Tag Archives: romantic comedy

Jane Austen vs. Nicholas Sparks (How Romance Literature can be Empowering or Enslaving)

When I first attempted to write this post, several months ago, I titled it “the real reason Nicholas Sparks is the worst”. I was planning to discuss the lawsuit against Nicholas Sparks that has accused him of being racist, antisemitic, and homophobic in the workplace. I then planned to use that as a lead-in to discuss how romance novels are just awful in general.

Something about that original post just never feel right. Maybe it’s because I have no way of knowing if Sparks is really guilty of what he has been accused, or maybe it’s because any time I start to attack the Romance genre I find myself haunted by the memory of Jane Austen.

This is what you find when you search for “Jane Austen” and “ghost”.

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An Open Letter To Women I Am Interested In

Ladies, and I say that because Demetri Martin has proven that if you end any sentence with that it becomes creepy but had nothing to share about starting with it,

How are you doing? Just trying to keep things casual and upbeat [and polite, because I am Canadian, after all] before we move on to a subject I’m trying to form an opinion on. You can be sure that if I was even 23% sure of myself this would be a post that confidently projected my opinions as being truths, but alas, here we are.

Last week I came across an article on the AV Club on what you probably know to be one of my favourite shows: Brooklyn Nine-Nine. It concerned one character in particular, Detective Charles Boyle, and how much of the season followed his attempts at wooing fellow officer Rosa Diaz. Now they weren’t, and I’m not, making any comments about workplace romances- the focus was instead on the fact that she was clearly not interested in him.

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2 Broke Girls, S3E16 “And the ATM”: A TV Review

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After so many weeks where the focus of this show has been decidedly anything but what the title implies we have an episode that is all about the Benjamins. Last time we were with Max and Caroline the snarky one had found out that her boyfriend [yeah, things were getting serious] Deke was a rich kid. Cue the feeling of betrayal, brace yourselves for the emotional fallout.

Her decision is to break up by breaking into his dumpster house and taking back her toothbrush and her second favourite gnome, Gnomosexual, both clear signs to Caroline that this relationship might actually have a pretty decent foundation. Even though Deke catches her in the act and speaks to the heart of her actions [“you’re too big a babypants to tell me you’re breaking up with me”] her reason is unassailable: the rich and poor don’t mix.  Continue reading

2 Broke Girls, S3E15 “And the Icing on the Cake”: A TV Review

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I don’t know if I made it clear last week, but I really like Deke’s dumpster house. It evokes the whole Tiny House Movement that’s going on which actually helps make it appear less cartoonish, and it also proves just how much I loved The Boxcar Children when I was younger. All that being said, the prospect of there being a wine and cheese party in such a small space just oozes with promise, sort of like how the garbage outside of Deke’s place oozes with . . . other things.

In the hands of a more capable director and more creative writers, I’m ideally thinking the crowd from fellow CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother, the majority of this episode could’ve taken place in the green dumpster no problem. There were so many interactions to work with, what with the whole diner crew plus Deke and Chef Nicolas and Bebe. Unfortunately the focus was pulled to the two title and the Pastry Schoolers don’t really mix in with the Dirty Diners [those are their gang names now and I stand by them]. Continue reading

2 Broke Girls, S3E14 “And the Dumpster Sex”: A TV Review

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This episode of 2 Broke Girls . . . I think probably the best way to sum up my feelings about this episode, humour-wise.

“So you thought that in your head and your brain was like: ‘That’s okay to say?'”

“That’d be funny if you got jokes.”

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I’m not this show’s target audience when it comes to comedy. It’s not like I’ve forgotten that, either, it’s just that in the 21 minutes and 45 seconds of this episode I heard five iterations of the joke “brown chicken, brown cow” and that’s four and a half times too many.

And now I’m going to drop that thread completely, because no one tunes into these reviews to hear me whinge about how it wasn’t funny. I mean, this still manages to be a far cry from that one episode with 2 Chainz, so I count my blessings no matter how small they may be.  Continue reading

2 Broke Girls, S3E13 “And the Big But”: A TV Review

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Welcome back to the CWR 2 Broke Girls Reviews, everyone! Did you miss the show? Did you miss me [writing about the show]? I’m going to say upfront that I appreciated the break like nothing else, and coming back was . . . difficult. Approaching a show from that angle is far from helpful, and I ended up analyzing every little thing, as I am wont to do regardless. But then the tone of the episode, and perhaps the rest of this season, became crystal clear.

2 Broke Girls is channeling the rom-com vibe like a successful séance.  Continue reading

Fame Day: American Horror Story

americansdoghasdToday, I’d like to tip my hat to one of my favorite shows, a young series by the name of American Horror Story.

Now it’s no secret that the horror genre is universally despised, being seen by many as being lower on the totem pole than even toilet-humor comedies or the most saccharine romances out there. I could probably spend an entire post speculating on why exactly horror flicks are treated with such little respect (a lot of it is probably due to the genre’s inbred cousin, the “teen scream” flick), but that’s another topic for another time. I’m here to simply showcase the series and highlight a few of its key strengths and accomplishments that I think make it worthy of a Fame Day.

Each season of the show (the second has just concluded, and a third has been greenlit) is a separate story, made up of the horrific lives of the characters as they struggle with their pasts, their inner demons, and some ever-present terror always lurking just beyond the shadows. It essentially cashes in on the initial charm that LOST had before it jumped the polar bear.

Guilt and shame are themes that play heavily into the series as a whole (or at least, the past two “stories”), giving even the most heinous characters a degree of sympathy. Again, similar to LOST at its best, the constant shifting of the story from one perspective to the next prevents the series from ever being boring. Granted, the madcap pacing doesn’t always work (especially in the first story), but for the most part, the audience is always kept interested.

And that brings us to the first key accomplishment of the series:

Popularity

As I stated above, horror is simply not popular- at least, not in any mainstream way. Tim Burton’s lighter works are really the closest most people get to anything remotely macabre, and the fact that the series has continually drawn in high ratings (to say nothing of critical acclaim) is nothing short of amazing. And we’re not talking about a series that is eerie or has a handful of jump-scares, we’re talking about truly unsettling elements here. I’m certainly not alone in hoping that that AHS‘s continued success serves to begin building bridges between mainstream entertainment and horror subculture; heaven knows both could benefit from some fresh perspective.

And even in the subculture, AHS is playing a pretty major role. It’s…

Raising the Bar

As a result of the genre’s (comparative) isolation, quality in horror is typically pretty rare. When you can’t secure funding for special effects, good equipment, or even B-level actors, chances are your product isn’t going to be all that good. Of course, when you have a built in audience who would pay money to watch Dwayne Johnson protect an orphanage from chupacabras, why would you even bother trying?

I would actually probably watch that…

I’ve seen my fair share of (decent) horror movies, and I can count on one hand the films that had even passable cinematography. AHS, as a series that actually has some decent funding and actually puts effort into creating tense atmospheres and believable effects, is raising the bar for the entire industry. When AHS is the basis for most people’s experience with the genre, there’s going to be pressure on the rest of the industry to meet and excel the expectations the mainstream audience is going to have. Furthermore, AHS‘s star-studded cast (including Zachary Quinto, Ian McShane, James Cromwell, and, I kid you not, Adam Levine) is hopefully going to make the horror genre more inviting to high-caliber actors who can actually sell the audience on the direness of the situation and maintain interest without having to drag in a bunch of fornicating teenagers.

The series is actually one of the few I’ve ever seen that actually gives teens any credit or respect…

And perhaps most importantly, it comes down to this:

Depth

While the stories are good, as are the actors (Jessica Lange being easily more frightening than the goriest bits of the series), it’s some of the basic discussions held during the stories that really hit home. Oppression of women and the dark history of psychology are topics repeatedly brought up, and dealt with both in a historically accurate and totally visceral manner. Perhaps the most disturbing thing I’ve yet seen in the series hasn’t been any of the monsters or murders- it’s been a demonstration (scaled back for TV, even) of the psychological “treatment” given to people “suffering from homosexuality,” seen at the time as a mental disease. Those five minutes alone were more frightening than anything else in the story- and it was amazing. Amazing to see some serious and deep social commentary made, and to see the brutality and insanity some people had to undergo actually presented in a way that’s going to resonate with the audience. You will be a better human being for having watched that scene.

Though in the spirit of honesty, your view of nuns will probably diminish a bit…

When’s the last time you could say that about a rom-com?

American Horror Story, keep up the good work.

A final note. I would’ve included more gifs, but (1) I didn’t want to spoil anything and (2) easily 90% of all AHS images are of Evan Peters, who is apparently just the bee’s knee’, if the series’ female fans are to be believed.