls this Monday, a rare enough occurrence to invalidate most other criticisms.
It’s a surprisingly plot-heavy installment, with two of the threads even tying together. As the header image indicates Earl’s past lover Pilar, who absconded from Cuba to the States, is in town to see the sights. On Max’s end Randy texted her, not a picture of his junk as per uje but letting her know that he has a layover in Newark. While Caroline is over-the-moon excited about a rom-com staple come to life, her best friend is hesitant to make any big moves at the risk of embarrassing herself. Cue, in the last third of the episode, Earl telling Pilar that he’s just not up to it, and the Cuban escapee responding that that’s life: nothing risked, nothing gained. Continue reading
Posted in Comedy, review, television, writing
Tagged 2 Broke Girls, And the Rom-Commie, baby, Barbara, beef sauteed with peas and onions, Beth Behrs, cake, Caroline, CBS, Dessert Bar, Earl, Friends, Jonathan Kite, Kat Dennings, Max, meat, Oleg, Olga, Pilar, Randy, review, S6E6, Sophie, The One Where Ross Got High, trifle
I am invested in Max and Caroline’s relationship.
While it’s no secret that reviewing 2 Broke Girls is far from my favourite task for the week, I do care about how the show deals with the pair at its core. Strongly in its favour is the fact that the conflict that tends to arise between people of vastly different socioeconomic backgrounds is literally the premise of my favourite Arthur episode. For as much as this CBS sitcom is built on the friendship Max and Caroline share, what actually keeps both it and the narrative moving forward is the two butting heads. That said, what difference arises between the two titular leads this week?
Caroline doesn’t like having fun.
Which, to be fair, is sort of true. A much more accurate statement might be: Caroline doesn’t like having fun compared to Max. Though even then the definition of fun would need to be reduced to general debauchery [drinking, drugs, premarital sex, the sorts of activities your parents didn’t want you doing in your teens]. Having just typed out that stipulation it still doesn’t feel entirely accurate, since just last season we had the former heiress knocking back multiple tiny bottles of hotel liquor. Just trying to lay out the conflict in this episode is proving really difficult and I’m not even 300 words into this review. Continue reading
Posted in Comedy, family, relationships, review, television, writing
Tagged 2 Broke Girls, And the College Experience, baby, Barbara, Beth Behrs, buzzkill, Caroline, CBS, College, Dessert Bar, fun, Jonathan Kite, Kat Dennings, Max, Oleg, parenting, review, S6E5, Sophie
First thing’s first, I’d like to apologize for how poor the quality of these header images has been lately. For some reason the 2 Broke Girls photos page on the CBS site hasn’t uploaded any new preview galleries since the premiere, so here we are, having to screenshot teasers on YouTube.
With that out of the way, this episode bears the distinction of having the A-plot revolve around characters who aren’t Max and Caroline. Instead the primary conflict revolves around the baptism of Sophie and Oleg’s daughter Barbara. In particular Oleg’s mother, Olga [Mercedes Ruehl], who deems the titular duo as being unfit godparents, which really complicates the ceremony actually taking place.
So little actually ends up happening that the twenty-some minutes feel shorter than most weeks. Given that Earl is a Universal Life minister the diner gang decides to do the baptism in secret, which leads to the brief diversion of Caroline stealing holy water from the church. After the christening Olga appears, is angry for half a second, and ultimately blesses her son and accepts her daughter-in-law.
Having summed up “And the Godmama Drama” what more is there to say in this review? Continue reading
Posted in Comedy, family, religion, review, television
Tagged 2 Broke Girls, And the Godmama Drama, baby, baptism, Barbara, Beth Behrs, Caroline, CBS, Dessert Bar, fact-check, godmother, Jonathan Kite, Kat Dennings, Max, Oleg, Olga, Randy, review, S6E4, Sophie
Even given the premiere’s botched opening it’s still a bit surprising that we return to see Max and Caroline’s Dessert Bar as having been open for a full week. As the girls’ most recent attempt at finally making it big I expected there to be more excitement surrounding it, yet we find that they’re still working at the diner due to their business having trouble taking off.
It’s strange to type the words “still working at the diner” since that’s such a core aspect of the show. All of CBS’s promotional material for 2 Broke Girls has them wearing their waitress uniforms and at this point doing away with them would be like having Howard Wolowitz in anything other than a turtleneck, or Barney Stinson without a suit. The fact that the premiere would even tease them leaving their mustard yellow threads behind was jarring enough, however shortlived it was. Having them hint at moving away from the status quo in consecutive episodes may just be a coincidence, but if it shows up again next Monday something has to be up. It’s not to say that I expect the show to make any drastic moves right out the gate, but there does appear to be a testing of the waters.
All that being said, the A-plot of “And the 80’s Movie” isn’t anything to write home about. Seeking upscale clientele for the Dessert Bar they hit up the chicest spot in Williamsburg where they’re bound to find “models, gays, rich guys that want to have sex with models . . . and gays.” While Caroline starts rubbing shoulders with the aforementioned Max find a kindred spirit in a snarky female bouncer. This in turn leads to said bouncer showing up to the Dessert Bar with a crowd of rowdy, boisterous women who also happen to be members of NYC’s Elite Ladies’ Underground Arm Wrestling . . . Association [I’m not sure what the group is officially titled, they never say]. This of course is the opposite of what they wanted, and it’s up to them to figure out how to get them out of there. Continue reading
Posted in Comedy, review, television, writing
Tagged 2 Broke Girls, And the 80's Movie, arm wrestling, baby, Beth Behrs, Big Reba, Caroline, CBS, clientele, Dessert Bar, Kat Dennings, Max, Oleg, Randy, review, S6E3, sexting, Sophie
I’ll be the first to admit that I could broaden my scope regarding how I engage with current events. It’s much to my chagrin that my primary news sources are Facebook’s trending sidebar and whenever my grandfather changes the channel to CP24, in that order. That said, every now and then one of the comic book news sites I visit daily will offer me a glimpse of what’s happening outside that bubble.
In the case of this topic, I was informed not of what actually happened but of the response to it, days after the fact. The “event” in question took place during Miley Cyrus’s interview with Variety, which as the title would suggest was largely focused on her role on The Voice, Donald Trump, and coming out. To be more specific, it was the following question and answer [and yes, it is in fact related to comics]:
Why do you think inequality still exists for women in Hollywood?
A lot of it could be changed if we had a female president. That would give us a subconscious boost. I think people will have to realize they’re looking really dated. For example, there’s a show called “Supergirl.” I think having a show with a gender attached to it is weird. One, it’s a woman on that fucking billboard — it’s not a little girl. Two, what if you’re a little boy who wants to be a girl so bad that this makes you feel bad? I think having a title like “Supergirl” doesn’t give the power that people think it does.
Posted in comics, feminism, gender, lgbt, media, television
Tagged Andrew Kreisberg, comments, context, criticism, CW, female, feminism, gender, girl, lgbt, male, Miley Cyrus, pansexual, Supergirl, Vanity Fair
Season premieres are all about expectations. On one hand a show needs to be instantly recognizable, a challenge for ensembles with shifting casts [I’m looking at you, Community]. On the other hand it also needs to live up to the promise of more to come. As Max and Caroline fall to the floor in the cold open, their clothing aflame, Oleg exclaims “now scissor a little, it can’t hurt” while hosing them down. That’s the first box checked off.
As for the second, there appears to be significantly more attention paid to continuity. While 2 Broke Girls season premieres have always had to follow-up on the last episode in regards to their business, both Parts One and Two of “And the Two Openings” play out in the shadow of a character I’m pleased to see is still with us.
And what an imposing shadow it is.
That’s right, while on the business side of things the two girls are part-owners of the diner and finally looking to make the Dessert Bar a reality [a lot happened, okay] what’s really been on Max’s mind is Randy [Ed Quinn]. Compared to past love interests Deke and Nashit his connection with Dennings’ character has been both strong and, surprisingly, long-lasting. Having reviewed how Season 5 came to a close I can only take his continued presence, albeit via FaceTime, as being a net positive. Continue reading
Posted in celebrity, Comedy, review, television, writing
Tagged 2 Broke Girls, 2 Chainz, acting, And the Two Openings, Andy Dick, Barbara Kachinsky Golishevsky, Beth Behrs, birth, boyfriend, breakup, Caroline, CBS, debt, Dessert Bar, Ed Quinn, emotions, guest star, J. Petto, Kat Dennings, liquor license, Max, Oleg, premiere, Randy, review, S6E1, S6E2, Sophie