In 2018, one of my college friends introduced me to Grey’s Anatomy. As someone who’s not a
fan of medical dramas, I did not think the show would resonate with me. I am
not overly fond of doctor and I do not deal with stress well. This show
features characters who are driven, competitive, and very self-assured (for the
most part). Imagine my surprise when I discovered the most beautiful
friendships ever on television to be
on that show. Let me share the love between the least likely pairings ever.
But First, Let’s Discuss Grey Anatomy’s Premise
Anatomy is a double-entendre as a title. On the surface, it may seem to be a teasing
reference to Meredith Grey’s profession as an intern at a hospital. However, as
the series continues to unfold, the show’s writers start to peel back Meredith
Grey’s own social and familial anatomy. The audience discovers more about her
history as a daughter, friend, up-and-coming surgeon, lover, partner, and even
more surprising relationships she has along the way. I could write so many
things about Meredith Grey. I will say this: the show has such a powerful
depiction of relationships, particularly platonic ones, and I will share my
Hi. This is my first Spotify Playlist Project entry of 2018! As a series, this collection of songs are tied to the essence of a given book. In this case, I am talking about the first book in the Illuminae Files series. Ready? Here we go. SPOILERS AHEAD.
“Bart, he is establishing mood!”
(Obscure The Simpsons reference) The Adventure by Angels and Airwaves
Kind of song that plays while the credits roll, because this is the kind of story that needs to come with an introduction sequences.
“Sign of the Times” by Harry Styles This song’s sound prickled through the narrative to me. I just felt like it was Kady and Ezra’s song while they were trying to survive while their planet is under attack. In fact, the song continues to be reflected through the story as Kady takes charge of their destiny.
“Gravity” by Embrace sounds like the aftermath of a space war. Also: it reminds me of Ezra quite a bit, as he misses Kady. Obviously, a joke is at hand here, because space, gravity, get it? Get it?
“When I was Your Man” by Bruno Mars. More heartbreak, and I want this song to echo the relationships of the adult characters, too.
Kady surfing and cracking codes reminds me of “Feel Good Inc,” by Gorillaz.
“Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen is like the best depiction of what AIDAN’s meltdowns sound like to me. An unraveling of a whole sweater.
“Watercolours” by Pendulum is the essence of the fight scenes in Illuminae, particularly when Kady has to fight people on Ezra’s ship. This song can also double up as a manifestation of AIDAN’s breakdown and subsequent attacks toward ships.
aidan and kady
“More than You Know” by Axwel /\Ingrosso embodies this moment when AIDAN is fascinated by Kady. And, in a bizarre way, I was intrigued by these glimpses of AIDAN admiring the continuing persistence of this young person.
ezra and kady: THE END (ROUND 1)
“One Way Ticket” by ONE OK ROCK could easily play in the background of this book’s final scenes.
One final note: mothers
“I Miss You” by blink 182 and “Mama I’m Coming Home” by Ozzy Osbourne are the tunes I would like to end this Spotify Playlist Project entry. Because, you know, moms are kind of central to this book.
I finished watching season 1 of The Good Place on Netflix. Here are some of my reflections and overall review.
The story begins with Eleanor Shellstrop’s death and subsequent welcome into the Good Place. Just what it sounds like, the Good Place is a place for those who are good.
One problem though: Eleanor is not a good person.
She often maintains that she was a “medium” person. But, throughout the show, the audience get to see flashbacks of who Eleanor was in her life.
Ahem. Let me summarize: not a very good person.
I love this show, because it dealt with morality and with the limitations in our heaven/hell paradigm. Even more pressing is the question regarding finality in terms of the time frame for being “good.”
Can we learn to be good? Or are we royally screwed if goodness doesn’t come naturally to us? To what extent can we blame our nurturing for our nature?
Another wrinkle in this complicated canvas is the idea of intention in congruence with the seemingly, outwardly, selfless actions we display.
What about soulmates? Do you meet soulmates only in your lifetime? Or, can you be “rewarded” with a soulmate? Is that an easy connection to be made or does it take effort and compromise?
And, I think part of the reason behind my love for this show is the characters. They were real and flawed, even when they tried to seem “nice” and “good.” Plus, that plot twist in the last episode shook me up quite a bit.
Chidi will always be someone rather close to my heart, because I can relate to the indecisive nervousness around making decisions. Part of me will forever aim to please everyone, but will also weigh in the pros and cons far too many times. He was a good teacher; I learned lots from him.
Tahani and her struggle to find peace within herself also hit close to home for me. Man, I grew up with very high expectations of myself, and I was constantly disappointed. Sometimes, I slip back into that destructive critical tone with myself and others. Watching Tahani be unable to be truly accepting of others was a tough pill to swallow. I am not even sure I digested this lesson quite yet.
Eleanor and Jianyu are interesting people, too. I kind of worry that I am more Jianyu than I’d like.
It’s definitely a 5/5 kind of show. Funny, light, charming, and yet meaningful and profound. Super nice.
Also: I don’t know if this is just me adjusting to my Hufflepuff status, but I will say this show reminds me of the essence of being a Hufflepuff. This is a good thing, because there are not many shows that remind me of the Hufflepuff-ness in life.
If you have seen this show, please share your thoughts in the comments. I would love to discuss this one with you. See you in the comments.
Over the past week, I have inched my way through the second season of The 100. In order to preserve the freshness of this experience, I wanted to write reviews for compelling shows. Needless to say: The 100 is one heck of a thought-provoking series. SOME SPOILERS AHEAD!
season 2 gloss over:
The stakes are much higher than they were in the previous season. Forty seven Ark citizens are taken into a place called Mount Weather. A funny play on words, “wither” suggests that the place is not as harmless as it may appear to the survivors of season one. Even the names of the authority figures here have sinister names: Dante Wallace (Wall-ace) a la Dante’s Inferno. His son’s name is Cage.
Make of that what you will. But, to me, these names were very indicative of these characters’ functions within the story.
If the first half of the season was simply a power play between the adults, things surely change in this second half. Clarke and her mother tug back and forth at the leader position for the ark people.
More than anything, the biggest struggle is between Clarke and newcomer to the show Lexa, the commander of the grounders. This duo is sometimes difficult to watch because Lexa is an intense version of Clarke. She is all mind with a dulled heart. Meanwhile, Clarke has to make some difficult decisions that lead her to question her own humanity and connection with others.
Leadership changes within the mountain as well: Cage starts off slow, but then overtakes the approach to Mount Weather’s liberation. Again, here we see this struggle between being humane versus being efficient. There is a play at science versus art and culture underlying this conflict, too, between the father and son.
Poor Lincoln and octavia (round 50000)
Lincoln has the crappiest luck in this series. I just can’t get over how resilient he is. Through Lincoln, we get to see someone questioning grounder culture from an early age and be critical of these expectations. Not only that, but he also manages to be sympathetic to the sky people.
Same coin, flipped side: Octavia of the Sky People was isolated simply by existing. She never belonged with her own society. As such, she searches for her place within the grounder community.
I like that Octavia’s growth has little to do with Lincoln. Sure, he introduces her to grounder culture, but she mostly interacts with his people independently. Her relationship with Indra should be explored more in later seasons, I hope, because it must be weird after how things ended between them.
Oh, and let’s all applaud the choice to separate Octavia from Bellamy and Clarke. Octavia is a fierce woman, not just because she is a warrior. In addition to physical strength, I find her to be emotionally and mentally resilient. Just like Lincoln.
Ultimately, the decisions that leaders make for their people’s survival are the driving force of this season. Clarke and her “good guys” approach withers (no pun…okay, some pun intended) in the presence of Lexa.
Abigail questions Lexa and Clarke’s authority on the basis of their age. Dante and Cage are at an impasse and Dr. Tsing is getting restless.
Bellamy and Lincoln have to face the horrific usage of grounders and sky people by the mountain men.
There’s something strange about the utopia presented at first: everyone knowing each other’s name. People eating in the same room, arguing over cake. Jasper and Monty transition from contentedness to full blown resistance.
So much conflict.
And loss. I’m not sure I’ll ever be over the betrayals and that death.
“The first dose is the worst.”
“I hope you know how special you are.”
“I bear it so they do not have to.”
and finally, the most painful line to hear, “Thanks, princess.”
When watching Poldark, most people feel passionate about Ross and his story, but I am starting to wonder if it an echoing of the Great Gatsby from F. Scott Fitzgerald. Maybe that is something we are meant to examine, this connection between Great Gatsby and Poldark.
Essentially, Ross’ story is a response to the idea of the self-made man. To him, nobility is not a given, depending on wealth. It is that of breeding, which reminds me greatly of Tom Buchanan. However, it plays out differently for Ross.
The story is about the common man and champions ethics over riches. For Ross, it is about finding ways to be his authentic self without being controlled by money.
Often, he sells most of his possessions. He takes risks financially to provide for his family and tenants, not to gain social status.
Quite opposite to his cousin, Francis discovers that family outweighs social status, which would make Gatsby completely baffled. He tries to shake off his father’s pressing comments on his worth as a Poldark in comparison to Ross.
In fact, Francis redeems himself by getting to know the common man (servants and farmers), by being compassionate towards them, by respecting Demelza (who happens to be the token of a woman rising to ranks by love and marriage).
George is considered the villain in this story, but I am not sure about this anymore. Think of how he is the modern American hero: self made, from rags to riches, and he is trying to attain a girl. Elizabeth Poldark represents aristocracy at its finest. And, he needs her badly.
It’s the assumption that once he has her, he will be noble. He will be worthy. He will be respected. After all, she is well educated, socially appropriate, and, quite frankly, all the dudes want her.
The Daisy of It All
Elizabeth is pretty much the green light that George reaches out for. She is unattainable (for now) because she’s married, she’s rich, she plays fair. Like Gatsby, George tries to please her with his money. He practically tortures Francis to have her ask for his help.
Very much in the same vein is his relationship with Ross. Ross, the noble who became a champion for the poor, and George, the leech who feeds on them, are at odds.
George tries to control him, to make his friend, to make sure he can contain this personified fire that is Ross. In a way, George, the grandson of a miner, is fighting his own past, trying to squash it, make peace with it, and most importantly, destroy it.
Sure, there is the obvious connection between him and Demelza, who tells him that she, too, is a lady, even though she is a miner’s daughter. He hates her for pointing out their background, for not being ashamed of who she was, a scullery maid.
This is where their difference lies. He is a banker and she was a scullery maid. In his eyes, he has fought to change his circumstances and he deserves to be rewarded with the best shiny things: connections, control, and, of course, the Daisy of it all–Elizabeth.
Shows are a rare thing in my life, because I always worry about committing to a routine where I have to watch steadily. However, over time, I have stumbled on some great shows. Balancing between PG-PG 13 type of ratings, I found some of my favorite shows ever, and I am going to be sharing them in this post.
A spy loses his job mid-mission, and goes on a quest to hunt down whoever “burned” him. Fun, action-packed, and fascinating tricks all around. Fiona, Michael, Sam, and Jesse are one hell of a team.
Jeff Winger enters community college as a lawyer whose license is revoked after he is discovered to be a fraud. While there, he meets six incredible people who become his friends and community. Hilarity and incredible emotion ensure for six seasons (and a movie? Hopefully).
Another show ultimately about love and friendship, patriotism, and feminism (surprise!). Constance, Milady, and Queen Anne are wonderfully portrayed here, and they are incredibly strong figures, who have complicated paths towards a happy ending. The Musketeers are great fighters, kind and compassionate men. Watch out for the Cardinal, aka the Doctor.
This show initiated my fascination and compassion towards Guinevere and Morgana in the original stories of King Arthur. It’s not faithful to the stories at all, but it’s fun. Warning: the plot gets a lot heavier as the show progresses. Do not expect happy endings.
I forgot about this show! Oh no. It’s one of my favorites for sure. It has all my babies: Ross, Demelza, Verity! Man loses all he holds dear: a love, a father, a fortune, and he must find a way to find hope and have a positive impact on his society. Such incredible characters and complicated relationships. Check it out.
Hands down the sweetest show I have ever seen. Boy touches dead things and can bring them to life, but cannot touch them again. Then, he becomes a detective and a Pie Maker (TM). Childhood sweetheart dies. He revives her. Love, but no touch, lots of raising the dead and asking them question.
Not accurate at all, but it’s good fun. Rich soldier returns home from the war only to lose his property. Attitude problems all around as he forms a band of mischief maker in the woods. The show tries to take itself seriously at times, which makes it even more hilarious and fun. It’s not so fun by the last season as the writers seem to hate or not understand their characters at all.
Who is honestly surprised by the inclusion of this show? I was never a fan of Sherlock Holmes until I saw this show. Injured soldier returns home, while suffering with PTSD, and meets a detective with a mind-bending intellect. They move in together and start solving crimes, while Watson blogs about them. Fun, clever, and sweet.
I knew I would love Swiss Army Man from the moment I saw the trailer. Granted, I adore Radcliffe and Dano, but I also loved the tone of the story in previews. What I didn’t expect was a movie that was so moving and heartbreaking.
Freedom and Innocence
Essentially, the film communicates plenty of messages regarding freedom, as symbolized by farts. I know it sounds silly, but sometimes, we need simple ways to convey deep messages.
The way Manny is unrestrained and open is admirable. It’s what literally gets him places. While I partly consider Hank is projecting a bit onto Manny, I do think that his friend reflects his conflicts regarding freedom of expression.
Openness is reiterated throughout the story as Hank teaches Manny about various aspects of life: relationships, emotions, sexuality, pleasure, and self awareness.
Speaking of which, I loved how sex was explored in this movie. It was not a shameful, gross, or primal thing. I am torn regarding how Manny’s penis was used as a compass, because it can be foreshadowing for Hank’s attachment to Sarah.
On the other hand, the relationship between sexuality and Hank’s stalking relates to innocence because I don’t find Hank and Manny creepy as people. They don’t fetish-ize Sarah or women in general. They don’t turn Sarah into a fantasy. It’s more of a coping mechanism for both of them.
Friendship and Acceptance
Through Manny’s questions, Hank is able to unfold different issues he has. For instance, he talks about his mother’s death and his inability to do things that pleasure him (through the masturbation and sex symbolism).
Hank tries to teach Manny about what is acceptable and what is not as Manny posits that perhaps it’s okay to feel caged by these expectations.
Montages depict their developing friendship, particularly when they reenact the bus scenario.
Not so Much
However, what it boils down to is that while we may think of these things, they can be punishable by society. It pains me to see that ending, but I didn’t expect Manny to survive in a world where his farts wouldn’t be accepted and, by extension, his innocence wouldn’t be accepted.
The closer Manny and Hank get, the closer to civilization they find themselves.
Ultimately, it is a fun and thought-provoking story that I am glad to have on DVD to rewatch and analyze.
What is the latest most challenging story you have been exposed to? How did you come to terms with it? Please share in the comments!
I read Incredibly Loud and Extremely Close a few years ago and it moved me tremendously. So, when I saw the movie on sale for 5 bucks (!!!), I picked it up, certain of its awesomeness. In particular, I thought of its mystery aspects and its exploration of human connections and love.
The story offers a much needed message: you should love people for who they are, and tell them you love them (often) because you never know when you could lose loved ones. Be it catastrophic events like 9/11 or just a dwindling health, nothing is certain. Oskar loses his father for the terrorist attacks in New York City. William Black’s father gets ill and dies.
Another interesting theme in the story is connection. People connected with Oskar even if they never knew him or his mother. He discovers that even though he didn’t want any friends, he got them anyway. This blindness, tunnel vision, of just a goal and nothing more is very typical. We zero in on a tangible logical thing while forgetting that there’s more to life than just checks, high fives, and happy dances. There’s love to ground you and remind you that your loss fits in a larger context.
The thing is, Oskar isn’t the only one who lost someone. Abby did. William did. His grandfather did. Everyone has an inner battle and turmoil. They fight it the way they feel fits. Is it perfect? Do they pick the best way to do so? You may not think so. All you can do is try to understand where they’re coming from.
Finally, you sometimes find things when you stop looking in the “logical” places. Oskar found out what they key meant after he let go and let the universe unfold. When he went up to the swings and found out that his father’s quest was much simpler than he expected. Scary, but when your loss is great, you sometimes become braver and stronger than you expect. It still hurts, though.
Have you seen the movie Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close? Or maybe you’ve read the book? What did you glean from the story? How was it communicated throughout the tale? Share your reflections in the comments!
I love the way women are portrayed in BBC’s Sherlock. It is refreshing to see women presented as equals, worthy of the men in the story. In particular: Molly Hooper, Irene Adler, and Mary Watson are wonderful women who are strong and clever. They play major roles in the story.
Before I begin, I obviously have to talk about Mrs. Hudson. Without her, Sherlock says, “England would fall.” While she is often dismissed, however, she still manages to be central to the story. For instance, she embodies the show’s audience through her assumptions about John and Sherlock’s relationship. Often, she is surprised by John’s attempts at finding a girlfriend. She provides commentary on Sherlock’s mess. Yes, she is sometimes comic relief. But, she is also the voice of common sense.
Molly is interested in Sherlock romantically at first, and her attempts are thwarted. She comments on his actions, seeing right through his ways of hiding his impending death. She whispers, “You look sad when you think he can’t see you.”
Sure, Sherlock thinks she can replace John. But, she is surprises the audience often. In the Abominable Bride, she is part of the revolutionary body of women. Even in the series itself, Molly is powerful enough to introduce Jim Moriarty to Sherlock.
She is crucial. She helps Sherlock so much, just to help humanize him, so much that she helps make him “dead” and then “alive.” He trusts her with his secrets–from his awareness of the necessity of his death, to the way he is hidden from John and everyone who knew him.
Adler is the dominatrix who brought England to its knees. She is “The Woman.” She is presented as everything Sherlock is unaware of: sexuality and manipulation of people’s insecurities. She flirts with Sherlock openly, discomforting him with her recorded moans on the phone as text alerts.
I think more importantly, like Hooper, Adler presents a powerful connection to Sherlock’s humanity. She makes him care about her through their dialogue and connection over intellect. Unlike Molly, Irene successfully makes Sherlock uncomfortable. She threatens Mycroft, who is presented as the “clever one” (in series 3 and in the Christmas special). The Ice Man and the Virgin are manipulated by her and she almost wins. Her emotions, like Molly’s, give her away, but she is still respected and protected by Sherlock as seen in series 2.
What the creators of the show have done with Mary’s character is also very inspiring. It’s awesome to see her have her own back-story, where she is a “very bad girl.” She is a capable and strong woman, who confuses Sherlock throughout their encounters at first.
He doesn’t know what to make of her, just like Irene and Molly. All he knows is that something is unsettling about her. But, that’s more intuition than cleverness. She is strong enough to shoot him, to spy on him, to hack into Mycroft’s carefully gated cyber world.
“I’m taking Mary home,” John says in the Christmas special, and then, “Mary’s taking me home,” which is rewarded with a “Better” from Mary. She stands out as a woman who is able to help John “come around” when he is mad at Sherlock for his faked death (and she succeeds).
Like the other women in the series, she is often the voice of reason while Sherlock and John bicker. Do they need her? Yes! A resounding yes over and over. She is a clever woman, anchoring John, who, in turn, anchors Sherlock.
What’s not to like?
Have you seen Sherlock? Who are your favorite characters on the show? Why do you like them?
When I first heard of Me Before You, I was drawn to the cast. Emilia Clarke is adorable as Louisa. Sam Claflin is witty as Will. I didn’t realize how much it would irk me as a disabled person. Before I begin, here’s a summary of the story. Louisa works as Will’s care-giver after an accident leaves him quadriplegic. They fall in love over the course of six months. She discovers that Will had planned an assisted suicide. He’d set up his will and planned his death.
The first flaw in the narrative lies in the focus. I wish we’d gotten the story from Will’s point of view. It would have been incredible to see more of a disabled person’s perspective. Will speaking about his own struggles. Or, maybe he could have been showing his pain and frustrations. It is important to shed light on the life of quadriplegics and other disabled people.
Louisa is presented as this cheery happy person. The brunette girl tries to “save” Will’s life with her chattiness. This disabled man is presented as a damsel in distress. But, he is not this. Moreover, he has all the reasons to be angry. The movie touches on this aspect of disability subtly. Being diagnosed with an incurable illness is hard. Will loses so much more than his health. He can’t work the same way. Nor can he maintain physical intimacy with people. He cannot go on adventures the way he was used to.
Mental illnesses are misrepresented in this story as final unmoving things that cannot be treated. Will’s inability to see joy in his life is never addressed or confronted. Instead, Louisa distracts him from facing the real causes of his pain. Counseling would have helped. Antidepressants could have helped.
The problem is that the film presents disability as unbearably frustrating and that death is the only option to have. It’s not. Louisa shouldn’t be represented as the only one who researches activities for quadriplegics. It would have been great to see Will take control of his life in ways before deciding on death. I am not saying that death isn’t a valid option. That’s fine and understandable. However, Will isn’t shown as someone who had tried to live and cope with his new life.
It’s just odd to see Will’s message to live boldly. Yet he does not follow suit. He could’ve been presented as able to live happily as a disabled man.
Overall, the story of Me Before You presents a flawed portrayal of disability. It has some beautiful moments. I laughed a lot watching this film. I enjoyed it, for the most part. The more I watch it, the more I fall in love with it. My heart goes out to Will and Lou. They truly are memorable characters. It is still a pleasure to have known these people. I am glad I got to see it.
What is your favorite movie with good representations of diversity and disability? Why do you like this adaptation? Share in the comments!