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8 REASONS TO LOVE STRANGER THINGS

I’m late to the party on this one, but my belated joy is so great having binge-watched that I am compelled to share my brand-new fan-girl obsession.

Opening credits
A tardis ride back to the sounds and aesthetics of old-school video games. Geek nirvana.

Timewarp
Somehow this sci-fi horror hybrid is made 100 times more immersive and believable by being set in the 80s. Perhaps because they can’t look up a demigorgan on wikipedia yet. Perhaps because they have to use landlines. Things were scarier before DVDs people!

Eleven
The most powerful character is a pre-teen girl with cravings for junk food, a shaved head and a telekinetic power . She is what the Spice Girls were singing about  way back in the 1990s. Who wouldn’t suffer nose-bleeds in payment for super psychic strength?  Though we could all do without the bad people, those rotten mouth-breathers huh?

Monster
The demigorgan – or whatever it prefers to be known as (it just growls assume it doesn’t mind) is legitimately terrifying. It is reminiscent of the alien from…well…Alien. It is satisfyingly other in its aesthetic, but recognisable as a monster nonetheless

Wino Forever
Winona Ryder – from Heathers to Scanner Darkly I have always been a fan. It is a delight to see her revived as the grieving yet hopeful mother who harnesses power in her desperation.

Funny Peculiar
In spite of being hide-behind-the-sofa-worthy it also manages to be truly funny – mainly through the character of Dustin, who has ALL the best geek powered one liners:

Dustin: ‘You always say we should never stop being curious, to always open any curiosity door we find.’
Mr. Clarke: ‘Dustin…’
Dustin: ‘Why are you keeping this curiosity door locked?!’

Shades of Grey (Not 50)
Stranger Things is bold in that it allows it’s characters to be both bad and good. Sure there are downright villains – the demigorgan and Eleven’s skin-crawling ‘papa’, but Steve is both a misogynist teenage idiot and a chivalrous atoning hero depending on your current episode. Similarly Lucas is pretty rubbish in the friend-stakes on occasion, but pulls through when it counts.

The End
No spoilers here, but it is suitably satisfying without tying the narrative into an overly-neat bow. Questions are both answered and left open – Season 2 anyone?

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HAPPY BLOGMAS – TV HEROINE OF THE DAY – DAY 12 – PARIS GELLER

Each day in Advent I will be celebrating one of the TV heroines of 2016 -as let’s face it, it has been a pretty sucky year, and we could all use some female fictional icons to take our mind off Brexit, Trump, and the general doomsday vibe!

Why a heroine and not a hero? Well one of the reasons I am such a TV fanatic is that the genre seems to be far more ‘equal-opportunities than it’s film relation. No longer are the fairer sex subjected to the role of love interest or sister – they are now allowed to be rulers, protagonists, and saviours of mankind. This is both forward-thinking and inspiring, as, let’s face it, a story with twice as many complex characters is twice as interesting!

12th December

Heroine: Paris Geller

A firm fan-favourite of the Gilmore Girls saga, Paris transformed from bullying mean girl to crazed yet lovable friend in just 7 short seasons, returning in ‘A Year in the Life’ to remind us all that yes, she runs the world, as is still as fabulous as she was nine years ago.  Paris is unashamed of her ambition and drive, and with Rory’s friendship and encouragements blossoms into a girl as beloved as she is brilliant.

Top Paris moments up to 2016

1.Paris in 2016

2.Paris is televised

3.Paris the Editor

 

HAPPY BLOGMAS – TV HEROINE OF THE DAY – DAY 11 – REBECCA BUNCH

Each day in Advent I will be celebrating one of the TV heroines of 2016 -as let’s face it, it has been a pretty sucky year, and we could all use some female fictional icons to take our mind off Brexit, Trump, and the general doomsday vibe!

Why a heroine and not a hero? Well one of the reasons I am such a TV fanatic is that the genre seems to be far more ‘equal-opportunities than it’s film relation. No longer are the fairer sex subjected to the role of love interest or sister – they are now allowed to be rulers, protagonists, and saviours of mankind. This is both forward-thinking and inspiring, as, let’s face it, a story with twice as many complex characters is twice as interesting!

11th December

Heroine: Rebecca Bunch

The lead character on Crazy Ex-Girlfirend (played by the show’s creator) is unashamedly neurotic and needy, but at the same time wealthy, successful and fiercely intelligent. What makes her happy is not her bank account, her glory in the courtroom or outsmarting lesser mortals, but her encounters with the community of West Covina California, her new home away from the soul-destroying rat-race of New York. All this AND she sings about the female world with hilarity and biting wit. So – Crazy girls unite – we can be icons too!

Top Rebecca moments up to 2016

1.Rebecca’s Squad

2.Rebecca’s Routine

3.Rebecca’s Makeover

HAPPY BLOGMAS – TV HEROINE OF THE DAY – DAY 5 – EMILY GILMORE

Each day in Advent I will be celebrating one of the TV heroines of 2016 -as let’s face it, it has been a pretty sucky year, and we could all use some female fictional icons to take our mind off Brexit, Trump, and the general doomsday vibe!

Why a heroine and not a hero? Well one of the reasons I am such a TV fanatic is that the genre seems to be far more ‘equal-opportunities than it’s film relation. No longer are the fairer sex subjected to the role of love interest or sister – they are now allowed to be rulers, protagonists, and saviours of mankind. This is both forward-thinking and inspiring, as, let’s face it, a story with twice as many complex characters is twice as interesting!
5th December

Heroine: Emily Gilmore

People often assume the ‘Gilmore Girls’ are a duo – Lorelai and Rory, the ultimate mother daughter team. Yet As the seasons progressed Emily Gilmore role in the series became greater, and it became clear that the title referred not to a pair, but a trio of Gilmore Girls.

It has perhaps then unsurprising that when the long awaited revival hit Netflix it was Emily’s story that proved one of the most compelling. A widow reforging her place in the world, forsaking the bedrocks of her previous existence such as the DAR in favour of new intimacies. Shelving memories and upping sticks, Emily Gilmore sheds her skin and is reborn, whereupon her inner Lorelai(which we had but glimpsed before) is allowed to shine through. How wonderful for a TV show to tell the story of an older woman with such heart, spirit and sensitivity. Are you listening TV Gods? Learn from this!

Since ‘Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life’ was only released last month few examples of Emily’s latest genius have made their way onto the net, so here are Emily’s best moment of 2016 and best examples of prior brilliance

1.Emily learns a new word

2.Emily has Rory’s back

3.Emily wants to go first

HAPPY BLOGMAS -TV HEROINE OF THE DAY – DAY 4 – KIMMY SCHMIDT

Each day in Advent I will be celebrating one of the TV heroines of 2016 -as let’s face it, it has been a pretty sucky year, and we could all use some female fictional icons to take our mind off Brexit, Trump, and the general doomsday vibe!

Why a heroine and not a hero? Well one of the reasons I am such a TV fanatic is that the genre seems to be far more ‘equal-opportunities than it’s film relation. No longer are the fairer sex subjected to the role of love interest or sister – they are now allowed to be rulers, protagonists, and saviours of mankind. This is both forward-thinking and inspiring, as, let’s face it, a story with twice as many complex characters is twice as interesting!

4th December

Heroine: Kimmy Schmidt

Kimmy Schmidt was kidnapped by a fanatical cult leader and held in a bunker for 15 years, but on her release charges into the world determined to seek out all possible joy. Stubbornly optimistic in the face of cynical New York City she explores her unsolved psychological issues with a childish comedic naivety that lifts even the gloomiest of hearts.

Plus she eats candy for breakfast – what a woman.

Top Kimmy moments of 2016

  1. Kimmy’s perfect come-backs
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       2. Kimmy’s feminist roar

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Netflix

       3. Kimmy’s words of wisdom

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Netflix

 

GILMORE GIRLS – THE FEMINIST SHOW AHEAD OF ITS TIME

It is now less than a week until be finally return to Stars Hollow to catch up with Lorelei, Rory and the gang *insert excited squeal here*. It seems like only yesterday that we were visiting Kim’s Antiques, the dragonfly and, of course, Luke’s Diner, in fact the first episode premiered 16 years ago (boy do i feel old right now). The show still feels current because it was so ahead of it’s time, particularly in it’s representations of women. Rather than portraying the fairer sex as tokenistic eye candy, Gilmore Girls delved deep into female friendships, providing us with loveable, quirky, brainy and barmy role models aplenty. To celebrate it’s imminent return (6 days and counting) here are the show’s top 5 female role models, and the many examples of their brilliance. Once a Gilmore girl, always a Gilmore girl.

LORELEI

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The obvious starting point. Lorelei chose single parenthood over a parent-planned unhappy marriage- even more unusual in 2000! Not only did she fly in the face of her parents wishes to ensure the happiness of both herself an her child, but she knew that marriage wasn’t always happier ever after at 16 years old. I do was not going to solve all her problems, for her or the teen-aged Christopher.

Lorelei then raised Rory to value brains over beauty, so while the other girls talked lipgloss she was focused on literature. The only reason she asks her wealthy parents for money is for her kid’s schooling. She self sufficient and independent, but willing to break her own rules for the sake of her child. She braves her worst dears (her parents and their constant disapproval) for her little girl.

She places immense value on female friendship. She supports Sookie through marriage, kids and the start of their business. Miss Patty and Babette are constant presences in her life, and when Lane and Mrs Kim fall out, it is Lorelei who bridges the gap.

She refuses to settle for ordinary – marrying Max/Christopher isn’t enough. she wants true love. Managing someone else’s business is not enough, she creates the dragonfly. Inherited wealth is not enough – she makes her own way in the world.

Quote Her: ’In the movie, only boy hobbits travel to Mount Doom, but that’s only because the girls went to do something even more dangerous’

RORY

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Unlike her contemporaries Rory shunts glittery eyeshadow in favour of Charles Dickens and Tolstoy. She befriends her bully – understanding that Paris’ cruelty is rooted in insecurity. Even as a teenager she can see the best in people: Paris isn’t just obnoxious, she is passionate. Her grandparents aren’t just snobs, they are traditionalists who (despite appearances) value family and have a great capacity to love.

Rory bridges the gap between her mum and her grandparents, and cites her mum as her royal model at graduation. She makes mistakes, sure (who can forget ‘he took the ring off!’) but she fixes them.

She has not one but two best friends (Lane and Paris) and never gives up on them,though fall-outs are never glossed over.

Though a serial girlfriend Rory is hardly a pushover. She calls out Dean on his lack of ambition,

calls out Jess for being a jerk and calls out Logan for his jock antics. And lets not forget she turned down Logan’s rather premature proposal in favour of following the future President Obama on his campaign trail.

Quote her: “Who cares if I’m pretty if I fail my finals?”

LANE

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Lane defies convention in every sense. She refuses to been the stereotypical good-girl Korean her mum wants her to be in favour of drum kits, rock and roll and junk food. upon obtaining freedom she shuns the sex drugs rock and roll lifestyle that traditional comes free with the music, shocking herself by insisting on no sex before marriage, then becoming a young mum whilst still being the coolest girl in stars hollow.

No matter how off the rails Rory goes (affairs with married exes, stealing a boat, dropping out of Yale) Lane is always there for her best friend, and follows her passions, beliefs and dreams no matter the opposition

“eternal damnation is what I’m risking for my rock and roll’

PARIS

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Paris has a crazy home-life but still manages to rule her school with an iron fist. She bullied Rory as a pre-emptive strike, then softens when faced with true friendship.

Paris is a female leader in a man’s world. The editor of her high school paper and the Yale Daily news, capable of bouncing back from disappointments (e.g.: the Harvard rejection) and unafraid to be tough and ballsy.

Paris often faces ridicule, but she can conquer the world, and she know it.

Quote Her: “Of course. We’re girls, so we must be fighting over a boy. You sexist, white-haired …”

SOOKIE

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Sookie is unconventionally gorgeous. Sure she is overweight, but she is also beautiful and stylish. Best of all her weigh is never mentioned – because she is more than her clothes size. Jackson is besotted with her, and an old culinary chum cites her as the one that got away.

As well as always being there for Lorelei with home cooking and a shoulder to cry on, Sookie co-runs the dragonfly while parenting two small kids. A culinary wizard who admits her lack of maternal feeling before taking to parenthood with aplomb.

She also tells Jackson to get the snip whilst still on her birthing bed – and yes he doesn’t go through with her wishes, but she demands ownership of her own body and future, even after pushing a tiny person into the world she fights for her rights.

Jackson: I think we should get married.
Sookie: What?
Jackson: I think we should get married.
Sookie: But uh…
Jackson: Soon.
Sookie: Are you pregnant?

Where they lead we will follow, fighting the patriarchy one coffee at a time.

YOU SHOULD BE WATCHING…HOUSE OF CARDS SEASON 4

Well anyone who says they saw that coming is a liar. I am of course, talking about the game changer that was episode 4. Predictability had set in. Season 3 had been a little, well…dull. The Underwoods had risen to the top, and having ascended to such heights found the only way to go was down. This was not good viewing. The whole appeal of the Underwoods is rooted in their evil charm. You love to hate to love them, and cheer them on subconsciously even as you gasp in horror at their apathy towards their fellow man. So seeing them thwarted again and again in the previous season made the whole season a rather miserable one. The likeable villain clutching to his pedestal wears thin after an episode or five, especially without the dark dry humour of the previous seasons to cut the sour taste.

I gave Frank the benefit of the doubt and tuned in to Season 4. Mainly because the worst show that features Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright is still worthy viewing. Claire was rebelling – so far so satisfying. Then just as Frank appears to have checkmated his queen into house arrest he goes and gets himself shot. As far as plot devices go, assassination attempts are pretty dramatic.

I was unsure for many an hour post-shooting whether President Underwood would live to kill another day. Would Claire fill his shoes in the oval office? What would happen to the election? HOW WOULD DOUG COPE?!

I like this sea of uncertainty. If I can predict the TV tide I get the sense I have been cheated – I don’t want to watch something I feel I could have written, but something that blows my mind (not my liver) out of my body, and into a state of entertainment ecstasy (or horror, as is the case with Game of Thrones).

The President’s near death experience has brought to show back to life. The Underwoods are reunited and all hell is about to break loose in Washington. Season 3 is dead. Long Live Season 4.

PS But it’s still all about Claire. Obviously.