Tag Archives: The Boondocks

Will The Real Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Please Stand Up?

If you’ve read even a couple of my posts, you’ll probably be able to guess that yours truly is more than a little bit political.

The problem with having political views pretty divergent from the rest of the country is that I often get stuck between two (supposedly) diametrically opposed worldviews who flood my inbox with conflicting petitions. The group whose legalize gay marriage petition I signed fully expects that I’ll jump at a chance to demand a ban on assault rifles, and vice versa.

Today being both inauguration day and Martin Luther King day, the liberal and progressive groups I’ve signed with have naturally been rejoicing like kids on Christmas morning.

Me?

Not so much.

What ticks me off isn’t that Obama is going to be president for another four years (okay, that does tick me off, but no more than any other proposed candidate), it’s all these people attempting to draw lines between what happened earlier today on the steps of the capitol and what happened half a century ago only a short distance away.

Now this certainly isn’t the first time Obama and MLK have been thrown together, and as simple examples of key figures in African American history, there’s really nothing wrong with that. What gets me- what really gets me- is how the two men are imagined as being part of the same great lineage, and nothing could be further from the truth.

What is so often forgotten is that MLK wasn’t simply an advocate of non-violence for the purpose of advancing the cause of civil rights- he was an advocate of non-violence for the purpose of stopping violence. MLK despised conflict, and was one of the staunchest voices of opposition to the Vietnam war. But hey, don’t take my word for it, hear it from the man himself:

Strong words, eh?

Those sentiments of King don’t exactly overlap with those of Obama on the subject of drone strikes and decade-long military occupations. Heck, at 3:40, King straight up declares his views to be biblical- something that the neo-cons and religious right in this country would definitely take issue with. Can you imagine MLK living today?

Well you don’t have to- Aaron McGruder, creator of The Boondocks, already has.

Again- regardless of feelings about either MLK or Obama, you can’t deny that the two of them were/are integral figures in American history, but it’s there that the similarities need to stop. Guantanamo Bay was not King’s dream for the country. Same goes for drone strikes, indefinite detention, record deportation rates, and the White House’s inaction on the wrongful execution of Troy Davis.

I’m just speculating, but I imagine King’s reaction would look a bit more like this.

And not so much like this:

It’s just something to think about…

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2 Broke Girls, S2E13 “And the Bear Truth”: A TV Review

Last December it was announced over at The A.V. Club’s TV Club that “And The High Holidays” would be the last episode of 2 Broke Girls that they reviewed. As someone who has paid more attention to the show than it probably deserves, I felt that it was my time to take upon the mantle.

The mantle may or may not include a brand new “Evan Yeong Madness Watch” as such features have been put together [and probably for good reason] by the comments section over at The A.V. Club.

The last of the "PILOT VIRUET MADNESS WATCHES."

As a last point before I start, I write this with the assumption that you have a reasonable working knowledge of the show. If not, you can always read the other reviews here.

2BrokeGirlsTemplate

2 Broke Girls‘ return to television since its mid-season finale last night opens up where the centre of the show has shifted: the girls’ cupcake shop. Where the cold opens used to consist largely of Max snarking at customers in the diner, the status quo apparently consists of Max snarking  at [this time in asides] a customer at their shop.

The aforementioned woman tastes the girls’ wares with an enthusiasm that borders on the sexual, and it’s revealed that she has an upcoming wedding. Caroline is, as history dictates, optimistic that large sales are coming their way. Max is jaded and skeptical because she lived in a car growing up.

Back at the diner Han is holding some kind of raffle. Max makes a joke about Han being a “big promo,” because, as I’ve discussed before, apparently it is okay to have the long-running theme of calling a character gay when the producer and creator of the show is himself a homosexual.  The prize is a 2-room suite in the country, complete with a fireplace, because “daddy don’t skimp.”

Sophie enters to the usual undeserved round of applause, throws her business card into the goldfish bowl, and proceeds to choose the winning card. Her schemes[?] to win the prize herself ultimately fails when the card she pulls out is for Max’s Homemade Cupcakes.

The complications begin to arise when Caroline tells her boyfriend Andy that “we won a weekend getaway” which he understandably perceives as being for the two of them. This results in Caroline telling both Max and Andy that the other is the third wheel of the trip, and then they’re off to the country.

Lame car games aside [though Caroline gleefully answering herself to Max’s “I spy something annoying”  because she loves to win made me smile] this scene largely serves to introduce the idea that Max believes in alien abductions. That is all.

Original MADtv cast member Craig Anton is wonderful as the pony-tailed man who shows them their room. But my amusement at his presence was quickly stomped by the following exchange that draws laughs out of a possible past of sexual abuse:

Caroline: Come over here closer you big Eagle Scout.

Andy: Well now you sound like my scout master.

I, for whatever reason, did not realize how exhausting it could be doing a blow-by-blow of an entire episode of 2 Broke Girls, so we are moving ahead quickly. I can’t say I was actually proud of guessing what [or in this case, who] the bears in the episode title were referring to, since it’s just so on the nose. The large gay men in this case being named Deke and Derk, who were so pleasant and friendly it was hard not to like them.

There’s a little bit of tension introduced when dinner for two is served to Max, Caroline, and Andy, but the writing wasn’t quite tight enough to pull it off. Max’s eagerness to eat the food on every plate competes with Andy’s desire to share a romantic evening with his girlfriend, and Caroline’s decision to take a relaxing bath and remove herself from the equation was fairly believable but just not very funny. The other two talk over their food to reveal that a) it’s Andy’s birthday, and b) him and Caroline have not had sex in many a fortnight. Max is talked into visiting “Yogi and Boo-boo next door” and then, just as she’s about to leave, they dial up the drama.

Caroline completely forgot Andy’s birthday. Max frantically knocks at the adjacent cabin’s door for the bears to let her in. Max reveals she knew about their dry spell. Max pleads for the aliens to take her away for the love of God please now before it’s too late. In her absence Caroline and Andy are left to discuss the future of their relationship, and the latter is forced to see that the girls’ business clearly takes priority over the two of them. Andy makes his own way home and Caroline goes to join Max who is cuddling with the bears.

Back at the shop, Andy and Carline talk again, and Andy tells her that maybe they should take a break. It’s all pretty well-trod material sitcom wise, but Andy responds to Caroline saying it’ll be hard not seeing him with the line “Yeah, it will be. I work ten feet away” that’s delivered with a surprising amount of heartbreaking sincerity. Max yells for E.T. et al. to take her away when the shop is stormed by the bride’s equally large [and hungry] bridesmaids.

It makes perfect sense that Caroline’s relationship was doomed to fail in light of her work-centric lifestyle, and the fact that Andy remains so close to their shop hints that this isn’t the last we’ll see of them. While not the funniest episode [and yes, they do exist] “And the Bear Truth” does a reasonably good job highlighting a failure to communicate while also featuring two lovable fat gay guys.

The money counter at the end jumps up from $100 to $900, and I suppose it’s just assumed that their wedding deal went through. I’m not sure what they’re counting up to anymore, but it’s good to see their profits go up for once. This is my first time really covering a show [my review of Underemployed was scanter due to its being a pilot] and I hope to pare these down by a lot.

Stray Observations:

  • I first heard about swinging beds just this past weekend, and was thrilled to see one hanging in the middle of their cabin.
  • Max opens up a pair of slippers and, as she walks out, almost sings Granddad’s new shoes song in its entirety before Caroline interrupts her. 
  • Considering how many supporting characters remain in the diner, it’ll be interesting to see how the show deals with Max and Caroline spending less and less time there.
  • A trend I’ve noticed has forced me to start a 2 Broke Girls Cheesecake Menu to highlight when and how the girls show off a little somethin’ somethin’: In this episode, Max and Caroline wrapped in towels in the sauna [Beth Behrs glistening with sweat to increase authenticity].

Evan and Gordon Talk: Django Unchained

GORDON: You know what they call a quarter pounder with cheese in France?

EVAN: What?

GORDON: A poor attempt at distracting our readers from the fact that we ain’t gonna be talking about drugs like we said we would.

EVAN: I have seen very few Tarantino films, and only barely recognize the references.

GORDON: You make me sad.

EVAN: I know.

That aside, what we’re going to be talking about today is Django Unchained, a movie I finished watching less than an hour ago and the subject of this Monday’s post [written by Gordon].

GORDON: So what did you think?

EVAN: Initial thoughts are: Very long. Not what I expected. Apparently in Django’s world everyone is a skinbag filled to bursting with blood.

GORDON: Speaking as someone who’s fired black-powder guns, I can actually kinda see something like that happening.

EVAN: That is ridiculous, but interesting to know.

Now if you don’t have anything in particular you wanted to talk about, did you want to maybe address Spike Lee’s reaction to this film really quick?

GORDON: The Lee-Tarantino feud has been going on for a long time now, so I really wasn’t surprised that Lee reacted the way he did. I naturally wish he had at least seen the movie, but I don’t think it would’ve made a difference in his mind.

EVAN: To give readers a little context, director Spike Lee tweeted:

American Slavery Was Not A Sergio Leone Spaghetti Western. It Was A Holocaust. My Ancestors Are Slaves. Stolen From Africa. I Will Honor Them.

He also straight-up said “I cant speak on it ’cause I’m not gonna see it. All I’m going to say is that it’s disrespectful to my ancestors. That’s just me…I’m not speaking on behalf of anybody else.”

GORDON: I get where he’s coming from, but (1) I don’t think the movie dishonors the slaves and (2) I don’t think that there should be any time period off-limits for telling stories.

EVAN: I definitely agree with both points. Tarantino does not disrespect the plight of slaves during the time period, and there are really no eras of history that we shouldn’t be allowed to explore through various media. How it’s done is what matters.

GORDON: It’s Tarantino; you either love him or you hate him. He does a spastic, scatterbrained style of movie which is two parts tense dialogue and three parts references to obscure exploitation flicks. It is what it is.

EVAN: So did you like it?

GORDON: I did, but not as much as his other movies. And not for the subject matter, simply for the storytelling. I felt it was anticlimatic. Especially compared to his second latest, Inglourious Basterds.

EVAN: Very much agreed. You expect [SPOILER ALERT YOU’VE BEEN WARNED] Monsieur Candy to be killed by Django, or at least in a big way, but instead he’s just shot by Dr. Schultz with his sleeve-Deringer.

GORDON: And there’s still plenty left in the film, we just kinda trudge through it. I simply wasn’t impressed. I mean- I ain’t asking for a John Wu fightscene, but something more than [SERIOUSLY YOU GUYS, SPOILERS] Django shooting unarmed people from the top of the plantation stairs.

But as far as the whole thing goes, relatively amusing and a major stepping stone in addressing the subject of slavery.

EVAN: I mean, sort of going back to where Lee was coming from, it’s not a very realistic depiction by any means, a revenge story of this fashion can’t be. That being said, isn’t it the same sort of concept as Inglourious Basterds? Revenge enacted by the persecuted?

GORDON: That’s exactly what it is. A revenge fantasy. Bad guys being killed by the people who they oppressed. It gives us a feeling of divine judgment upon the wicked. Which is a theme a lot of westerns have.

REVENGE.

EVAN: I have seen at least one, and you are not wrong.

GORDON: I think what Lee needs to get is this:

This was not a movie about slavery, this was a movie about revenge set in the world of slavery. This wasn’t- and shouldn’t be- taken as a commentary of any kind about African-Americans anymore than Kill Bill should be taken as a commentary on women.

You wanna pick a fight with Tarantino, do it over something that’s actually there. (And just so everyone knows, I really like Spike Lee’s work and admire the guy as an individual)

EVAN: So you’re saying that slavery must be viewed as a backdrop, and not the subject matter? I know that you wrote your Monday post on this, but we can go over it just a little.

GORDON: That’s exactly it. It’s not a history film, it’s a Tarantino film. Don’t look for realism there, and don’t look for buoyancy in a nightstand; it’s not what either of them are for.

EVAN: I agree with you to a point, in that the exploration of slavery was in no means Tarantino’s intent. It’s just difficult to look past that as subject matter when it permeates the film [what with it opening up on a slave’s scarred back, etc].

GORDON: That is true, and you can question whether or not it’s right for Tarantino to use the subject matter to shock and horrify people and draw in crowds, but from what I saw and understood of the film the scenes of horror inflicted upon the slaves were, what’s the word for this, “respectful?” enough to indicate that even blood-and-guts Quentin wasn’t unaware of what he was dealing with.

EVAN: I can accept that. Two more thoughts as we wrap up this talk: the soundtrack and Samuel L. Jackson as a real life Uncle Ruckus.

GORDON: The soundtrack sucked. We can all agree on this. Usually he can make it work- this time he didn’t.

EVAN: My cousin and I actually really liked it.

GORDON: Really? I couldn’t disagree more. I felt it lacked cohesion, which the soundtracks in his other works normally have. Heck, more often than not it’s the commonalities in the soundtracks trying the whole thing together.

EVAN: I felt like the more contemporary hip-hop rap tracks were a little bit jarring, but thought the other songs overall were good picks.

GORDON: We’ll have to agree to disagree on that one. Let’s move on.

EVAN: Samuel L. Jackson’s character.

If you don’t know who that is on the right you need to start watching The Boondocks right now. Finish this post first, then immediately go find an episode online or something.

GORDON: I thought he knocked it out of the park. Didn’t have any problem with him whatsoever.

EVAN: 1) Did not know Samuel L. Jackson could play such a convincing old man. 2) Sycophants in films are normally played up for comedic value, and that is no less the case here.

GORDON: Let’s not forget that Jackson was not only an active member of the civil rights movement, but even associated with some of its more radical leaders.

EVAN: That is something that I, and presumably our readers, did not know.

To end this off, did you have a favourite moment in the film? [I SHOULDN’T HAVE TO WARN ABOUT SPOILERS, BUT I AM ANYWAY]

GORDON: For me, it would have to be the scene where Christoph Waltz (who really stole the show) was explaining bounty-hunting the Django in the bar. The dude is awesome to watch.

EVAN: Christoph Waltz’s accent was amazing. I could listen to him talk all day.

My personal favourite was the posse getting ready to go kill Django and Schultz and arguing about the masks. The dialogue was hilarious, and Jonah Hill was a nice surprise, too.

GORDON: That was awesome. And speaking of awesome stuff, our discussion topic for next week:

EVAN: Ah man, I kind of just want to talk about movies. Could we somehow generally address the trend towards big budget sci-fi flicks that’s coming about in Hollywood?

GORDON: No. No more movies. We do ’em too much already.

EVAN: Fine, fine. Suggestions?

GORDON: College: what should its purpose be? Careers or Well-Rounded Individuals?

EVAN: Or just in general, I’m not sure it has to go one of two ways. But that’s a good one. I’m on board.

Thanks everyone for reading, and for continuing to unwittingly stumble upon our blog in 2013! Evan and Gordon out.